Women and Investing in 2024: Breaking Down the Barriers

By Pam O’Brien · April 15, 2024 · 9 minute read

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Women and Investing in 2024: Breaking Down the Barriers

Women have more financial power than ever before — 45% of them earn more or as much as their husbands, they currently control more than $10 trillion of the total U.S. household financial assets, and they may control trillions more in the ongoing transfer of wealth between generations. In 2023, women’s purchasing power added billions to the economy — or “she-conomy,” as it was dubbed. Women ages 25 to 54 also made historic gains in the labor market in 2023, and they were primary contributors to its strength, according to research from the Brookings Institution.

Yet there’s one thing many women aren’t doing with all their monetary might: investing. An eye-opening 64% percent of women have never invested, SoFi’s 2024 Women and Finances Survey found. That’s 17% more than the number of men (47%) who have never invested.

This investment gender gap could have serious repercussions for women now and in the future. Investing can be an important tool to help build wealth. The sooner an individual begins investing, the more time their money has the potential to grow. Almost half (48%) of female investors say their biggest regret is not investing sooner, according to another 2024 survey by SoFi. And because women outlive men by about six years, their money needs to last longer.

So why aren’t women investing? And what can be done to reverse this troubling trend? Read on to learn about the obstacles holding women back, and ways they can break through and start investing (literally!) in their future.

Women’s Financial Priorities vs Financial Realities

short-term financial priorities: women vs men

*Priorities for next two-to-three months.

Source: SoFi 2024 Women and Finances Survey

First, let’s be clear: It’s not that women aren’t interested in investing. They are! In fact for 2024, their financial priorities are similar to men’s, per the Women and Finances Survey findings. The desire to save for retirement and invest more money is nearly equal between the two genders.

And when they do invest, women tend to employ longer-term strategies and therefore tend to get better returns.

Where the difference between the two genders comes into play is what men and women are actually doing with their money. In the short-term, women are focused on keeping up with their living expenses, while men are more likely to invest and save for retirement.

Financial Priorities for the Next Year



Keeping up with living expenses 50% 41%
Saving for retirement 44% 42%
Investing more of my money 41% 45%

Source: SoFi 2024 Women and Finances Survey

There are a number of reasons women aren’t investing, no matter how much they might want to.

1. The Confidence Conundrum

For many women, uncertainty about investing, and how good they might be at it, is holding them back. Women worry they don’t know enough about investing to get started. Nor do they feel confident about making investments — 43% say they don’t have the confidence to do it “right.”

Women’s Top Reasons for Not Investing

Lack of funds


Lack of investing knowledge 46%
Lack of confidence to do it “right” 43%

Source: SoFi Survey, March 2024

Even when women do take the plunge and start investing, they still feel unsure of themselves. Only 57% of female investors think of themselves as investors. The rest believe they don’t have the experience to be considered investors.

That may be because women have a very specific view of what an investor is — typically as finance professionals or individuals who are extremely experienced and savvy about the investing process and the stock market.

How Women Describe an Investor:

“A finance bro. Very inaccessible to someone who doesn’t know all the terminology and ins and outs of the stock market.”

“A person who is well-educated and knows the tricks of the trade of investing.”

Source: SoFi 2024 Women and Finances Survey

Women’s lack of confidence extends beyond investing. They also have doubts about how well they’re managing their money overall compared to men.

Confidence in Managing Money



Men 54%

Source: SoFi 2024 Women and Finances Survey

💡 Quick Tip: Did you know that opening a brokerage account typically doesn’t come with any setup costs? Often, the only requirement to open a brokerage account — aside from providing personal details — is making an initial deposit.

2. The Wage Gap Still Exists

Another investment obstacle for women: Having the money to invest. While their financial power has grown, especially in the last few years, women continue to earn less than men do. For every $1 men earn, women earn just 82 cents — and this number has barely budged in 20 years, according to an analysis by the Pew Research Center.


Women’s earnings on the dollar

Men’s earnings on the dollar
2022 $0.82 $1
2002 $0.80 $1

Source: Pew Research Center

It stands to reason that when you’re not earning as much, you may not have extra money to invest. As noted above, in a March 2024 SoFi Survey, 53% of women said they aren’t investing because they don’t have the funds to do so.

How Women Describe an Investor:

“I think of myself and how I’m late to the investing world. I am now as of the last 3 years able to invest because my income exceeds my expenses.”

