Are women really risk-averse?

While the majority of women demonstrate a great deal of financial savvy, their confidence in managing money is much lower than that of their male counterparts, according to a poll conducted on behalf of Toronto-based EQ Bank, a subsidiary of Equitable Group Inc.

Almost half of Canadian men (49%) feel confident about their financial knowledge compared to just 31% of women. The report also shows that women are not satisfied with this lack of confidence. Only 38% of women feel happy with their financial knowledge, in contrast to 55% of men.

What’s notable, however, is that there is no direct correlation between women’s level of confidence and their financial knowledge. In fact, the study revealed, the majority of both women (60%) and men (71%) earned a high score on financial literacy.

“We don’t have a knowledge issue, we have a confidence issue,” said Kim Kukulowicz, vice president of residential sales and partner relations at Equitable Bank, in a statement.

“This is a problem,” she added. “In any life situation, women should be in charge of their financial destiny. And the reality is many of us will have to manage on our own at some point. So we need to make sure women are confident enough to take their financial well-being into their own hands.”

Women do, in fact, have a strong desire to manage money effectively, according to the report. More than 80% of women believe that men and women should not have different roles in handling money within a household.

Although women’s confidence in day-to-day finances is comparable to that of men, their confidence falters regarding planning, budgeting, investments and macro-economic influences, the report states.

“It is very encouraging to see so little difference between men and women when it comes to their financial literacy,” Kukulowicz said. “But, we cannot rest on our laurels. There’s a long way to go to empower women to make informed financial choices and take ownership of these more complex issues.”

To confront the gender gap in financial confidence, EQ Bank is running public events in 2018 that will feature successful women in the industry addressing issues of financial literacy and confidence with Canadian women.

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