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This study tests the importance of socio-demographic and psychological variables for investor intentions, including risk tolerance, time horizon, and estate intentions. Overall, hope is the psychological variable most consistently related to the dependent variables of risk tolerance, time horizon, and estate intentions. Age, household income, investment experience, and work experience pale in comparison with the psychological variables of hope and openness to new experience, both of which are positively associated with the dependent variables. Pro-social attitudes are also important as a moderating variable. The most interesting findings are that women with higher levels of education have higher levels of risk tolerance, whereas men with higher levels of education have lower levels of risk tolerance, findings contrary to previous research showing education to be positively associated with risk tolerance, and males to be more risk tolerant than females. Old stereotypes regarding gender preferences need to be re-examined. Much of the existing literature is based on findings from decades past, when sex roles were more differentiated, same sex marriage was illegal, and women’s career opportunities were more constrained. As Pan and Statman (2012; 2013) suggest, circumstances such as changing family patterns can affect investor preferences and behaviors. This study also demonstrates that positive psychology emotions such as hope or confidence in the future may serve to inoculate investors from panic selling or lessen the likelihood of excessive trading. Consequently, in a crisis investors with attitudes associated with positive psychology may be less prone to wealth-destroying behavior such as “going to cash.” Conversely, investors low in such attitudes are more likely to engage in such behaviors.


Education; Financial advisors; Gender; Hope; Investor preference; Positive psychology; Risk tolerance; Time horizon

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