Women are lagging behind men when it comes to financial knowledge and those with children or in a relationship score lower than those who are single or child-free.
Research by the Commission for Financial Capability (CFFC) - the Government's money education arm - found across men and women only 22 per cent of those who undertook an OECD-INFE financial knowledge test got all the answers right.
But twice as many men as women answered all the questions correctly in the survey which questioned 3132 New Zealanders.
While men and women had the same score at a young age, the research found men increased their financial knowledge more with age and women did not catch up.
Women who have children have a lower financial knowledge score than women without
children, and single women with no children have a higher financial knowledge score than
women in a relationship.
The gap between men and women was largest when it came to understanding simple and compound interest - concepts that help people understand how much their debt or savings and investments will grow by over time.
Jane Wrightson, the Retirement Commissioner and head of the CFFC, said she thought the cause of the gap was a mixture of psychological and practical reasons.
"There is a tendency for women not to be motivated by money per se and not to necessarily make the connection that building money can get them their own goals."
She said older generations of women may also have had no financial training.
"Women generally speaking unless you went into a profession had no financial training at all formally even though they were often in charge of the family budget or their own budget.
"I think the older skew is because of the older cohort of women full-stop. If the trend was the same in 20 years then that would be much more concerning."
But she said it was still disappointing to have a gap in today's era.
"I think what is disappointing to me is I would have fully expected a survey like this at the beginning of my career last century. I am still slightly surprised it's the same - we've got a large chunk of women who have careers and exposure to a wide range of business activity and what does it mean? I think they look at their individual life and don't connect very clearly what financial capability can contribute to it."
The gap was the same across all ethnicities which Wrightson said was unusual and showed it was a gender issue.
Wrightson believed the language used by the financial advice industry, which was still male dominated, was also a barrier.
"The whole language that permeates the financial advice industry is quite aggressive - I think they are thinking quite hard about this now.
"When you are talking about beating and building and conquering and tackling and all that kind of macho stuff ... you don't often hear nurture your future self by improving your financial capability."
Wrightson said it was easy to default to saying the gap was about lack of confidence.
"If we are not careful that then talks of women as if we are just shy and retiring creatures. "I don't think it is really about that."
To tackle the issue Wrightson said it would be rolling out a Sorted women course next year, ensuring the language used on the sorted website was gender neutral and it was also looking at whether it needed a specific section on the website for women.
Wrightson said she was also considering gender analysis of its Sorted in schools programme to look at how many girls' schools the programme was in.
"If you learn it early then you set the path."
She said the Sorted women course would be taught by women using female friendly examples.
Wrightson said the best piece of advice she could give women worried about their financial know-how was "feel the fear and do it anyway".
"There is not much harm you can do by equipping yourself."