Women less confident than men at managing money
Sarah Rigney
Staff Writer

New research from Bank of Ireland paints an interesting picture of the gap between women and men when it comes to their finances.

Here we delve into the key findings of Bank of Ireland’s (BOI) latest Financial Wellbeing survey. 

The research suggests that women feel less confident than men when it comes to managing money and are not as satisfied with their financial circumstances in general. 

However before we dive into the facts and the figures, let’s take a look at what exactly the term ‘financial wellbeing’ means.

What is financial wellbeing?

Financial wellbeing is a person’s ability to confidently manage their finances. It involves being able to plan for the future, regardless of how much money you may have.

Bank of Ireland’s Financial Wellbeing survey takes place annually to uncover consumer attitudes towards saving, spending, borrowing and planning.

This year’s survey was carried out in conjunction with RED C and gives an insight into how big the gender gap really is when it comes to our personal finances. 

Overall financial confidence

BOI’s survey has revealed that the principles of good financial wellbeing are the same for everyone, but the obstacles appear to be greater for women. The research highlighted that women reported being less satisfied with their financial situation.

Here are some key figures from the research carried out:

  • Just 50% of women said they were confident about managing money, compared with 56% of men.
  • A mere 28% of women feel that they’re knowledgeable about financial matters vs 36% of men.
  • Only 15% of women feel confident enough to choose investments without a financial advisor vs 27% of men - this is where the difference is greatest.
  • Where financial advice is concerned, women are more likely than men to want guidance on savings (76% vs 66%) and meeting financial goals (71% vs 61%). 
  • Despite this desire to acquire more financial knowledge, 19% of women think they don’t understand enough about finances to talk to a financial advisor, compared to just 13% of men.

The gender saving gap

Part of the survey scored respondents based on their saving, spending, borrowing and planning habits. Financial wellbeing scores are given between 0 and 100. 











The biggest gap between women and men across the four metrics was in relation to their savings. Women scored just 49 out of 100 compared to a score of 55 for men when it came to saving for both near-term expenses and long-term goals. 

Interestingly, despite men scoring higher, both men and women still fall into the same ‘stretched’ category, indicating that saving in general could be improved. 

If you want to carry out a financial wellbeing check for yourself, you can do so in just two minutes on Bank of Ireland’s website

The gender pension gap

Separate Bank of Ireland research also shed light on the fact that women are less likely than men to have a private pension. However, this gap increases significantly for older age groups.

  • Only 32% of women aged over 55 have a private pension, while 58% of men of the same age have one.
  • This compares to 29% of women aged 18-34 and 32% of men. 
  • Women are also much less likely to understand the tax breaks with pensions (37% vs 51%).

If you’re hoping to get to grips with pensions, take a look at our beginner’s guide to pensions to get the lowdown. 

Improving financial wellbeing

Speaking about the gender gap uncovered through the survey, Dawn Dawn Bailey, Head of Financial Wellbeing at Bank of Ireland said:

“On average, women live longer than men so they will need more financial resources to maintain their quality of life through retirement. In addition, many of us will take several years out of the workforce to have and raise children, which reduces our lifetime earnings.”

Dawn also pointed out the significant economic impact that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on financial wellbeing. 

“And while nearly everyone has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the economic impact has been especially acute for women, not least because female-dominated sectors like hospitality and retail have been more severely impacted than others.”

The survey has suggested that women want to learn more about finances but are less likely to feel comfortable seeking advice. For those looking to improve their financial wellbeing, you can get a free financial plan by talking to one of Bank of Ireland’s expert advisors, either over the phone, online or in a branch.

The bank is also creating a new series of free financial wellbeing webinars, which are designed to support women.

Bank of Ireland isn’t the only bank hoping to improve financial wellbeing. At the start of September, AIB announced a new financial literacy and skills programme for secondary school.

bonkers.ie is also here to help

Right here on bonkers.ie we have a range of helpful articles, guides and tools to help you better manage your finances. 

If you want to improve your saving habits and open a savings account, head over to our savings account comparison page. Here you can quickly compare the different account features and interest rates from all of Ireland’s providers

With interest rates being at an all-time low, you can review other saving options in this blog, or instead have a listen to this episode of our bonkers.ie podcast where we outline a range of alternative savings options.

Check out our banking and personal finance comparison page to see how you can lower your everyday banking costs and become more confident in managing your finances.

Don’t forget to keep an eye on our personal finance blogs and guides pages for all the latest news and top saving tips.

Get in touch with us

Bank of Ireland’s survey has revealed that women feel less confident than men in managing their finances and that they’re hesitant to seek financial advice. It also appears as though the pandemic has had a significant impact on the financial wellbeing of women. 

How do you feel about managing your personal finances? Do you think more needs to be done to boost money management confidence? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

If you have any personal finance questions, feel free to contact us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.