Half of the women surveyed in Hong Kong primarily save or invest in the least risky opportunities available versus 44% of men, Fidelity’s global women and money study found.
While only 34% of women think that investing is “for them”, compared with 46% of men who feel the same, there are also fewer women (52%) who actively manage their finances as compared with men (58%).
“Investing is a way to supplement regular income and help grow the savings pot – not just for women but for everyone. Some might shy away from it because they feel it is risky and any losses could dent their savings pool or prevent them from achieving their financial goals,” said Charlotte Chan, head of distribution, Hong Kong workplace and personal investing, Fidelity International.
“Avoiding investment or decreasing the amount they invest because of market jitters could mean missing out on opportunities from market rebounds, which in the end could cause more impact on income and savings. Staying invested despite market volatility could ultimately help investors capture steady returns over the long run and help them achieve their financial objectives.”
With the lack of confidence in managing finances among women, the impact to women’s finances may be bigger during times of volatility, said the firm.
Over the last year, around 20% of the Hong Kong women surveyed said the amount invested and saved has increased, while more than 25% of the male respondents increased their amount invested and saved.
On average, women have reported they hold on average 10% in savings and 11% in investments less than men.
Despite the ongoing pandemic, a similar percentage of both women (57%) and men respondents say their income level stayed about the same in the past 12 months.
Although Hong Kong women surveyed are less aggressive in their investment and savings, almost six in ten feel they are financially independent, outpacing 57% of men who feel the same.
Female investors in Hong Kong also expect to become financially independent at 37, four years ahead of the opposite sex, the survey found.
Most women in Hong Kong believe being financial independent is about having a personal income that can cover everyday expenses and bills (57%), not having to rely on others for financial support (51%), having a personal savings pot that covers unforeseen expenses (50%), and having the ability to make their own life choices (46%).
The top two barriers which women believe prevents them from becoming financially independent are the cost of living (47%) and low income levels (33%).
“Hong Kong still tops the list as one of the most expensive cities in the world, so it comes as no surprise that cost of living and the relative income levels are top concerns for women living in the city,” added Chan.
“Clearly financial planning and investing for the long-term are important ways to help women achieve financial independence. We also encourage them to seek professional advice when in doubt.”