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Australian women falling behind in financial literacy

Australian women falling behind in financial literacy

Alarming research from Commonwealth Bank has found that Australian women exhibit lower levels of financial literacy compared to men.

Commonwealth Bank (CBA) research also found that only one-third of women reported learning about the importance of long-term investing when they were younger.

Further, women are less likely to be involved in financial planning, acquiring and managing long-term investments. Some 85 per cent of women under 35 were reported to not understand “fundamental investment concepts”.

These comments from CBA identify a startling gender imbalance of financial literacy levels amongst men and women. 

CBA Senior Financial Planner, Laura Baker, has observed this throughout her career, noting that when female clients attend a session with a male partner they “lack confidence or are overwhelmed in the appointment, becoming quiet and less engaged”.

Laura has also found women who have a male financial adviser are “more hesitant to discuss personal budgets, expenses and medical history”.

CBA research also found that 41 per cent of Australian women find money decisions “overwhelming and stressful”. This low level of engagement in financial literacy is associated with a “lower propensity to save regularly and a greater likelihood of experiencing financial stress”.

How we can help future generations

In December 2017, an evaluation of ASIC’s MoneySmart Teaching Program – centred around financial literary in children – found the courses had yielded hugely successful results.

After taking the MoneySmart course, 96 per cent of students stated they believe it is “important to learn about money” and 82 per cent said they were “interested in learning about money”.

Hopefully, more opportunities to influence and grow the financial literacy levels of women will come from programs like this.

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This article was reviewed by Property & Personal Finance Writer Nick Bendel before it was published as part of RateCity's Fact Check process.



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