The vast majority of American women in a new study by Fidelity Investments said they wanted to learn more about financial planning and get more involved in their finances within the next year.
However, many respondents said they had held back at some point from discussing money matters even with family and friends because the subject was “too personal.”
Reluctance to talk about financial topics occurred between women and their spouses and partners with whom financial assets are generally shared.
The study found that although 77% of women were confident discussing medical issues with their own doctor on their own, only 47% said they were confident talking about money and investments with a financial professional.
“Beneath women’s reticence to talk about money lies a lack of confidence in their knowledge of financial planning and investing,” Kathleen Murphy, Fidelity’s president of personal investing, said in a statement. “This confidence gap is really unwarranted.”
Murphy said studies had shown that women demonstrated stronger saving rates than men and had historically enjoyed better long-term investment performance when they did engage.
“Unfortunately, too many women still hesitate to take control of their investments,” she said.
At some point in their lives, according to Fidelity, the vast majority of women will be the sole financial decision maker of their household. Unless they solidly understand how to manage their money and invest, they could jeopardize their future and put their family’s financial security at risk, especially in the event of an unexpected life event that makes taking control of one’s finances a necessity.
Overall, 60% of women in the survey worried about having enough savings to last throughout retirement, with financial anxiety most prevalent among women born between 1965 and 1996 — Generations X and Y.
Many women’s lack of confidence was driven by a need for more in-depth understanding and experience with the investment process, the survey found.
Thirty-seven percent of women who were not confident in making financial decisions said they had not done research about their options, 36% said they lacked experience because they had not done much with finances to date and another 36% said they did not know whom to talk to for the best advice.