TD Waterhouse recently released the results of an online survey on women and investing. The 11th annual TD Waterhouse Women Investor Poll surveyed 1,000 Canadian women aged 45 to 64 who share responsibility for household financial planning. Of the women surveyed, 43% said they have sole responsibility for household financial planning, while 57% said they share the responsibility with someone else. The survey results were collected in September 2011. [Money Psychology: Women vs. Men]

The questions asked explored many aspects of investing and financial planning, including:

  • the importance of having a financial plan,
  • how much money you need to start investing,
  • who women turn to for help with investment decisions, and
  • women’s unique investing needs and priorities.

The survey found that Canadian women have some key misconceptions that affect the way they invest.

For example, it found that many women don’t believe they need a financial plan unless they’re in debt or close to retirement. Of those surveyed, only 3 in 10 (31%) Canadian women said they have a financial plan. Patricia Lovett-Reed, Senior Vice President with TD Waterhouse, believes everyone can benefit from a financial plan. Having a solid plan is what allows investors to establish their long-term financial goals and figure out what needs to be done to reach those goals.

In addition, 45% percent of the women surveyed believe you need to have a substantial amount of money before you can begin investing. This is another misconception, says TD Waterhouse. Sandy Cimoroni, Senior Vice President with TD Mutual Funds, says you don’t need much to get started. Lovett-Reed suggests setting regular automatic deposits, no matter how large or small, and watching your money grow over time. [6 Investing Myths]

The survey also asked where Canadian women turn for help with investment decisions. The results show that most turn to professionals, with 42% looking to a professional financial planner or advisor and 37% looking to their bank branch. Far fewer turn to family members (25%), financial websites and blogs (15%) and financial newspapers and magazines (13%) for advice.

And when it comes to working with a financial advisor, almost half (48%) of Canadian women recognize that you don’t need to be an expert to work with an advisor. Although it helps to understand financial markets and the way they work, the women surveyed seem to realize that is ultimately the advisor’s role to provide the advice, education and updates they need to understand the markets.

Finally, the survey found that Canadian women have different investment considerations than men, and this can affect the way they approach investing and working with an adviosr. Just over half (53%) of the women surveyed agreed that there are differences in the way women approach investing and working with an advisor. [Women Are Better At Managing Investments]

These unique considerations range from living longer to taking time off work to care for children or aging parents. All of these things affect a woman’s short- and long-term financial goals, which, in turn, affect the way she approaches financial planning and investing.

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Visit the TD Waterhouse media room for more information on the TD Waterhouse Women Investor Poll.