Advisor Authority

Why Are Women Investors Less OptimisticThan Men?

With the market and the economy, their financial outlook contradicts their concerns — and their lack of preparation

The fifth annual Advisor Authority study, from Nationwide, trending attitudes about retirement readiness. See highlights of the report here.

Louisville, KY—July 22, 2019—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%). This is the result of 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 investors[i] 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%).

There is a disconnect between a woman’s degree of concern and her level of preparation - 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...

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.

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.

 

 

 

About Advisor Authority: Methodology
The fifth annual Advisor Authority Survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Nationwide Advisory Solutions from February 15 – March 4, 2019 among 1,021 financial advisors and 824 investors, ages 18+. Among the 1,021 financial advisors, there were 507 Registered Investment Advisors and 514 Broker/Dealers. Among the 824 investors, there were 340 female investors and 484 male investors, and there were 205 Mass Affluent (Household Investable Assets of $100,000 to less than $500,000), 205 Emerging High Net Worth ($500,000 to less than $1 Million), 207 High Net Worth ($1 Million to less than $5 Million) and 207 Ultra High Net Worth ($5 Million or more). Advisors are weighted where necessary by employment status and active management to bring them in line with previous years’ profile. Investors are weighted where necessary by age by gender, race/ethnicity, region, education, income, marital status, household size, investable assets and propensity to be online to bring them in line with their actual proportions in the population.
About The Harris Poll
The Harris Poll is one of the longest running surveys in the U.S. tracking public opinion, motivations and social sentiment since 1963 that is now part of Harris Insights & Analytics, a global consulting and market research firm that delivers social intelligence for transformational times. We work with clients in three primary areas; building twenty-first-century corporate reputation, crafting brand strategy and performance tracking, and earning organic media through public relations research. Our mission is to provide insights and advisory to help leaders make the best decisions possible. To learn more, please visit www.theharrispoll.com.
About Nationwide Advisory Solutions
Nationwide Advisory Solutions is a recognized innovator with a mission to help RIAs and fee-based advisors build their practice by helping their clients to potentially accumulate more wealth and reach their financial goals. Nationwide Advisory Solutions does this by developing and delivering value-added investment products, services and technologies that dovetail with fiduciary obligations—wrapped in an industry-leading customer experience. To learn more, please visit www.nationwideadvisory.com
About Nationwide
Nationwide, a Fortune 100 company based in Columbus, Ohio, is one of the largest and strongest diversified insurance and financial services organizations in the United States. Nationwide is rated A+ by both A.M. Best and Standard & Poor’s. An industry leader in driving customer-focused innovation, Nationwide provides a full range of insurance and financial services products including auto, business, homeowners, farm and life insurance; public and private sector retirement plans, annuities and mutual funds; excess & surplus, specialty and surety; pet, motorcycle and boat insurance. For more information, visit www.nationwide.com. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.