By Heather Long
PHILADELPHIA (CNN) — Have you seen the statue of the “fearless girl” facing the Wall Street bull?
State Street Global Advisors put up the statue to mark International Women’s Day and it’s getting a lot of attention.
Here’s one more reason to sit up and take notice: Women are better investors than men, according to a growing body of evidence.
The big investment firm Fidelity says that female investors outperformed males last year by 0.3%. In fact, Fidelity found that females outdid men in the past decade.
Data from Openfolio, an investment tracking app, also found the same trend. Women have topped men every year for the past three years since Openfolio began tracking results.
“Women are doing better than men and with a lot less risk,” says Kathy Murphy, president of personal investing at Fidelity.
Men have a bad tendency to buy and sell stocks too often. Very few people have mastered the art of timing the market. So too much trading eats into the guys’ returns.
2017: The year of ‘financial feminism’
Terrance Odean, a professor at Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, who has spent his career studying investor trends, found that men traded 45% more than women in the 1990s. He blamed it on male overconfidence.
Women, in contrast, tend to be “buy and hold” investors. It’s exactly the advice famous money gurus like Warren Buffett and Jack Bogle give people: Put your money into cheap index funds and then don’t touch it for years — or decades.
“Women have long-term goals, and they stick with the plan,” says Murphy. They focus on saving and investing for retirement or a kid’s college fund, not on outsmarting the market.
But here’s where women still mess up: They tend to be great savers, but they are often fearful of the stock market. They lack confidence about investing, despite a growing body of evidence that women are gifted at it.
Former Wall Street power woman Sallie Krawcheck is on a mission to empower women to be financially savvy. She’s declared 2017 the “year of financial feminism.”
“We women will not be fully equal with men until we are financially equal with men,” Krawcheck told CNN’s Maggie Lake at the New York Stock Exchange.
Krawcheck recently launched Ellevest, a financial firm geared entirely toward women. Ellevest’s tagline is “Invest like a woman, because money is power.”
Why women can’t rely on men to handle money
Nearly 90% of women are going to have to take sole control over their finances at some point in their lives, notes Kate Warne an investment strategist at Edward Jones. Women are getting married later, divorcing more and frequently outliving their spouses. They can’t rely on men to handle the money.
“Whether you’re afraid or not, investing is something you need to learn how to do,” says Warne.
She started reading investment advice books after college when she landed her first job. She realized she liked it so much, she changed careers and became an investment adviser.
Women don’t beat men by a huge amount — Openfolio found women outperformed men by about 0.2% last year — but that’s still a “win,” and can really add up over time if women keep their money in the market for decades.
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