The term “imposter syndrome” was first coined in 1978 by psychologists Dr. Pauline Clance and Dr. Suzanne Imes.
They noticed that many of their highly successful female patients experienced a lack of confidence and a feeling that they somehow cheated their way to their position. They first gave this feeling a name in their 1978 book The Impostor Phenomenon in High Achieving Women: Dynamics and Therapeutic Intervention.
Since then, researchers have conducted many studies on imposter syndrome and the findings show it is far more likely to affect women.
According to the Independent, for example, 72% of women say they have experienced imposter syndrome in the workplace, compared with just 63% of men.
As such, there is a clear “gender confidence gap” that affects women in all areas of their lives, including their finances.
Unfortunately, this may mean that they are less likely to invest wealth for the future and effectively plan for retirement.
The good news is that, with the right support, you can ensure that you don’t miss opportunities to build your wealth.
Read on to learn more about the gender confidence gap and how working with a financial adviser can help.
Gender disparities may drive a lack of financial confidence in women
The gender confidence gap may not be especially surprising when you consider the financial inequalities that some women are likely to face.
For example, the most recent figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that the gender pay gap was 8.3% in 2022.
In practice, this means that women may be less likely to have additional income to invest or contribute to savings and pensions. This is apparent when you compare the average retirement savings of men and women.
Figures from the UK government show that between 2018 and 2020, women had 35% less in uncrystallised pension savings than men when they reached the minimum pension age of 55.
Consequently, women may find it more difficult to generate enough income to fund their desired lifestyle in retirement. Many women may find financial planning more challenging because of these economic inequalities and this could contribute to their lack of confidence.
If this sounds familiar to you, working with a financial adviser can help you feel more confident about planning for the future and reaching your goals.
How working with a financial adviser could help you close the gender confidence gap
1. Cutting through financial jargon
Dealing with your finances can be daunting because there are many technical terms that you have likely not heard before.
One of the main benefits of working with an adviser is that they can explain financial concepts, such as different investment vehicles, tax relief on pensions, or the ISA allowance in an accessible way.
Ultimately, having a better understanding of these financial concepts can help you feel more confident about making decisions.
2. Using cashflow planning to set goals for retirement saving
A financial adviser can use cashflow planning to assess your financial situation and set clear goals for retirement saving.
You can then determine what you need to contribute to your pension and other savings each month to reach this target.
Having clear goals to work towards and being able to track your progress can be very beneficial for building confidence.
Cashflow planning also allows you to “rehearse” different scenarios such as taking a career break, for example, to see how this affects your financial plan. Using this information, you can adjust your financial plan to ensure that you are still on track to meet your long-term goals.
This may especially helpful because the gender pension gap is partly due to the fact that women are more likely to take time out of work to look after children.
3. Understanding your attitude to risk
According to MoneyWeek, 74% of women say they are too nervous to invest. But, while it is natural to be concerned about investments potentially losing value, you must assume some level of risk if you want to grow your wealth.
A financial adviser can help you determine what level of risk you are comfortable with. They can then help you choose investments that align with your risk tolerance and your wider goals.
4. Providing reassurance during times of uncertainty
The last few years have been characterised by rising inflation and market uncertainty, and this could disrupt your financial goals.
Unfortunately, if you already lack confidence, you may be more prone to panic in this situation. This could mean that you make rushed decisions instead of sticking to your long-term financial plan.
Fortunately, when you work with a financial adviser, they can offer reassurance during periods of market volatility, so you can continue to make measured decisions.
5. Working with female advisers
Financial advice is a male-dominated field, and some women may not want to speak with a male adviser.
At Milsted Langdon, we have a number of female advisers who understand the unique financial challenges that women face.
Working with our team of female advisers could make you feel more comfortable discussing your financial situation and building a plan for the future.
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This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.
A pension is a long-term investment not normally accessible until 55 (57 from April 2028). The fund value may fluctuate and can go down, which would have an impact on the level of pension benefits available. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results.
The value of your investments (and any income from them) can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount you invested. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.
The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate cashflow planning.