Women claim to be less confident than men in managing money and not as satisfied with their financial situation, Bank of Ireland survey shows

  • 28% of women say they’re knowledgeable about financial matters vs 36% of men
  • 15% of women confident enough to choose investments without advisor vs 27% of men
  • 32% of women aged over 55 have a private pension vs 58% of men

30 September 2021 – Women claim to be less confident than men when it comes to managing money and aren’t as happy with their financial circumstances, according to Bank of Ireland’s annual survey of the nation’s financial wellbeing. The survey also found that women are less likely to believe they are knowledgeable about financial matters.

The annual Bank of Ireland Financial Wellbeing survey takes the nation’s financial pulse based on our saving, spending, borrowing and planning habits. This year’s survey, conducted for Bank of Ireland by RED C in August, has revealed how big the gender gap is when it comes to our personal finances.

Overall financial confidence and situation

According to the research, 50% of women said they were confident managing money compared with 56% of men. Women reported being less satisfied with their financial situation (29% vs 33%) and less knowledgeable about financial matters (28% vs 36%).

The difference between the sexes is greatest when it comes to having the confidence to choose investments (15% vs 27%) or pensions (16% vs 27%) without the help of a financial advisor.

Where financial advice is concerned, women are more likely than men to want guidance on savings (76% vs 66%) and meeting financial goals (71% vs 61%) but they’re also more likely to think they don’t understand enough about finances to talk to a financial advisor (19% vs 13%).

The survey also scored respondents based on their saving, spending, borrowing and planning. The biggest gap between women and men across the four metrics was in relation to their saving (for near-term expenses and long-term goals) where women scored 49 out of 100 compared to a score of 55 for men.


Not only are women less likely to have a private pension but the gap increases significantly for older age groups, separate research for Bank of Ireland shows. Only 32% of women aged over 55 have a private pension, compared with 58% of men. That compares to 29% of women aged 18-34 and 32% of men. Women are also much less likely to understand the tax breaks with pensions (37% vs 51%), the research found.

Financial wellbeing can be improved in the same way as physical health or fitness – through awareness, setting goals, and support. So far, over 130,000 people have taken Bank of Ireland’s online financial health check, almost 200,000 primary and secondary school pupils have participated in our free financial literacy programmes, and our dedicated team of financial wellbeing coaches have delivered almost 10,000 hours of talks to communities, colleagues and workplaces across the country.

Commenting on the survey findings, Dawn Bailey, Head of Financial Wellbeing at Bank of Ireland said:

“Financial wellbeing is a person’s ability to confidently manage their finances and plan for the future, regardless of how much money they have. The principles of good financial wellbeing are the same for everyone but the obstacles are greater for women. On average, women live longer than men so they will need more financial resources to maintain their quality of life through retirement In addition, many of us will take several years out of the workforce to have and raise children, which reduces our lifetime earnings.”

“And while nearly everyone has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the economic impact has been especially acute for women, not least because female-dominated sectors like hospitality and retail have been more severely impacted than others.”

“Our research shows that women want to learn more about finances but are less likely to ask so start by taking 2 minutes to do our free online health check or get a free financial plan by talking to one of our expert advisors. It only takes 45 minutes and can be done over the phone, online or in branch at a time that suits you. And tune into our new series of free financial wellbeing webinars, coming soon, which we’ve designed to support women in using the f-word a little more and talking more openly about their finances. I know it can all seem daunting but getting started really is the hardest part.”

To take a 2-minute online health check or learn more about everything from saving and budgeting to unclaimed tax benefits, visit www.bankofireland.com/financialwellbeing