It’s been almost 100 years since women got the right to vote in the U.S., where they now control 51% of the nation’s private wealth, yet they feel less confident managing money and worry more about retirement and market downturns than men.
A study by U.S. Bank of 3,000 women and men across the U.S., split almost equally between the sexes, found that fewer women than men feel financially prepared (23% vs. 34%), consider themselves financially savvy (19% vs. 33%) or feel confident about their ability to manage their finances (47% vs. 61%).
Yet fewer women than men worry about making ends meet (16% vs. 22%) or struggle to pay their bills (12% vs. 19%), which suggests they may be more competent managing their money than they believe. The differences were even more pronounced between men and women under 35: 47% of women were worried about making ends meet compared with 56% of men, and 38% of women reported they struggle to pay their bills versus 53% of men.
The U.S. Bank study was based on an online survey of male and female investors with minimum investable assets of about $25,000, but 65% had investable assets of $100,000 to $1 million. Their ages ranged from under 35 to over 55, and 80% of them were over 35. They were all clients of the bank.
Women have a different relationship to life and to money than men, according to the survey. They value security and well-being more — 46% of women vs. 35% say this is what they enjoy most about money — and are more likely than men to worry about having enough saved for retirement — 49% vs. 32%. A little more than a third of all respondents — 39% of women and 36% of men — said they worried about a major market decline.
“Women are worriers,” says Gunjan Kedia, vice chair of wealth management and investment services at U.S. Bank, who presented the findings of the survey at a luncheon earlier this week.
That’s not surprising given that women live longer than men and get paid less than men, about 80 cents on the dollar, though the gap can be less for women and men doing the same job.
Women and Advisors
Despite those worries and confidence issues, fewer women use financial advisors than men when they are younger than 35 — 72% vs. 83% — but that comparison reverses when they are over 55: 72% use advisors vs. 63% of men, according to the U.S. Bank survey. These percentages are quite high and may reflect the fact that respondents to the survey were limited to the bank’s clients.