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Let’s get talking about women’s finances

by Emma Murphy

Researchers uncover many - often contradictory - points about women in finance, but the most important thing is to get people talking.

As a public relations agency we’re regularly asked to pitch ideas for reaching women on financial matters. Many of our clients (and potential clients) have realised that there is a growing need to inform women directly when it comes to matters of personal finance, not least saving and investing for our futures.

Among the plethora of research examining women’s relationship with money are figures which suggest that they will control 60% of UK wealth by 2025.

When it comes to PR, happily there are more opportunities for reaching women directly than there were even a couple of years’ ago, let alone further back. Hearst Magazines’ Financially Fabulous initiative is ensuring personal finance matters reach the pages of its glossy women’s titles, and other publications are following suit. Personal finance bloggers – a relatively new phenomenon – reach women through their mobile and computer screens. Now we just need to get the messages out there.

Surveys on women and finances throw up a medley of responses, some of which can be contradictory. You can find data to show that women feel less confident about money than men; that they don’t consider themselves knowledgeable; that they make better investment decisions; they care more about ESG… and every scenario in between. One finding that often comes up is that women don’t like to talk about money – for a variety reasons, depending on the survey.

This has to stop if society is to improve women’s financial resilience. The Chartered Institute of Insurance’s new campaign Talk 2 10k is aimed at doing just that, encouraging financial advisers and insurance professionals to talk to more than 10,000 people about money over the course of a week. As a female in the financial services industry I’m happy to spread the word.

The campaign particularly highlights the ‘Moments that Matter’ in a woman’s financial life: namely education, entering work, motherhood, new relationships – and possible relationship breakdowns -retirement, and ill-health/care. At these points, timely intervention can make a real difference to financial outcomes.

One of the biggest disparities between women and men is the pension deficit. You can trace the origins of a woman’s pension deficit back to almost all the ‘moments’ up until retirement. First job? Gender pay gaps mean you may earn less than a man. Motherhood? Take some time off and don’t accrue pension contributions. Divorce? Good luck trying to get your share of your spouse’s pension.

With one of the lowest savings rates in the world, women in the UK are not starting off on the retirement journey with our best foot forward. If we want to arrive in style, then let’s start thinking about the ‘moments that matter’, and above all, talk about it.