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Industry Spotlight > Women in Wealth

Women Value Financial Self-Reliance: MetLife

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Women of all ages are placing a higher priority on self-reliance in finance, according to a report released Thursday by MetLife Mature Market Institute. However, the report, “Women’s Views on Family Financial Obligations,” also found that providing for children though inheritances and education rated as a high priority.

Boomer women, those between ages 47 and 65, are especially likely to say it’s important to prepare for retirement to avoid depending on family members. They are also more likely to say they are financially secure than other generations. Respondents’ desire for self-reliance extends to a reluctance to ask for help too. Although respondents agreed they would help a family member who needed financial assistance, 45% of boomer women said they wouldn’t take help even if they needed it.

“What’s apparent from this study is that having a plan for independence is important for family financial security, especially for women as they age; many clearly don’t want to rely on their families,” Sandra Timmermann, Ed.D., director of the MetLife Mature Market Institute, said in a statement.

Approximately half of women surveyed said they feel responsible for providing for their children’s education. Gen Y women, those between ages 21 and 34, were especially apt to do so. Women’s largesse stops at their children, though. Just 8% of boomer women said they feel responsible for contributing to a grandchild’s education; 15% of Gen Y women and 13% of Gen X women agree.

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The survey found, however, that as women get older, they admit they’ve contributed significant amounts to their children and are ready to focus on their own needs.

Life insurance is a key component to ensuring family security, MetLife found. Boomers are more likely to say they have life insurance to support a spouse if needed, while Gen Y and Gen X women have life insurance to protect their children.

Harris Interactive conducted the survey for MetLife by polling over 1,000 women in an online survey. Responses were collected in June and July among respondents with at least $40,000 if they were older than 35. The income level for Gen Y respondents was $30,000.