Women around the world are more concerned than men are about immediate financial needs and concerns, and they are more likely than men to overlook longer-term financial priorities such as planning effectively for their retirement.

The BlackRock Global Investor Pulse Survey finds that women are more likely than men to emphasize strengthening day-to-day financial security via saving and debt reduction. When asked what they would do if they earned an extra $200 (or the equivalent) more per month, women globally were more inclined than men to say they would save more generally (45% verus 38%) and pay off debt (28% versus 23%)—as well as spend more on their children (15% versus 11%).

At the same time, in most parts of the world, women (52%) are less likely than men (59%) to say they have begun to save for retirement.

Worldwide, women are significantly more likely than men to choose a negative word (such as nervous, pessimistic, frustrated and concerned) to describe their financial future (52% versus 43%).

“The research we’ve conducted with investors indicates that women’s more cautious stance yields healthy financial priorities, including urgency regarding saving and paying off debt,” said Anne Ackerley, BlackRock’s chief marketing officer and co-chair of the company’s women’s initiative network. “At the same time, a confidence differential suggests that women still lack a sense of financial empowerment in certain key areas.”

Around the world, women’s financial conservatism is apparent in a far more cautious stance with their money as well as a wary stance toward risk.

More than half (55%) of women globally (compared with 47% of men) agree that “I am not willing to take any risks with my money.” This gap widens further in Canada with 61% of Canadian women citing they are not willing to take on risks (versus 41% of Canadian men). Just 22% of women globally (compared with 34% of men) say they are willing to take on higher risks to achieve higher rewards.

Only 21% of women worldwide (19% for Canadian women) say they are comfortable investing in the stock market (compared with 33% of men; 37% for Canadian men).

Some other Canadian findings include:

  • Despite coming ahead when asked how seriously Canadian women take their finances (65%) compared to men (64%), a risk-adverse attitude is keeping them on the sidelines
  • While women do take an engaged approach to managing their every-day finances, they lag behind men when it comes to actively investing in the markets. Only 30% of women said they considered themselves to be active investors, compared to men (37%)
  • Similarly, only 7% of Canadian women allocate take-home income to investing, compared to men who almost double the amount (12%).

The poll also shows that women view threats to household financial maintenance and sustainability more seriously than men do.

When asked to pick top threats to their financial futures, women are more inclined than men to name job security (31% versus 25%) and having to spend more than they earned (35% versus 27%).

Consistent with such concerns, women are more likely than men to cite the following as priorities: paying off the mortgage on their main home (30% of women versus 26% of men), paying off other debts (49% versus 42%), saving a deposit for a new home (15% versus 11%) and financing their children’s education (21% versus 18%).

“Globally, women’s financial world view is differentiated not only by specific priorities and concerns but also by generally lower financial confidence levels,” said Ackerley. Only 15% of women globally (compared with 20% of men) say they feel “completely confident” about making the right savings and investment decisions.

More than 17,500 respondents in 12 countries, including 1,000 in Canada, took part in the survey.

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Copyright © 2020 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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