Survey: Women Want To Close The Financial Literacy Gap

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May 16 2024, Published 8:00 a.m. ET

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A new New York Life Wealth Watch survey shows women are confident managing their short-term finances, but want to learn more about long-term financial strategies, as they seek to close the wealth gap.

When it comes to financial confidence and knowledge gaps between men and women, the report showed confidence is the top emotion that men report feeling toward managing their household finances (45%), while stress is the leading emotion for women (38%).

Women also reported feeling the most knowledgeable about paying bills(88%), maintaining good credit (75%) and saving for emergencies (74%), but reported feeling significantly less knowledgeable than their male counterparts about building wealth (49%), creating investment portfolios (45%), understanding protection products like insurance and legacy planning (42%).

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Wanting To Learn More About Financial Topics

According to the survey, the financial knowledge gap between men and women mirrors the division of labor for household tasks. The report says a potential cause of the knowledge gap is fewer women may have had the opportunity to receive a financial literacy education. Gen Z and millennial women are more likely to report having financial literacy education than Gen X and Boomer women (53% vs. 34%, respectively).

The report showed women want more information, with 82% saying they wish they knew more about at least one financial topic. The main topics women report wanting to know more about include building wealth (29%), saving for emergencies (28%), saving for retirement (25%), and paying off/managing debt (24%). For millennial and Gen Z women, the leading financial topic they want to know more about is buying a home (30%).

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Closing The Gap

In order to close the financial knowledge gap, women reported having a preference for working with a professional to get financial advice. Twenty-nine percent said they’d prefer to work with a professional, 25% said they’d prefer to learn from spouses or partners, 21% preferred working with financial institutions such as banks or credit unions, and 20% said they depend on family or friends for financial advice.

Overall, 41% of women agreed that they would have less worry about their future if they had a professional to help them make financial decisions.

The survey was conducted in February of this year among a sample of 2,227 adults through online interviews and the data were weight to approximate a target sample of adults based on gender, age, race, educational attainment and region.

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Taking Financial Literacy Into Their Own Hands

With many women feeling eager to improve their financial literacy in order to improve their financial situations, these Black women have dedicated their careers to becoming voices of leadership and empowerment.

Marsai Martin, known for her role as Diane Johnson on the ABC sitcom “Black-ish,” launched a video finance series that featured honest and candid conversations about financial wellness for young people, called “Money with Marsai Martin.” Learn more about how she’s working to help younger women improve their financial literacy.

Trailblazing women such a Bola Sokunbi and Mehrsa Baradaran have written books designed to help women creating successful financial strategies to build their wealth, from paying off debt to aggressively saving. Check out our list of top five financial literacy books to add to your reading list.

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By: Gillian Smith

Gillian Smith is a professional communicator by day and night, leveraging more than a decade in the news industry to share stories that have a positive impact on society. Gillian believes everyone has a story worth telling, and she has made it her professional mission to tell those stories in a responsible way. Gillian received a BA in journalism from Ithaca College and a Master's in Journalism Innovation from Syracuse University. She is currently the director of external communication and media relations at Suffolk University.

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