Women and investing

Even if we are seeing considerable progress in the area of gender equality, some sectors are still struggling to adapt, with finance and investment being among them. This is especially the case when you are a female investor. At a time when financial independence has become a fundamental requirement for women, their rightfulness is not always a given when it comes to managing their own money, owing to deep-rooted stereotypes.

woman in white shirt drinking from white ceramic mug

What is changing

It is difficult to uproot the belief according to which women are less gifted than men at finance. And yet an increasing number of women are now taking charge of their business affairs. A change in society partly explains this transition. There are also more women who are active on the employment market. They therefore want to keep control of their money in order to be able to retain their decision-making power, manage their life or indeed plan for their retirement. Divorce – which affects more than one in two marriages in Switzerland – is also a major contributing factor. The difficulties which it leads to also encourages a large number of women to manage their finances themselves.

What is not changing

In spite of the upturn, some phenomena remain endemic. In Europe as in elsewhere, women today are still less well-paid – and by much – than men. They receive 19% less than their male counterparts in Switzerland according to a survey on salary structures from the Swiss Federal Statistics Office dating back to 2018 . Their careers are also more irregular – dictated by maternity leave– and opting for part-time working arrangements is more common with women than with men. As well as being cumulative, these gaps become greater over time and this is not without consequence. All of which is certainly a handicap when it comes to retirement.

What must change

Even if things are changing, women continue to believe that men benefit from a better understanding of financial matters. This perception leads to a lack of confidence and leads them to invest a smaller portion of their money. In addition to the differences in terms of accumulation of wealth and income which impact women’s ability to save and invest, several surveys also show that women and men behave differently, be it in relation to investment or savings strategies. It emerges therefrom that women invest a smaller proportion of their money: 21% compared with 29% on average for men. And when women receive a significant some of money- such as inheritance or the proceeds from a property sale – they are much less inclined to want to invest in financial markets, 24% for them compared with 42% for men .

[1] https://divorce.ch/nos-dossiers/informations-generales/statistiques-divorces-suisse/
[2] https://www.ebg.admin.ch/ebg/fr/home/themes/travail/egalite-salariale/bases/chiffres-et-faits.html
[3] enquête ING International Survey
woman in black long sleeve shirt sitting on white couch

Why invest your money?

Investing is a way of building for your long-term financial future. If the distribution of your investments constitutes an important element of your approach, begin by investing early – and consistently – as this is the best way of building a portfolio which performs over time. It is an essential stage for protecting oneself against inflation or even a fall in pension benefits which is in store for us. This is why investment concerns men and women alike.

Within this context, whilst it is of course crucial to move towards greater equality, it is also essential to work on awareness and on the lifting of obstacles to investment so that men and women alike can draw the best from their assets in the long-term. There are male and female financial advisors out there to help with this, and who allow us to better understand the workings of the markets, but also to optimise our investments. This help can also prove valuable when it comes to planning retirement, managing your tax or inheritance issues or even when drawing up a financial budget which is suited to your life plans. So you don’t need to be a man to take an interest in your future.

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