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3 ways to build financial confidence: A financial planning guide for women


This article was originally published on

Individuals 03.29.2022 3 MIN

Though women earned the right to vote over 100 years ago, as recently as the 1970s a woman couldn’t hold a credit card in her name. While access to financial planning resources and education has greatly improved, historical bias persists that excludes many women from financial planning and decision-making. This exclusion has had a notable impact on women’s average financial literacy and confidence—and causes additional issues down the road, as women need their money to last over longer life expectancies.

In key financial planning areas, like budgeting and saving for retirement, many women have admitted they’re concerned. A Transamerican Institute study showed only 18% of women felt very confident they’d be able to live comfortably in retirement—if they were able to retire at all.This is a critical issue, especially given women generally tend to live longer and act as caregivers to their aging spouses and families.


Financial literacy and financial confidence

When it comes to financial literacy, there tend to be two major issues. One stems from a lack of access to specific financial resources. Currently, only 21 states mandate stand-alone personal finance courses as a requirement of high school graduation and half require an economics course.2 And because the curriculum depends on the state, the information students learn can vary widely.

The other gap stems from a confidence gap. According to the Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center, about 33% of women’s lower financial literacy was based on a lack of confidence in their financial knowledge and decision-making.3


What are some ways to build financial confidence?

If you’re just starting out on your financial planning journey, the learning curve can seem steep and intimidating. But don’t let this discourage you!

Going through any of these major life changes can be stressful—especially if it’s compounded by financial uncertainty. 

It’s important to understand that financial literacy isn’t something that can be achieved overnight. It’s an ongoing process and everyone comes into it from a different starting point. Keep in mind: The more you learn, the more confident you will become. 


Here are three suggestions to help you get started.

1. Set your goals. 

Your personal finances are just that—personal. It can be hard to dedicate time from our hectic schedules to sit down and create a budget or set up a savings account, but when you think of it in terms of the things that are important to you, it becomes much clearer. Setting goals allows you to prioritize wants and needs in a way that works for your life.

For more on setting—and sticking to—goals, check out our 5-minute guide


2. Get the most out of the resources already available to you.

For instance, reach out to your benefits department at work, your insurance agent and your tax preparer to gain a better understanding of your financial life. If you have access to Ayco through your employer, you can get support from a professional financial planner—at no cost to you.


3. Check out Ayco’s library of public resources to learn the basics or take a closer look at specific topics.

There are many ways you can begin the process of educating yourself, seeking information in the format that best suits your learning style.

Here are a few highlights:


1 Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies. Life in the COVID-19 Pandemic: Women’s Health, Finances, and Retirement Outlook. Accessed March 2022.

2 Council for Economic Education. 2020 Survey of the States: Economic and personal finance education in our nation’s schools. Accessed March 2022.

3 Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center. Fearless Woman: Financial Literacy and Stock Market Participation. Accessed March 2022.


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