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Majority of Canadian women investors are the financial decision-makers in their households: CIBC Poll

 Yet only half of women say they feel confident or knowledgeable about investing

TORONTO, March 10, 2017 /CNW/ - CIBC (TSX: CM) (NYSE: CM) -- Among Canadian women who hold investments, almost all (92 per cent) say they are either the primary or joint financial decision-makers in their households, yet only half feel confident or knowledgeable about their investing abilities, finds a new CIBC poll.

"Women are leaning in and making major decisions on wealth and financial planning for themselves and their family," says Sarah Widmeyer, Managing Director and Head of Wealth Strategies, CIBC. "However, our poll findings clearly show there is more work to be done to help women build confidence. A conversation only about investment returns isn't enough for most women. They want to know how an investment strategy will help them achieve their goals."

Key poll findings:

  • 92 per cent of Canadian women with investment portfolios are the primary or equal decision-maker responsible for their household's investment decisions, including:
    • 46 per cent who say they're the main decision-maker; and,
    • 46 per cent who share the responsibility equally with a spouse, parent or adult-child
  • 7 per cent defer responsibility to someone else, such as a spouse, partner, parent or adult-child
  • Only half feel confident (54 per cent) or knowledgeable (49 per cent) about investing
  • 29 is the average age when women start to invest
  • 73 per cent do not talk about investing regularly with their friends and family

Closing the Confidence Gap

The poll findings show that women tend to be conservative investors, unwilling to take on higher risk to achieve the possibility of greater investment returns. When thinking about their investment portfolio, they identified "safety" as being very important to them (72 per cent), then "growth" (58 per cent), and "liquidity" (33 per cent).

Women with a retirement portfolio currently invest their retirement savings primarily in guaranteed and savings products (48 per cent), stocks including mutual funds (37 per cent), and bonds including mutual funds (14 per cent). Moreover, thinking about their future investment plans, more women plan to invest in guaranteed and savings products (55 per cent) over stocks (29 per cent) and bonds (17 per cent).

"Women tend to view wealth in terms of security rather than opportunity," says Ms. Widmeyer. "That can be an issue if you're saving for a long-term goal like retirement. It's not the investments so much as what it is you're investing for that matters. My advice is to work with your financial advisor to figure out your financial objectives -- whether it's paying for a child's education, buying a house, helping a parent, or trekking the globe in retirement – and learn how investment strategies can ladder up to meet your specific goals." 

The poll also found that 70 per cent of women say volatility in the stock market makes them nervous about investing and 69 per cent prefer socially responsible investments.

Millennials confused about investing

Millennial women (aged 18-34) are nearly twice as likely to manage their investments themselves, through an online or discount broker, and more apt to seek advice from friends and family than Generation X (aged 35-54) and Boomers (aged 55+). Still, the vast majority of millennials (76 per cent) admit they find "investing confusing."

"It's encouraging to see younger women taking charge of their investments and openly discussing and seeking advice," says Ms. Widmeyer. "This is an enormous win for women, but it's clear that more work is needed to build confidence."

"When you look past the market noise, volatility and jargon, investing is quite simple. Asking questions and having conversations can help you match your goals with the appropriate investing strategy."

Celebrating a trail blazed for women in finance

CIBC has a long history of helping women build their investment knowledge and confidence. The late Helen Cleveland, a CIBC Wood Gundy Investment Advisor, blazed the trail for women in capital markets in the 1920s. She opened the first-ever "Women's Department" at Wood Gundy in 1927 focused on female clients and staffed entirely by women. She dedicated her life to educating women about finance and investments and after World War II ran a series of well-attended lectures – the first of its kind in Canada -- entitled "This Business of Investing." "We want women to learn their way around investing," Ms. Cleveland said. To learn more about CIBC's 150-year history, download the CIBC150 App and discover new stories every week.

Six steps to closing the confidence gap:

  1. Educate yourself
  2. Keep cool when investing
  3. Set clear financial goals
  4. Create an investment plan
  5. Diversify your portfolio
  6. Talk to a financial expert or advisor


    Amount of responsibility Canadian women investors have for financial decision-making, including investing decisions for their household:

    The main responsibility

    46 %

    Equal responsibility with someone else

    46 %

    Someone else has the main responsibility (e.g. spouse, partner, parent, adult-child)

    7 %

    Canadian women investors who strongly agree or agree somewhat with the following statements:

    Volatility in the stock market makes me a nervous investor

    70 %

    I find investing confusing

    65 %

    I feel confident making investment decisions

    54 %

    I am knowledgeable about investing

    49 %

    I talk about investing regularly with friends and family

    27 %

    Canadian women investors with a retirement portfolio invest primarily in:

    GICs, Savings Accounts, or other guaranteed investments

    48 %

    Stocks, including mutual funds holding stocks

    37 %

    Bonds, including mutual funds holding bonds

    14 %

    Looking to future investment plans, Canadian women investors plan to invest primarily in:

    GICs, Savings Accounts, or other guaranteed investments

    55 %

    Stocks, including mutual funds holding stocks

    29 %

    Bonds, including mutual funds holding bonds

    17 %

    By age, Canadian women who have an investment portfolio:




    Have investments that they manage themselves through a discount brokerage

    46 %

    29 %

    19 %

    Have investments that are managed by another person or firm such as a financial planner or advisor

    54 %

    71 %

    81 %

    CIBC Women Investors Poll Disclaimer:
    From February 10 to 17, 2017 an online survey was conducted among 1,010 Canadian women 18 years old or over who own investments. All respondents are Angus Reid Forum panelists. The sample outgo was balanced on age, region and education to Census Canada. For comparison purposes, a probability sample of this size has a margin of error of +/- 3.1%, 19 times out of 20.

    About CIBC
    CIBC is a leading Canadian-based global financial institution with 11 million personal banking and business clients. Through our three major business units - Retail and Business Banking, Wealth Management and Capital Markets - CIBC offers a full range of products and services through its comprehensive electronic banking network, branches and offices across Canada with offices in the United States and around the world. Ongoing news releases and more information about CIBC can be found at or by following on Twitter @CIBC, Facebook ( and Instagram @CIBCNow.

    SOURCE CIBC - Consumer Research and Advice

For further information: Caroline Van Hasselt, Director, Public Relations, 416-784-6699 or