Understanding the Confidence Gap in Women’s Financial Outlooks

Broadly speaking, there’s a variety of encouraging signs when it comes to women and finances. However, there’s still work to be done and that includes closing some gaps, income and otherwise.

Some of those gaps stem from confidence and emotions and that is not to say that women are emotional than men. To the credit of women and their finances, it appears as though they’re more self-aware than their male counterparts and they recognize that in some cases, their confidence is lacking. Importantly, they’re inclined to take steps, including working with advisors, to improve that scenario.

A point to keep in mind that financial confidence woes aren’t uniform from client-to-client. That said, there are some areas advisors can focus on when it comes to boosting empowerment among female clients and these issues often affect a broad swath of women.

Where Women Want Financial Help

New York Life’s Wealth Watch survey has some interesting findings relating to women and money and advisors should take the time to consider what’s found in the study.

“The survey found that women report feeling the most knowledgeable about paying bills, maintaining good credit, and saving for emergencies. However, they report feeling significantly less knowledgeable than their male counterparts about building wealth, creating investment portfolios, understanding protection products like insurance, and legacy planning,” according to New York Life.

That’s good news for advisors. Let’s be honest. Most advisors don’t view themselves as budget builders or credit counselors and while offering search services is a nice add-on, it’s not the meat and potatoes of the business. Constructing portfolios, helping clients build wealth and estate planning are and it appears those are the subjects, among others, that female clients want help with.

New York Life also points out that while 48% of women polled are active in paying a household’s monthly bills and budgeting, a slightly lower percentage are active in choosing investments. Their husbands tend to that, but “4-in-10 married women (43%) wish they had a larger role in making the financial decisions for their household.”

Where Gaps Persist for Women

There are more compelling points for advisors to ponder. For example, New York Life notes that just 42% of women polled say they’ve had the opportunity to gain exposure to quality financial education compared to 53% of men that feel the same way. That’s just one example of why advisors should up the focus on women.

“Women report wanting more information, with 8-in-10 women (82%) saying they wish they knew more about at least one financial topic,” adds New York Life. “When it comes to trusted sources for financial guidance, women are looking towards financial advisors/planners (29%), spouses or partners (25%), financial institutions (e.g., banks or credit unions) (21%), and family/friends (20%) as their top sources.”

That confirms women want to work with advisors as does the fact that 54% of those surveyed by New York Life want help with wealth building strategies and retirement planning and savings.

Related: The Crucial Role of Women in the Great Wealth Transfer