Financial advice – is it a gender thing?

July 14, 2020
(IFA Magazine)

New findings from Fidelity International

Young men are more likely to seek help from a professional adviser to improve their financial and overall wellbeing compared to women of the same age, according to a new report from Fidelity International.

Fidelity’s Unlocking the Power of Financial Advice report found that 21% of men aged between 18 and 34 years old have sought help from a financial adviser, compared to just 12% of women in the same age group.

This is despite a quarter of young women worrying about money on a daily basis (24%), and six in ten (59%) young women worrying about their finances at least once a week.

Most recently women’s finances have been significantly and disproportionately affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, with an estimated 78% of job losses affecting women. However, even before the pandemic women faced significant financial challenges. Indeed, the gender pay gap coupled with a greater likelihood of taking a career break or going part-time to look after family has meant that women face retirement with limited savings.

Fidelity’s first report, The Financial Power of Women report, found that over half (54%) of women were concerned that they would not have enough to live comfortably in retirement. The Pensions Policy Institute also found that women in their 60s will on average retire with £51K of savings compared to men who on average will retire with £156K.

By not engaging with financial advice in their younger years, women risk falling behind their male counterparts early on. Missing this crucial accumulation phase could mean women lose the opportunity to make the most of their financial assets and secure their future wealth.

Fidelity’s Unlocking the Power of Financial Advice examines the role financial advice can play in empowering women financially. This report is the next step in Fidelity’s Women and Money campaign aimed at encouraging women to #GETINvested.

The report’s findings show that when women do take financial advice, the majority find it beneficial; however, many still believe that ‘financial advice is not for them’. The report, therefore, concentrates on the ways in which financial advice could become more accessible to women and in particular, young women.

Jackie Boylan, Head of FundsNetwork for Fidelity International comments: “Our twenties and thirties can be vital years for building up longer term savings as well as hitting financial milestones. Financial advice can help us to think ahead, for both short and long-term goals and navigating any obstacles, and for women this is arguably even more crucial. The gender pension gap is all too real, and now we have a whole generation of women set back even further by Covid-19: job losses, taking on more of the caring responsibilities as well as the domestic burden. Women should feel empowered to seek financial advice from a younger age, but there are too many barriers in the way from cost to a lack of confidence – meaning women are coming to it much later than men.

“Our Women and Money campaign has always been about finding tangible solutions to the obstacles faced by women when it comes to investing. Turning our attention to the role of financial advice seemed a natural step in our campaign journey. As part of the report launch we will be holding our fourth Women and Money Innovation Lab today [Tuesday 14th] bringing together influencers from industry, policy and media to discuss how we can make financial advice more accessible to women. We will then combine the findings from this Lab with the research in the report to build a roadmap for us all to work together to break down the barriers to advice for women.”


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