New research conducted by HerMoney Media and Principal Financial Group® reveals concerns about the gender savings gap are realized in employees’ overall perception and confidence about money management and investing, while the gap has closed in their “personal economies.”
The 2023 State of Women survey from HerMoney, which included 900 full-time employees of small and midsize businesses with access to either health insurance or a retirement savings plan, found men and women are saving similar percentages of their annual household income and have relative amounts saved in personal emergency funds at equivalent rates. However, only 45% of women employees compared to 58% of men employees were confident about money management and only 22% of women considered themselves knowledgeable about investing compared to nearly half of men (46%).
Playing the Long Game
The survey revealed female employees are taking a longer-term approach when it comes to their money. The majority of women (55%) hold their investments in an economic downturn as compared to 40% of men. Additionally, one-third of men (32%) rebalance their portfolio or sell shares during economic downturns compared to only 16% of women who rebalance or sell.
“The good news is that women are focused on precisely the right financial threats and aren’t allowing a volatile economy to derail them. In fact, when it comes to making investing decisions, women – who have long had a reputation for being risk-averse – seem to have turned an important corner in their investment decisions,” says Jean Chatzky, CEO of HerMoney.com.
When it comes to financial guidance, 59% of women reported not working with a financial professional (compared to 50% of men), even though 60% view them as the most trusted resources for making investment decisions. Compared to men, women are using a wider variety of resources to learn about investing through podcasts (44% vs. 27%), books (40% vs. 26%), and workplace programs (25% vs.15%).
“While employees’ needs are varied, almost everyone can benefit from more guidance, education, and support to build their financial acumen and confidence,” said Teresa Hassara, senior vice president of workplace savings and retirement solutions at Principal Financial Group. “At Principal®, we understand individuals have moments in life when they may not feel fully confident in making financial decisions. So, we help employers become more intentional with the workplace solutions they offer — making available a balance of one-on-one, digital, and dedicated advisor interactions for their employees. The more personalized the experience, the more success we believe individuals will have when it comes to achieving long-term financial security and retirement goals.”
Financial Wellness Resources in Action
The survey also focused on how workplace wellness programs are evolving to help employees build a stable financial foundation today and for the future. When comparing what employees are looking for from these programs – and how they’re using them – the results were uneven by gender.
Women employees (40%) are more likely than men (32%) to say financial wellness feels like “being at peace (without financial stress).” And yet, significantly more men (28%) than women (18%) report a reduction in their own stress levels due to the financial wellness programs at their companies.
Additionally, when asked how various elements of the financial wellness programs offered by their employer are utilized, while both women and men reported awareness and use of resources available to them, men reported stronger results. Men, more than women, credit their employer’s financial wellness programs with helping them increase their emergency savings (25% vs 13%), reduce debt (21% vs 9%), and improve their setting of financial goals (23% vs 15%).
“While it’s heartening to see these programs are helping move the needle in the right direction, these survey results show an imbalance in value, which could be stunting the financial stability of women who need more support tackling the building blocks of personal finance,” Chatzky says. “At the end of the day, companies offer financial wellness programs so their employees can feel just that — financially well. In this area of support, we still have a long way to go.”
ABOUT THE STUDY:
The 2023 State of Women is based on an online study conducted in August 2023 among 900 women and men ranging in age from 18 to 75 who are employed full-time at small and midsize employers, with access to either health insurance or a retirement savings plan as a benefit.
Principal Financial Group® (Nasdaq: PFG) is a global financial company with 19,000 employees1 passionate about improving the wealth and well-being of people and businesses. In business for more than 140 years, we’re helping more than 62 million customers1 plan, protect, invest, and retire, while working to support the communities where we do business, and build a diverse, inclusive workforce. Principal® is proud to be recognized as one of the 2023 World’s Most Ethical Companies® by Ethisphere2, a member of the Bloomberg Gender Equality Index, and one of the “Best Places to Work in Money Management3.” Learn more about Principal and our commitment to building a better future at principal.com.
1As of June 30, 2023
3Pensions & Investments, 2022
ABOUT HERMONEY MEDIA
Her Money Media, Inc. (HMM) was founded in 2018 by Jean Chatzky with a particular emphasis on improving women’s financial literacy and wellness. HMM creates and distributes financial wellness content and coaching programs, working directly with individuals as well as partnering with major corporations and financial institutions. HMM’s mission is to inspire people’s skills in personal financial management, positively impacting lives at every level. Learn more about HerMoney and how we’re leveling the playing field for financial security, confidence and power at HerMoney.com.