Today’s Women are Empowered and Underserved
Landmark 2013 Study Offers Valuable Insights about Women’s Financial Confidence and Strategies for Financial Professionals to help make Stronger Client Connections
MINNEAPOLIS, Feb. 4 2014 – Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America (Allianz Life) today announced the availability of a comprehensive report on its landmark 2013 Women, Money & Power Study. The findings from this study have generated an enormous response in the media and influenced the discussion of financial planning among both financial professionals and consumers. Conducted with more than 2,000 women ages 25-75 with a minimum household income of $30,000 a year, the study found that while women are becoming more financially confident, they still have major gaps when it comes to achieving financial security. In addition, the study revealed the financial industry still has yet to adequately understand women’s needs and preferences for learning about financial planning topics.
“Today’s women told us they have more responsibility for major financial decisions than ever before and increased interest in financial planning,” said Allianz Life Vice President of Consumer Insights Katie Libbe. “Yet, although women are more confident about managing their finances, irrational fears about losing it all and becoming a bag lady remain – evidence that they are still underserved by the financial industry. Some women even said they keep a ‘secret stash’ of money that their spouse or partner does not know about, which reflects these women’s need to protect themselves financially. ”
Empowered: Increased Financial Engagement, Rise of the “Woman of Influence”
American women are clearly more financially confident than ever before. Over half of all women surveyed said they are the chief financial officer of their households and 57% say they have more earning power. In addition, a majority say they primarily handle investment decisions, research retirement ideas, handle tax preparation and teach their children about money. The financial crisis helped drive this trend, with nearly seven in ten (68%) saying they have increased their financial involvement since the crisis.
The rise of the “Woman of Influence” best reflects this trend of growing financial empowerment. One in five fits the profile of women who are actively involved in major investment decisions, understand financial products well and are interested in learning more about financial matters. As a result, they tend to earn more and feel more financially secure. However, the Woman of Influence is not the traditional power woman with a high salary and extensive education. “They can be, but are just as likely to be a stay-at-home mom who manages the family’s financial future,” explains Libbe. Emphasizing this need to be in financial control, a full 17% of these Women of Influence also admitted to keeping a secret stash of money their spouse or partner doesn’t know about.
Bag Lady Syndrome Remains, Challenges of the Modern Family
Women may be feeling more sure-footed financially, but the study found that nearly half of all women (49%) still fear becoming a “bag lady.” The fear is strongest among single (56%) and divorced women (54 %), but is at almost the same level among Women of Influence (46%). The pervasiveness of this worry may point to a deep-set financial insecurity that seems to be particular to women. In fact, the thought of running out of money in retirement is what nearly six in ten women (57%) say keeps them up at night. In addition, the lack of adequate retirement savings was identified as the number-one issue affecting women’s outlook on retirement.
These pressures are also affecting women that are part of today’s modern family – including blended families, same-sex couples, single mothers and multiple generations under one roof – often leaving them too busy to address financial planning strategies. For example, fully 80% of same-sex couples say that their nontraditional family structure creates a whole new level of need for financial awareness. This view is shared by 92% of single mothers, who agree that their situation has increased their need for more financial awareness.
Underserved – Desire for a New Way of Learning
Despite their growing economic power and influence, today’s women still feel underserved by the financial industry. Many believe financial information and materials are geared only toward the wealthy and approximately one in five say their belief that “financial planning is for people that have more money than me” is a major barrier to getting more involved. Sixty-two percent of women still don’t have a financial professional, and among those that do, nearly seven in ten (69%) do not view their financial professional as a go-to source of information on how to spend, save and invest.
Today’s women are looking for a different way to learn about financial topics, and the industry must respond with more attention to service-related issues and more engaging material. “Women prefer a social way of learning and working with a trusted financial professional who understands their unique perspective on financial topics. Allianz Life is committed to helping financial professionals bridge this gap,” noted Libbe.
For more insights from the 2013 Allianz Life Women, Money & Power Study, download a copy of the full 10-page white paper here.
About Allianz Life
Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America, one of FORTUNE’s 100 Best Companies to Work For in 2014, has been keeping its promises since 1896. Today, it carries on that tradition, helping Americans achieve their retirement income and protection goals with a variety of annuities and life insurance products. As a leading provider of fixed index annuities, Allianz Life is part of Allianz SE, a global leader in the financial services industry with 142,000 employees worldwide. More than 78 million private and corporate customers rely on Allianz knowledge, global reach, and capital strength to help them make the most of financial opportunities.