New research has revealed that women are missing out on a potential £599 billion – which is greater than the GDP of Switzerland – in what has been dubbed the Gender Investment Gap.
The survey found that there are an estimated 6.4 million female investors compared to 9.7 million male investors, meaning 3.3 million less women hold investments or private pensions in the UK – the equivalent to three times the population of Birmingham.
Pensions are a key driver of the Gender Investment Gap and, at a time when anxiety around pensions has peaked, the research highlights the shocking gap in the average amount saved for retirement. The data shows that women hold, on average, £39k less than their male counterparts, where the average private pension is £99k for women but £138k for men.
Other factors driving the Gender Investment Gap include women being less likely to invest than men – with less than half as many women holding a General Investment Account (GIA). Where women do have investments, the balance is well below that of their male counterparts.
Boring Money’s research in this space shows that financial institutions are failing to address the life events which present money challenges for women. Boring Money’s female members helped to identify six of these – referred to as ‘Messy Life Stages’ – including motherhood, single parenting, divorce, serious illness, ageing parents and empty nesting.
The gender investment gap has long been a major issue facing the UK but, to date, few practical steps have been taken to tackle it. In a bid to make a positive impact, Boring Money has launched a new service called Visible!, which is aimed at women in their 40s, 50s and early 60s, to help grow their engagement with investments and pensions. Visible! brings together consumers, advisers and industry experts, with contributors including divorce barristers, Mumsnet founder Justine Roberts, high profile bloggers and over 50 female financial advisers.
Boring Money CEO and Visible! founder Holly Mackay explains, “The Gender Investment Gap in the UK isn’t just shocking – it makes me angry. We know that women struggle with a hatred of jargon and lack of trust in financial institutions, but they are also dealing with big and often messy life challenges which are just not being recognised in the finance space. The industry is not tackling women’s WHY. It just rushes to focus on the HOW and to churn out more content about complex financial products. We set out to build a totally different vehicle to tackle the Gender Investment Gap at its core.”