The confidence gap: Is women’s lack of confidence costing them financial security?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year, you’ll be aware of the reported salary differences between men and women, and the debate surrounding pay inequality. What you may not know is that gender also plays a key part when it comes to saving and investing.

Our latest Disposable Income Index (DII), which looks at saving and spending habits of households across the UK, reveals the stark contrast between men and women when it comes to saving and investing.

Men are typically more confident when it comes to saving and investing, and are therefore more likely to put money in a stocks and shares investment or a pension. The data, which is compiled by the Social Market Foundation, found that the most likely reason why women don’t invest in stocks and shares is because they are afraid of losing money.   By the way, just because men may be more confident about investing than women, doesn’t mean to say they’re good at it for a recent report from Barclays shows that women often make better investors!

Interestingly, the data also shows that 18% of people in the UK are not saving or investing because they would rather wait until they earn more money. But with people able to access a stocks and shares investment with as little as £10 a month, many families could be losing out.

The lack of confidence in investing among UK citizens may explain why so few people choose to put money in stocks and shares ISAs, with 25% of men investing and just 12% of women.

With many savers currently losing out due to the low returns on offer from most cash savings, often less than inflation, now is the time for people to consider how to make their money work harder for them.

Regardless of income, all households should take a long-term view of their finances to ensure they are getting the most from their money and securing their family’s financial future.

Although discussing finances with your other half or making arrangements for yourself may not be as exciting as planning your next travel trip, taking the time to talk about money matters, which should include considering your attitude towards stocks and shares investments, could potentially be one of the best investments you’ll ever make.  The value of a stocks and shares investment can fall as well as rise and the original investment is not guaranteed.  Tax treatment depends on individual circumstances which may change.

The information provided in this article was accurate at the time of publishing and should be read in the context of the date it was published. Views in this article are those of the author alone and do not necessarily represent the view of Scottish Friendly. No advice has been provided by Scottish Friendly. If you are in any doubt as to whether a savings or investment plan is suitable for you, you should contact a financial adviser for advice. If you do not have a financial adviser, you can get details of local financial advisers by visiting Advisers may charge for providing such advice and should confirm any cost beforehand.