Women and Men: How Do We Differ When It Comes to Money?

Maura Schauss |

By Ann Blakey, CFP®

We all face challenges when it comes to earning, saving, and investing money. But there are differences in the challenges and tendencies that men and women face with their finances. By understanding those differences, we can all make more informed decisions with our money.


Though the wage gap is narrowing, on average men still earn more than women, with women earning just 81 cents for every dollar a man earns.[1] Women are less likely to have jobs with strong retirement plan benefits.  Besides earning less than men, women are also more likely to take time out of the workforce to care for children or other family members.  Moreover, our country includes many more single-parent households headed by women than men which can make women reluctant to take the risks involved with finding a new job.


Given women tend to earn less (with fewer benefits) and have less flexibility than men, it can be very difficult for women to save for long-term goals such as retirement.   Women often state education savings to be their primary goal, as the cost of saving little for retirement.  Since women tend to live longer than men, even high-earning single women worry if they have saved enough for a potentially long retirement.


Even today, the ranks of Wall Street traders and money managers are predominantly male, which can help perpetuate the stereotype that money is a man’s game. Men are more likely to view themselves as skilled investors and take risks with their money. Women often lack financial literacy, which can be another reason women are less likely to put money into the market or invest more conservatively when they do.


COVID-19 has only exacerbated these differences:  more women have lost their jobs.  More women are needing to step back from their careers to supervise home schooling and/or care for elderly relatives.  Single mothers are faced with a sudden increase in childcare costs.  And even some single female executives are facing salary cuts and retirement benefit cut-backs.

Smart Money Moves for Women

Now more than ever, women face challenges in saving for goals such as retirement. According to a recent survey, women lag behind men in both investing knowledge and confidence. [2] A financial advisor can help build a plan to help you reach your financial goals based on your circumstances.

  • Begin setting aside money as early as you can when you start working, especially if you expect to take time away from the workforce or as a safety net.
  • When starting a new job, don’t be afraid to negotiate the salary offered by the employer. This simple step, which many men see as an expected part of the process but women tend to shy away from, can lead to thousands more in income throughout your career.
  • Take charge of your financial situation and educate yourself on your options. Don’t leave investment decisions entirely up to a partner or husband.
  • Understand that not taking enough risk with your investments is itself a hazard, because you risk not accumulating enough money to retire or reach other goals.
  • Consider other ways to save money, including re-financing your student loans and/or mortgage. 

At Washington Wealth Advisors, we follow a process of getting to know you, your challenges and your plans for the future. If you, a family member or a friend would like to talk about your unique situation and how we can help get you on your path towards your own financial peace of mind, please connect with Ann Blakey at 703.584.2700 or email ablakey@washingtonwealthadv.com

About Washington Wealth Advisors

Washington Wealth Advisors is a Fee-Only registered investment advisory firm serving busy families, executives, women building wealth and small business owners.  We provide Wealth Advisory Services – financial planning coupled with asset management – guided by a personalized investment strategy based on each client’s unique goals. Our unbiased advice, independent approach and proactive investment management help to support our client’s overall financial peace of mind.

[1]  https://www.payscale.com/data/gender-pay-gap