Deloitte: Women less likely to contact their bank as cost of living bites

Deloitte: Women less likely to contact their bank as cost of living bites

Amid the rising cost of living facing the UK, women are less likely to contact their financial services providers for advice than men according to new research from Deloitte.

A survey of over 3,000 UK consumers conducted in August 2022 found that more than three-quarters of women (72%) did not contact their bank or building society for advice, compared to 63% of men.

Sources of advice

For both men and women, ‘friends and family’ (47%) and ‘Moneysavingexpert’ (47%) are the first port of call for financial advice, behind their ‘main current bank or building society’ (41%). Four in ten (40%) are also likely to turn to their local ‘Citizen’s Advice Bureau’, followed by ‘a specialist charity’ (34%), ‘an independent financial advisor (IFA)’ (33%) or ‘a social media influencer’ (28%).

When it comes to contacting an IFA, only 28% of women do, compared to 37% of men. Women over the age of 55 are the least likely to contact an IFA, at 11%.

Of those who did contact their bank or building society for advice or support, the vast majority (87%) described their interaction as helpful. In addition, a third were offered a payment plan (35%), lower payments (32%) or changing terms to reduce monthly payments (30%) or a combination of those.

Deloitte: Women less likely to contact their bank as cost of living bites

Kent MacKenzie

Kent MacKenzie, risk analytics and fintech lead for Deloitte Scotland, commented: “It’s particularly concerning that amid the mounting cost of living, people – and particularly women – do not feel comfortable contacting their bank or building society for help. It’s time financial services providers both independently and collectively engage women, through more effective, relevant and tailored communication.”

Diverging financial responses to the crisis

Eight in ten respondents (79%) say they expect the cost of living to continue to rise, although the survey highlights significant differences between men and women when it comes to their financial responses.

Over the last three months, men are more likely to have reduced their pension contributions (13% of men vs. 9% of women), look for higher-paid jobs (28% vs. 24%), ask for a pay rise (18% vs. 11%), and start a ‘side hustle’ (22% vs. 18%) in response. Women, on the other hand, show a greater propensity to use ‘buy now pay later’ (BNPL) services (22% vs. 19% of men) and to sell unwanted items (36% vs. 26%).

Over the next three months, 61% of all respondents said they planned to stop spending on takeaways and eating out (55%), gym memberships (55%), clothes (49%) and gifts for children and grandchildren (47%). Meanwhile, 49% of women have already decreased the amount they spend on non-essential items, compared to 42% of men. Half of women (50%) are spending less on clothing, compared to 38% of men. Men are also more likely to switch their gas (22%), electricity (23%) or mobile tariff (23%) than women, compared to no more than 20% of women across each.

Longer-term outlook weakens

A quarter of women (25%) said their ability to save for the future has significantly decreased over recent months, compared to 17% of men. The disparity is true across all age cohorts.

Mr Mackenzie concluded: “We know there is inequality between the financial education and experiences of men and women across the UK, as borne out by these findings.

“Financial Services providers now need to ask themselves how they can personalise products to help more women get the financial advice they need in these turbulent times.”

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