Personality not gender may be bigger influence on financial literacy

CPA study finds men may not be more financially savvy after all

Personality not gender may be bigger influence on financial literacy

The often-cited belief that men have greater financial prowess than women has been challenged by a new study.

Although many international studies have reinforced financial literacy gender differences, Chartered Professional Accountants Canada (CPA) has found that other factors may be a bigger influence.

The study - The impact of personality traits: a fresh look at gender differences in financial literacy – looks at things other than gender that may determine an individual’s financial competence.

These include age, income, education, and personality traits.

“When we take socio-demographic and, in particular, personality traits into account, then gender starts to look a lot less important,” the study says.

CPA Canada conceived and designed a survey that builds on work by the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada and Statistics Canada’s Canadian Financial Capability Survey.

Initially the results seemed to back-up the gender stereotypes but when other factors were considered, gender played less of a role than individual personality when choosing financial products, staying informed about finances, and in a test of objective financial knowledge.

Is the financial services industry doing enough?

“Based on our preliminary results, we wonder whether financial services markets, financial education and financial news are doing enough to reach and meet the needs of women, taking into account differences in gender roles on money, socio-economic differences, and especially personality differences,” question the study’s authors – Carleton University’s Dr. Jennifer Robson and Dr. Johanna Peetz.