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.

 

More from MarketWatch:

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79Comments
Jun 15, 2011 1:09PM
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This is nonsense.  This data could be skewed in dozens of different ways--and then to link it to a scandal?  Generalizations about men vs. women are inherently sexist in any case--yes, ladies, many of you are as sexist as the worst of men.  And perhaps even worse is the guilty man--like the author.

Sensible people--both ladies and gentlemen--will ignore this kind of silliness.

Jun 19, 2011 9:17AM
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women are better at every thing, just ask one they will tell you
Jun 15, 2011 7:35PM
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mkh412

 

Sensible men do get chosen by women all the time. I'm a sensible, pragmatic programmer, and I'm happily married. Almost every man I know of in some kind of engineering field is married. The problem is that men who don't behave badly also don't make for very interesting "news" material.

Jun 15, 2011 7:16PM
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Wow! I guess men can be misandrists too! What a self-loathing bastard this guy is! I've definitely noticed msnbc has a tendency to support a "men suck" view point much of the time, but this is just over the top!
Jun 24, 2011 2:22PM
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Just imagine the backlash that  this would cause if the article was flipped saying that men are better than women at just about everything. It wouldn't last 10 min on a site like this, what a shame that sexism can exist in spaces like this. Enough with keeping score of who is better at what.

Jun 15, 2011 12:02PM
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and yet ANOTHER slap at men by MSNBC...I am convinced that MSNBC is run by seething vengeful butch dykes.
Jun 18, 2011 12:19PM
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I sold my stocks more often because my wife needs money all the time for shopping etc, etc, etc. on the other hand women tend to keep their investment longer because few men ask money from them.
Jun 24, 2011 1:33PM
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Let's see. We've always been paid less than men, so we've always had to stretch a dollar. We think with our brains. We don't believe some hot/tight 20 something is after us because they love us. And we don't think that a comb over and a sports car will make us younger.
Jun 18, 2011 5:15PM
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I also checked out the most powerful women on earth, they consider Lady Gaga in 7th while Queen Elizasbeth is 41st and Cristina Fernandez is 68th and she the  freakin president of argentina in 2011. What is wrong with this picture when the head of the British empire and a president are rank way lower that some lesbian feminist such as Lady gaga who is poisoning our young girls into thinking like this mangina David Weidner,
Jun 15, 2011 1:50PM
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The frustrating thing is that the same qualities the author discusses that make men worse performers in many areas than women, are also at the root of why women were attracted to those men to begin with.

 

As the author points out, there have been many male figures in the news recently with stories of screwing up.  At the same time, almost every single one of these men were married or involved with a fairly desirable woman.  Yet, despite the man's potential for scandal, she still chose him.  She did not choose the pragmatic, sensible guy - the one who makes judgements the way a woman would.

 

So women may be better at just about everything, but many successful, attractive women suck at choosing partners.  Smile

Jun 19, 2011 1:49PM
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I love these articles. Who knows if there is any difference between men and women when it comes to investing, but it sure gets everybody's juices flowing, maybe that's the whole point of the article. I guess it beats agueing about politics.
Jun 18, 2011 2:37AM
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If women are better investors, than why do most of the billionaires tend to be men?
Jun 17, 2011 11:50PM
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More brainless feminist drivel from another p-whipped MSNBC lackey.  Where was this so-called study published anyway?  And why does the behavior of six numbnutted politicians reflect on all men?  The fact is that in order to do something stupid, you first have to DO SOMETHING, and, aside from housekeeping and watching Oprah, men DO vastly more than women do.  What microencephalic little girls like Weidner conveniently ignore when they claim that woman are better drivers, gamblers, beer tasters, etc., is that cars, gambling casinos, beer, and virtually everything else on earth were invented and are produced, built, and maintained by men. 
Jun 24, 2011 2:27PM
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This article is very deceitful, and if Mr. Weidner is hoping to get some action by complimenting women (as all men do), then he should at least do it in a way that isn't so obviously biased. While it is true that men take significantly more risks than women when it comes to just about everything, and this is considered a bad thing by people such as lawyers, market analysts, and insurance salesman, it is actually not if you consider what this means in the big picture. Because women take less risks than men, women are less likely to be entrepreneurs, particularly in risky ventures where the risks of losing everything is high, but the potential rewards are also huge. Take Google as an example, it started as a small search engine during the tech boom of the 90s, and is now one of the biggest, and one of the most admired company in the world, and it was started by 2 men who had a vision and were willing to take risks. Facebook is another example of where risks led to innovative design that paid off in spades. It was also created by a man, and a horny college kid at that. The bottom line is that without men who are willing to take risks, we won't have the advancements in technology that allowed us to communicate easier, travel faster, and cure diseases to help us live longer. The number of life-changing innovations created by women are miniscule compared to the amount created by men, even if you limit the scope just to United States and Western Europe in the last 20 years, where women had the access to the same educational opportunities and career options as men. If men were as conservative as women when it comes to risk taking, we would probably still be traveling via horses and reading by candle light.
Jun 24, 2011 2:24PM
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What can we say. We know we have a  weakness for short skirts, small waists, long hair and adventure.

