Regardless of affluence or access to a financial advisor, women’ financial outlook contradicts their concernsA new Nationwide study polls 1600 RIAs to gauge the mood of America’s investors
LOUISVILLE, Ky., July 22, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — While women investors are slightly more likely than men investors to have an optimistic financial outlook for 2019 (56% vs 53%), women are clearly less optimistic than men about the US stock market in 2019 (36% vs 50%) and the US economy (35% vs 48%), according to the fifth annual Advisor Authority study of roughly 1,600 RIAs, fee-based advisors and individual investors commissioned by Nationwide Advisory Solutions and conducted online by The Harris Poll. Women investors are also less financially prepared, and these gaps in optimism and preparation persist, regardless of a woman’s decision to work with an advisor or her net worth.
“There is a disconnect between a woman’s degree of concern and her level of preparation—regardless of her access to an advisor—and the tension is clearly highlighted in Nationwide Advisory Solutions’ Advisor Authority study,” said Kristi Rodriguez, leader of the Nationwide Retirement Institute. “It’s clear that women are highly attuned to the uncertainty in the market and the economy, and that they need more help to protect against these potential risks.”
Less Optimistic, More Concerned—and Less Prepared
Given their less optimistic outlook for the markets and the economy, it follows that women investors are somewhat more concerned than men investors about a US bear market (57% vs 51%) and a US economic recession over the next 12 months (60% vs 57%). Two-thirds of women and men investors (66%) anticipate that market volatility will increase over the next 12 months. Likewise, women are nearly as likely as men to say that protecting assets is among their top financial concerns (26% vs 28%). Yet despite an obvious need, women are far less likely than men to have a strategy in place to protect their assets against market risk (56% vs 71%).
Women investors are also somewhat more likely than men investors to say that outliving retirement savings is a top financial concern (15% vs 9%) but are far less likely than men to have a strategy in place to help protect against outliving their savings (62% vs 76%). Women and men both say that Social Security is their top solution, but women are far more reliant than men (78% vs 66%) on Social Security to help protect themselves against outliving savings. Women are also far less likely than men to use other guaranteed income solutions to protect against outliving savings, such as deferred income annuities (DIAs; 6% vs 18%) and qualified longevity annuity contracts (QLACs; 5% vs 14%), and somewhat less likely to use single premium immediate annuities (10% vs 14%).
“As seen year over year, more women are seeking the help of advisors to solve their concerns, from protecting assets and saving for retirement, to managing volatility,” said Craig Hawley, Head of Nationwide Advisory Solutions. “These advisors have an opportunity—and a responsibility—to understand women’s needs and help them establish a holistic plan that can help them manage through the current uncertainty while helping them remain focused on long-term goals.”
Gaps Persist Regardless of Access to Advisor or Affluence
The percentage of women investors working with a financial advisor has increased 14 percentage points between 2016 (44%) and 2019 (58%). Still, women are somewhat less likely to work with a financial advisor than men (58% vs 64%). Even when women work with an advisor, this optimism gap persists. Women investors with an advisor are somewhat less likely than men investors with an advisor to say their outlook for the US market over the next 12 months is optimistic (41% vs 55%) and are far less likely to say their outlook for the US economy over the next 12 months is optimistic (34% vs 52%). In turn, over the next 12 months, they are somewhat more likely to anticipate that market volatility will increase (70% vs 66%), be concerned about a US bear market (65% vs 53%) and be concerned about a US economic recession (69% vs 60%).
The optimism gap narrows for more affluent investorsi but is still apparent. More affluent women investors are somewhat less likely than more affluent men investors to say their outlook for the US market (44% vs 55%) and US economy (48% vs 57%) over the next 12 months is optimistic. In turn, they are somewhat more likely to anticipate that market volatility will increase (65% vs 59%) and be concerned about a US bear market (61% vs 56%), but only marginally more concerned about a US economic recession (61% vs 60%).
The preparation gap also persists, regardless of access to an advisor or affluence. Even women investors with an advisor are somewhat less likely than men investors with an advisor to have a strategy in place to protect their assets against market risk (63% vs 74%) and to have a strategy in place to help protect against outliving their savings (68% vs 79%). Meanwhile, more affluent women investors are also far more likely than more affluent men investors to say that protecting their assets is a top concern (45% vs 31%), yet they are still somewhat less likely to have a strategy in place to protect their assets against market risk (75% vs 81%). While more affluent investors are the cohort most likely to have a strategy in place to help protect against outliving their savings, more affluent women investors are still marginally less likely than more affluent men investors to have such a strategy (86% vs 88%).
For additional insights on women investors, download the latest infographic from the fifth annual Advisor Authority study here.
The fifth annual Advisor Authority study explores the investing and advising issues confronting RIAs, fee-based advisors and investors—and the innovative techniques that they need to succeed in today’s complex market. These latest findings are to be followed by a series of ongoing reports that will be released through the first quarter of 2020.