A new survey released on Tuesday, International Women’s Day, finds women are more confident post-pandemic in their ability to fund their future financial needs.
The U.S. Bank research shows significant differences in areas like financial engagement, focus on retirement, and general financial strength among women and men from different generations and provides a reason for great optimism that a new generation of female investors is redefining women and wealth.
While a similar March 2020 study showed that women were less confident and less engaged with managing money than men, generally started investing later than men, and tended to associate negative emotions with financial planning, the most recent survey shows that many of these gaps are shrinking.
No. 1: Women are more positive about managing their finances
The number of women who associate positive words like pride, excitement, and happiness with their finances jumped in the new survey. The number of women who associate negative words like anxiety, inadequacy, fear, and dread with financial planning has decreased. However, men overall are more optimistic when it comes to managing their finances than women, although both younger women and men are the most optimistic.
No. 2: Women more confident they can fund future needs
In 2020, 23% of women and 34% of men felt they were sufficiently financially prepared to cover their future financial needs; in the new survey, both women and men felt more confident they would be prepared: 36% of women and 37% of men.
No. 3: Women more confident they will afford retirement
In 2020, 48% of women and 61% of men said they were confident that they would be able to retire when they were ready—a gap of 23 points. In 2022, that gap has shrunk to 5 points, with 57% of women now confident about retirement—another significant jump in positivity during challenging times.
No. 4: Women more confident in ability to manage finances
In 2020, 56% of women under 35, 50% of women 35-54, and 41% of women 55+ said they were confident in their ability to manage their finances. In 2022, those numbers went up across all generations surveyed, with 71% of Gen Z/millennial women, 53% of Gen X women, and 46% of boomer women saying this. However, men are more confident overall than women in their ability to manage their finances.
Most importantly, the new research points to a new generation of female investors: women who have more money saved than any other generation of women are overwhelmingly in charge of many financial decisions and associate financial planning with feelings of confidence, competitiveness, and joy.
With more than 20 years serving financial markets, John Sullivan is the former editor-in-chief of Investment Advisor magazine and retirement editor of ThinkAdvisor.com. Sullivan is also the former editor of Boomer Market Advisor and Bank Advisor magazines, and has a background in the insurance and investment industries in addition to his journalism roots.