Men are more confident investors than women, according to a study.

A BMO InvestorLine study finds that 68% of women feel confident when making investment decisions, compared to 83% of men.

When Canadians were asked why women might lack confidence when investing, 83% believe that investing has traditionally been viewed as a role for men, 58% say that society is not as supportive of women investing as they are of men, and 48% contend that women are intimidated by investing.

“History and society have not viewed men and women equally with respect to investing,” says Julie Barker-Merz, BMO InvestorLine president. She notes that women currently control one-third of all wealth in North America and this is increasing by 8% annually.

“Women are taking a larger role with the management of their own finances and we must work to understand and support the different approach that they take to investing and adjust to meet their needs.”

The study also finds that one-third of women depend on advice when making investing decisions, compared to only 15% of men. Additionally, women are more likely to seek education and guidance to learn the options available to them before committing to an investment decision.

When asked what concerns them most when investing, the study revealed that women are focused primarily on putting their money into safe investments (60% vs. 44% of men) and avoiding big losses (51% vs. 42% of men).

Men, on the other hand, tend to focus on building and accumulating their wealth (35% vs. 26% of women).

“In general, female investors tend to be more reserved and much more focused on looking at the big picture and planning for the future than their male counterparts,” says Barker-Merz. “The financial services industry also has a role to play in this by helping women get the support they need to fulfill their financial goals. We need to stop making assumptions and do a better job listening and learning.”

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