How gender pay gap haunts women even in retirement

Opportunities for Growth, a report that looks at gender gap issues in personal finance from a global perspective, comparing women in the U.S. with the those in other major countries.

The literacy findings are interesting:

Women, like men, want good returns. They want their portfolios to perform. We find, however, that women’s confidence in their financial acumen is a big factor in how they arrive at allocation decisions and how much risk they’re inclined to assume. Women are as financially literate as men: in the US, for example, 35 percent of women and 39 percent of men passed our literacy assessment, with rates similarly close in other countries. But their confidence isn’t commensurate with their acumen, particularly in the US and UK. American women, despite being among the most financially literate women in the world, are 44 percent less likely than American men to consider themselves knowledgeable. In contrast, Chinese women are virtually as confident in their acumen as Chinese men (64 percent versus 71 percent). Low confidence would appear to impede women’s agency: in the US, we find that women donate less to causes important to them than they say they want to.

Women who are working with financial advisers – or want to – should consider working with a “female-friendly adviser,” says Kingsbury. “Some women are hesitant to take on investment risk and this can work against them when saving for retirement. But if you have an adviser you trust, you can learn how to take calculated risks and make investments that will help you reach retirement goals.”

She also thinks financial advisers could be doing better serving female clients.

“I think the industry needs to do a better job talking about finance in a way that is interesting and applicable to different segments of women. For example women who are primary breadwinners may want to discuss how to negotiate their compensation packages, whereas women entrepreneurs maybe interested in tips on accessing capital to fund their businesses.

“What makes the most sense is for advisers to ask their female clients what areas they would like to learn more about then provide that education. It’s time to think outside the box, let go of assumptions about women and money and tailor each engagement to meet their unique needs as a client—the same way you would it should do with all clients.”


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