Men love the risk of investing, but women get nervous about the gamble. If you need proof it’s paying off for men — take a look at how much they have saved for retirement.
Male millennials have saved $101,500 for retirement on average. Meanwhile, their female counterparts have saved $66,700, says a study from investment firm PNC.
Fourteen percent of male millennials say they “embrace” risk, which is double the number of women their age. But skepticism is healthy, too. The key to finding the right balance is to learn more about how investments work and find how much you can afford to lay on the table, according to a PNC executive.
“One of the foundational aspects of any financial plan is to determine your overall risk tolerance, and for members of the younger generation, risk can be healthy,” says PNC VP Rich Ramassini. “People’s appetite for risk is often not on par with how much risk they can actually handle. Increasing your financial knowledge can help you determine whether you are taking on the right amount of risk.”
The problem may not be how much young women know about finances. Rather, how confident they are to execute their knowledge.
Women are less confident about managing money
Parents of millennial women started teaching their daughters about money a full year earlier than parents of their male peers, according to PNC’s study. Despite the fact that female millennials started learning about managing money at 11 1/2 years old — and males at 12 1/2 — more young women say they lack confidence in their financial management skills.
Debt.com has previously reported that young women lack confidence to make financial decisions. Fifty-six percent of married women leave investments, and financial decision making up to their husbands, says a study from Swiss bank UBS. That’s not the harshest fact found in its study. Eighty-five percent say their husband knows more about finances and therefore should call the shots financially in their house.
“Despite living in an age of empowerment, the majority of women still waive their participation in long-term financial decisions,” the study says. “The consequences of abdicating responsibility for long-term financial decisions lead many women to struggle.”
As if that’s not eye-opening enough, get this: as most women let go of financial planning responsibilities, they’re more likely to outlive men. And let’s not forget how common divorce is today. Eighty percent of women will find themselves solely responsible for their financial situation — either because of divorce or their husbands pass away before them.
The reality is even harsher for single mothers trying to make it on their own.
Fighting the good fight — alone
Single broke women are more likely to raise children and be the sole provider in their house. Researchers at Elevate’s Center for the New Middle Class (ECNMC) say these women are “among the most financially vulnerable demographic in America” in a recent study on women with nonprime credit, or with a credit score below 700. The research center compared their group to “prime” women — essentially financially better off — and nonprime men.
Only 39 percent of these women believe they have the skills to manage their finances. They run out of money more often than other women, and men.
Here are some of the disturbing findings from its study…
- Two-thirds live paycheck to paycheck
- More than a quarter run out of money every month
- Only 34 percent hold a salaried job
- They’re 41 percent more likely than prime women to have children living in their home
- And 79 percent more likely than prime women to have an elderly family member under their roof
“Everyone talks about how women’s financial situations lag behind those of men,” says Executive Director for the Center of the New Middle Class Jonathan Walker. “However, we often forget that non-prime women have it even harder. The data tell a story of women’s increased burden, increased responsibility, and increased need for help.”
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