New Research from Wells Fargo and The Female Quotient Explores Taboo Topics, Secret Numbers, and Differing Gender and Generations’ Relationships to Money

“Our Secret Numbers: Women, Men, and the Taboo Nature of Financial Health” finds 1 in 4 surveyed adults have never shared financial numbers like savings, spending and credit score with anyone

Survey reveals 43% of women grapple with financial anxiety, compared to only 29% of men

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 10, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — For National Financial Wellness Month, Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) and The Female Quotient (The FQ) are releasing the findings from a new research study conducted by The FQ, “Our Secret Numbers: Women, Men, and the Taboo Nature of Financial Health.” The research explores taboo topics ranging from age and weight to salary and credit score to spending and financial savings – and how women and men and different age groups approach money and financial health. 

“Wells Fargo partnered with The Female Quotient to dig deep into how women and men approach financial topics differently,” said Krista Phillips, Executive Vice President, Head of Consumer Credit Cards and Marketing at Wells Fargo. “As women, we are conditioned to believe that talking about money is rude, but the best way to learn about anything is to talk about it – and we aren’t talking about it enough. This mindset ends up restricting women’s financial growth, investment opportunities, and earning potential.” 

Research participants were asked how they feel discussing taboo topics such as their age, weight, salary, and credit score. The data shows close similarities between men and women when it comes to talking about topics once considered taboo. However, the findings reveal significant differences when it comes to how men and women discuss money and finances. Women feel less comfortable discussing finances, with over 40% stating they have a stressful relationship with money.

“Every woman deserves the power to control her own finances, but too many are shackled by anxiety,” said Shelley Zalis, Founder and CEO, The Female Quotient. “Our partnership with Wells Fargo digs into women’s financial struggles, revealing a stark confidence gap. Unlike men, women aren’t as comfortable discussing money as their careers progress. As women climb the ladder, their voices are drowned out, while men boast about their paychecks. It’s high time for women to speak up, shatter the silence, and own their financial narratives.”

Additional Key Findings: 

  • Gen Z (53%) are significantly more likely to say that men have more opportunities to be financially successful than women (compared to 42% Millennials, 42% Gen X, 45% Boomers)

  • Men are significantly happier and more confident in their financial abilities than women, despite financial health being as important to both
    • “I am happy with my financial situation”: 58% men, 42% women
    • “I am confident in my financial management”: 65% men, 51% women
    • “Financial health is important to living my life”: 76% men, 74% women

  • Men are significantly more likely than women to talk about their financial health with a financial professional 
    • 29% men, 20% women

  • Employed men’s comfortability discussing debt grows as they progress to more senior levels, but that linear progression lacks for employed women
    • “I’m more comfortable talking about my debt now than I used to be”
      • Women (declines over time): 50% entry level, 52% mid-level, 46% senior level
      • Men (increases over time): 57% entry level, 61% mid-level, 67% senior level

  • Men are more likely to say they are primarily responsible for financial decisions in their married or partnered household, while women are more likely to say they share the responsibility equally 
    • “It’s my responsibility”: 39% women, 60% men
    • “I equally share responsibility”: 42% women, 28% men

The Female Quotient collected online data among a sample of 3,206 men and women aged 21 or older from Oct. 5-17, 2023. Quotas and weighting were established to ensure the sample’s composition reflects the population of interest including gender, generation, employment status, marital status, career level, and financial situation sentiment. In addition, 12 online focus groups were conducted from Aug. 21-24, 2023. 

The full research along with recommendations can be found at

About Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a leading financial services company that has approximately $1.9 trillion in assets, proudly serves one in three U.S. households and more than 10% of small businesses in the U.S., and is a leading middle market banking provider in the U.S. We provide a diversified set of banking, investment and mortgage products and services, as well as consumer and commercial finance, through our four reportable operating segments: Consumer Banking and Lending, Commercial Banking, Corporate and Investment Banking, and Wealth & Investment Management. Wells Fargo ranked No. 47 on Fortune’s 2023 rankings of America’s largest corporations. In the communities we serve, the company focuses its social impact on building a sustainable, inclusive future for all by supporting housing affordability, small business growth, financial health, and a low-carbon economy. News, insights, and perspectives from Wells Fargo are also available at Wells Fargo Stories.

Additional information may be found at

About The Female Quotient

The Female Quotient (The FQ) is a woman-owned business creating experiences, media, and research for conscious leaders and companies committed to advancing women in the workplace. As an engine of equality, The FQ offers visibility and connections for women at a global scale. The FQ’s signature Equality Lounge® has changed the business agenda at tentpole business conferences including CES, Davos, Cannes Lions, and more. As the Business of Equality®, The FQ’s mission is to change the equation and close the gender gap. For more information on the Business of Equality®, visit and join the equality conversation on social @femalequotient on LinkedIn and Instagram.

SOURCE Wells Fargo

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