Can factors such as gender affect my level of risk-taking in financial investments? : A study on risk-tolerance based on selected demographic factors in Sweden

University essay from Högskolan i Jönköping/IHH, Företagsekonomi; Högskolan i Jönköping/IHH, Företagsekonomi

Abstract: Background: The traditional neoclassical model of finance has assumed that all individuals act rationally and that they update their beliefs according to the information they have obtained to maximise their utility. This concept has been challenged by behavioural finance which has over the past decades become a new approach to better understand certain behaviours. Behavioural finance is a broad area which can be divided into different areas. One of them is investor behaviour, which will be the focus of this thesis. Research has shown that investors do not act rationally when deciding how much risk to take when considering an investment. Instead, it has been found that there are other factors that influence risk-taking in an investment, for instance gender, income, marital status and age. Purpose: The purpose of this thesis is to better understand if a selected group of demographic factors can affect the risk attitude investors in Sweden have with regard to their investments and to determine how well these factors explain the level of risk. The chosen demographic factors are gender, age, marital status and income. Method: This study is conducted using a deductive approach and employing a quantitative research method. A multinomial logistic regression was performed in the statistical program R. The data used is secondary data collected from financial counselling meetings of 111,265 clients during the period of 2018-01-03 to 2019-04-04. It is gathered from one of Sweden’s largest bank who measures customers’ risk tolerance by using a risk assessment tool that categorises risk tolerance into five levels where one is the lowest and five is the highest. Conclusion: Statistically significant results confirm that that the selected demographic factors have an effect on the risk level an investor takes. Males have higher risk tolerance than women, the older an individual is, the less risk the person wants to take, married people have higher risk tolerance than those that are not, and risk tolerance increases slightly with income.

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