As we celebrate Women’s History Month, it is important to look into the ways in which women differ from men in the financial world. Though women have been greatly increasing their stake in global finances in recent years, they still have fewer advantages than men. You may be surprised to learn just how large the gender gap is when it comes to high-power positions, investing, savings, and marital finances.
The fact that only 19% of women are confident they are on track to retire without running out of money, compared to 35% of men, implies a significant gender gap in savings plans. Women are more likely to face financial insecurity in retirement due to various factors such as the gender pay gap, caregiving responsibilities, and longer life expectancies. Women tend to have lower lifetime earnings and savings than men, which makes it challenging to achieve their retirement goals and can lead to a lower quality of life in later years.
This gender gap in retirement savings highlights the need for greater financial education and support for women, including increasing access to retirement savings plans and financial advisors who can help women navigate the complexities of retirement planning. Additionally, policymakers and employers must address the systemic barriers contributing to the gender gap in savings, such as the gender pay gap and lack of paid leave for caregiving responsibilities.
There are nearly twice as many men invested in the stock market than women. This difference could be incredibly costly. Though the cause of this discrepancy cannot be determined with certainty, it is likely rooted in social and cultural norms which discourage women from taking an active role in financial decision-making. Additionally, the lack of representation of women in the financial industry can also create a barrier to entry for women, as they may not see themselves represented in the industry and may not have access to female financial advisors or mentors.
Addressing the gender gap in stock market participation requires a multi-faceted approach which includes increasing financial education for women, addressing systemic barriers limiting women’s financial opportunities, and promoting greater gender diversity in the financial industry. By creating a more inclusive and equitable financial system, we can help ensure all individuals, regardless of gender, have the opportunity to achieve financial security and prosperity.
There’s an investing gap between men and women. And for women who earn six figures, this gap could cost them as much as $1 million over a 30-year period.The disparity in investment behavior may be attributed to differences in financial literacy, risk tolerance, and cultural and societal norms between men and women. Men may be more likely to invest an extra $1,000 due to greater exposure to financial education and encouragement to take financial risks, whereas women may be more risk-averse and may prioritize more conservative investment strategies.
58% of women married to men leave financial planning and investment decisions to their husbands
Every couple is different in their ideas about financial responsibility, but most women leave the long-term planning and investing decisions up to their husbands. When wives are not involved in the financial planning, they could potentially be blindsided by the adverse effects of failed investments or lack of saving by their husbands. Though many relationships are successful under this planning system, it can leave women at a disadvantage by limiting their control over the long-term financial decisions for the marriage.
This statistic has remained around 8% for many years, so the increase is certainly a good sign of the increased power of women in the business world. However, 10% is still a shockingly small number considering the overall contribution of women to the workforce. This underrepresentation of women in top-level positions not only limits their opportunities for professional growth and economic advancement but also reinforces the systemic barriers preventing women from achieving their full potential in the workplace. Additionally, the lack of diverse perspectives in corporate leadership can lead to a lack of understanding of the needs and experiences of women, which can negatively impact company culture, policies, and decision-making.
Moreover, women’s underrepresentation in top corporate positions also contributes to their overall financial power. When women are excluded from the highest echelons of corporate leadership, it can exacerbate gender inequalities in wealth and income, perpetuating a cycle of economic disadvantage for women.
The Bright Side & Next Steps
Thankfully, plenty of progress has been made, and there is more to come. According to Fidelity’s 2021 Women & Investing Study of over 5 million investors in the last 10 years, on average, women outperformed their male counterparts by 40 basis points. The study goes on to share more women are investing than ever before.
Here are a few steps women can take toward financial freedom:
- Seek the advice of a trusted advisor (like Blakely Financial). Investing can be intimidating, but working with an expert is the best way to make sure you’re getting the most out of your money.
- Improve your financial savvy, you can improve your financial savvy by speaking with your financial advisor, referencing trusted online resources, and attending financial webinars.
- Get a clear image of your financial situation, analyze your monthly expenses, and divide them into your needs, wants, and wishes. This will help you identify any extra income you can use towards investing.
- Take advantage of all employer-offered benefits, for example: your employer may offer a 401k match. Make sure you are utilizing every financial opportunity your employer has to offer.
We believe strong representation of women in the financial field can encourage and inspire other women to make the most of their wealth. With an experienced financial advisor, successful women can take full control of their money and build a strong long-term financial plan.