Women not embracing financial capabilities of smartphones and tablets. Yet.
A new Millionaire Corner survey of retirement plan participants finds telling differences between how men and women use mobile technology and social media. Women have not embraced as have men smartphones and tablets as financial research and informational tools. This seemingly contradicts many studies that find that women are more inclined to conduct research to compensate for their self-perceived lack of confidence in their financial knowledge or investment ability.
Our survey of 1,977 individuals currently contributing to a 401(k) or similar defined contribution plan finds, for example, that men, who generally express more confidence in their investment knowledge and acumen, are slightly more present than women on the professional networking site, LinkedIn. Women, who tend to be more sociable, are considerably more likely to be active than men on Facebook and Pinterest. Almost half of women surveyed (44 percent) said they would be interested in financial advice and informational links through LinkedIn, but they do not presently use it for that purpose.
Nearly one-third of women (32 percent) vs. 21 percent of men, check their Facebook account 2-5 times a day, while 12 percent log on 5-10 times a day compared with 7 percent of men. Almost one-quarter of men (24 percent) check their Facebook account multiple times during the week but not daily, compared to 20 percent of women.
Nearly one-third of women (31 percent) describe themselves as fully engaged on Facebook, meaning they observe, share, comment and communicate with others. Twenty-one percent of men describe themselves as such. Women are more likely (62 percent vs. 57 percent) to occasionally share information with others on Facebook.
Women, as with younger participants, are quicker than men to embrace social media as a communication tool over traditional channels such as the telephone (25 percent vs. 19 percent of men). They are also more likely than men to rely on social media rather than the newspaper or television for information (19 percent vs. 13 percent).
Surprisingly, they are not inclined to use increasingly sophisticated mobile technology for financial activities nor as a tool for research. Nearly two-thirds of men (64 percent) vs. 45 percent of women would use their tablet to accent their personal account information. One-third of men vs. 26 percent have interest in using their tablet to get advice from financial experts. Forty-two percent of men would use it to access articles and research on financial topics and products compared with 27 percent of women.
Likewise, almost half of men (45 percent) said they would use their tablet for financial goal planning or analysis on their tablets vs. 34 percent of women.
Gender is not a significant factor in Twitter use. Over four-in-ten men and women report using Twitter for observation only, while 42 percent of both men and women say they occasionally share information with others. Only 17 percent of women vs. 15 percent of men describe themselves as active participants on Twitter, but 40 percent (vs. 32 percent of men) are not interested in using it to get financial advice and information through links posted on Twitter, an indication of the perception of Twitter as a more informal communication tool.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.