Older Canadian women may be better off than you think

HomeEquity Bank says women aged 55+ often score highly for financial wellness

Older Canadian women may be better off than you think
Steve Randall

A stereotype about older women’s finances is being dispelled by a new report that reveals that many older Canadian women have finances that are in good shape.

The research from HomeEquity Bank found that almost two thirds of women aged 55+ had a high financial wellness score compared to less than half of younger women, and 60% of single women were also in the better-off group (compared to 41% of those living with family).

Using self-reported information about personal finances, the report discovered that single women 55+ are seeking financial advice more actively than women living with family.

"Conventional wisdom tells us older women are reluctant to talk about finances because it's 'not polite.' Another persistent cliché is that if you're a single older woman, you're financially vulnerable," said Vivianne Gauci, HomeEquity Bank Chief Marketing Officer. "Looking at our own client data, we saw women's behaviour challenging this narrative and this research proves it."

However, 55+ should not be considered as a single demographic as a women in her late 50s will not have the same level of financial wellness as a women in her 80s.

The importance of good money management is highlighted in the report with 62% of women 75+ saying that they could "enjoy life because of the way I am managing my money,” while just 44% of those aged 55-64 said this.

Working with advisors

Women who actively spoke to financial advisors not only achieved greater financial wellness but also greater parity with men with similar behaviours.

But women may be reluctant to engage with financial advisors, perceiving a lack of trustworthy and non-judgemental advice. Half of respondents are not working with a financial advisor.

"It's important advisors recognize that women can be reluctant to talk finances because they have struggled to find good, trustworthy advice in the past," said Lovett-Reid, who is a Certified Financial Planner in addition to being the bank's Chief Financial Commentator. "Advisors must provide clear, understandable advice in a way that helps empower women to take charge of their financial futures."