On International Women’s Day 2022, we have published our latest annual Financial Wellbeing and women report: Financial Wellbeing and women: Time to level up, which finds that there remains a financial wellbeing ‘importance-ability’ gap between the genders. Professional (1) women still believe they are much less able to achieve the financial priorities which they see as important, compared to men.

While women’s perceived ability to achieve their top three financial priorities has improved over the past year, there remains a distinct gender divide. For example, 90% of men and women say that ‘Having clarity and confidence over my future plans’ is important or very important, whereas only 45% of women say they are able to achieve this vs 77% of men. Our report suggests ways in which this disparity can be ‘levelled up’ including speaking to a financial adviser. Other key findings include:

  • Mental and physical wellbeing is now the top financial wellbeing concern for women
  • Women are more open to responsible and ESG investments than men
  • Women tend to be more likely to want to use their wealth to help others
  • Women have a higher preference for financial advisers ‘like them’ i.e. similar age / same gender
  • The Covid-19 pandemic has had more of an impact on the financial plans and investments of women
  • Correspondingly, women are more likely to say that they see the world differently following the pandemic
  • Women are more concerned about job security than men and less concerned about inflation and tax
  • Time is an important element of financial wellbeing for women
  • Women tend to feel less financially resilient than men

Mental and physical wellbeing is the top financial wellbeing concern for women this year, with nearly half (48%) of female respondents selecting general wellbeing as one of their key challenges. While men and women broadly agree on the importance of most financial wellbeing factors, time is clearly more of a priority for women. In our survey 71% of women said it was important to have enough time to take control of their finances compared to only 42% of men, and over half of women surveyed say they do not have enough time to think about their finances.


Kirsten Pettigrew, Chartered Financial Planner at Saunderson House comments:

 “After enduring two years of the pandemic, it is understandable that the toll on general wellbeing is at the forefront of people’s minds. While on the one hand the shift to working from home may have saved time for some professional women, it may also have increased time spent on other responsibilities such as home schooling, and the additional mental stress of arranging care for elderly relatives.”

 “In addition, our female clients tend to look at issues holistically, spending more time considering what they don’t know and questioning what they do. This leads to a more nuanced and fuller view of their financial wellbeing – with women more keen to hear about the latest developments and insights, but can also make them feel more pressed for time.”


According to the research an area in which there is a particular difference between the genders is appetite for ESG and responsible investing. More than half of women say they feel a responsibility to ‘use their wealth in a responsible way, helping to improve the environment and society’ and more women than men believe all their wealth should go towards companies that benefit society

This year, half the women surveyed consider investing in sustainable financial products to be important or very important, in contrast to 29% of men. However, only a quarter of women consider themselves as able to do so, and fewer still (19%) as knowledgeable about how to start the process.


Kirsten Pettigrew, Chartered Financial Planner at Saunderson House continues:

 “We have seen in our conversations with clients that women are much more critical of their ability to achieve their financial aims. They are more honest about their financial literacy and many are keen to talk to a financial adviser and learn more. This is increasingly becoming the case around responsible investing.”

The research also reveals that the Covid-19 pandemic has had more of an impact on the financial plans and investments of women, with 43% of women saying their financial priorities have changed, compared to just 8% of men. This sentiment is followed through with action, with one third of women (33%) surveyed intending to make changes to financial plans and investments as a result of the pandemic while only 6% of men saying they would do the same. Moreover, the shift in attitude is not purely financial; almost twice as many women than men (64% vs. 34%) believe that the way they see the world has changed because of the pandemic.

The research also suggests that the pandemic has instigated a change in professional women’s attitudes towards family financial planning, with many seeking to become part of the conversations with financial advisers for the first time.


Kirsten Pettigrew, Chartered Financial Planner at Saunderson House comments:

 “In the past couple of years, many of our clients have lost family and friends. The prospect of suddenly losing their spouse has served as a reminder for many women not previously involved with the family’s wealth management. They now feel the need to equip themselves with knowledge and become part of the financial conversation. I have seen a notable increase in the number of absent party spouses re-engaging. This could be down to the ease of meeting virtually and we need to make every effort to ensure this engagement doesn’t reduce again as we move back to face to face meetings.”

Download the full report


(1) In the report ‘professional’ is defined as individuals working across a range of professions that require a certain level of education, skill, or training, including accountancy, private equity, information technology and law.

This note is for general guidance only and does not constitute, and should not be construed as, investment advice or a recommendation to engage in any investment activity. Detailed advice should be taken before entering any investment activity. Any opinions stated in the corresponding article reflect the views of the individuals surveyed for research purposes and any further individuals referenced. These views may differ from the views of other individuals/teams at Saunderson House.

 Saunderson House, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Rathbones Group Plc, is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

About The Author

Kirsten Pettigrew
Kirsten joined the graduate program at Saunderson House in 2014, after graduating from the University of Manchester with a ...
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