The main conclusions of this survey is that the first layer of savings is the most important, and that less than one in five Luxembourg residents has experienced a negative financial impact from the pandemic while a majority has fared better than before so far, at least financially. The main lesson, though, is about gender: women residing in Luxembourg today seem to have grown up with less affinity to money than their male counterparts from an early age. Additionally, it would appear that they were given less opportunities to practice in dealing with money and that over the course of their careers, they globally earn significantly less than men as they experience fewer years of full time employment. All these factors may explain why women are able to put less money aside, why they are less confident in their ability to invest money, and why they are reluctant to invest in growth assets, all of which combines to explain why their net worth grows far more slowly than men’s in the long run.
These findings suggest that widely recommended measures such as sharing parental leave, avoiding salary discrimination, not penalising maternity leave etc., while important in their own right, may not be sufficient to reduce the financial gender gap because they start relatively late in women’s lives, after their “financial mind set” is more or less fully formed. To really break the loop, investing in childhood and adolescent financial education, especially for girls, and ensuring an equal opportunity early on to develop an affinity with paid work and money are promising avenues, as necessary as they are overlooked.