Source: SoFi 2024 Women and Finances Survey

3. Women Worry About the Future More, But Still Invest Less

Financial worries about the future weigh on women’s minds. For many, achieving their goals feels like a long-shot. For example, 58% of women worry their money won’t last through their retirement.

Yet women are less likely than men to understand how investing now could help them reach those goals, and they don’t invest as much in the stock market and for retirement as men do. For instance, while men invest 28% of their income for retirement, women invest just 19%.

worries about their future: women vs men

Source: SoFi 2024 Women and Finances Survey

4. The Fear Factor

It’s tough to invest money if you’re worried you’re going to lose it, and that’s a very real financial fear women grapple with. Thirty-two percent say the reason they don’t invest is the concern that they’ll lose their money or make a bad investment.

That may explain why women are investing significantly less than men in the stock market — 38% of women have invested less than $2,000, compared to 27% of men. And 25% of men have $50,000 or more invested in the markets vs. 14% of women.

How Women Describe an Investor:

“How women describe an investor: “A unicorn.”

Source: SoFi 2024 Women and Finances Survey

amount invested in the stock market: women vs men

Source: SoFi 2024 Women and Finances Survey

When women do invest, they are typically more conservative in their investment choices, and their portfolios are not as diversified as men’s are.

investment strategy: women vs men

Source: SoFi 2024 Women and Finances Survey

💡 Quick Tip: It’s smart to invest in a range of assets so that you’re not overly reliant on any one company or market to do well. For example, by investing in different sectors you can add diversification to your portfolio, which may help mitigate some risk factors over time.

Closing the Investment Gap

Now for the good news: Women have strengths and innate advantages that can be harnessed to work in their favor. We know that female investors are great investors. For instance, as noted above, women tend to get better returns on their investments as a result of leveraging longer-term strategies.

Plus, the fact that women are more conservative in their investing strategies than men is not necessarily a bad thing. It typically means they are less likely to act impulsively or to exceed their risk tolerance.

The trick is for them to get started with investing. And investing for women begins, of course, with money. Almost half of women say the biggest investment motivator is not wanting to live paycheck to paycheck, which is true of men, as well.

motivations to invest: women vs men

Source: SoFi 2024 Women and Finances Survey

How You Can Start Investing

Tapping into your personal motivation is key. Whether it’s building up your savings, putting together enough money for a house, or building your retirement nest egg, make that your North Star and begin working toward that goal. And remember, it’s never too late (or too early) to start. Here’s how to do it:

Make a plan.

Setting your financial goals can help you determine when you might need the money, which in turn can affect how you invest and what you invest in. This is the foundation of your plan: a goal, a timeline, and your initial questions about which investments are best for your situation.

Get smart.

Understanding how the market works can help women feel more confident about investing. But women can’t do it alone. One of the most important things in your investing journey is finding like-minded people who can have those “let’s figure it out” conversations with you. It’s also an easier way to learn the language around investing, and become familiar with how to buy stocks and other investment options. You can also talk to a financial advisor if you feel it would be helpful. Knowledge is power.

Save more.

Having enough money to invest is a major impediment for women. But know this: No amount is too small to invest. If your employer offers a 401(k), enroll in it and contribute as much as you can. Aim to contribute at least enough to get your employer’s matching contribution, which is, essentially, “free” or extra money. Many investment options will allow you to contribute smaller amounts if you set up an automatic transfer or contribution to the investment account.

Make your first investment.

Open a brokerage account and/or an IRA if you’re saving for retirement choose what to invest in, whether it’s stocks, mutual funds, or exchange-traded funds (ETF).

Commit to the plan.

Once you’ve started investing, keep at it. The more you do it, the more confident and capable you’re likely to feel. And you’ll also have the satisfaction of knowing you’re taking concrete steps to help secure your financial future.

Ready to invest in your goals? It’s easy to get started when you open an investment account with SoFi Invest. You can invest in stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), mutual funds, alternative funds, and more. SoFi doesn’t charge commissions, but other fees apply (full fee disclosure here).

Invest with as little as $5 with a SoFi Active Investing account.

For the SoFi 2024 Women and Finances Survey we surveyed 636 SoFi paid product members across the U.S. A paid product member is anyone with an open account with SoFi. Gender was self-identified through the survey. 314 women, 280 men, 13 gender non-conforming, and 29 preferred not to identify.

For the March 2024 SoFi Survey, we surveyed 1,500 women with a household income of $100K+ and at least some college completed.

Photo credit: iStock/Hiraman

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