Women Investors More Savvy Lately

May 13, 2002 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - As investors, women have become smarter and more confident, but they are still some way away from achieving financial security.

That was the bottom line of a new survey of female investors sponsored by Oppenheimer Funds, taken ten years after Oppenheimer’s first poll on the subject.

Nearly 80% of the women surveyed as part of the latest effort pronounced themselves more investment savvy than they were five years ago, and about the same number said they now know more than their parents did at their age. In the 1992 survey, 67% of women said they knew more about investing than their parents.

Women now know more about investing basics. Some 47% of women investors were aware that stocks have been the best performing assets class in the last 30 years – up dramatically from 31% in 1992. But 49% of respondents couldn’t explain how a mutual fund works – down from 62% in the earlier survey.

More than half of the female respondents, 51%, confessed that they had total household assets of less than $100,000 – compared to 45% of men. Some 64% of women contend that they’re ready for retirement. That’s up slightly from the 1992 figure of 61%.

According to the Oppenheimer survey,

  • only 34% of female investors surveyed have purchased stock on a tip from a friend compared to 51% of men investors,
  • similarly, 20% of female investors have lost half their investment in a tech stock within the last three years, compared to 29% of male investors,
  • only 5% of women who invest said that they have changed their 401(k) allocation as a result of the Enron scandal, compared to 9% of men said they’ve changed their allocation,
  • just 4% of women have taken money out of stocks post Enron, compared to 7% of men, and
  • some 45% of women say they are more inclined to plan for their future since September 11, versus 40% of men


The research also revealed women’s strong propensity to work with an advisor. Some 37% of female investors cite financial advisors as their most important source of investing advice while 26% of male investors say the same.

Among higher net worth women, the reliance on financial advisors is even more pronounced. Some 47% of women in households with $250,000 or more in financial assets cite financial advisors as their primary source of investment advice.

The survey involved 884 women and 401 men. Respondents were contacted by telephone in March and April 2002 by the Harris Interactive polling firm.