The “Gender Confidence Gap” is affecting UK Savers’ Ability to Invest or Save, According to TISA and EY Research

  • Financial
  • 20.09.2021 01:40 pm
  • A sizeable proportion of UK consumers (46%) have low confidence in making investment decisions. 
  • Women are significantly more likely to feel “overwhelmed by the range of financial options available” (62% of females agreeing with this statement vs 47% of males).  Compared to men, women said they are significantly more likely to “struggle to know where to start” when it comes to making investment decisions (24% for females vs 16% for males).  
  • Age is also a significant factor with the research pointing to an “under-50 confidence gap” affecting millennials and Gen Z.  Savers younger than fifty were found to be significantly more likely to agree that they feel “overwhelmed by the range of financial options available” (63% for people younger than 50 vs 44% who are over 50). 

New research published today by TISA, the cross-industry financial services membership body, and EY Seren reveals a significant ‘confidence gap’ affecting consumers’ ability to make long-term savings and investment decisions.  The research points to women and consumers under the age of 50 being the most dramatically affected.  If the industry and the regulator overlook these differences, women and those under 50 are at risk of being left behind.  Ensuring that UK adult cohorts can have confidence in making financial decisions is vital in securing an equitable and financial future for UK consumers.   

46% of UK consumers surveyed indicated they do not have the confidence to make investment decisions.  19% said the same about making savings decisions. 

The top drivers for lack of confidence in making savings and investment decisions were: 1) risk of losing money; 2) finding it too complex and confusing; 3) consumers feeling they had; 4) not knowing enough about the options.   

Women are more likely to be overwhelmed by the range of options available. 24% of women gave a lower confidence rating for savings, compared to 14% of men, and 56% of women gave a lower confidence rating for investments compared to 36% of men.  

Age is also a key factor, with consumers younger than fifty significantly more likely to agree that they feel “overwhelmed by the range of financial options available” (63% vs. 44% who are 50+) and that “their life is so busy they haven’t had a chance to effectively organise their finances” (47% vs. 19% who are 50+). Millennials (those aged 25-34) are also significantly more likely to feel “embarrassed by their lack of knowledge” (28%) compared to the overall sample, compounding the “under-50 confidence gap”. 

Interviews amongst consumers revealed feelings of ‘powerlessness’ and challenges in making financial decisions. Some participants feel unable to improve their financial situation without making changes to aspects of their life not always within reach, for example, raising their salary.  

Many feel helpless and fatigued by the overwhelming amount of information and options available after researching savings and investments resources. This led to ‘analysis paralysis’ and inaction, with participants choosing to prioritise shorter-term financial goals, focusing on 'one thing at a time'. This has an impact on long-term savings and investments, including pensions. 

TISA is leading industry efforts, working alongside the FCA, to seek amendments to Advice regulations to allow pension and investment firms to provide consumers more personalised guidance support services to help them choose investment products. Under existing regulations, firms are heavily restricted in the way they can personalise support.  It’s this level of personalisation that TISA believes is crucial to ensure all cohorts of the UK’s adult population can be catered for effectively, in supporting them to make their important saving and investment decisions. 

The full research is available here: 

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