News releases

Are women’s behavioural biases causing them to fall behind on their finances?

05/08/2019

We highlight investment traits prevalent across the UK from a sample size of over 23,000 who have taken the Schroders investIQ behavioural bias test

All investors have behavioural biases which can affect the way they invest. By understanding these biases, investors may be able to improve their outcomes.

Schroders investIQ test, which was designed to help investors understand such biases, has so far been completed by more than 23,000 people in the UK.

The test revealed a significant contrast between men and women in their tendency to follow the herd.

Women are far more likely than men to be influenced by the thoughts and behaviour of those around them - the ‘herd’ bias.

As humans, we are conditioned to follow the herd for safety but in investment terms this could lead us astray. We tend to assume that the herd collectively knows something we don’t. As a result we may irrationally follow others; ignoring the information we have and what’s right for us as individuals.

We found that younger women are far more likely than younger men to want to follow the herd.

As the chart below shows, millennial women (aged 18-34) are 14% more likely than the average to have this trait, compared with just 4% for men in the same age group.

Herd bias decreases by age for both genders. By the time men and women reach the age of 65 and over they are 11% and 10% less likely respectively to have this trait.

Claire Walsh, Personal Finance Director at Schroders, said: “Herd bias can be responsible for driving classic investment mistakes – such as, buying high and selling low or chasing potential investment bubbles like bitcoin - it may also be driving how women do (or do not!) engage with their finances.

Most young women don’t invest, so if they are talking to friends they are likely to reinforce that behaviour. The result being that they may be more likely to keep their money in cash.

Over the longer term, not investing – in thing like stocks and shares - may mean that women are missing out. Particularly when it comes to their pension, this can have a big impact.

Research from the Pension Policy Institute (PPI) found women in their 60s have an average of £51,100 in their private pension pots while men have £156,500.

I’m passionate about closing this gap and helping more woman talk about and proactively plan their finances.“

Professor Nick Chater, co-founder of Decision Technology, said: Biases such 'herding' can be problematic if our personal needs are unusual; or when the entire herd takes a wrong turn (e.g., most studies indicate the UK population is saving far too little for the future).

All investors are not the same: Invest IQ helps people understand their own preference, and perhaps blind spots, to help them make more thoughtful financial choices.”

 

For further information, please contact:

Lucy Cotter, Communications Manager - 07770496846/lucy.cotter@Schroders.com

Claire Walsh, Personal Finance Director - 07971079383/claire.walsh@Schroders.com