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-advisorSigfig 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: