Women and Wealth: What You Need to Know

Jacqueline Runnberg, CFP®, Vice President/Wealth Advisor

Jacqueline Runnberg“Girl power!” isn’t just an empowered cry from the 1990s girl band rock scene. It speaks to the current reality: the growing influence of women as wealth creators and decision makers.

Today, women are more likely to achieve higher levels of education and participate in the workforce at a similar rate to men. They also head up a growing number of households due to divorce, lifestyle choices and longer lifespans. In fact, it’s estimated that 95 percent of women will be their family’s primary financial decision maker at some point in their lives.[1]

In the U.S., women currently control about $11.2 trillion—39 percent of this country’s investable assets.[2] By 2030, it’s expected that at least two-thirds of the nation’s wealth will be in the hands of women.[3]

Yet for all this financial firepower, women tend to lag men when it comes to planning for their financial futures.

What Makes It Different for Women

When it comes to investing, women are said to be more conservative investors who are generally inclined to take less risk. This isn’t entirely a bad thing—men generally take too much risk. But, being too conservative can leave women unprepared to meet their income and health care needs later in life.

Unlike men, women also tend to put more emphasis on objectives and planning and are better savers. These are also very good tendencies for ensuring that wealth takes care of family members. But often, this planning isn’t being expanded to accommodate their own needs, needs that arise from longer life spans.[4]

Thinking About Tomorrow

Runnberg InfographicAmong the realities we try to make our clients more aware of is that women tend to live longer, which leads to the need for their invested wealth to last longer. Women often outlive their husbands. And if they are single, their longer life span makes them even more vulnerable to the high cost of health care than men and puts them in even greater need for planning.

Addressing these issues can extend beyond money. It can require a Plan B, should it not be feasible to count on other family members to step in if a single or widowed woman becomes incapacitated.

As part of a bank trust company, we can provide more encompassing services than many financial advisors. These include serving as a trustee, settling estates and ensuring bills are paid and medical and household services are received when a client becomes temporarily or permanently incapacitated.

It’s all part of the holistic range of services we can provide our clients to help them feel empowered, confident and secure when it comes to talking about, understanding and then planning and investing for their family’s future needs as well as their own.

[1] Heather R. Ettinger and Eileen M. O’Connor, “Women of Wealth: Why Does the Financial Services Industry Still Not Hear Them,” Family Wealth Advisors Council, 2011.
[2] Sylvia Ann Hewlett and Andrea Turner Moffitt with Melinda Marshall, “Harnessing the Power of the Purse: Female Investors and Global Opportunities for Growth,” Center for Talent Innovation, 2014.
[3] Heather R. Ettinger and Eileen M. O’Connor, “Women of Wealth Study: Why Does the Financial Services Industry Still Not Hear Them,” Family Wealthy Advisors Council, 2011.
[4] Jean Chatzky, “Why women are better investors than men,” fortune.com, posted April 10, 2015, retrieved September 18, 2015.

Non-deposit investment products are not insured by the FDIC; not a deposit of, or guaranteed by, the bank; may lose value.

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