Advice matters
Kiwi women and financial wellbeing in a snapshot

After renters, KiwiSaver members and digital investors, for the final part of its ‘Money and You’ research series, the Financial Services Council (FSC) turned its gaze to women’s financial wellbeing.

The survey canvassed about 2,000 women over an eight-day period in April 2021, shining a light on where they were in terms of money confidence, and what needed to change. Here are some interesting findings, according to our SHARE advisers.

60% of women worry about money daily, weekly or monthly

The report revealed that over 60 per cent of Kiwi women worry regularly about their finances (daily, monthly or weekly). What’s more, over 70 per cent feel that financial wellbeing has some or a major impact on their overall wellbeing.

These findings echo similar studies from both New Zealand and overseas. For example, recent research from the NZ Retirement Commission highlighted that 55 per cent of women feel stressed by money concerns compared to 42 per cent of men.

We see this a lot in our line of work. Money worries can affect people in a number of ways – including their mental and physical wellbeing. And that’s why planning is so important: by outlining your goals and the steps to achieve them, a plan can boost your financial confidence and help you feel more in control.

Not quite sure where to start? Get in touch: a SHARE adviser can assist you with quality advice.

62% of women don’t feel prepared for retirement

Only 38 per cent of Kiwi women surveyed said they felt ‘very’ or ‘reasonably prepared’ for retirement, compared to over half of male respondents.

According to the Financial Services Council, this can be explained with some persistent barriers. On average, women tend to earn less and spend more time off work to raise a family, with the gender pay gap (at 9.1 per cent as of August 2021) compounding over a lifetime. And this can lead to reduced retirement results.

2021 research by ASB found that New Zealand women spend less and save more than men, but their KiwiSaver balances are 12 per cent lower at retirement, due to lower wages and less appetite for risk. Twelve per cent may not sound like much, but the bank estimated that, if women invested their additional bank savings in KiwiSaver, they could collectively unlock $750 million more at retirement.

Over 80% of women rate their financial wellbeing as moderate, low or very low

For all the reasons we just talked about, it’s no surprise that women are often less financially secure and less optimistic about their economic futures. But while it’s probably true that men and women have different financial experiences, the research suggests there might be more to it.

According to the FSC, gender gaps in financial risk aversion, spending and saving preferences also stem from social and cultural issues, as well as institutional trust issues.

And while there’s considerable evidence of a gender difference in risk perception, as a recent European study has highlighted, research also shows that women are more likely to stay the course. They do budget, save and invest, they’re keen adopters of digital financial tools – and they’re also more likely to seek financial advice.

That’s why addressing those actual and perceived barriers is so important – starting with informed financial decisions. “Stats NZ life expectancy data shows Kiwi women are living longer than men,” the FSC report reads. “Longer life-spans coupled with less retirement savings, means it’s more important than ever that women feel empowered to create financial strategies today in order to set themselves up for a comfortable retirement tomorrow.”

The value of money conversations

In 2021, the Retirement Commission published an interesting report for Money Week, revealing that one in three adult New Zealanders shy away from finding out more about their finances and improving their financial wellbeing.

Remember, having open money conversations with a SHARE financial adviser can make all the difference, because every money question is a good question. We can help you focus on what’s working and what’s not, and highlight risks, habits and money behaviours that could change.

Like to discuss your financial goals? Please don’t hesitate to contact us, or click here to find an adviser near you.

Disclaimer: Please note that the content provided in this article is intended as an overview and as general information only. While care is taken to ensure accuracy and reliability, the information provided is subject to continuous change and may not reflect current developments or address your situation. Before making any decisions based on the information provided in this article, please use your discretion and seek independent guidance.