The biggest driver of the investment gap between men and women isn't knowledge or other financial obligations, apparently.
Gender disparities in financial outcomes have been thrust into the spotlight in recent years with movements such as the #metoo and Time’s Up campaigns taking centre stage in politics.
Financial services, both as a career and a social function, have been prominent to the discussion on inequalities of pay, retirement pots as well broader cultural norms.
With a greater focus on shifting embarrassing statistics on investment gaps based on gender or even just spotting the opportunity to increase client numbers, fintechs and incumbent banks are looking to plug the gap highlighted by gender.
A new survey by the fintech lender SoFi and Levo League found its own conclusions. Fear ‘holds millennial women back’ from investing. The study by US-based SoFi, who last year ousted its CEO amid sexual harassment allegations, polled more than 2000 women aged 18-34 with professional networking site Levo.
The biggest driver of the investment gap between men and women isn't knowledge or other financial obligations, but fear, SoFi said.
The poll took a national sample of 2,050 female consumers aged 18-34 with an average salary of $50k in annual income, this is the average income for millennial women with a university degree in the US.
SoFi says while millennial women have the resources to invest, a majority cite ‘fear’ as holding them back from investing.
“The majority (57 per cent) of our respondents have extra money after paying their bills to invest. However, the majority (56 per cent) say fear holds them back from investing,” the firm said.
In addition the survey found millennial women are extremely active in managing their financial health. A majority (53 per cent) of respondents had an emergency savings fund covering three to six months of housing and necessities. In addition, the strong majority (70 per cent) of respondents said they are reviewing their bank accounts once per week or more.
The study results indicated two other reasons why millennial women do not invest: because they don't know where to start (25 per cent) and because they are paying down their debt (25 per cent).
"There is an incredible opportunity to increase the level of comfort and education around investing for the millennial woman," says Libby Leffler, Vice President of Membership at SoFi.
"Our study with Levo shows millennial women are financially responsible -- paying down debt is a major priority. However, being financially responsible is also planning for the future."
Millennial women said "stability for my future" is their top investment goal. While stability emerged clearly as the top investment goal (85 per cent), almost 61 per cent of respondents also prioritised wealth as a way to pursue outside passions and interests.