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Men still worse at investing than women

Women outpacing men in investing
Ismagilov | Getty Images

Men didn't get any better at investing in 2015, at least compared to their female counterparts.

The median male investor lost 1.8 percent over the last 12 months, including fees and dividends, while women squandered only 1.4 percent, according to a review of 360,000 investors using robo-advisor Sigfig to track their portfolios.

Of course, we're all pretty dismal — the S&P 500 was down 1.1 percent over that same period. So if everyone invested $100,000, the median man threw away $670 more than if he had simply invested in an index fund, and the median woman wasted $270.

In a sense, that's actually better than last year, when the market was up. The median investor last year far underperformed the booming market; the average man investing a hypothetical $100,000 made $8,250 less than the S&P 500 and the average woman made $7,650 less.


This certainly isn't the first time analysts have looked at the gender difference in investing. Researchers noticed the trend two decades ago: Men tend to be overconfident in their trading, and to trade far more often than women.

That's a bad idea for at least two reasons: It wastes money on transaction fees, and it makes it easier to trade in reaction to short-term changes in the market. For example, Sigfig found that traders who reacted to the market correction in August 2015 tended to do worst than those who did nothing.

For those reasons, traders with the highest turnover in their portfolios consistently underperform their more patient peers — in 2015, the median portfolio with 100 percent turnover lost nearly 5 percent, while those with less than 10 percent turnover lost less than 1 percent.

On the bright side, men may have learned a thing or two in the last year; the turnover gap between men and women narrowed very slightly this year compared to 2014.

Men still have a long way to go. The 2015 data suggest that men trade about 30 percent more than women, which isn't much better than the 45 percent researchers found for men trading from 1991 to 1997.

Men and women also tend to pick different stocks to invest in, but it looks like moving investments around too much is the main factor causing the performance gap. According to a Big Crunch analysis, there doesn't seem to be a strong relationship between a female preference for a stock and its price change over the last year. Take a look at that data yourself below:

Ticker
Company
Female pref.
Price change
AA Alcoa Inc. 13.4% -36.0%
AAPL Apple Inc. 7.6% 4.3%
ABBV AbbVie, Inc. 33.2% -11.7%
ABT Abbott Laboratories 22.1% 6.1%
AMZN Amazon.com 8.0% 129.0%
AXP American Express -7.0% -19.9%
BA Boeing Company 6.8% 19.2%
BABA Alibaba Group 14.4% -20.0%
BAC Bank of America -4.0% 6.2%
BIDU Baidu, Inc. 11.8% -9.4%
BMY Bristol-Myers Squibb 1.8% 22.6%
BP BP p.l.c. -17.6% -13.7%
BRK.B Berkshire Hathaway Inc. 5.8% -6.5%
C Citigroup Inc. -2.1% 5.3%
CAT Caterpillar Inc. 6.6% -24.2%
CELG Celgene 4.8% 5.1%
CMCSA Comcast 12.5% 7.1%
COP ConocoPhillips 1.5% -21.9%
COST Costco -3.4% 18.5%
CSCO Cisco Systems, Inc. -2.3% 2.4%
CVS CVS Health 7.7% 5.7%
CVX Chevron -0.5% -8.1%
DD E. I. du Pont de Nemours 14.3% 1.6%
DIS Walt Disney 3.1% 26.2%
DOW Dow Chemical 0.1% 18.8%
DUK Duke Energy 15.9% -13.1%
EMC EMC 2.3% -7.4%
EMR Emerson Electric Co. 9.0% -22.1%
ESRX Express Scripts 24.6% 9.1%
F Ford Motor -5.6% 1.9%
FB Facebook, Inc. Class A 5.0% 43.0%
FCX Freeport-McMoRan, Inc. -6.4% -68.4%
FTR Frontier Comm 19.5% -25.5%
GE General Electric 3.1% 26.5%
GILD Gilead Sciences, Inc. 1.2% 2.9%
GLW Corning Incorporated 25.8% -10.7%
GM General Motors -18.0% 14.4%
GOOG Alphabet Inc. Class C 36.1% 53.4%
GOOGL Alphabet Inc. Class A 30.8% 55.9%
GSK GlaxoSmithKline 5.1% -4.0%
HD Home Depot, Inc. 7.5% 36.9%
HPQ HP Inc. -7.4% -27.6%
IBM IBM Corp 1.5% -8.0%
INTC Intel 7.9% -0.7%
JNJ Johnson & Johnson 13.8% 2.4%
JPM JPMorgan Chase & Co. 41.1% 15.6%
KHC Kraft Heinz 39.6% 24.1%
KMB Kimberly-Clark 11.4% 12.0%
KMI Kinder Morgan Inc 1.5% -58.1%
KO Coca-Cola 4.7% 8.5%
LLY Eli Lilly and Company 18.2% 24.6%
LMT Lockheed Martin 0.3% 17.3%
LUV Southwest Airlines Co. 17.3% 13.2%
MA MasterCard 2.4% 21.1%
MCD McDonald's 20.2% 32.8%
MDLZ Mondelez 14.6% 24.5%
MDT Medtronic Plc -2.6% 10.1%
MMM 3M Company 8.3% -5.7%
MO Altria Group, Inc. -3.8% 19.5%
MRK Merck & Co., Inc. 25.6% -4.9%
MSFT Microsoft -0.8% 24.3%
NFLX Netflix, Inc. 9.3% 171.3%
NKE NIKE -10.4% 40.5%
ORCL Oracle -0.7% -4.2%
PEP PepsiCo, Inc. 9.0% 9.2%
PFE Pfizer Inc. 43.2% 6.2%
PG Procter & Gamble 16.0% -9.4%
PM Philip Morris 4.4% 10.8%
PSX Phillips 66 -1.9% 23.9%
QCOM QUALCOMM 5.0% -31.6%
SBUX Starbucks 7.2% 52.5%
SE Spectra Energy 37.4% -28.3%
SIRI Sirius XM 16.8% 22.8%
SLB Schlumberger NV -14.5% -11.2%
SO Southern Company -3.2% -3.0%
T AT&T Inc. 7.9% 7.0%
TGT Target -10.2% 2.1%
TSLA Tesla Motors, Inc. -11.9% 18.6%
TWTR Twitter, Inc. -19.8% -30.8%
TWX Time Warner 28.9% -18.2%
UA Under Armour -9.7% 25.1%
UNH UnitedHealth Group 1.9% 24.0%
UTX United Technologies 2.1% -16.0%
V Visa Inc. Class A 8.4% 26.1%
VZ Verizon 12.6% 2.2%
WBA Walgreens Boots Alliance 40.9% 17.0%
WFC Wells Fargo -2.3% 5.8%
WFM Whole Foods Market 25.1% -29.7%
WMT Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. 14.7% -27.3%
XOM Exxon Mobil 4.3% -8.4%
YHOO Yahoo! Inc. 10.3% -30.8%
PMCS PMC-Sierra, Inc. 1217.3% 34.1%