Investment Clubs

All-Women vs. All-Men Clubs

Investment Clubs

It's stereotype time. Which gender has traditionally been more cautious in matters financial, more hesitant and nervous about plunging into the world of investing in stocks? You guessed it -- women. Despite this, the number of women investors has been rising rapidly. Consider these results from a 1997 survey commissioned by the Nasdaq stock market and a 1990 New York Stock Exchange survey: Whereas only 37% of investors in 1990 were female, that number had risen to 47% by 1997. 45% of the female investors surveyed said that they're the primary investment decision-makers in their households.

The National Association of Investors Corp. (NAIC) has its own set of interesting statistics. Between 1960 and 1996, the percentage of NAIC member clubs that were all women skyrocketed from 10% to fully 50%. When you consider that some clubs are men-only and others are mixed, this means that the majority of all NAIC member clubs is all women. In fact, three out of four new clubs formed are all women. This speaks volumes. Women are increasingly interested in investing, and are turning to clubs as a way to learn and invest. The NAIC reports that the number one goal of all-women clubs, ahead of turning a profit, is to learn about investing. They may do this out of genuine curiosity and a burning desire to learn -- or because they realize that it's vitally important for them to be able to tend to their own or their family finances. After all, according to a recent Bureau of the Census survey, 75% of the elderly poor in America are women.

Is this depressing you at all? It certainly shouldn't. Consider this last factoid: According to a 1995 NAIC study, all-women clubs have outperformed clubs comprised of all men. How can this be so? Well, (warning: more stereotyping ahead) some speculate that while men are more apt to hear and rashly act on a hot stock tip from an acquaintance, women approach investing much more cautiously, wanting to think things through thoroughly and if possible, discuss decisions with others.

The point we want to make is simply that while many women are often nervous about delving into financial matters, they shouldn't be. And investment clubs are an outstanding way for them to begin learning and doing.

So Fool on, women!