The Prudential Women and Money Study: 10 Years On
The 10th anniversary edition of Prudential’s Financial Experience & Behaviors Among Women shares some common themes with earlier waves of the study, and also reveals some interesting new trends and opportunities, including:
- Women are more involved than ever in their households’ investment and financial decisionmaking.
- The economic crisis has heightened women’s recognition of the need to develop a financial plan that will meet long-term financial goals.
- Women are not confident about making financial decisions, and do not fully understand many of the increasingly sophisticated financial products that are available.
- However, women are optimistic about the future and have a strong desire for financial education and guidance.
Although most financial decisions are a shared responsibility, one-quarter of women surveyed are the primary financial decision-makers in their households.
- Nearly seven in 10 of those surveyed are employed, and nearly three-fourths have college degrees or higher, with savings and assets of $100K or more.
- A full 95% indicate that they are directly involved in their households’ financial decision-making; 25% are the primary decision-makers. Eighty-four percent of married women say they are involved in financial and retirement planning and, of these, 15% have sole responsibility.
Despite the financial setbacks of the economic crisis and concern about continued volatility, more than half remain optimistic about the country’s economic recovery.
- This optimism is also reflected in women’s evaluation of their own circumstances.
- Although a majority of [US] women (55%) now believe that they will need to work longer than they expected, and, as a result, postpone their retirement, threefourths believe that they are financially on track to meet their long-term goals, or are well-positioned to catch up. Many women still lack confidence in their ability to make sound financial decisions, and lack knowledge about sophisticated financial products.
- Fewer than two in 10 women feel “very prepared” to make wise financial decisions. Half indicate that they “need some help,” and one-third feel that they “need a lot of help.”
- Nearly nine in 10 of those who are looking for a lot of help need guidance on how to choose financial products that meet their needs. They say their knowledge of annuities, mutual funds, and individual securities is limited. Just one-third of women have a detailed financial plan in place, and, among the youngest segment (ages 25-34), just one in 10 has a financial plan in place.
- Barriers to developing a detailed financial plan include lack of time, the pull to meet shorter-term financial obligations, lack of knowledge, and for many, an unmet desire for assistance and help. More than half of those surveyed are very willing to have retirement planning decisions made by others.
- This wish is often complicated by a lack of trust, as only 19% are very comfortable letting a financial professional lead their financial planning.
- Over six in 10 rely on family and friends, rather than financial professionals, for investment information.
- Yet those who currently use financial advisors are more likely to feel that they are financially on track than those who go it alone. The financial crisis created a wake-up call. The need for a trusted financial partner has never been greater.
- Women are looking for help in preparing for a secure future.
- Financial firms and advisors must redouble their efforts to build trust, and be prepared to address sensitive family issues such as the need for assisted living care.
Read the complete report at