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The Generation Gap Also Has Gender Gaps

While a number of critical gender gaps have been closed by the Millennials, key differences still exist between women and men in their decision-making styles, investing behaviors and views on technology.

Consider that Mllennial women prioritize growing wealth almost as much as Millennial men, representing a potential generational shift as women in older generations are less likely to think this way. However, Millennial women continue to place a much higher emphasis on paying off debt (57% see it as their most important goal) compared with Millennial men (40%) according to the latest Global Investor Pulse survey from BlackRock.

However, while both women (43%) and men (41%) put a high priority on saving to ensure they live comfortably in retirement, women are considerably less likely than men to actually be saving for retirement (55% vs. 65%). And perhaps not surprisingly, women also happen to be more concerned than men (75% vs. 68%) about their ability to meet their retirement goals.

Additionally, just 44% of Millennial women claim they are on track to achieving their retirement goals, compared with 70% of Millennial men. Only about a third (31%) of Millennial women feel they don’t have to worry about money, while just over half (53%) of Millennial men say they don’t have to worry about it.

About half (51%) of women report feeling positive about their financial futures, compared with 46% one year ago, and 42% say they are confident they are making the right savings and investment decisions, compared with 34% one year ago.

Millennial women are still far more risk averse than Millennial men, and report lower knowledgeability and engagement with learning about investing than Millennial men. Millennial women do report higher knowledgeability about investing than older generations, but self-reported knowledgeability is only slightly higher for Millennial women than for older generations, while Millennial men show a sharper increase in self-reported knowledgeability compared with older generations of men. The same pattern is shown for the percentage of women who say they enjoy managing their investments.

In some ways the money attitudes of younger women are diverging from those of older women. About 3 in 10 Millennial women (age 25 to 34) say they enjoy managing investments, compared with just 21% of Boomer women (age 51 to 69), and 37% have prioritized growing wealth (vs. just 22% of Boomer women). However, just 53% of Millennial women are saving for retirement compared with 71% of Millennial men.

Robo ‘Cope’

Generally, men are more interested than women in robo-advisors, including 72% of Millennial men vs. 45% of Millennial women. That said, Millennial women express more interest in these digital platforms than women in any other generation; for example, just 23% of women aged 55 to 64 are inclined toward these services.

Most Millennial investors are interested in digital financial advice. However, Millennial women express much lower levels of interest in robo-advisers (45%) than Millennial men (72%). Their top three reasons for robo affinity are:

  • convenience (43%)

  • simplicity (38%)

  • lack of product push (31%)

On the other hand, the things they find most off-putting are:

  • don’t have enough money (43%)

  • prefer personal interaction (34%)

  • not interested (21%)

Millennial women and men are not in agreement about many of their feelings for their financial future. While 72% of men are positive about their financial future, just 59% of women feel that way. Male Millennials are clearly much more confident, according to the survey — 71% are confident and 79% feel in control, compared with just 42% and 56% of women, respectively. There is also a significant gap in their perception about the biggest risks to their financial future: 62% of women cite the high cost of living, compared with just 48% of men.