A new study at Iowa State University says there are some big differences in the way men and women think about investing. Consumer economics professor Tahira Hira says women find investing more stressful and less exciting than men do, and therefore prefer less risk. Tahira says women invest much more defensively or conservatively as they’re more after “apparent security.”

Hira says women will listen to outside advice in a different way too. Hira says women are much more willing to have faith in an advisor as women think the advisor provides a good service. She says men tend to be more critical and think the advisor charges a lot of money and is very aggressive in investing.

Hira says the conservative nature of women extends to using new ways to invest.
She says men are very comfortable with using technology like the internet to invest money, where the women would shy away from that. Hira says the more aggressive stance of men for investing is likely due in part to culture issues. Hira says it’s expected of men to do the investing and she says you get better by learning and walking through investing.

Hira says having men handle all the money in a household can be a problem if a woman has to take over. Hira says it’s very scary in two cases, divorce and widowhood. She says if you haven’t been involved in financial decisions then you have no idea about what you should be doing and asking.

Hira says investing and handling money doesn’t have to be scary for men or women if they are taught early on.
Hira says we all grow in complexity and so do money matters, and if you’re involved when things are simple, then you gain confidence as you move forward.

Hira says it’s important to talk and teach your kids about investing and handling money, so they can start simple and learn as they go. Hira says the results of this study will be used as a foundation for further analysis and development of recommendations about general financial education materials and an investment educational program for women. The next phase of the study is ongoing and will be completed by early next year.