As the pandemic wears on, those who were already struggling have felt the tightest squeeze. Women have experienced higher rates of furlough and layoffs, and as a result, are left with fewer financial resources.
In a survey on gender needs and financial advice from asset management company Hartford Funds, respondents were asked to reflect on the different financial advising needs of men and women. While slightly more than half agreed that women and men have different needs, only 24% say they would want to work with a financial professional who tailors their advice based on gender.
Before the pandemic, women were already much more likely to hold low-paying jobs than men, with nearly half of all women holding low-wage positions, according to The Brookings Institution. More recent studies on the fallout of the pandemic have spotlighted how financial differences between the two groups have been exacerbated.
In a 2020 study from McKinsey & Co., women — and, in particular, women of color — were found more likely to be furloughed or laid off than men, with a quarter of women considering leaving the workforce or cutting back on their hours.
A year later, a 2021 Nationwide survey found that 18% of women reported facing new retirement setbacks, and women said they were contributing to their savings and retirement accounts in significantly smaller percentages than men.
While the financial gap between men and women grows, the general public might not be fully aware of just how much it’s widened. In the Hartford Funds study, a slight majority (52%) expressed agreement with the idea that men and women have different financial needs.
When asked how the two groups needs differ the most, respondents identified these top areas:
- Career considerations (60%)
- Long-term care planning (56%)
- Budgeting (55%)
But while acknowledging these differences, 46% say men and women should receive the same educational material on financial topics, and only a quarter say they would want gender-tailored advising.
Preferences differ slightly across generations. Millennials and members of Generation Z feel more strongly that men and women have different financial needs, but all groups have similar views on how necessary it is for advisors to take gender into consideration.
Here's what respondents from each generation have to say:
- 65% of Gen Zers and millennials believe that men’s and women’s financial needs are different, versus 46% of Gen Xers and baby boomers
- 53% of Gen Zers and millennials agree that financial advice shouldn’t differ by gender, and 52% of Gen Xers and baby boomers say the same
Despite a preference for gender-neutral advising, respondents in all age groups say they would value a professional who caters to their specific needs. When asked what types of content would drive them to engage with a financial professional, one of the most popular responses across both younger and older generations was content that spotlights how a plan can cater to their individual needs (40% and 36%, respectively).
Methodology: This survey was conducted online by Engine’s CARAVAN survey platform on behalf of Hartford Funds. The 904 respondents were consumers who had either household incomes or household total investable assets of at least $75,000. The survey was conducted between Nov. 1 and Nov. 5, 2021.
Generations are defined as follows: