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Women increasingly financially confident, but gap remains compared with men

(Special) – Women in Canada are feeling more confident and empowered when it comes to finances but a gap still exists compared to men in this area.

According to a new survey from Edward Jones, 89 per cent of Canadian women polled say they are confident in their level of financial knowledge and 78 per cent feel empowered to make important financial decisions in their household.

The findings are representative of the Canadian economy which is gaining momentum over time toward gender parity, borne out by recent data from Statistics Canada which shows women’s earnings accounted for 46.7 per cent of their family’s income in 2015, an increase of more than six per cent since 2002. In 2014, women made 87 cents for every dollar earned by men.

David Gunn, country leader Canada with Edward Jones, said in an interview Statistics Canada figures show that Canadians are entering a period of a huge inter-generational transfer of wealth. Women are expected to receive about $710 billion of that by 2026, at which time they will control about half of the country’s wealth of $4 trillion.

“That’s a lot of money,” Gunn said. “While generally there is movement toward gender parity in terms of wages there is still a lot more that can be done to improve women’s level of financial confidence and empowerment.”

While women are more confident about their finances, there remains a gap when compared with men. Canadian men are 13 per cent more confident in their knowledge about finances and nine per cent more likely to feel empowered to make financial decisions in their household than women.

In spite of this gap, however, Canadian men and women say they are almost equally (66 per cent to 61 per cent respectively) managing their households’ finances.

The survey also found that empowerment is defined in a number ways based on goals and values. Thirty seven per cent of poll respondents defined financial empowerment as living a desired lifestyle, 35 per cent said it was becoming debt free and 11 per cent cited the ability to financially support friends and loved ones.

When asked what information would help women increase their level of empowerment 27 per cent cited increasing their income to reach their financial goals, 20 per cent said saving enough for retirement, 14 per cent said budgeting for unexpected emergencies and 11 per cent cited how to seek out the right professionals to offer financial advice.

Gunn says education and access to information are some of the keys to diminishing the empowerment divide with men.

Some of the steps the industry can take include ensuring that financial advisers reflect the diverse communities where Canadians work and live, and hiring more women advisers to help women with some to the particular challenges they face, including income inequality, maternity leaves and a longer life span (four years more than men), he adds.

“This helps us understand the unique needs of each individual client and equip them with the tools and resources necessary to understand their finances so they can confidently navigate their investments,” Gunn says. “However, the work is not done. There’s still much more the financial services industry can do to address the matter and instill financial empowerment in all Canadians.”


Talbot Boggs is a Toronto-based business communications professional who has worked with national news organizations, magazines and corporations in the finance, retail, manufacturing and other industrial sectors.

Copyright 2019 Talbot Boggs

Talbot Boggs , The Canadian Press

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