The larger retirement nest eggs of men are often wrongly attributed to better-investing performance. Women live longer than men but have less stashed away for retirement – $63,700 versus $95,800 for men. The retirement savings difference is not because of investment performance but rather the higher salaries of men. Women take home about 80% of what men do.

Despite the smaller salaries, women invest more of their income and grow their investments faster, owing to their more conservative investing habits than men. With the more volatile investment environment in Asia, however, women could benefit from adopting some of the more active investment strategies of men.

Lack of Confidence

The investment industry is actively trying to woo women into taking more investment risk. The main obstacle is women’s lack of confidence in themselves as investors and the investment community, found the Fidelity Investments Money FIT Women Study.

“Our analysis of more than 12 million investors shows that women demonstrated stronger saving rates than their male counterparts and enjoyed better long-term investment performance when they did engage. Unfortunately, too many women still hesitate to take control of their finances,” says Kathy Murphy, president of Fidelity’s Personal Investing unit.

Murphy’s boss, Abigail Johnson, chairman of Fidelity Investments, is one of some influential women in wealth advisory to make a commitment to doing more to customise investment products and services for women in recent months.

Risk Tolerance

The lower risk tolerance of women could put them at a disadvantage in Asia’s more volatile stock markets. Value investing as it is practised in the West can introduce added risks in the East, notes Singapore’s value investment king Teng Ngiek Lian. Higher risks accompany higher growth, he says, including political instability, shorter business cycles, corporate governance and liquidity risks.[1] Lian is known for turning $5.5 million into $2 billion through his Target Asset Management fund.

These higher risks and thus volatility can mean a higher risk of loss when stocks are held long term. Most women consider themselves value investors who profit from buying undervalued companies and holding them. Lian recommends selling when the market is rising and buying on dips. While value investing historically outperforms active investing even in volatile markets, placing a small percent of funds in a more active fund could help reduce risk and capture more upside.

How Women Can Invest Better Than Men

Women can also become more active in managing how they invest.

Participate in company work programs – Over 60% of women are not participating in company retirement or savings plans, says Fidelity.

Build a relationship with an Investment Advisor – Women cite trust as one of the primary reasons why they do not use an investment advisor.

Become more active in household finances – A surprising development is that while women have become a more powerful economic force, younger generations of women are less involved in family finances.

It is not that women are not thinking about finance. To the contrary, many are thinking about big investments that their mothers never dreamed of making – attracting crowdfunding for a new idea, becoming an angel investor, or securing venture capital for business. Concerning how they retire, younger generations suffer from a very high risk of confidence bias. They believe they will become wealthy through entrepreneurial efforts and will not need the retirement savings.

Read Men Vs. Women Investing Habits or Female Investing Habits.


[1] Marquardt, S. (2014). Ronald Chan: The Value Investors: Lessons from the World’s Top Fund Managers. Financial Markets and Portfolio Management, 28(1), 105-109.

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Founder @ The New Savvy
Anna Haotanto is the Advisor (former CEO) of The New Savvy. She is currently the COO of ABZD Capital and the CMO of Gourmet Food Holdings, an investment firm focusing on opportunities in the global F&B industry. She is part of the founding committee of the Singapore FinTech Association and heads the Women In FinTech and Partnership Committee. Anna is the President of the Singapore Management University Women Alumni. Anna invests and sits on the board of a few startups. Anna is also part of the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry Career Women’s Group executive committee. Anna’s story is featured on Millionaire Minds on Channel NewsAsia. She hosts TV shows and events, namely for Channel NewsAsia’s “The Millennial Investor” and “Challenge Tomorrow”, a FinTech documentary. Anna was awarded “Her Times Youth Award” at the Rising50 Women Empowerment Gala, organised by the Indonesian Embassy of Singapore. The award was presented by His Excellency Ngurah Swajaya. She was also awarded Founder of the Year for ASEAN Rice Bowl Startup Awards. She was also awarded the Women Empowerment Award by the Asian Business & Social Forum. Anna has been awarded LinkedIn Power Profiles for founders (2018, 2017), Tatler Gen T, The Peak’s Trailblazers under 40 and a nominee for the Women of The Future award by Aviva


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