Overall, women are feeling much more insecure about their financial future than men, although women of younger generations are more optimistic about the subject than older ones, according to a recent study published by Northwestern Mutual.

In a company survey of 2,740 U.S. adults performed earlier this year, only 43% of women said they felt financially secure compared with 59% of men. In addition, only 44% of women believe they will be financially prepared for retirement while 61% of men say they would be, according to the Northwestern Mutual’s report, called the “2023 Planning & Progress Study.”

Firms have been making efforts recently to involve women more in financial discussions, and Northwestern Mutual urges advisors to include women in those talks when working with families, according to Veronica Fuentes, a Washington, D.C.-based managing director at the company.

Despite the numbers, the outreach toward women has not been in vain, according to Fuentes. Many women are taking their financial future seriously. However, it might be their thoroughness that prevents them from fully embracing their financial plans.

“They might completely be confident in their plan, but they always want that double check or that reassurance that they’re still on track as time goes on,” she said.

While women say they are overall less confident than men, a look at different generations reveals the level of confidence varies by age group.

Female members of Generation Z are the most confident, as 59% believe they will be financially prepared for retirement. Only 48% of baby boomers and older women feel that way, while 43% of millennials and 38% of Generation Xers feel prepared, the study found.

A primary reason for the discrepancy in confidence is the amount of involvement each generation has in financial preparedness for retirement. It’s the younger generations who believe they need to prepare their financial planning, according to the study. Overall, it found that 66% of women said their financial plan needs improvement, but younger women were most inclined to agree with that statement, something echoed by 79% of Generation Z females and 76% of millennial females.

“I’ve always seen that the younger generations—meaning the Gen Zers and the millennials—especially coming out of the pandemic are hungry for information and being financially prepared for the future,” Fuentes said. “Sometimes the Gen Xers that I work with feel like they’re behind.”

One advantage is the greater access younger people have to information, she said; younger generations have greater opportunities to learn about finance than their Generation X or baby boomer counterparts did.

“I think the amount of information that might have been available when [baby boomers and Generation X] were in their teens or early 20s wasn’t the same as it is today,” Fuentes said.

Another factor is that younger generations are more willing to talk with non-financial advisors about their finances and seek advice from untraditional sources.

“I think the younger generations are more open to having financial conversations and money conversations with their friends,” Fuentes said. “The openness that the younger generation has allows more information to flow and for more questions and answers to come from just having open conversations.”

That influences the likelihood that people from any generation will have a financial plan, the study found. Overall, 58% of the women surveyed said they do not have a long-term financial plan. But when the different age groups are looked at, 67% of Generation X women said they did not have one, while 52% of Generation Z and millennial women said they didn’t have one, and 57% of women who are boomers and older said so.

It is not too late for anyone to start planning for retirement, regardless of the generation they are from, according to Fuentes. Advisors can help them establish a plan to get them ready for retirement, she said.

“I think that my best piece of advice is that advisors need to listen to what the concerns are or where the anxiety is coming from for each particular woman because each woman is different,” she said.

Harris Poll conducted the online survey of 2,740 U.S. adults for Northwestern Mutual between February 17 and March 2. It included 1,253 men and 1,438 women.