The latest research by wealth manager Saunderson House shows that when it comes to their finances, women have a much lower sense of financial wellbeing than men. Men and women both chose having mental and physical wellbeing; feeling happy with finances; and having confidence over future financial plans as their top financial wellbeing factors. Yet in all three factors, men feel considerably more able than women to achieve these. Only 37% of women feel happy with the state of their finances and only 30% have clarity and confidence over their future financial plans, compared with 72% and 69% of men respectively.
The research suggests one contributing factor to women feeling less happy with their finances is that currently, men feel they are much better understood by their financial adviser compared to women. When asked how well they thought their financial adviser understood their financial goals and aspirations, men on average gave a score of 7.7/10 whilst women gave a score of only 6/10. Only 25% of women say they sought advice from their financial adviser with regards to their wealth during the pandemic, compared with 64% of men. In addition, 29% of women think having a financial adviser of the same gender is desirable, compared to just 1% of men. Further highlighting a disconnect between advisers and women.
Georgina Fry, Chartered Financial Planner at Saunderson House said: “The last decade has seen a significant rise in the number of female High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs). By 2025, over 60% of UK wealth is expected to be in the hands of women. This is an exciting and important development, and one which the industry must promptly adapt to. The research provides a fascinating insight into how the financial needs and goals of women differ from those of men and the ways in which our industry can better understand and serve HNW women.
“The industry needs to understand the reasons for these barriers. This could include misconceptions based on stereotypes, as well as women’s experience of the advice industry and how advisers, who are currently mostly men, struggle to empathise with their needs.
“Many of these issues could be addressed by the right support from the right financial adviser. The advice industry can determine how best to engage and advise female clients and potential clients, through a more appropriate and tailored service. While the industry needs to address this imbalance, more widely all advisors need to fully understand the needs and aspirations of women.”
The research identifies a number of wellbeing concerns which are specific to women, a key example of which is not having enough time to think about their finances. 53% of women say they would “appreciate more time to feel more in control of my finances” compared to just 14% of men.
A greater number of HNW women rate reaching a point where they don’t need to work purely for the money as important compared to their male counterparts (75% vs 61%) but feel their ability to achieve this as far lower (21% feel able vs. 77% of men). These figures reflect wider concerns, which suggests that the ‘invisible labour’ of familial duties takes a toll on both the general and financial wellbeing of many women.
The Saunderson House research also supports findings from other reports that women are more values orientated, with the vast majority of women (82%) saying that using their wealth “to help me act in line with my personal values and goals” is important to them, compared with 65% of men.
The report is launched in conjunction with the NatWest Everywoman Awards, which celebrates female entrepreneurs from all walks of life, providing a platform for them to share their achievements. Awards include for: A woman who founded her business whilst raising a child/children aged 12 or under; the most inspirational woman running a business trading for 18 months to 3 years/ 3 to 5 years/ 6 to 9 years/ 10 years or more; the most inspirational and successful female founder of a social enterprise who has combined strong community benefit with a sustainable business model, and the female founder of a business that demonstrates great potential for growth.
Emma-Lou Montgomery, associate director at Fidelity International said: “These days women are typically more open about discussing their mental health, gender identity, overall wellbeing and a host of other subjects that were once regarded as taboo topics. However, when it comes to our money and making the most of our savings and investments for the future there are still too many barriers in the way – meaning women are arriving at it much later than men.
“Money impacts every area of our lives and not being able to open up and talk freely about something that we deal with, in some way or another, more or less every day of our adult lives, is something we need to change. Added to this, the impact of the covid-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected women’s finances, with more working in those sectors hit hardest by the national lockdowns. Encouraging women to access free, online resources to help women improve their overall financial wellbeing can help them deal with the obstacles that life throws in the way and ensure you have a solid safety net and are adequately prepared for retirement.
“Ultimately, we need women to feel empowered about addressing their finances from a young age, whether that’s talking to a loved one or a professional.”
Further reading: Fear of investing leaves too many women without a decent pension