According to new research from ANZ’s Financial Wellbeing: Spotlight on Australian women report, Australian women had a financial wellbeing score of 62 (out of 100) versus 66 (out of 100) for men.

Broadly, financial wellbeing can be defined as having enough money to meet your needs comfortably now and in the future.

The research draws on data from ANZ’s 2021 Financial Wellbeing Survey of more than 3,500 Australian adults.

The report revealed 31% of women were more likely to be struggling or getting by than men, at 24%.

The ‘Struggling’ or ‘Getting by’ segments indicate a respondent’s financial situation is ‘bad,’ feel less optimistic about their financial future, struggle to meet bill payments, and have little to no savings.

Employment opportunities, household living arrangements, and caring for dependents are the leading factors driving the financial wellbeing disparity between men and women.

ANZ Social Impact and Reporting Lead Natalie Paine said having children living at home is much more likely to impact the employment status of women, their ability to earn, and thus build financial wellbeing. 

“Of all women with dependent children at home, only 30% were working full-time (compared with 67% of men in this situation), 33% worked part-time (versus 8% of men), while 18% described their work status as home duties,” Ms Paine said.

“Our research has highlighted that socio-economic factors account for more than half of what is influencing a person’s financial wellbeing score.”

Average financial wellbeing was at its highest for those living in a partnered household without children (71/100), and at its lowest for those living in a single parent household (42/100).

When asked whether they’ll be able to save enough money to last them to the end of their life, only 35% of women felt this would be the case compared to 45% of men.

While women and men equally try to save, 17% of women reported not having any savings to fall back on versus 10% of men.

This is despite women generally having more of a savings mindset than men, with the majority preferring to save than spend.

18-24 years 25-34 years 35-49 years 50-64 years 65+ years
Male 54 60 63 68 80
Female 49 57 58 63 73

Source: ANZ Financial Wellbeing Score By Age (out of 100)

Long-term investing plays a part in the gap

Among all age groups, women were less likely to feel they understood the risks associated with financial products, particularly long-term investments.

Ms Paine said a lack of financial knowledge correlates with financial confidence and resilience.

“This lower level of financial knowledge is at least partly responsible for women feeling less confident about their ability to plan their financial future and consequently, making fewer long-term investment decisions,” she said.

“Fostering opportunities to build financial knowledge, particularly in longer-term investment risks and nurturing a workplace culture that supports all people to balance work and family commitments will aid in growing financial confidence, behaviours, and wellbeing.”

The research found women felt less confident in their ability to plan their financial future (64% versus 71% of men) and to make decisions about financial products and services (66% versus 73%).

CoreLogic’s 2023 Women and Property report found women exclusively own 26.8% of properties in Australia while men own 29.9% - a 3.1% difference.

While pinpointing the disparity between home ownership is difficult, CoreLogic Head of Research Eliza Owen said investment properties play a big part.

“Male-only names were associated with 36.3% of investment properties, which is higher than both the share of investment properties owned by women (29.5%), and the share owned by men and women jointly (34.2%),” Ms Owen said.


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