Why women are better investors

Call it the Weiner principle: Men self-destruct.

By MSN Money Partner Jun 15, 2011 9:32AM

Image: Woman with laptop (© Corbis)By David Weidner, MarketWatchMarketWatch on MSN Money

 

Anthony Weiner put us men in a pickle.

 

Why is it that men so often self-destruct? In the political world, Weiner recently joined Eliot Spitzer, Bill Clinton, John Ensign, Arnold Schwarzenegger and John Edwards as hypocritic slimeballs who let their pants set their personal policy.

 

But it’s not just politics. Todd Thomson, young, married, chief financial officer at Citigroup (C) was embroiled in a scandal a few years ago with money honey Maria Bartiromo of CNBC. Her career survived. His didn’t.

 

There’s Dominique Strauss-Kahn of the International Monetary Fund, who’s accused of sexual assault. There’s James McDermott, who was CEO of Keefe Bruyette & Woods until a dalliance with a porn star named Marylyn Star embarrassed him out of the company.

 

We men just make bad decisions. We can't help it. We’re men.

 

Women, on the other hand, do almost everything better. We’ve known this intuitively for a long time. If you didn’t, just ask your wife or your mother. But now there’s a raft of evidence that suggests women are better at everything -- including investing.

 

A new study by Barclays Capital and Ledbury Research found that women were more likely to make money in the market, mostly because they didn’t take as many risks. They bought and held. Women trade this way because they aren’t as confident -- or perhaps as overconfident -- as men, the study found.

 

"Women were more likely than men to have a greater desire for self-control,” the study concluded.

 

In other words, they trade less and earn more.

 

“Women tend to have lower composure and a greater desire for financial self-control, which is associated with a desire to use self-control strategies. Women are also more likely to believe that these strategies are effective.”

 

And you know what? They were.

 

The study supported previous findings that women tend to make more. A 2005 study by Merrill Lynch found that 35% of women held an investment too long, compared with 47% of men. Moreover, an academic study in 2009 found women made 1% more annually.

 

Chun Xia, a finance professor in Hong Kong and one of the researchers, wrote that women reported a greater desire for self-control in their approach to financial management. They are likely to get stressed out more easily and their awareness partially accounts for their greater desire for financial discipline.

 

However, the report said, it is men who actually have a greater need for discipline when it comes to investment management, as they tend to be overconfident in investing.

 

This probably doesn’t come as a shock to anyone. A new body of evidence is emerging that shows women are better at just about everything -- or, as Dan Abrams has titled his new book, “Man Down: Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt That Women Are Better Cops, Drivers, Gamblers, Spies, World Leaders, Beer Tasters, Hedge Fund Managers, and Just About Everything Else.”

 

As Abrams notes, women are better soldiers because they complain about pain less. They’re less likely to be hit by lightning because they’re not stupid enough to stand outside in a storm. They remember words and faces better. They’re better spies because they’re better at getting people to talk candidly.

 

Look at the evidence: Hillary Clinton has proved a more-than-capable secretary of state. Elizabeth Warren has been a leading champion against the banks. Sheila Bair, as chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., has played hardball with the boys’ club.

 

And what about Sarah Palin? There were 24,000 emails released this weekend and not one crotch shot.

 

This is deflating news for us men, but there is hope. We still lead the field in self-destructing because of pride, overconfidence, hubris and ego.

 

So, go ahead, ladies. Make the money. You’re better at it. We men will just make inappropriate comments, send you lewd photos and make asses of ourselves.

 

That’s why we created Facebook and Twitter.

 

It’s what we’re good at.

 

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