Gender Differences in Risk Aversion and Expected Retirement Benefits

Posted: 2 Aug 2007

See all articles by John Watson

John Watson

The University of Western Australia

Mark McNaughton



Women are generally considered more risk averse than men. Controlling for age, income, and education, this study examined the impact of gender on the superannuation (retirement) fund risk preferences of staff in the Australian university sector. The findings suggest that women choose more conservative investment strategies than men and that lower income (which affects the amount members contribute to their superannuation funds) is the primary contributor to the lower projected retirement benefits of women. Providing members with a choice among risk levels in their retirement investments should significantly benefit male and female retirees.

Keywords: Private Wealth Management: Asset Allocation, Client Objectives, Constraints, and Behavior

Suggested Citation

Watson, John and McNaughton, Mark, Gender Differences in Risk Aversion and Expected Retirement Benefits. Financial Analysts Journal, Vol. 63, No. 4, pp. 52-62, July/August 2007, Available at SSRN:

John Watson (Contact Author)

The University of Western Australia ( email )

35 Stirling Highway
Crawley, Western Australia 6009

Mark McNaughton


Level 11, 37 St Georges Terrace
Perth 6000

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