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The money myth: women are bad with money - and why it’s a lie

26 Feb 2024 5 min read

Women aren’t good with money. Women don’t want to learn about money. Women are too emotional to make financial decisions. Outdated myths like these perpetuate the stereotype that men are superior when it comes to financial management. As we celebrate International Women’s Day here at NGS, we want to shine a light on the importance of putting an end to these incorrect and harmful myths about women and money.

Where do these myths come from?

There are many reasons why misconceptions about women and money exist. Many go way back - not just decades but centuries. And unfortunately, persist to the present day.

Among the reasons women are seen as less financially savvy is because we earn less. In Australia, women earn on average 14.6% less than men.1 We also have significantly less saved for retirement – half of all Australian women aged 45 to 59 have $8,000 or less in their superannuation funds, compared to $31,000 for men.2

Inequalities and discrepancies like these between men and women lead to the perception that men are more financially capable. But in reality, this is just what we’ve been socialised to believe.

Socialisation reinforces gender stereotypes that can affect how people interact with money. For example, girls often receive messages when they are growing up that women aren’t as good at maths as men.3 Did you ever hear that girls are bad at maths when you were growing up? If you did, you weren’t alone. Yet, there is no innate gender difference in mathematics ability.4 So, we can immediately dismiss the idea that because money involves numbers, women don’t have the ability to be financially successful.

However, the problem doesn’t end there. These misconceptions can and do have far-reaching negative impacts. Research by the National Institute on Retirement Security found that women aren't as confident as men in their investing abilities and demonstrate lower levels of investing knowledge.5 However, data shows that women often perform better than men when it comes to investing. After analysing more than 5 million customers over a 10 – year period, Fidelity found women investors outperformed their male counterparts by 40 basis points, or 0.4%, on average.6 This number may seem small – but over decades, .4% can be a meaningful increase in overall returns.

What’s the truth about women and money?

Being good at dealing with and making decisions about money has nothing to do with gender. What it ultimately comes down to is being curious and learning about money. It's about asking questions and taking control of your finances to improve your financial wellbeing. When you improve your knowledge about money, you’ll not only have the confidence to deal with your day-to-day expenses you’ll also be able to look to the future and work out how your super savings can help you build the tomorrow you want.

How can we put an end to the money myth about women?

This year, International Women’s Day is about inspiring inclusion. At NGS we want all women to feel that they have access to the education, support and service they need to be confident about their money and making decisions about their finances.

To help, we offer a range of resources to explain what can sometimes appear as complex, these include:

We also share regular posts and information on Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Do you have questions?

If you’re not sure where to start or you have questions right now, why not book a time to chat to one of our NGS Super Specialist. This free service is a great way to start learning more about money and the opportunities you have when it comes to your super savings. They can also help you decide whether meeting an NGS financial planner is right for you.

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