Women’s investment decision-making

Personal Finance February 07, 2017 Print Friendly and PDF


Loibl, C., Lee, J., Mentel-Gaeta, E., Fox. J. (2007). Women's high-consequence decision making: A nonstatic and complex choice process. Financial Counseling and Planning, 18(2), 35-47.

Brief Description: Using qualitative data from a focus group of female investors, this study examined choice processes used when making mutual fund decisions in employer retirement plans. It found that investment decision-making is a compromise between the goals of increased accuracy and a desire to limit cognitive effort. Observations included a lack of investment information and reliance on simplified decision-making methods and guidance from others. The decision-making process was often experienced as conflict-laden and stressful.

Implications: There is a need for women (and men) to be educated on the dangers of relying on heuristics (mental shortcuts), such as making investment decisions based on the most recent performance of a mutual fund. In addition, information about mutual funds needs to be presented in a less complex manner. There was an observed tendency among those interviewed to "look for an easy way out" during their search process.

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.