Female 401k Participants are Not a Niche!

More married women report being primary breadwinner

She knows what she's doing, he doesn't.She knows what she's doing, he doesn't.

Hard to believe, in this day and age, that too many financial and 401k advisors still treat women as an afterthought, or a “niche’ in which to specialize. If that’s how you think of them, here’s why it’s a very bad idea.

A majority of women (51 percent) claim they are the chief financial officer of their households, and more married women report being the primary breadwinner of the family. Additionally, 53 percent report they either have a “great deal of responsibility” or they “do it all” when managing the household’s long-term savings and investments, according to a new study.

The latest Allianz Women, Money, and Power Study nonetheless finds that despite having such a large impact on household finances, the number of those who say they “have more earning power than they’ve ever had” has sadly decreased to 50 percent when compared with 57 percent in 2013.

Factoring into this perceived decline in earning power, less than half claim they have “leaned in” at work by asking for a raise or promotion they thought they deserved.

“Women are taking a larger role in managing household finances and are gaining more responsibility for the financial success of their family,” Allianz Life Vice President of Consumer Insights Katie Libbe said in a statement. “The savviness that women exhibit with their household finances can translate to being more assertive and having confidence to take risks in their careers.”

Financially Stable but Lacking Certainty

The study also found the majority feel they are more financially savvy than their spouse or partner, and nearly seven out of 10 respondents report that becoming more knowledgeable and involved in managing finances made a difference in their quality of life.

However, while 68 percent say they feel financially secure, many women still report uncertainty about their financial decisions.

“While women may be satisfied with their current financial situation, having more financial knowledge can help build a better future and instill confidence,” Libbe added. “By utilizing available resources or working with a financial professional, women can gain the insight they need to achieve financial security.”

Having the Right Support

Even though most claim they are financially savvy, nearly two-thirds report financial information and the various investment options available to them can be overwhelming. Additionally, running out of money in retirement and managing the rising costs of health insurance remain the top worries that keep women up at night.

Having the right support can make a major difference. Thirty percent of women report using a financial professional for guidance, and 75 percent of those wish they had done it sooner. Still, many women feel left out of the financial planning conversation.

More than half claim the professional treats their spouse/partner as the decision-maker, and this happens regardless of whether the financial professional is male or female. Choosing a financial professional who understands the needs of the modern family and can help sift through investment choices is a key factor for women.

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