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4 in 5 Women Are Under Financial Stress: Fidelity

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What You Need to Know

  • The pandemic has prompted many women to take greater control of their financial future.
  • Women's long-term priorities include bolstering retirement savings and investing outside retirement.
  • The Women Talk Money experience includes 31 days of activities and events in March.

In the year since the onset of the pandemic, women continue to report stress around their finances, job security and long-term savings, according to a report released this week by Fidelity Investments.

Fidelity announced the rollout of Women Talk Money, a virtual pop-up experience that features 31 days of events and activities and two live marquee events in March, all designed to help women take a fresh look at their finances and connect with the guidance. The experience is free and available to everyone. 

Weight of Financial Stress

A Fidelity survey conducted in early February among 2,007 U.S. adults found that 79% of women were experiencing financial stress, up from 67% in October.

Even as they were reporting feelings of financial stress, 71% of women surveyed said they planned to take action with their money in the next six months. Their short-term priorities include paying down debt, creating or reviewing a budget and creating a financial plan.

Longer-term priorities focus on bolstering their retirement savings and starting to invest outside retirement.

“Perhaps one silver lining from the events of the past year is the desire of so many women to take greater control over their financial lives,” Kathleen Murphy, president of personal investing at Fidelity Investments, said in a statement. 

“We saw this first-hand as annual retail account openings by women grew by an unprecedented 41%,” Murphy said, basing that figure on Fidelity customer data, representing a year-over-year percentage increase in new retail accounts opened by women in 2020 versus 2019. 

At the same time they intend to proactively address their finances, 58% of female survey participants said they wanted help in doing so, including 77% of millennials whose main focus is investing outside retirement.

More on this topic

Gen X women wanted to find a financial professional to help them grow their money and figure out how much they would need in retirement. For baby boomers, the top task with which they wanted help was creating legacy documents, such as a will and a health care proxy.

Here to Help

Fidelity said it started the Women Talk Money program a year ago to create a live interactive forum to address women’s most pressing questions and challenges. Thousands joined in the weekly discussion series from across the country. 

Since then, the firm has seen a 34% increase in women taking advantage of Fidelity guidance, including calls with financial consultants and use of online planning tools across both workplace and retail customers. 

Live marquee events in the Women Talk Money series will focus on building a healthier financial future while tackling the amplified stress and responsibilities that have become the new normal: 

  • March 10: Improving financial wellness to harness our own economic power.
  • March 24: The power of healthy money habits.

Once registered, participants will have access to weekly learning activities and action steps addressing topics women ask about most. Each week’s activities will be accompanied by easy-to-use tools and action plans, and access to one-on-one help as needed. 

“This month is about celebrating women and how much we accomplish every day, yet also recognizing that we’re all a work in progress, especially right now,” Lorna Kapusta, head of women investors at Fidelity, said in the statement. 

“Our goal is to shine a light on simple steps you can take no matter where you may be on your financial journey, that can have a game-changing impact on progress toward financial goals, and your peace of mind.”

Besides the Women Talk Money pop-up, Fidelity and MSCI will co-host the This is Bullish Speaker Series, a three-part panel event taking an investment lens to the economic power of women and gender diversity.