How women take their investments into their own hands

Women are significantly less likely than men to invest their money in stocks or securities. Only 25 percent of women feel comfortable investing part of their money. Too few, say experts. When women do invest their money in the stock market, they do so very successfully.

The most important facts in brief

  • Women have been outnumbered in terms of investment behavior for years.
  • There are many reasons for this, but certain inhibitions are more common among women.
  • When women do invest, they are often more successful at it and generate higher returns than their male counterparts.

There are many stereotypes about the investment behavior of men and women: Women, they say, are more intuitive, take a more objective view of money issues, rely less on risk — and, according to studies, are more successful at investing than many men. Women, on the other hand, are said to react more quickly, take more risks and know more about investments. At least one in two men claimed the latter in a survey by Union Investment.

So who invests money better — male or female investors?

Women could benefit more from the capital market

Lauren Simmons loves numbers. And she loves to act fast on the stock market. The former stockbroker is unusual in every respect: she got her trader’s license in 2017 at just 22. The young African American thus became the first woman to trade full-time on the New York stock exchange floor.

Lauren Simmons is a professional, she’s not shy about the financial world and she can network the hell out of it. In the past few years, she’s signed deals for a book, a movie, a TV show and two podcasts. A role model for women private investors?

Numbers, data, facts

In Germany, women have been outnumbered in terms of investment behavior for years.

Chart of investment behavior by gender

Women are a powerful force in the global economy. Across countries and cultures, they influence 80 percent of all purchasing decisions worldwide, according to the study «Female Finance — Digital, Mobile, Networked.» Yet most of their financial activity consists of executing daily spending on behalf of others, such as family and community members, rather than managing their own financial affairs. There is still significant untapped financial potential among them.


. that few women invested in equities, equity funds or equity-based ETFs in Germany in 2021. (Source: Deutsches Aktieninstitut 2022)

In 2021, around 12 million people in Germany took advantage of the opportunity to invest money and invested in equities, equity funds or equity-based ETFs. Just under 12 percent of these were women. Among men, the figure was around 23 percent. This is shown in a recent study by the Deutsches Aktieninstitut (DAI), which surveys citizens once a year about their personal investment behavior. According to the DAI, the low proportion of women cuts across all age and income groups and does not even stop at a high level of education.

These four inhibitions keep women from investing

There is no blanket answer as to why women invest less in the stock market than men. Financial decisions are something very personal. However, a few dominant reasons do emerge.

1. lack of financial knowledge coupled with skepticism

Women’s need for information seems to be higher than men’s when it comes to finance. Before they take action, they want to understand many things in detail.

For 41 percent of female respondents, the lack of knowledge about financial topics and investment strategies is particularly decisive for not investing their money, according to the current BlackRock Investor Pulse study. Women’s lack of knowledge on the subject of investments is often coupled with greater skepticism: one of the central factors here is the fear of losing everything. However, due to the increased security aspect, women sometimes miss out on a lot of money.

Tip: Knowledge gives confidence. Well-prepared information in clear language and real-life examples can help to effectively acquire financial knowledge. Financial magazines such as «Finanzielle» or «Courage», for example, have set themselves the goal of turning women into financial experts and taking away their shyness about investing. Here, interested readers can find many individual portraits of women who talk openly about their finances and give valuable tips. In addition, there are now more financial tools on the market that make it easier for women to access these areas, as one study shows.

2. income is not enough

Many women believe their income situation is not sufficient to engage in the capital market. By their own admission, they could not afford to take risks with their money, according to a 2021 study by J.P. Morgan. The assumption that female investors need a high income to invest often dominates, it said. The perceived income threshold in this context is over 4,000 euros per month, according to a study by BNY Mellon Investment Management.

Tip: Small livestock also makes crap. Very few people know that entering the stock market is worthwhile even with small amounts. With fund savings, investors can leave good financial products in place for a long time and thus benefit from the compound interest effect.

3 Increased risk awareness

Women often consider investments to be too risky. According to BNY Mellon Investment Management, this is true for almost every second woman. 66 percent of investing women prefer to invest in funds, according to the German Equities Institute.

