A report released Jan. 31 by the Insured Retirement Institute found women were a "highly addressable, yet untapped" market for retirement. Half of women surveyed said they needed help in some areas of managing their finances, up from 33% in 2004.

"From managing a corporate bottom line, to determining the family finances, women increasingly are the decision makers when it comes to important financial situations," said IRI President and CEO Cathy Weatherford, in a press release. "Yet our report shows that as they look toward their retirement, they are less confident, citing concerns about outliving their retirement savings. Financial professionals have an opportunity to address this retirement apprehension, but they need to consider the unique priorities women have when selecting an advisor."

More than half of women are employed in management or professional occupations. The vast majority (95%) say they are the financial decision maker in their household and almost 26% earn more than their husbands. Furthermore, almost half of investors with at least $500,000 in investable assets are women.

Six out of 10 respondents said trust and respect were top factors in selecting a financial advisor. Between 80% and 90% place a "high value on income, principal or investment guarantees during retirement."

"Interactions must be personal, and a holistic planning approach is paramount to women — but it must include the protection of both principal and earnings," Weatherford added. "By incorporating guaranteed retirement income strategies within a retirement plan, advisors can help address the potential retirement shortfalls that face even the most affluent women."

Women can expect to live on average three to four times longer than men, with anywhere between 56% and 82% of the income of the their male counterparts.