International Women’s Day – dispelling key myths about women and investing
Author: Judy G. Goldring
March 8, 2018
The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day – Press for Progress – is about creating a culture and a mindset that supports diversity and encourages gender parity. At AGF, we are committed to workplace diversity. We are proud to be members of the 30% club, which has a goal of achieving a minimum of 30% women on boards. Just this year, AGF exceeded this target and now nearly 1/2 of our board members are women. Equally exciting, nearly 1/3 of our executive team are women.
As a global investment management firm, AGF knows that women play a critical role in the financial health of their families. But it’s important to let go of stereotypes about women and investing.
So I have asked three of AGF’s women executives to help me dispel some of these myths.
Myth #1: Women understand budgeting but not investing.
Interesting given that’s what I do for a living. Invest. In emerging markets around the world. This sounds like something out of the 50s. With today’s generation, 80% of women are the household’s chief financial officer and 80% control or share household financial decisions.*
So why does it seem like men believe they’re experts on a subject while a woman could have a PhD and still feel they don’t really know enough? Our own research confirmed this – in an AGF survey of Canadian investors, men said they understood investing, whereas women said they did not, even though their answers showed a higher knowledge level.**
It’s time we give ourselves credit.
Regina Chi, CFA
Vice-President, Portfolio Manager
AGF Investments Inc.
Myth #2: Women are risk averse.
There is a field of neuroscience which studies the way men and women make investment decisions. The research shows that men tend to review opportunities in term of rewards, whereas women consider both the rewards and the risks, weighing the pros and cons, ultimately making the best decision given their needs.†
So for some women, this means taking on considerable risk and for other, less so…
Florence Narine, MBA, CFA
Senior Vice President, Head of Product
AGF Investments Inc.
Myth #3: Women need different advice.
Women don’t need pink programs – or pink products. What women need is to be treated as an individual and get the advice personalized to them. Which is not any different from what a man would want to receive.
Research has shown that yes, on average, women might want more holistic advice to their financial programs.†† But, at the end of the day, that’s really translating to knowing them as a unique individual. I’m sure there are men that want and expect this same type of advice. And, on the flip side, there’s going to be a female who just wants the numbers and is focused on the returns of her investments.
It really is customizing that advice to the person.
It’s no different as a parent. I have a boy and I have a girl. I can tell you that, at times, they have differences in how they learn and approach new opportunities. And, at other times, they want and act the same . And, as a mom, it’s on me to recognize that it’s less about them being a boy or a girl. It’s more about delivering what they need from me to get the best of them.
It is only fair for both men and women to expect the same when it comes to their personal financial well-being.
Karrie Van Belle
Senior Vice President, Head of Marketing and Communications
AGF Investments Inc.
Myth #4: Women need extra help.
The truth is all investors need advice.
Like hiring a trainer to get the most out of your workout. Like hiring a nutritionist to improve what you eat.
An advisor can help you improve your finances, help you evaluate your entire financial situation. And build a plan that gets you started and keeps you on track.
All investors need that help – not just women.
Judy Goldring, LL.B, ICD.D
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
AGF Management Ltd.
As a mother of two daughters, and an aunt to eight nieces, I want them to have powerful women figures in their lives. Who inspire them and create for them the opportunity to lead future generations.
So let’s dispel the myths. Let’s press for progress. Let’s challenge the stereotypes, influence others’ beliefs and celebrate women’s achievements. Let’s create a mindset of gender parity.
Together we can do it.
*Source: BMO Study: Mothers are in charge of their household finances, but are they taking charge of their retirement? May 2012.
**Source: The 2015 AGF Investor Study was conducted online among a sample of 1,238 Canadians ages 18 and older with some amount of investable assets (excluding real estate) and currently involved in mutual funds/stocks/bonds investments/RRSP/TFSA. Data findings are weighted by age, gender and region. The survey was administered from August 10 to August 23, 2015 by Harris Poll. As the study was completed using Harris Poll’s proprietary online panel, it is precluded from reporting a margin of error. The margin of error for a representative sample of this size (n=1,238) would be ± 2.8%, within a 95% confidence interval.
†Source: Colin Camerer, Robert Kirby Professor of Behavioral Finance and Economics, California Institute of Technology. “What is neuroeconomics?” http://people.hss.caltech.edu/~camerer/web_material/n.html, accessed March 7, 2018.
††Source: “Men are from Mars, women have particular investing needs,” The Globe and Mail, November 22, 2017
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