Women are taking their hard-earned place among the family breadwinners and financial decision-makers, according to new research by Prudential.
The majority of women surveyed for “Financial Experience & Behaviors among Women” were the primary breadwinners in their households, with 40 percent of female respondents being single. A quarter of married women earn higher incomes than their spouses or partners.
But even though a large number of women are in charge of their family’s finances, only 23 percent of women breadwinners said they are well prepared to make financial decisions, compared to 45 percent of their male counterparts.
As with other studies on women and finances, Prudential’s research found that women’s financial priorities are different than men’s. They are more collaborative in their decision making, more focused on household expenses and concerned about not becoming a financial burden to loved ones and passing money on to their heirs. This tendency can compromise their families’ financial futures.
The women surveyed were also less confident they would be able to meet their financial goals and less prepared to make wise financial decisions. They are twice as likely as men to describe themselves as financial beginners. The report also found that most women do not work with financial advisors, but those who do have higher assets and more diversified portfolios, greater confidence and are better prepared to meet their financial goals.
The study, which looked at different female demographics, found that Asian American women are more likely to use a financial advisor and that African American women are the most open to using an advisor in the future. A high proportion of Asian and African American women are employed full time and, compared to other women, these two groups also are more confident they will achieve their financial goals.
Women under 35 said they have well-defined goals for their financial future, but they are less likely than female Baby Boomers to say they are well prepared to make wise financial decisions. Younger women do see financial decision making as their own responsibility and show strong interest in receiving financial advice.
Both groups feel unprepared for retirement and many haven’t started planning for retirement.