Daily, families across the U.S. grapple with challenging decisions related to budgeting, spending, insurance, investments, savings, retirement, and more. When confronted with such choices, having financial literacy – the ability to make informed decisions about money – becomes crucial. However, recent research indicates a general lack of financial literacy among Americans, with women appearing to be less financially literate than men, irrespective of their educational background, income, or marital status.
As a social scientist specializing in aging and the social safety net, I participated in an extensive analysis of financial literacy among older women. Our findings revealed that, on average, men scored 25% higher in financial literacy than women, despite both groups displaying similar math skills and overall cognitive abilities. Moreover, Black and Hispanic women exhibited an even wider gender gap in financial literacy, with scores ranging from 40% to 45% lower than those of white, non-Hispanic men.