As more apps and other services make investing easier for newcomers, the number of retail investors has grown substantially in recent years. And specifically, women are putting more money into the market than ever before, according to new findings from financial services company Fidelity.
The Fidelity report indicates that 67% of women respondents have invested their savings into vehicles other than their retirement savings account — a 52% increase from 2018.
More women are investing their savings than ever before
Recent changes in technology have allowed more people to get started with retail investing — women included. And despite many women experiencing greater financial stress, workloads and job insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic, the survey found that 1 in 5 invested in new asset classes over the past year.
These investments included:
- Individual stocks or bonds (67%)
- Mutual funds or ETFs (63%)
- Money market funds or CDs (50%)
- ESG or sustainable investments (24%)
- Cryptocurrencies (23%)
Additionally, Fidelity has noticed signs that its existing female customers are socking more money away, such as:
- A record 43% year-over-year increase since last summer of women opening new retail investing accounts
- A 37% increase in women taking advantage of Fidelity guidance (including calls with financial consultants and the use of online planning tools) over the last two years
- A record-high average of 9.2% in contributions to women's workplace savings accounts
After analyzing over 5 million Fidelity customers over the last 10 years, the financial services company also discovered that, on average, women outperformed men on their investments by 40 basis points (0.4%).
These figures show that women may have much to gain by putting more of their savings into stocks and other assets. Still, many challenges remain for those interested in investing.
Lack of market knowledge holds many would-be investors back
According to the survey, nearly 7 in 10 (69%) of women wish they had started investing earlier. But for those who participated in the Fidelity survey, investing know-how seems to be a greater obstacle than available funds.
On the contrary, women investors are often positioned strongly when it comes to having enough to invest:
- 47% of women respondents say they have $20,000 or more in savings
- 31% have $50,000 or more
- 18% have $100,000 or more
But even though female respondents have become more interested in investing (50%) and now have more to invest (42%), only 41% said they felt comfortable with their current level of investing knowledge. Another 65% said they'd be more likely to invest — or invest more — if they had clear steps to do so.
Perhaps this is why a whopping 9 in 10 women plan on taking steps to make their money work harder over the next 12 months. Some of their top goals include:
- Increasing their understanding of financial planning and investing (62%)
- Creating a financial plan to help them reach short- and long-term goals (52%)
- Reaching out to a financial professional to take action (44%)
- Investing more of their savings (42%)
Methodology: CMI Research fielded a nationwide survey of 2,400 American adults (1,200 women and 1,200 men) in July 2021 on behalf of Fidelity. All respondents were at least 21 years old, made at least $50,000 in personal income, and were actively contributing to a workplace retirement savings plan.