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“Women of Influence” Fear a Destitute Old Age

July 16, 2013

Allianz Life has invented a new name for a market many advisors would like to crack: “women of influence.” The phrase is part of the insurance company’s 2013 “Women, Money, and Power Study,” which surveyed 2,200 North American women aged 25 to 75 with household income of $30,000 or higher. While it describes women in general as “empowered and underserved,” the study is intended to highlight the needs of respondents with somewhat more income — $57,000 on average — and more say in household investments.

According to the results, “women of influence” put a higher-than-average value on being financially knowledgeable and are 37% more likely to work with a professional to manage their savings and investments than is the norm for women generally. But rich or poor, women seem to be taking greater responsibility for their financial well-being. More than half of married women in the survey reported being the “chief financial officer of their household,” and 57% of all respondents make investment decisions themselves.

Even among wealthier, better-educated women, significant numbers apparently worry about winding up homeless: 27% of women earning $200,000 and up say they fear becoming a bag lady in old age, and for the full sample that percentage rises to 49%. Among all women, 85% said they want to learn more about how to maintain their lifestyle after retirement, and the same percentage want to know how to guarantee income for life.

As an insurer, Allianz clearly phrased its questions in such a way as to bring annuities and similar products to mind. Still, the study results serve as a reminder to advisors in all channels that a significant chunk of the population might benefit from more financial guidance.

By Joan Warner