Tip: Once investments are linked to personal values, a full 55 percent of the women surveyed would invest more money. This is because 84 percent of female investors attach great importance to a positive impact on the environment and social issues in their investments, as the study «Female Finance — Frauen in der Finanzwelt» shows.

If women were to implement their preference for sustainable investments more and do the same as men in this respect, an additional $1.87 trillion of the total potential would flow into this investment area alone, according to BNY Mellon Investment Management.

Deka Investments of the Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe is one of the investment companies that focus on the needs of women. With «Sinnvestieren», for example, it offers themed videos on «Women and Finance», podcasts or even corresponding events in the savings banks.

4 Lack of confidence

Only 25 percent of women in Germany currently feel comfortable investing parts of their money, according to BNY Mellon Investment Management. Their needs are largely underserved in terms of financial offerings, financial services and advice geared to the realities of their lives, as evidenced by the «Financial Alliance for Women» — highlighting the enormous potential for development in this area.

Tip: To minimize uncertainties and barriers, digital and customizable financial overviews and forecasts are helpful. They can help make it easier to manage financial obligations, optimize financial planning and stay in control. This can increase feelings of financial security. Support offers such as mentoring programs, for example by Natascha Wegelin, better known as «Madame Moneypenny,» or various media offers such as those from the «financial heroines,» can also be helpful in overcoming hurdles regarding personal finances.

Women act more cleverly when investing

Men may be in the majority on the capital market, but they are far from being better at investing. On the contrary: According to «Female Finance — Frauen in der Finanzwelt» (Female Finance — Women in the World of Finance), women in Germany generate an average return of 24.1 percent, compared to an average of 23.5 percent for men. Not too big a difference, but many other studies before this have already shown that women tend to manage money better than men. And there are reasons for that.

Why is that?

When women participate in the capital market, they put less of their money into individual stocks and more into funds — especially ETFs. While men invest more money in individual stocks, women are more likely to buy dozens of different stocks and thus spread the risk more, the study adds.

Our psyche does not fit the stock market

Psychological mechanisms may also play a role. Experts explain the figures using some prominent human behavior patterns. Women are more cautious and weigh things up more often than men, who like to overestimate themselves, as researchers from the University of Berkeley have discovered in psychological tests. The result: rash actionism. Men buy and sell their shares more quickly. This is counterproductive on the stock market: men’s returns are thus reduced more than those of women. In addition, women tend to limit their losses because they are often better at admitting mistakes.

Basically the psyche of humans does not fit to the stock exchange, says the diploma psychologist and certified stock exchange trader Florian Eberhard in the interview with the Newsportal «the fund». Therefore investing humans, who would know their own irrational behavior, would have better chances on profits, so the expert. There are, however, psychological tricks that can be used to avoid certain thinking traps — for example, with the help of coaching.

Strengthening younger female investors

It is important to raise women’s awareness of finance and investing. This includes more financial education in society and at schools.

This is confirmed by a recent youth study conducted by the 2021 Banking Association for both girls and boys: Although the economic and financial knowledge of young people has improved slightly since 2015, large gaps are still apparent. Two-thirds have learned little about economics and finance at their school. According to the study, 84 percent of young people would like more information about economic contexts at school. The handling of money (87 percent) and information on old-age provision (81 percent) are most in demand. A good three-quarters are even calling for the introduction of a separate «economics» subject.

So the message must already be to young women — and men: The more someone knows about securities and investment strategies, the more likely they are to lose their terror.

You can do it, start today. You should know what a return is, how a stock market works, and that it’s your job to take care of your own financial independence.


Women do not urgently need financial products tailored to female needs, but rather tailored approaches and services that are geared to the realities of their lives — including, for example, lower pensions, less money after divorce, or phases of life with reduced income after longer periods of time off to raise children or care for relatives.

Whether or not women are more successful than men in investing money should not matter in the end. Empirically, there is isolated evidence of this, but no clear overall picture. The crucial thing is to take your finances into your own hands. Personal financial independence is a goal that applies to everyone.