Are Swiss women missing out on their chance at happiness?

According to the global Investor Pulse study: there is a clear correlation between well-being and prosperity. Yet when it comes to investing for prosperity, women in Switzerland lag behind men. By André Bantli, Head of Continental Sales for EMEA Retail at BlackRock in Switzerland.

Does money make you happy, or does it at least contribute to your well-being? Intriguing questions, which were the main focus of our current survey for the BlackRock Global Investor Pulse study. (For an overview of the results of the study, click here.) To this end, once a year people of all age and income groups around the globe are questioned about their attitudes towards financial investments. In Switzerland over 1,000 people, between the ages of 25 and 74, took part in the 2019 study – about half of them were women.

Across all Swiss women and men, the study indicates that financial prosperity and well-being are clearly related to one another. More importantly, in my view: whoever invests in a targeted manner feels better than someone who does not invest. The study demonstrates that Swiss women and men who invest their money have an 18 percentage points higher sense of well-being and are 10 percentage points happier than people who do not.

But one thing really surprised me. Women in Switzerland invest much less than men. This could mean that they are missing out on their chance at happiness. After all, they are failing to take advantage of significant opportunities to increase their well-being. Among the so-called millennials, i.e. those who were born between 1980s and 1990s, 51% of the men invest. Among the women the figure is just at 21%. Swiss men actually belong to the top group in Europe, outranking even Great Britain, where in this age group 45% of the respondents invest. Swiss women, on the other hand, lag far behind, not only compared to men, but also compared to the rest of Europe. For example, in Italy, 36% of the women in this age group who were questioned invest their money.

I asked myself, what stops women from investing? According to the study, women’s answers differed very little from those by Swiss men. However, 56% of those questioned stated that they know too little about the subject. Among all those who do not invest 64% believe that they do not have enough money to do so.

What can mankind (womankind) do? Perhaps keep in mind that financial well-being has a lot in common with physical well-being. Both can be developed in small steps. As with physical training, starting with small amounts is the best way to start to provide for one’s financial future.

What should your financial training programme look like? In my experience there are a few things that you should bear in mind with regards to your own investment behaviour. First and foremost: don’t get vexed. “The” right time to start investing does not exist. So don’t procrastinate, act! Additionally, you don’t need a fortune to get started. Invest your money in small steps and then watch how it works for you. Determine what risks you can take and always stay in control. You don’t need to become an expert on this, but it is important to get a basic understanding of how your capital investment works. That is easier than you might think. You can find tips on how you can invest easily here

And perhaps the most important point: don’t hesitate to ask someone who has experience and competence. Those who seek reliable advice find it too. What’s more, in investment matters most people – 51%, according to the study – trust professional advisors. You don’t have any? We have put together some tips on how you can find the right advisor for you – and boost your happiness.

About the Survey: One of the largest global surveys ever conducted, the BlackRock Global Investor Pulse survey interviewed 27,000 respondents, in 13 nations. In North America: the US and Canada; in Europe, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and the UK; In Latin America, Brazil, and Mexico; in Asia, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and Taiwan. The Swiss sample included 1,067 respondents. Respondents were ages 25-74 and either the primary or shared decision maker for savings and investments in the household. No income or asset qualifications were used in selecting the survey's participants. Executed with the support of Kelton Global, an independent research consultancy, the survey took place online from July to August 2018.

André Bantli
Managing Director
Head of Continental Sales for EMEA Retail