Men may be limiting their partner’s financial success without realizing it, a study released Tuesday by Fidelity found.
Just 42% of couples interact equally with their financial advisor, and men are 58% more likely to be the primary contact.
The 2013 Couples Retirement Study surveyed more than 800 couples who work with a financial advisor. Respondents were at least 25 years old and, if not married, in a long-term committed relationship living with their significant other.
Women, especially young women, were more than twice as likely as men to say they were not the primary contact in their advisor relationship. More than 30% of all women said their significant other drove the advisor relationship; 41% of Gen Y women agreed, compared with 33% of Gen X women and 28% of boomer women.
“Men reported that they are afraid of leaving their partners financially unprepared should they need to manage the finances themselves,” Jylanne Dunne, senior vice president of practice management and consulting for Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services, said in a statement. “What they may not realize is that by driving their households’ relationship with their financial advisors, they could be unintentionally turning this fear into reality. The good news is that there are simple steps couples can take to attempt to align their financial future and prepare for a smooth transition – and advisors can play a critical role in that process.”
According to Brian Nelson, vice president of practice management for National Financial, Fidelity’s clearing division, women aren’t unwilling to take the lead in their family’s financial strategy. Indeed, only 15% of women said they weren’t interested in interacting with their advisor.
“According to the study, women are interested in working with an advisor, but they say they hand over the reins because they trust their partner,” he said in a statement.
The study found 53% of women said trust in their significant other was their reason for letting them lead the relationship with their advisor. However, a third of women said it was because their partner had a personal relationship with their advisor.
“This may not only create instability for the family, but also for the advisor-client relationship,” Nelson said. “While our study found that eight in 10 women do not intend to fire their advisor upon their partner’s death, when reality hits and there is no relationship in place, many do. An advisor’s bond with both members of a couple can be key to bridging this gap between intent and reality.”