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Calls for more female advisers as money woes hit women hard

12 Jan, 6:51am by Matthew Martin

More than 80% of Kiwi women rate their financial wellbeing as moderate to very low and are less likely to seek financial advice, according to a report by the Financial Services Council (FSC).

There's also more room for women in the financial advice sector and an opportunity for advisers to engage better with them.

The FSC has released its final report for 2021 - Money and You: Women and Financial Wellbeing in New Zealand - that looks at how Kiwi women approach their finances and the obstacles they face in achieving financial confidence and wellbeing.

While more than 70% of women surveyed say financial well-being influences their overall well-being, just 4.8% say they use the services of a financial adviser, compared to 7.2% of men.

The report found that women lack financial confidence, but are better investors than men in terms of returns.

Ann Morrell from Trustees Executors has been a financial adviser for more than 20 years and says she's heartened to see more women coming into the industry but there's still a lot more room for their input.

She says many businesses say it's hard to find women advisers or women keen to join the sector "...often because the language of investing is filled with jargon and is difficult to understand".

"Women also need to really trust and have a good relationship with the people they are getting their advice from."

She says most of her female clients come to her after a referral from another client.

"We need to encourage other women to be advisers - listening to people and helping people to realise their financial goals is really rewarding."

FSC chief executive Richard Klipin says it is the first report the FSC has done on gender and financial wellbeing in New Zealand.

“While we know there are many barriers facing women that men do not experience such as the gender pay gap, lower retirement preparedness and uninterrupted work patterns due to time out of the workforce, this report also highlights some encouraging trends,” he says.

Some of these include that women have been keen adopters of digital financial services tools, that the older they get, the less they worry about money, and that women are more likely to seek ethical investment options than men.

Catherine Emerson is head of marketing at Kernel and also runs the It's no Secret financial literacy podcast.

She says the industry does not represent diversity very well and has found that financial advisers don't engage with women as well as they could be.

The research was conducted online by CoreData between April 15 and April 26, 2021. A total of 2,035 valid responses were collected, which were representative of the New Zealand consumer population in terms of age, gender and income based on the latest Stats NZ data.

Key findings:

Less than 5% of women use a financial adviser

- Over 60% of women worry about money daily, weekly or monthly

-- 62% of women don’t feel prepared for retirement

- Over 80% of women rate their financial well-being moderate, low or very low

- 60% of women rate their investing literacy as low

- 32.4% of women use or plan to use micro-investing platforms

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