Women and wealth: Exploring the gender gap

Women, money and influence

Key takeaways

  • Men and women both feel self-confident when they think about financial planning. Younger women in particular are less anxious when thinking about financial planning.
  • Women are more likely to gain their financial knowledge from conversations with a financial advisor and value an advisor who takes the time to listen to them.

While women earn 84% of what men earn in the U.S.,1 they have more money and power than ever before.

Nearly a third of adults in the U.S. say they are single,2 and an additional number may be in a relationship but controlling their own finances and/or living on their own. Among women with families, the majority play a significant role in family finances. Yet differences remain between men and women when it comes to finances.

The latest Women and Wealth Insights Study from U.S. Bank sought to understand more about this gender gap and the reasons behind it. Along the way, we discovered that Gen Z is leading the charge in decreasing differences seen in the past.

Confidence among women is growing

Women are less likely to say they “agree completely” that they’re confident in their ability to manage their finances (55% vs. 60%), yet self-confidence is the top feeling both men and women have when they think about financial planning.

When thinking of financial planning, what thoughts or emotions come to mind?

Women

Men

1

Self-Confidence

Self-Confidence

2

Stress

Excitement

3

Anxiety

Happiness

Among women, younger generations are less likely to associate negative emotions with financial planning.

“When I think of financial planning, I feel…”

Anxiety

Excitement

Gen Z & millennial

17%

52%

Gen X

25%

38%

Boomer

33%

22%

The pandemic affected women and men differently

While women make up 39% of global employees, they experienced 54% of job losses during the pandemic.3 These job losses were particularly prominent for younger and low-wage workers in industries including retail, education and hospitality.4 The pandemic also disproportionately impacted women of color.5 While some women lost their jobs, many others left the workforce to care for children or elders.

For those people who made it through the pandemic with extra savings, men and women had a different approach to what they did with that savings. Men were 15% more likely than women to invest any pandemic savings. Both men and women surveyed pointed out ways they spent the extra savings, but women were 8% more likely to say they weren’t planning to spend it at all.

How women and men learn about finances varies

Differences exist in how women and men say they’ve built financial knowledge.

Which has been most influential to your financial knowledge?

Women

Men

Own ongoing curiosity and learning

32%

36%

Immediate/extended family

23%

15%

Conversations with a financial advisor

32%

31%

When asked which resources they’d use to help someone learn about finances, the majority of men said they’d rely on their own knowledge. Women were less likely to rely on their own knowledge and more likely to use a financial advisor (63% vs. 57%).

How women and men invest and where they get investment tips also varies. Men were more likely to make investments based on something they saw on social media or heard from an online influencer and more likely to invest via a trading app.

When working with a financial advisor, women – primarily older women – place a higher priority on that person taking the time to listen to them than men do.

Please rate the following aspects of your financial advisor.

Women

Men

Takes time to listen to me

79%

72%

Financial planning expertise

76%

70%

Understands and respects my priorities

72%

65%

Has industry certifications

59%

53%