Article header

Most of Our Clients are Men. We Wanted to Figure Out the Problem.

Wealthsimple has a pretty simple mission: to give everyone — no matter who you are or where you come from — the tools to gain true financial freedom (while also becoming a successful and beloved company along the way, of course). It’s right there in our culture manual.

Part of our job is to ask ourselves: Are we fulfilling our mission? One way to answer that is to look at the data. We have a hundred thousand clients now — and that means a lot of data about who uses Wealthsimple, and how. And when we look at that data, we see something kind of troubling: Men make up a substantially larger proportion of our clients than women.

That seems like a failure to us. And we wanted to know more about what it means.

So we hired Leger, one of Canada’s premier research firms, to help us get some deeper insights into gender and money and the way those things relate to each other. We now have those results, and there are some surprises.

Part One: The Problem

The first part is pretty simple. We have substantially more male clients than we do female. How substantial? There are almost twice as many men.

67% of our clients are men. 33% are women.

Part Two: Is It Just Us?

We think that’s a problem — from a social perspective and from a business perspective. But we were curious: Was this a Wealthsimple phenomenon? Or was it something bigger? So the first thing we had Leger do was to figure out how our numbers compared with the world at large. So we started polling.

First we selected for Canadians that were an awful lot like the typical Wealthsimple client: people between the ages of 30 and 35 with a university degree. Why did we conduct the research ourselves? Because we wanted to do some pretty specific work: We needed to strip away as many other variables as possible so we could focus on these gender differences. We wanted to pick a group of people to poll who were all on relatively equal footing — folks who graduated from a four-year degree program in Canada about a decade ago. Inthe years since, as they paid off their loans, got first jobs, got better jobs, we wanted to know how they diverged.

What did we discover?

The good news is that it’s not just us. The bad news is also that it’s not just us. Take a look at the graph below:

Part Three: So How Bad Is It?

We dug a little deeper. Saving money, and investing money, isn’t only binary. Whether we do it or don’t do it is important, but how much we save and invest is also very important. So we asked that.

Among the men and women who said they saved money, men had saved more. The men we polled had saved an average of more than $49,000. The women had saved a bit more than $31,000.

And again, not all savings are created equal. Over time, money that’s invested in markets tends to grow at a significantly higher rate than money that’s been sitting in a savings or chequing account. So we asked all the people who told us they were investing: Just how much do you have in your investment accounts? Again, men far outpaced women — an average of more than $60,000 for men; an average of $36,000 for women.

Part Four: How the Savings Gap Becomes the Wealth Gap

One of the first bits of advice we give to any prospective client is: Start saving and investing as soon as you can. Even if it’s not much, that little bit gets bigger over time, thanks to the magic of compounding. That means that women are missing out on an opportunity to build significant wealth, creating a significant gender wealth gap.

Let’s break it down. As we showed above, the average 30- to 35-year-old man who is investing has put $67,000 into his investment accounts. The average woman investor has put only $36,500. That’s a difference of $30,500. But, even assuming they both stop there (instead of continuing the trend of men investing more each year than their female counterparts), that difference balloons to $106,752 over 30 years. That’s like five new cars, a decent down payment, or, you know, just a pretty nicely elevated quality of life.

Part Five: So Why Is This Happening.

We wondered: Were women just less worried about money than men? Maybe they’re not saving as much because they’re much less materialistic, anxious, or otherwise fixated.

Well, the numbers don’t support that. More women than men polled said that money was their biggest stressor. Again: It’s not simply something they worry about, but the thing they’re most worried about.

To find out more, we asked about what keeps people from investing. Here’s what they said.

One of the numbers that stuck out to us was the number of respondents who said they weren’t investing because they don’t know how to get started. About 50% more women than men said this was the case. We think that might be related to some other findings from our poll: Women are less likely to talk to their friends about money than men are; men are more likely than women to use personal finance books, blogs, media, and their friends for money advice.

Part Six: Is There Any Good News Here?

The first bit of good news is that women have more money now than ever before. In fact, by 2024, Canadian women will hold half of the country’s private wealth. Second, women are investing, and they’re investing young — the average age they start is 25.

This isn’t related to the wealth gap, but as long as we’re talking about changing the world: Our client data shows that women are significantly more likely to choose socially responsible investments.

We think the first step toward change is what you’re doing right now. Educating yourself. Starting the conversation. We're working with partners to help us do that with a wider audience. We are changing the makeup of our team at Wealthsimple — if we want products that appeal to the world at large, our team needs to better reflect that wider world. And we’re conducting research like the study you’re reading about right now, so we can better understand what’s wrong and how to fix it.

We know you work hard for your money. So we want it to be easier to make your money work for you.

Wealthsimple is the largest automated investing service in Canada. We make investing simple, smart and affordable.

Wealthsimple uses technology and smart, friendly humans to help you grow and manage your money. Invest, save, trade, and even do your taxes in a better, simpler way.

Money + the World

"BURNOUT HAS BECOME OUR BASE TEMPERATURE. WE’RE THE BURNOUT GENERATION."

Anne Helen Petersen explains how things are different for the generation the world seems to love to hate.

subscribe

Get the best stories from our magazine every month

Sign up for our email newsletter

  • Money & the World

    What Does it Mean to be a “Millionaire” Now?

    It used to mean “super rich." But does having a million dollars make you actually rich in 2018? What does a million dollars buy? We decided to find out.

  • Money & the World

    Dumb Questions for Smart People: Teaching Our Kids to Be Financial Geniuses

    Neale Godfrey — best-selling author and Executive in Residence at Columbia Business school — tells us how to teach our kids to be the money experts we never were ourselves.

  • Get Started

    Get rich slow

    Powerful financial tools to help you grow and manage your money. Get started now.

    see-more cta
  • Money & the World

    A Money Conversation with Insurgent Presidential Candidate Andrew Yang

    Yang’s candidacy has taken off in a way almost no one predicted. And at the center of it is an unconventional economic idea: universal basic income.

  • Money & the World

    A Deep (But Not TOO Deep) Explanation of What We Mean by 'Diversification'

    Maybe you know that everyone's investments should be diversified, but... well, maybe you don't really know what diversification is. Or how it works. Here's an easy guide.

` `

Meet Wealthsimple

Get rich slow

Powerful financial tools to help you grow and manage your money. Get started now.

Learn moreright arrow icon

Our best stories, once a month.

Sign up for our newsletter

browse by category

Wealthsimple Magazine tells compelling, thoughtful, and unique stories about money through the lens of local, creative, and influential people.

The content on this site is produced by Wealthsimple Technologies Inc. and is for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be investment advice or any other kind of professional advice. Before taking any action based on this content you should consult a professional. We do not endorse any third parties referenced on this site. When you invest, your money is at risk and it is possible that you may lose some or all of your investment. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Historical returns, hypothetical returns, expected returns and images included in this content are for illustrative purposes only. By using this website, you accept our (Terms of Use) and (Privacy Policy). Copyright 2020 Wealthsimple Technologies Inc.

;