New Scottrade® Financial Behavior Study Reveals Stark Differences in Investing Attitudes and Activity Between Women and Men

  • Even with relatively similar financial performance, results show women feel less confident investing than men
  • Men have more active investing strategies; Women more likely to stay the course
  • Women have a more trusting relationship with their financial advisor
  • Men turn to advisors more often for advice, but are also more likely to criticize fees

New Scottrade® Financial Behavior Study Reveals Stark Differences in Investing Attitudes and Activity Between Women and Men (Graphic: Business Wire)

ST. LOUIS--()--Scottrade’s 2016 Financial Behavior Study explores the attitudes and behaviors of investors regarding finances and investing, and the results reveal drastic differences between male and female investors regarding not only their trading style but also their overall investing confidence.

Genders Report Similar Financial Performance; Men More Likely to Expect Success

Men report a higher degree of confidence than women when it comes to investing. While reported financial performance is relatively similar for men and women, men are nearly twice as likely as women to believe they are beating the current market (44 percent of men versus 24 percent of women).

In addition, men exude more confidence than women that their investments will do well in the current economy (74 percent of men compared to 59 percent of women), and most men (67 percent) envision further growth in 2016. Women, on the other hand, tend to be more reserved about their future returns, with about half expecting further growth in 2016.

When reflecting on their current financial situation, women and men report similar financial performance and seem to experience about the same amount of stress,” said Mary Koomar, Scottrade’s senior vice president of client services. “However, with respect to the actual performance on their investments, men generally express a much higher degree of confidence whether or not it’s actually warranted.”

Men More Active Traders; Women Are More Moderate

In general, men appear to take a more active approach to investing while women tend to take a steady and stable approach. Men make decisions and changes far more frequently (often in either six-month or even one-month intervals). Forty-one percent of men change their strategy every six months compared to only 27 percent of women and 21 percent of men change their strategy as frequently as every month versus only 11 percent of women.

It is more common for men to say that their trading is on the rise from one year ago (25 percent of men are more actively trading versus 13 percent of women) and that they will continue to actively look at their portfolio and may even make changes mid-way through this coming year. By contrast, women (three in 10) are more likely to have done nothing (placed no trades) over the past year, compared to only one in five men.

“Frequent portfolio changes can certainly be an effective part of a strategy, but it’s also important to remember that emotions can betray you when it comes to trading,” said Koomar. “Establishing and following a plan with clear rules is critical no matter your strategy.”

Women Have a More Trusting Financial Advisor Relationship Than Men Do

Men and women are equally likely to rely on a professional advisor for investment support (65 percent of men and 66 percent of women), but that appears to be where many of the similarities end. In fact, the nature and frequency of the relationship each gender has with an advisor differs substantially.

Women have a great proportion of their portfolio (63 percent) handled through their broker or advisor (compared with men who handle about half of their portfolio through an advisor). This may be due to the fact that women report feeling more overwhelmed by the available investment choices (64 percent of women versus 46 percent of men), and express less confidence in their own ability to navigate any impact from the economy (60 percent of women compared to 43 percent of men).

“On the surface the survey results seem to confirm some stereotypical ideas that women are overwhelmed by investing, but it’s worth noting that the women surveyed are also taking proactive steps to take control of their finances,” added Koomar. “Many of the women surveyed are seeking advice and building trusting relationships with advisors. While they may take a more moderate approach to investing, they are certainly not standing on the sidelines.”

Women are more likely than men to initially turn to a financial advisor because they want general help monitoring or managing their investments (58 percent of women compared to 40 percent of men), while more men than women have a tangible rationale for reaching out — i.e., they have crossed a certain money threshold (21 percent of men versus 11 percent of women) or have made a bad decision previously (13 percent of men versus 4 percent of women). In addition, women are more likely to feel that the support of an advisor is worth paying for while men are more likely to criticize the fees (43 percent of men state fees are not worth the service versus 29 percent of women).

Women investors count on their advisors to handle a much larger proportion of their portfolio and are more likely to cite their advisor as the motivation for making various investment choices. That said, regardless of whether they take their guidance, men seem to consult their advisors more frequently than women do (29 percent of men consult advisors monthly compared to 12 percent of women).

For more information or to read the Financial Behavior Study in full, visit Scottrade® Research Findings. To learn more about Scottrade, visit

About the Scottrade® Financial Behavior Study

Scottrade, Inc. commissioned a survey of investors to explore their attitudes and behaviors regarding investing, the economy, finance and retirement. The survey, undertaken by Harris Poll, was conducted among a nationally representative sample of 1,015 adults in the U.S. aged 18 and older who are involved in investment decisions for their household and have $2,500 or more in investments with a full-service brokerage company, online brokerage company or independent financial advisor. By looking at their responses collectively, Scottrade is able to identify trends among investors.

About Scottrade, Inc.

A leading financial services firm founded in 1980, Scottrade’s mission is to improve lives by helping people overcome barriers to financial success. Through a large, nationwide branch network, Scottrade works with millions of clients, offering them the solutions and support they need to take control of their long-term investing and trading needs. To learn more about Scottrade, visit or talk to us via social media. Member FINRA/SIPC.


Scottrade, Inc.
Lizzie Curry, PR Analyst, 314-965-1555 x. 1622


Scottrade, Inc.
Lizzie Curry, PR Analyst, 314-965-1555 x. 1622