Survey finds Canadian women are financially confident, empowered

Findings show that women feel assured in their level of knowledge, but a troubling gap persists

Survey finds Canadian women are financially confident, empowered

While gender representation, the wage gap, and other issues remain, Canadian women appear to be making slow and steady progress toward equality when it comes to money matters. Aside from having increasing control of Canada’s total wealth, women have as much confidence in reaching their financial goals as their male peers.

And a new survey from Edward Jones reveals another dimension where women are posting small wins. Based on the survey findings, 69% of Canadian women are confident in their level of financial knowledge, and even more (78%) feel empowered to make important financial decisions in the household.

“It is important for all Canadians to take control of their finances. The first step is instilling confidence in our clients by ensuring they are informed and educated about their finances,” said David Gunn, Country Leader for Canada, Edward Jones. “Financial confidence is key to making informed investment decisions, asking questions and having deeper conversations with your advisor.”

The survey also found varying definitions for the phrase “financial empowerment” based on different goals and values. When asked what they think it means to be financially empowered, Canadian men and women provided the following top answers:

  • Living a desired lifestyle (37%);
  • Becoming debt-free (35%); and
  • Ability to financially support friends and loved ones (11%)

Priorities also differed across different demographic groups. Among respondents approaching retirement (between 55 and 64 years old), the most popular definition was “becoming debt-free” (39%) and “living a desired lifestyle” (37%). Meanwhile, millennials (aged 18 to 34) were more likely to define financial empowerment by their “ability to financially support friends and loved ones.”

Notwithstanding their feelings of financial confidence and empowerment, women in Canada face a persistent gap. Compared to them, Canadian men were found to be 13% more confident in their financial knowledge and 9% more likely to feel empowered to make critical financial decisions in their household.

Not that the gap makes a difference when it comes to managing households’ finances, a duty that a roughly equal proportion of Canadian men and women said they engage in (66% and 61%, respectively).

When asked what they would need to learn to become more financially empowered, Canadian women cited:

  • How to increase their income to reach their financial goals (27%);
  • How to save enough for retirement
  • How to budget for unexpended emergencies (14%);
  • How to seek out the right professionals to offer financial advice (11%)

“Education and access to information is key to diminishing the empowerment divide,” Gunn said. “There’s still much more the financial services industry can do to address the matter and instill financial empowerment in all Canadians.”

That shortfall may, in part, come as a result of a persistent shortfall of female advisors. In its recent annual report, FP Canada noted that only 31% of CFP professionals and 36% of FPSC Level 1 certificants, respectively, were female as of November 2018.


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