EL SEGUNDO, Calif., June 23, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Financial Finesse, the leading provider of unbiased workplace financial education in the U.S., has released its second special report for 2011, tracking the gender gap in employees' financial literacy.
The report found that women are still significantly behind men in their knowledge and confidence in virtually all areas of finance, despite the fact that the gap has narrowed since 2010.
Among the report's findings:
- The gender gap was most notable in investing and budgeting. 25% of women reported feeling confident with how their investments were allocated compared to 42% of men, and only 63% of women said they had a handle on their cash flow versus 80% of men.
- The smallest gap was in retirement preparedness but both women and men are woefully unprepared. Only 12% of women and 19% of men are confident they will be able to replace 80% of their income in retirement.
- Women and men are participating equally in their employers' 401(k) or retirement savings plans with 92% of women and 91% of men saving, yet women may be investing too conservatively to meet their income needs in retirement.
Liz Davidson, CEO and founder of Financial Finesse, says these findings are disconcerting since women generally face more obstacles than men in meeting long-term goals and income needs in retirement.
According to Davidson, "Women face more financial obstacles than men do. They earn less on average than men, but have significantly longer retirements due to the fact that women live an average of 5 years longer than men. They also face higher health care costs throughout their lives. To overcome these obstacles, they should be saving more than men, and investing their savings more aggressively to get a strong long-term return that will sufficiently grow their portfolios. Instead, we see the opposite happening and this could put women in a dangerous position of not being able to meet their financial needs later in life."
To rectify this problem, says Davidson, women need to "educate themselves and make their finances a priority."
The good news, she says, is that there are signs that women are taking this message to heart. In Q1 2011, the gender gap began to narrow across all demographic groups with women under 30 showing the most improvement. Davidson also notes that women are twice as likely to use workplace financial education services as men, and that they are more likely to make changes as a result of the education they receive. In addition, there are numerous studies showing that when they are educated about finances, women actually tend to outperform men in their investing because they tend to trade less, incurring lower fees and taxes.
"This problem can be solved," concludes Davidson. "But, like any societal problem, it won't happen overnight, and it will require more resources to be made available to women in more schools, more community organizations, and at more companies. It will also require women themselves to change how they think about money. We've seen firsthand the impact of financial education on women and how well suited women are at taking an active financial role in their households. All the pieces of the puzzle are there. Now it's just a matter of putting them together."
Financial Finesse is an unbiased financial education company providing personalized and innovative financial education and counseling programs to over 500,000 employees at over 400 organizations. Financial Finesse partners with organizations to reach goals such as reducing fiduciary liability, increasing plan participation, decreasing stress, and increasing productivity through its unique approach to financial education. Financial Finesse does not sell products nor manage assets. For more information, visit .
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