Women have come a long way … but there’s still a knowledge gap around finances.

While women have made significant strides over the years, there’s one area I’m passionate about that needs more improvement. Many Canadian women still need help understanding their finances. 

A recent study by the Financial Planning Standards Council (FPSC) surveyed 1,000 women; 38% said they have “very little” knowledge about finances and 56% don’t have a written financial plan.

The FPSC study also revealed:

  • 47% of single women admit they know very little about issues related to finance and investments compared with 35% of married women.
  • 38% of women feel uncomfortable negotiating a better interest rate.
  • 28% said they are dependent on a partner or someone else to survive financially.
  • 42% don’t know their credit score.

Massive transfer of wealth to women predicted.

Women have been calledthe largest emerging market in the history of the planet”. Over the next decade, a massive amount of wealth is going to be transferred to women of all ages.

By 2026, women will control close to half of all accumulated financial wealth in the country, according to an IPC Private Wealth study on women and wealth. At some point in their lives, 90% of women would have to become the one making the financial decisions, either for themselves or for their family’s finances.

Women will be controlling more wealth. How equipped are they to do that?

A 2014 Statistics Canada report indicated that women don’t feel they have the same level of financial literacy and confidence as men. The report found that women were less likely than men to consider themselves to be “financially knowledgeable” (31% versus 43%). They were also less likely to state that they “know enough about investments to choose the right ones that are suitable for their circumstances” (48% versus 63%).

The opportunity for women going forward.

Clearly a lot still needs to be done to further women’s knowledge and confidence when it comes to their finances. As Kelley Keehn, personal finance educator and consumer advocate with the FPSC, said in a statement: “It’s a wake-up call and an opportunity to seek education, grow in effectiveness and lay claim to our financial independence.”

But, as an industry, we can help.  We can support women’s financial education coming-of-age through our conversations and relationships with them, as well as through our reporting to them.

As women become more comfortable in this area, they will gain a greater feeling of control around financial matters. This knowledge and confidence will play a major role for future successes in their lives.

Today is the day to celebrate how much women have achieved and to imagine the future. Happy International Women’s Day, everyone!

 

Practice Leader, Client and Industry Strategy