Women and Personal Finance: “Too Personal?”


According to recent research by Fidelity Investments, women are playing a more important and more active role than ever in familial and personal financial planning processes. Women have been shown to save money at a better rate than the majority of men, and have historically made choices leading to better long term investment performance than their male counterparts. Nine out of ten women will find themselves in a position of leadership regarding household financial decisions at some point in their lives, and over 80 percent of women surveyed stated that learning more about financial planning was one of their recognized goals for the year ahead.

However, the report notes:

…open conversations about money remain rare. Even among family and friends, eight in 10 women confess they have refrained at some point from talking about their finances with those they are close to. The number one reason given for avoiding these discussions is that the subject is “too personal.” 

In fact, fully 30 percent more women – 74 percent of the total – said they would rather talk to their doctor about a personal health issue than talk to an advisor about their current or future financial plans. Why, then, are personal finance and money management “too personal” to discuss, at a time when women are increasingly in control of their financial futures and those of their families – and armed with the statistics to prove that their money management skills are indeed highly developed?

Women who are not confident in making financial decisions cite these reasons:

  • Haven’t done research about my options (37 percent)
  • Don’t have much experience because I haven’t done much with my finances to date (36 percent)
  • Don’t know who to talk to in order to get the best advice (36 percent)

Evidently, this gap between responsibility/competency and confidence needs to be closed. Women need to find and benefit from greater opportunities to foster engagement, discussion, and learning about personal finance in a positive, motivational environment. The question remains: where do these environments exist, and how can we create them going forward?

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