The number one reason women worry about money


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How often do women worry about money?

If you find yourself frequently thinking about money, you are not alone - 42% of women worry about money either every day or at least weekly which is a lot more than men.

More than half (52%) of women don't think or don't know if they are on track to achieve their financial goals, according to a survey by Fidelity International, carried out by CoreData.

women money worry

It found more women are typically worried about financial risk preferring to invest in a bank account with low returns than put money into the sharemarket. Half of the women surveyed (49.4%) felt that they would be better putting their money into a typical savings account than investing it elsewhere.

"They are more risk-averse, prefer the perceived safety of cash and feel that the investment industry is not tailored to them," says Alva Devoy, managing director at Fidelity International in Australia.

Fidelity found that almost half of women (46.2%) say minimising risk is their priority when it comes to investing, compared to just over a quarter of men (26.8%).

Double the numbers of women than men (33.8% versus 15.7%) describe their appetite for financial risk as "very low risk".

But the problem with taking a low risk approach is that not enough women are investing in the stockmarket, which over the long term provides higher returns that outstrip the inflation rate than putting their money in a bank account.

Why does this matter? The difference between investing in the sharemarket and cash over the long term is profound. Someone who invested $10,000 in the ASX200 in January 2000 would have seen their savings grow to over $45,151 by the end of February 2019. However, if they invested in cash, they would only have $21,780.

This matters as women are still earning less and taking career breaks and there are fewer of them in senior positions, which has resulted in a superannuation gap.

If women's ability to earn and then save during their working lives is less than men's, then it's more important than ever that they have access to the tools to make their money work hard for them, says Devoy.

"A lack of time and confidence, and fears about the risks, are all obstacles that are stopping women from believing that investing is for them."

"We found that women tend to focus more on goals rather than financial gain; having enough money to provide for their families, paying off their mortgage and having enough money for the lifestyle they want in retirement all ranked as top priorities," explains Devoy.

Also the survey found that women feel they do not have enough money with 50.5% saying that they didn't have any spare money to invest (compared to 35.2% of men). Perhaps this is because almost 46.3% believe they need a lot of money to invest in the stockmarket.

It found that less than a third of women (28.3%) describe themselves as "very" or "somewhat" confident when it comes to investing, compared to 50.8% of men.

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Susan has been a finance journalist for more than 30 years, beginning at the Australian Financial Review before moving to the Sydney Morning Herald. She edited a superannuation magazine, Superfunds, for the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia, and writes regularly on superannuation and managed funds. She's also author of the best-selling book Women and Money.

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