Women Have Confidence, Concerns About Finances

March 27, 2013 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – Women feel more empowered about financial planning and feel more responsible for their financial decisions, says a recent study from Allianz Life.

According to the “2013 Women, Money & Power Study,” 57% of women said they both “have more earning power than ever before” and also “handle major investment decisions and retirement planning.” More than half (55%) noted they take the lead in suggesting new investing or retirement ideas, and 60% said they are responsible for handling tax preparation and planning. 

Despite this confidence, the study also found women have concerns about their financial future. Although 60% of women said they are the primary breadwinner in their household and more than half (54%) of respondents describe themselves as the “household CFO”, nearly half of women (49%) sometimes fear becoming a financial burden to their families as they grow older. More than one-quarter (27%) of those earning more than $200,000 per year have this fear. 

In addition to concerns about becoming a financial burden, a majority of women still have significant concerns about retirement planning and their level of preparedness for retirement. When asked what key issues will have the greatest effect on their retirement outlook, “lack of adequate retirement savings” was the highest ranked by 43% of women, besting other economic concerns such as “the future of Social Security,” “rising health care costs,” “unemployment,” and “tax changes.” Similarly, retirement is also the worry that keeps most women up at night. Second only to loss of spouse/significant other, “running out of money in retirement” is a worry that keeps 57% of women up at night and is the number one worry for single and divorced women. 

Overall, the study found the financial crisis of 2008 to 2009 was a major driver of behavioral change. Seven in ten women (68%) said they increased their financial involvement since the crisis, particularly women ages 45 to 54 (72%) and widows (75%). Yet, despite the increased involvement after 2008, 43% of women said they do not feel any smarter about how to manage their money than before the crash. That feeling was shared by 36% of women with the highest income (household income of $200,000 or more). 

More than 90% of women agreed that women need to be significantly more involved in financial planning than in the past, with the highest response (96%) coming from divorced women. Sixty-seven percent of women said that becoming more knowledgeable and involved in managing their finances has improved the quality of their life, with the highest response (71%) coming from single women. 

“Allianz Life is dedicated to the mission of achieving financial literacy and independence for every American, so we’re especially keen to design solutions that are relevant, responsive, and sensitive to helping women accomplish greater financial security,” said Allianz Life Vice President of Consumer Insights Katie Libbe. 

The study was conducted with more than 2,200 women, ages 25 to 75, with a minimum household income of $30,000 a year.