Not only are these stereotypes prevalent, but they’re wrong.
While 81 percent of women report that they’ve experienced stereotypes about their investing acumen or financial status, the opposite of those stereotypes is true, according to research from Capital Group.
Not only do respondents report being highly engaged in financial and investing decisions, contributing meaningfully to household income and assets and being savvy about their portfolios, they also believe that women as a group have more economic power as investors than in the workplace.
In addition, women maintain higher expectations than men for the companies in which they invest, are not risk averse but do want protection against market downturns and have a diverse set of financial and investing concerns that vary by demographic. Selling them short is a big mistake.
“American women are a powerful economic force with $11 trillion of assets,” according to Heather Lord, senior vice president and head of strategy and innovation at Capital Group.
In a statement, Lord says, “Women are a complex and varied group of investors, and they have a clear vision for their investing goals. They want enough money to retire and to take care of children or aging family members. They want investments that outpace the market over time and show resilience in market downturns. And more than men, women want to invest in companies that are not only financially successful but also deliver economic and social benefits.”
Not only do 53 percent of women respondents rate themselves as meaningful contributors to their household income and assets, 52 percent say they are always or usually confident they have the knowledge to make good financial and investment decisions.
In addition, 50 percent of boomer women and 48 percent of female GenXers say their top priority outcome is to beat the stock market over time, while for 51 percent of millennial women it’s to grow their investments in line with the market.
As a group, women believe they have more economic power as investors than in the workplace: 48 percent say women have a great deal of economic power as investors, while only 35 percent believe they have as much power in relation to wages in the workplace.
Then there are expectations; 94 percent of women, compared with 90 percent of men, want the companies they invest in to deliver strong financial performance in terms of revenues, earnings and dividends per share growth.
Women investors also believe, by a margin of nine percentage points over men, that it’s important for companies they invest in to focus on growing U.S. jobs, operations and exports.
Women are also somewhat more likely than men to invest in companies that support new technologies and innovation-led growth, and expect companies to promote health and wellness of consumers; help disadvantaged communities; and promote economic opportunity for women, minorities and LGBT persons by approximately 15 percentage points more than men.
As might be expected, women are also 22 percentage points more likely than men to emphasize the importance of investing in companies that put women in senior management and board roles (73 percent of women, compared with just 51 percent of men).
And they’re not timid about investing, either.
Only 11 percent chose the most conservative option: bank CDs and high-quality bonds with little or no money invested in the stock market. Instead, the top choice for 30 percent of women and 33 percent of men was a mutual fund with a track record of outpacing the stock market over the long term.
But that doesn’t mean they’re taking wild risks, either, with 24 percent of women investors preferring mutual funds that do better than the stock market during downturns, compared to 19 percent of men, indicating a somewhat higher interest in downside protection on the part of women.