Women, Money & Power Study Finds Younger Women Both Engaged and Confused
MINNEAPOLIS, Nov. 20, 2013 – Although millennial women are eager to learn about personal finance and take responsibility for their financial future, they also show a surprising lack of confidence in taking financial planning action, according to the 2013 Women, Money & Power Study* from Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America (Allianz Life). The youngest women surveyed (ages 25-34) indicated the highest level of interest among all age groups in learning about personal finance topics, including financial planning and investing, complex financial concepts and even retirement planning. However, the perception that they have a lower level of confidence in taking action was also evident, with a lack of professional guidance and their relationship status as factors holding them back.
Among all age groups surveyed, the study found that millennial women were the most interested in learning about “financial planning and investing” (69% versus the next highest age group, 65% for ages 35-44) and also “learning complex financial topics like compound interest, market capitalization, debt ratios and bond ratings,” (57% versus the next highest age group, 56% for ages 45-54). In addition, younger women had significantly higher interest in retirement planning than the next closest age group, with 77% of millennial women reporting interest versus 66% for the next highest group, ages 35-44.
“It’s encouraging to see younger women so interested in personal finance, but these women really need to follow up that curiosity with an action plan that will help them feel more secure,” said Katie Libbe, vice president of Consumer Insights for Allianz Life. “Age or relationship status should not be a barrier to building the foundation for a sound financial future. It’s never too early to start financial planning.”
The 2013 Women, Money & Power Study was conducted with more than 2,000 women ages 25-75 with a minimum household income of $30,000 a year.
Perceived Lack of Confidence
Unfortunately, the 2013 study found that many young women lack the professional guidance to help them take the next step. Millennial women reported the lowest level of professional guidance with more than eight in 10 (84%) saying they currently do not work with a financial professional, significantly higher than the next highest age group (ages 35-44), at 68%. However, even if they do work with a financial professional, most younger women are confused about what financial knowledge they need. More than four in 10 (44%) millennial women say they “don’t know what to ask for” when seeking financial information, 8 percent more than the next highest age group (36% for ages 35-44).
Perhaps more worrisome, many millennial women cited their relationship status as a major factor keeping them from serious financial planning. Nearly half (49%) said that being single allowed them to put off any serious thinking about financial planning, the highest of any age group (35-44 was the next highest at 40%). But those in a relationship were also taking less responsibility, with 39% of millennial respondents saying they focus on saving money and let their husband/partner do the investing, also the highest among all age groups (65-75 was the next highest at 34%).
Bag Lady Fears Highest Among Millennial Women
This lack of confidence also had a profound effect on their outlook for the future. When asked if they “often” worry about losing all their money and becoming a “bag lady,” the highest response came from the youngest age group, with 12% of respondents ages 25-34 noting a high level of concern – versus only 10% for the next highest group, ages 35-44. In total, 53% of millennial women said they sometimes or often worry about becoming a bag lady, higher than the average among all other respondents (47%).
Tips for Millennial Women to Take Action
According to Libbe, millennial women can take specific steps to gain more confidence with financial planning:
- Set and stick to a budget: Figure out how much money you need for essentials and how much is left over to save and invest. Setting a budget is a crucial part of this process.
- Start saving today: Build your retirement nest egg today. Younger people may find this difficult with a limited income, but the more you save now, the greater the potential effect of compounding.
- Invest in your company’s retirement plan: You’re leaving money on the table if you’re not contributing enough to maximize your company’s 401(k) match. Although it feels like a challenge now, your 401(k) saving can pay off in the future.
- Find a financial professional: Many young people feel they don’t have enough money to work with a financial professional. In reality, many professionals are happy to help younger clients. Take the time to research and interview potential candidates until you find the one who’s right for you and your situation.
About Allianz Life
Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America, one of FORTUNE’s 100 Best Companies to Work For in 2013, 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.