Jun 24, 2011 2:31PM
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I am sick and tired of hearing how women don't make as much as men, so thats why they are better with there money. The reason men are paid more is because women still don't want to share thier money. They want equality, but yet they still expect the man to pay when they go out to dinner. The man is expected to pay for vacations, and to buy his woman all kinds of little trinkets (necklaces, flowers, chocolate,) just because she needs to feel loved.  That being said there are very few women out there that will even date a man that makes less then she does. Because there is still a feeling in America that the man is the bread winner. So with that said it is engrained in a mans head that he needs to spend his money a little more freely. Meanwhile since the man has been spending his money whooing a woman. She has not spent any of hers or very little, she at this time now has extra money,  and says to herself I guess I will put it away for a rainy day.  Weather or not you want to admit it, this is the way society has been told to think. Until women have to start opening there wallets and spend some money on a man with out bitching, or thinking they should get something in return, this is the way it will always be.

Jun 20, 2011 7:37AM
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Rickthelongshanks

 

Hey there

 

Plenty in India, including nuclear scientists, engineers, doctors. Plenty also historically when there was more equal opportunity for education until Britain came and banned women from inheriting, studying, etc. as per norms in Britain.

 

BTW, also some very successful female Mafia types, like Santok behn, the godmother, who controlled ports, etc.

 

Marie Curie, MRS. Erik Erikson, Vandana Shiva, etc. Today, heads of many financial institutions.Many simply don't get the credit.

 

Me, I like men so no issue.

Jun 19, 2011 8:06AM
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Looks to me that the writer is sucking up to his female editor to get some !!lol
Jun 24, 2011 2:11PM
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Hey RickTheLongShanks:  you want to know about famous female physicists or mathematicians?  Well, everyone knows about marie curie (chemist and physicist) but most other female physicists aren't famous DESPITE contributing vast amounts to their field.

 

-Henrietta Levitt - enabled us to calculate intergalactic distances

-Phyllis Frier - discovered that the nuclei of heavier elements are in cosmic radiation

-Renata Kallosh (a mathematical physicist) - predicted the structure of 2-loop divergence in pure gravity

-Sau Lan Wu - discovered a subatomic particle comprised of charm/anticharm quarks that helped lead to the understanding of the fundamental structure of atoms in terms of leptons and quarks.

 

There are many, many more.  The point is, when a female physicist makes a contribution, people don't hear about them.  It doesn't mean they don't exist, or aren't stellar at what they do.  For instance - you know how men supposedly discovered the shape of DNA?  Well to do that, they stole (they didn't give credit to) a female physicists research.  Thats not the only time guys have gotten the credit for what women have done, either.   Not that the men set out to gyp women, they're just... ignored.

 

Ah, I don't entirely agree with this article, either.  Women aren't 'better' investors- they're different.  Depending on your goals, smaller but more reliable returns may be better.  Historically men tend to outperform women on short term gains in stocks (especially things like day trade).  Right now, people could say 'ah I should have invested with a woman all along!' but thats not fair.  It depends on what your short and long term portfolio goals are.

 

To the guys that say 'oh she'sjust spending his money' and idiotic things like that:  please grow up, and grow a pair.  40% of households now have a woman as the main breadwinner.  To the rest of the guys (which are significantly the majority): You're right - this article is sexist, and unfair.  Sorry :-/

Jun 15, 2011 3:35PM
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"and yet ANOTHER slap at men by MSNBC...I am convinced that MSNBC is run by seething vengeful butch dykes."

lol.  That may be true what you said about msnbc(I puke when I have to even glance at their TV station while surfing channels)---though some guy named David wrote the story.
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