Darling, I love you, but not your investments

By Vikram Barhat | February 14, 2011 | Last updated on February 14, 2011
2 min read

Love is not just looking at each other, it’s looking in the same direction, goes the adage. But when it comes to money, Canadian men and women are neither seeing eye-to-eye, nor looking in the same direction.

A recent RBC poll, aptly titled He Says, She Says, exposed the considerable gap between the sexes in how they save and invest their money, particularly what they invest in and how much money they invest.

Men, the survey found, are more concerned about socking away money for retirement, while women are saving for daily needs.

“What we’re seeing in our research is that women are placing more emphasis on taking care of daily needs–often the needs of others–rather than focusing on their long-term needs,” says Lee Anne Davies, head of retirement strategies, RBC.

“This makes it all the more important for women to get advice about the options available to help them build their savings and enable them to have the lifestyle they want when they retire,” she explains. “This involves so much more than just a dollar figure and a financial planner can help them explore their goals and set a realistic plan of action.”

The study, which included a national sample of 1,457 adults, revealed men (44%) were more likely than women (33%) to put money toward retirement savings and building an investment portfolio (23% men and 16% women). Women (79%), on the other hand, were slightly more focused than men (73%) on balancing saving for immediate priorities rather than saving for the longer term or their retirement.

Across Canada, almost one-third (31%) of women have not started saving for their retirement, compared to one-fifth of men (21%).

Women tend to be more conservative in their approach to saving for the future, with a stronger focus on investments that provide steadier returns. “This is why we see the amount of money women say they need for retirement remaining steady,” says Davies. “The amount of money men say they need in retirement, on the other hand, changes as their investment returns change.”

The poll also pointed out a striking disparity between what men and women plan to invest in within their RRSPs.

Mutual funds provide the rare common like as the top choice for both sexes. The similarity, however, ends there. While 46% of men hold mutual funds, only 38% of women do. Further, 22% women admitted that they didn’t know what investments they hold in their RRSPs, or that their advisor handles these investments for them, as opposed to 15% men.

While stocks remain the third most favoured type of investment for men (23%), they drop to the sixth spot on a similar list for women (14%). Savings accounts rank third for women (23%), for men (19%) they slip to fourth.

Vikram Barhat