By Brad Harper Montgomery Advertiser, Ala.
More women than men say they are solely responsible for making financial decisions for their households, but women are also less confident and optimistic about those decisions, according to a new survey.
The survey of Regions customers found that 44 percent of women said they make the household money decisions, compared to 35 percent of men. But men rated their financial confidence much higher than men, with the widest gap at younger ages.
It also found that women were significantly less likely to consider themselves wealthy, a gap that again grew at younger ages.
"When people talk about the wealth gap, they are typically referring to the disparity in salary and retirement savings between men and women," said Anne Copeland, head of Private Wealth Management for Regions Bank. "Our study shows there is also a confidence gap between men and women when it comes to financial matters. As women continue to advance personally and professionally, women's financial opportunities and responsibilities are actually outpacing their financial confidence and optimism."
Regions' Private Wealth Management commissioned the online survey, which was designed with help from faculty from Vanderbilt University.
It found differences in how women and men get financial advice and guidance. For their last big financial decision, 56 percent of women said they looked to a financial advisor while 56 percent of men cited prior education.
Women under 50 were also more likely than men to look to their parents for advice.
"Women are hungry for financial advice and guidance and are 'crowdsourcing' this information from a wide variety of trusted resources," Copeland said. "There has historically been a lack of financial resources created with female investors in mind."
Regions recently launched an online resource center developed specifically for the needs and concerns of women at regions.com/womenandwealth. The company said it also plans to expand its Women and Wealth educational event series next year.
Other findings: * Women were more likely to be conservative when making investment decisions than men (41 percent to 24 percent).
* Women were more likely to say they would accept a lower return on investment in order to invest in companies with social values consistent to their own (47 percent to 38 percent). That gap grew at younger ages.
* Married females are twice as likely as married males to seek advice from their spouse (65 percent to 32 percent).