Industry Spotlight > Women in Wealth

Northwestern Mutual: Women Cautiously Take Control of Finances

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Currently, women are starting businesses at twice the rate of men, they are more likely to graduate from college and hold a graduate degree and, in many cases, they are the principal decision-makers of household finances.

Yet, and perhaps because of the strides women have made, there is a palpable sense that their financial planning needs improvement, according to a recent Northwestern Mutual study.

Possibly because of their evolving role as financial guardians women are more likely than men to see room for improvement; the study found that women are more likely than men to feel that their financial planning needs to progress (63% vs 54%). Women are also more likely than men to consider themselves “informal” planners (41% vs 35%) and notably, women feel less financially prepared to reach age 75 (48% vs 65%), 85 (37% vs 55%) and 95 (30% vs 43%).

The study also found that women have a much more cautious approach to their finances than their male counterparts. Women are more likely to prefer investments with safer albeit lower returns as opposed to high risk, high return strategies (44% vs. 35%). However, both sexes showed interest in safe investments for their savings with respondents agreeing with the adage: slow and steady wins the race.

 “There are some good signs here- particularly in women’s recognition that their financial planning needs more attention. But as is the case with everyone we surveyed, not just women, there is a distinct need to bring more focus and discipline to the financial planning process,”said Rebekah Barsch, Northwestern Mutual vice president.