Across generations, women have trailed men in financial knowledge — but the gap may be closing, according to a multi-year study by the FINRA Investor Education Foundation.
The study examines financial and investor literacy scores across generations of boomers, Gen Xers and millennials by looking at the average number of correct answers on a basic five-question financial literacy quiz broken out by gender and generation at three points in time — 2009, 2012 and 2015.
In 2015, the gap in financial literacy between boomer men and women was 19%, and for Gen Xers 18%, according to the study. But for millennials, it was only 10%.
The gender gap for boomers and Gen Xers did not change from 2009 to 2015, but the gap for millennials narrowed, the study finds.
In 2009, the financial literacy score of millennial men was 0.60 higher than the score for women. In 2012, the gap narrowed to 0.40, and in 2015, it dropped further to 0.26.
“It is encouraging that the gap in financial literacy and self-assessed financial knowledge appears to be narrowing for millennials — a trend that bodes well for women in the future,” said FINRA Foundation President Gerri Walsh in a statement.
What could explain the gender gap in financial literacy and the narrowing of the gap for millennials?
According to Walsh, “while a number of factors might influence these changes, access to financial education could be making a difference as men and women with higher financial literacy scores reported participating in financial education in high school, college or the workplace.”