Young Women Display More “Financial Grit” Than Young Males, but Fall Behind in Saving and Investing, According to New Research From Charles Schwab

Poor financial habits can impact women early on, beginning in their teen years, despite displaying more “financial grit” than their male counterparts, according to new data from Charles Schwab.

Thursday, October 25, 2018 9:00 am PDT



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"It’s important to expose them to the right money management skills early on."

SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--In a survey of young adults aged 16-25, Schwab found that young women are more driven to reach financial independence than young males (67 vs. 58 percent). They are more likely to take on extra work to make ends meet (28 vs. 23 percent) and see more value than men in creating a plan to achieve their financial goals (76 vs. 64 percent). Yet, despite all these good ‘first’ measures, they are investing and saving less than young men – falling early into the financial gender gap.

“The young women we surveyed show greater awareness and loftier financial goals overall, but parents clearly have more work to do in order to teach their kids positive financial habits early,” said Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, President, Charles Schwab Foundation, and Senior Vice President, Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. “It’s important to expose them to the right money management skills early on.”

Young women aspire to be financially independent and are taking the right first steps

Overall, women surveyed show greater awareness of day-to-day finances, budgeting and spending. More young women than men understand the value of making a financial plan, and higher percentages of women say they want to pay their own bills, remain debt-free and live independently. For example:

  • More young women (76 vs. 64 percent of men) say putting together a financial plan is very important to reaching their financial goals;
  • Almost half of these young women (49 vs. 39 percent of men) cite paying off student loans as a goal; and
  • More women surveyed (41 vs. 32 percent of men) cited paying off credit card debt as a goal.

Young women are also more willing to take action to make ends meet when compared with young men:

  • Almost three quarters of women surveyed (73 vs. 56 percent of men) say they have chosen to hold off on buying something they wanted in order to save money;
  • More than a third of women surveyed (36 vs. 27 percent of men) say they have skipped vacation or travel to save money.

But while young women are setting strong financial goals, some of their actions are derailing their hard work toward long-term financial independence

While the women surveyed report spending 36 percent less than men, they have far less savings than men ($1,267 vs. $2,000) – a nearly 60 percent difference.

In addition, twice as many young men as women say they would invest spare cash, and almost twice as many young men as women report having investment accounts (though most young adults do not invest at all). Finally, women surveyed were slightly more likely to carry a balance on a credit card, miss a bill payment and ask their parents for money to cover necessities.

“Despite their good intentions, young women start to fall behind their male counterparts in savings and investing early on in life,” added Schwab-Pomerantz. “They start off showing a strong financial planning mindset, but there is still room for further education when it comes to managing their day-to-day finances.”

Parents are in a unique position to help raise financially independent children as young adults say their parents are their most-trusted resource for financial guidance

According to Schwab-Pomerantz, “There’s room for improvement in educating both young men and women. It’s never too early to start talking to kids about good financial behaviors.”

Here is some of the advice parents should start giving at a young age, says Schwab-Pomerantz:

  • Parents should be conveying the same messages to boys and girls about money, but you may need to tailor those conversations based on the individual and gender.
  • Our study shows that while boys are spending more than girls, they also are saving more. Have open and honest conversations with your daughter(s) about the wage and savings gap.
  • Teach kids about the importance of investing – especially girls, who as we see in this study, aren’t investing as much. Part of being financially prepared is learning to make the most of your money, and that means investing early and consistently.
  • Encourage your children to take full advantage of a company retirement plan early and contribute at least up to the company match, more if possible. While retirement should be a top priority for everyone, it’s especially important for women, who tend to live longer than men.

Schwab provides a range of resources and learning programs to help parents, guardians and young people make smart financial decisions and achieve long-term financial success, including Schwab MoneyWise ®, a comprehensive and unbiased source of financial education, guidance and interactive tools.

More information on the survey results can be found at

About the Financial Literacy Survey

The online survey was conducted by Logica Research (formerly known as Koski Research) from June 12 to June 20, 2018, among 2,000 Americans aged 16 to 25. Quotas were set so that the sample is as demographically representative as possible. The margin of error for the total survey sample is three percentage points.

About Charles Schwab

At Charles Schwab, we believe in the power of investing to help individuals create a better tomorrow. We have a history of challenging the status quo in our industry, innovating in ways that benefit investors and the advisors and employers who serve them, and championing our clients’ goals with passion and integrity. More information is available at Follow us on TwitterFacebookYouTube and LinkedIn.


The Charles Schwab Foundation is a nonprofit, private foundation, classified by the IRS as a charity under section 501(c),(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The Foundation is neither a part of Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. (member SIPC) nor its parent company The Charles Schwab Corporation.

Through its operating subsidiaries, The Charles Schwab Corporation (NYSE: SCHW) provides a full range of securities brokerage, banking, money management and financial advisory services to individual investors and independent investment advisors. Its broker-dealer subsidiary, Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. (member SIPC,, and affiliates offer a complete range of investment services and products including an extensive selection of mutual funds; financial planning and investment advice; retirement plan and equity compensation plan services; compliance and trade monitoring solutions; referrals to independent fee-based investment advisors; and custodial, operational and trading support for independent, fee-based investment advisors through Schwab Advisor Services. Its banking subsidiary, Charles Schwab Bank (member FDIC and an Equal Housing Lender), provides banking and lending services and products. Logica Research is not affiliated with the Charles Schwab Corporation or its affiliates. More information is available at and



Charles Schwab
Mayura Hooper, 415-667-1525

Multimedia Files:

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INFOGRAPHIC: Young women demonstrate financial acumen and are driven to be independent. (Schwab)
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INFOGRAPHIC: Independence is especially important to young women. (Schwab)
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