A study released Friday by Merrill Lynch in partnership with Age Wave acknowledges progress women have made personally, professionally and financially, but finds much more needs to be done to level the financial playing field.
Seventy percent of women in the study maintained that women and men have a fundamentally different life journey, reinforcing the need to better understand women’s financial concerns and opportunities, according to Merrill.
“As women are at a tipping point to achieve greater financial empowerment and independence, it is even more essential that we support women in helping them pursue financial security for life,” Lorna Sabbia, head of retirement and personal wealth solutions for Bank of America Merrill Lynch, said in a statement.
“This includes encouraging women to invest more of their assets, save earlier for retirement, and pursue financial solutions that closely align to their personal values and life paths.”
Kantar TNS surveyed 3,707 American adults between Oct. 25 and Nov. 22, 2017. The sample included 2,638 women and 1,069 men across all geographies and education, income and asset levels.
The survey found that women care a lot about investment performance, but also look at money as a way to finance the lives they want. Seventy-seven percent of respondents saw money in terms of what it can do for them and their families.
Eighty-four percent said understanding their finances was key to greater career flexibility. And when it comes to investing, Merrill said about two-thirds of women looked to invest in causes that matter to them, citing a 2017 U.S. Trust report.
Longevity is an especially important factor in women’s financial strategy, given that on average they outlive men by five years. Although 64% of women in the survey said they would like to live to 100, three in five feared they would run out of money.
Worse, 44% said they worried that they would run out of money by age 80.
According to the survey results, 41% of women said not investing more was their biggest regret. Sixty percent of women cited lack of knowledge as the main barrier and 34% lack of confidence.
The survey also showed that confidence can lead to action. Although a big majority of women said they were confident in most financial tasks, such as budgeting and paying bills, their confidence plummeted when it came to managing investments: 52% of women in the sample — and just 46% of millennial women — compared with 68% of male respondents.
However, the 77% of women who said they did invest expected to accumulate enough money to support themselves for life.