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Financial gender gap: Study shows few women confident making investment decisions

Kevin Chupka
Executive Producer/Writer

Women in America account for 75% of consumer spending and therefore a lot of the average household spending decisions. Still, when it comes to investing and bringing in some of that money women still lag men by a frightening amount. According to a Wells Fargo study only 8% of women are “extremely confident” when it comes to making investment decisions. 41% of those surveyed said they are “not at all confident” when it comes to investing.

Breakout welcomed the super confident Dani Hughes of Divine Capital to further investigate why this disparity is the reality. She says women “are intimidated by the stock market because it feels like a fire hydrant that you have to drink with a straw. I think if we simplified the process to some degree I think women would be more inclined” to invest more.

Hughes also points to the trust factor, or lack thereof when it comes to Wall Street. “Women are thinking ‘maybe I should keep my money safer and keep it in cash and keep it in somewhere I really understand.’”

So what is the solution? Other women. “As we see the rise of more women advisors and women giving advice to other women,” posits Hughes, “I think we’ll see much more of a comfort level over time. And it will take some time because we make our decisions very methodically...Women are much more risk averse inherently than men.”

Of course it’s not all about women making household investment decisions. There’s a culture across the financial industry that historically has not been too friendly to women. Hughes sees that changing...a little. “I see women in more positions of power,” she says. “Not at the very top levels of the banks. I see a big embracing of banks in this whole idea of women...but when you look up in the C suite you see no women, so that has to change.”