Financial woes keeping Kiwi women awake – women are more likely to worry about money issues, research shows

New Zealand has been making global headlines for its recognition of women in power and gender equality, however new research suggests financial worries are keeping nearly half of Kiwi women (41%) awake at night.

And they’re right to worry: a report from the National Institute on Retirement Security, in the US, found women were 80% more likely than men to be impoverished in retirement. Issues such as the gender pay gap, career breaks while parenting, and women being over-represented in lower paid roles, mean many women earn less over their lifetime and reach retirement in a much worse position than men. Not only that, women live longer so have to make a smaller pot of money stretch much further.

But, the good news is they’re not just sitting back and taking it. The research* shows most Kiwi women (67%) are eager to learn more about their personal finances and 76% say they have good or excellent finances. spokesperson Hazel Phillips said the trick is for women to build on their position now so their long-term financial outlook is rosy.

“Women have traditionally been good at short-term financial planning – managing the household budget and making sure the bills are paid on time,” Ms Phillips said.

“However, they’ve not been so great at planning for the long term. Small steps, taken early, can make a huge difference over time. Things like sacrificing one takeaway coffee a day and putting the money in a high-interest account will all add up.

“Knowing their credit score, and how to improve it, can also help ensure women are putting themselves in the best possible position to get ahead.”

The research also highlighted that women are more likely to learn about personal finances and budgeting from their mum than their dad, while men are learning almost the same amount from female relatives (23%) as male relatives (24%).

Across New Zealand, women have a higher average credit score than men and more males are now turning to females for financial advice, Ms Phillips said.

“Years ago, it was typically men who looked after the household finances, which has resulted in older widows or divorcees being left in situations where they are struggling to understand how to manage their money.

“However, it’s pleasing to see that more women are taking control of their own financial planning and are now becoming the family experts.”

Comments from some research participants suggested that women’s relationships with their finances have changed for the better and with some additional financial planning support they can be even more prepared for the future.

One 77-year-old respondent said: “Having been responsible for my finances all my life, I think women are more logical and methodical these days. Perhaps 40 years ago they relied on the men to look after financial matters.”

Another woman, aged over 65, said: “It’s ridiculous to suppose that men can manage money better – that’s not my experience at all!”

A Gen X-er said: “In my experience, the women I know are more frugal and may spend a little more on a cup of coffee or dinner out with friends, but the men I know tend to make, or want to make, larger purchases on a more regular basis and seem to be impatient for the thing they want. Also, they spend on their credit card and forget to pay it off!”

And a fellow Gen X-er added: “Women are more meticulous when it comes to finances. I am saying this in a general sense. I think our society sets a certain expectation for women to be good with finances and manage the household.”

Kiwis can check if their credit health is in shape by getting their credit score for free right here at Credit Simple.

*The research was conducted by Perceptive Research in February 2018 surveying a minimum of 1,000 New Zealanders online using a nationwide sampling framework, the results are then weighted to Statistics New Zealand census gender, age and location data.

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