When it comes to handling money, women do better than men.
Women outperformed men in generating a better return on their investments, according to a recent report by Fidelity, based on an analysis of more than 8 million clients. Despite that, less than 10 percent of women believed they would fare better than their male counterparts in money management, Fidelity said.
Fidelity Investments' client data showed women earned 0.4 percent higher returns and saved a higher percentage of their paychecks at every salary level. Women saved 9 percent of their paychecks a year, on average, compared to the 8.6 percent saved by men.
For those who start early, the higher savings rate coupled with higher returns will compound over time, potentially resulting in a significant difference between the genders, Fidelity said.
Although women are the ones signing up for 401(k) plans at work and saving a larger piece of their salaries, they have lower retirement account balances, on average, because they generally earn less than men overall, according to a separate report by the Vanguard Center for Retirement Research.
Across the board, women also played it safe, the Fidelity study found. Women tend to hold a more long-term, conservative view with their investments; fewer women were fully invested in equities. By comparison, men were 35 percent more likely to make stock trades.
"The reality is that saving alone is not enough to even keep pace with inflation, so if you're not investing, you're likely losing money," Kathleen Murphy, president of personal investing at Fidelity, said in a statement.
"Taking the next step to ensure that savings are invested properly and generating growth is critical to helping women progress toward their financial goals."