Behind every great man is a woman, behind every great woman are her friends
It turns out that age old adage traditionally claimed by women across the world may actually be true, according to the UK findings of TD Direct Investing's Global Investor Confidence Study.
The survey has this year found that 64% of men in the UK admitted ‘my partner' is the factor that makes them feel the most confident about their life. When the same question was put to women in the UK, a resounding 68% indicated 'having good friends' gave them their biggest confidence boost. This was followed by ‘my home', ‘having a close family' and only then in fourth place, ‘my partner'.
Looking at risk appetite, the survey also found that more women (47%) than men (31%) admitted to being conservative investors. In fact, 20% of the men compared to just 5% of women actually saw themselves as ‘overall risk takers'.
Stuart Welch, CEO at TD Direct Investing, commented: "In the six years that TD has been studying investment confidence we have seen attitudes among men and women largely follow the same pattern. This year we wanted to understand what really makes people tick and it is interesting to see that the opinions between men and women differ greatly when it comes to what drives their confidence in life."
Psychologists would be inclined to agree with our findings.
Dr Harry Witchel, Psycho-biologist at The University of Sussex commented: "Generalisations will be flawed, but there is evidence to suggest that women will more often seek to reinforce their social networks. This behaviour is especially prominent in stressful situations. Studies on thrill-seeking show that on average women prefer to take fewer risks than men, and this includes diversifying their options for necessities - having a network of friends is ultimately safer than relying on only one ally.
"Men, by contrast, are more focused on fighting or retreating during stress. But when confident men will frequently focus on status displays gained through conquest or risk. It seems unfair to say that men think of their partners as conquests and status symbols, so I do hope TD's male survey respondents simply think of their partners as their closest friends!"
The findings also show that men and women have different concerns about investing for the future and long term financial stability. Not only are women more worried than men about ‘having enough money set aside for my retirement' (36% women vs. 31% men), but men are just slightly more inclined to say they ‘don't worry about having enough money' at all (34%).
Asked which asset class they would invest a spare £5,000 if they had it, overall 35% respondents chose equities (stocks) and 18% chose fixed income (bonds). For men the balance tipped in favour of equities over fixed income at a ratio of nearly 2:1, but it was a much closer call for women, with 24% choosing equities and 20% choosing fixed income.
TD also took the time to look at some more fun ways of investing by asking respondents which pop star they would be most confident investing in if they were a listed company. The top three choices among both men and women were essentially the same, with both sexes choosing the same reliable and long established stars as well as one very successful current icon, but in different orders of priority:
Q: Which pop star would you be most confident investing in if they were a listed company?
1. Elton John (18%)
2. Elvis (16%)
3. Lady Gaga (14%)
1. Elvis (18%)
2. Lady Gaga (17%)
3. Elton John (16%)
Stuart Welch concludes: "Even when it comes to imaginary investing in a pop star, there is a lot to be said for longevity and a proven track record - and you could draw some parallels here with real life investing. The Global Investor Confidence Study sets out to explore this in more detail and for the first time, we have expanded our research beyond the UK. So for our next instalment we will demonstrate the interesting insights between UK and Expat investors."