Money Talk, Statistics, & The Alienation of Women
It’s been documented by several studies that the female brain is physically different from the male brain, and that these differences can lead to varied behaviors and abilities. For instance, the female brain is apparently more inclined toward empathy and visual responses. Whether this is a difference in our brains, or just cultural evolution based on duties like child rearing, is unclear.
It does appear that women in general are less inclined toward learning from statistics (not to be confused with our abilities in math) and more inclined toward stories with context and a lesson to be learned. Statistics are sound bites, used for an understanding of status and comparison, and valued more by the male brain. Women do value and use calculations, benchmarks, or data but not anywhere near the extent that men do.
Male Language in Football and the Stock Market
Football and the stock market are two concrete examples of statistic overload. Our sports are full of commentators spouting statistics, quite often just to fill dead air. Trevor Noah, a world-renowned comedian expresses this very well in the first minute of his YouTube video “Trevor Noah on Sports in America”. He jokes how our country talks about the game before the game, during the game, and then talks about the game after the game, injecting every statistic known to man during these conversations.
This behavior is also played out similarly with the stock market every single day. Data is presented before the opening bell, there are interviews and commentators during the day talking about market performance, and there are commentators and pundits’ reflecting on the market after it closes.
Commentary includes what stocks performed or didn’t, the reasons why, and speculating on which might perform the next day. To what end? Day traders may want to use this information to feel like they’re getting an edge, but for everyone else this money talk often pretty useless. One day’s performance in the market is usually irrelevant. And stock movement cannot be predicted.
Statistics Need to be Useful
This constant flow of market statistics and constant chatter can be intimidating to the average investor or non-investor. And it can be particularly alienating to women who just aren’t enamored with statistics the way men are. This is one reason why women don’t migrate to investing the way men have – the industry speaks a foreign language.
Ignore the Sizzle. Go for the Steak.
My advice to women – ignore the TV commentators. Read newsletters with cynicism unless they present only objective information and do not promote their own products. Most of these people haven’t outperformed the market in any way, so why listen to them? They’re talking to themselves, trying to build their own brand image. Its information clutter at its best with no useful guidance.
There are so many financial products out there that even for those of us who have grown up in the finance industry, it is mind boggling! And it’s easy to weed out all of the irrelevant information too! It starts by defining your personal goals, and balancing your risk comfort level with the true purpose for your money.
Holding a diversified portfolio of financial products such as stocks and bonds, and revising it occasionally has proven to yield better results for investors. Just ask Warren Buffet – who apparently invests like a girl.
Information shown is for illustrative purposes only and is not intended as investment, legal or tax planning advice. Please consult a financial adviser, attorney or tax specialist for advice specific to your financial situation. Behavioral Cents, LLC and any third parties listed, linked to or otherwise appearing in this message are separate and unaffiliated and are not responsible for each other’s products, services or policies.
Carrie Rattle is a North American money behavior specialist and veteran financial executive, with multi-country experience in banking, brokerage and credit card practices. During her career, Carrie witnessed heart-breaking events where women had their freedom restricted, got into heavy debt, or had to commit fraud to get out of a terrible situation. Lacking the funds to have choices and independence destroyed their lives.
Carrie built Behavioral Cents to help women write happy endings to their money stories. Financial knowledge is a start but does not always guarantee success. Understanding individual money beliefs and nurturing behavior change provides a more powerful path to truly help people align their money with their life’s dreams. Learn more at http://www.behavioralcents.com/