What You Need to Know
- There is a big generational difference in how women talk about money and seek advice.
- More than half of partnered affluent women reported greater or equal earnings to their spouse.
- Women with financial plans reported being much more at ease through the pandemic.
Women have made significant strides when it comes to earning money and investing, but more work needs to be done by women to educate themselves about finances and by advisors in how they communicate with their female clients, according to a new Wells Fargo study of affluent women released Monday.
The study polled 2,195 women in households with $250,000 or more in assets or $100,000 or more in annual income about how they were feeling, responding to, and leading through uncertainty and change.
The study showed that women are “earning more and are a vital component of the economic COVID recovery but continue to see roadblocks and challenges,” Beth Renner, head of Advice Center, Wells Fargo Wealth & Investment Management, said in an online briefing with reporters about the study’s findings.
Noting that the study addressed affluent women, she said that “while there are women that are advancing in the financial world … there’s also women that are struggling.” Many women took on more caretaking roles during the pandemic, for one thing. Overall, despite the advances that have been made by women, “there’s much more work to be done,” she said.
The Role of Advisors
Despite the increased barriers cited by younger women, most are eager to learn and grow, according to Wells Fargo. Nearly half (47%) of millennial and Gen X women reported needing financial advice now more than ever, it noted.
In fact, three-quarters said they believed it would be valuable to talk through their financial concerns with a financial advisor — a view shared among the older generations, according to Wells Fargo.
But millennial and Gen X women wanted a conversation with their financial advisors beyond the numbers. They wanted to talk about work (78%), family (71%) and health (60%), a sentiment not as highly ranked among the older generations, Wells Fargo pointed out.
“There is a clear message to financial advisors in this data. Women expect advisors to converse with them about the totality of their lives, as context for providing financial advice,” according to Heather Hunt-Ruddy, head of business development and growth for Wells Fargo Advisors.
“There is definitely a generational difference” in how much women are speaking with advisors about their finances also, Hunt-Ruddy said. “I think the pandemic has heightened this concept of needing community and people feeling alone.”
Affluent women are talking more about their money now than they did a year ago, the study found. Thirty percent reported actively talking about money, with 43% of millennials saying that versus only 17% of traditionalists, Hunt-Ruddy said.
But “there’s a disconnect between that talking about money and actually getting help with it,” she pointed out, noting the numbers nearly reversed completely when women reported actually seeking help with professional advice. Only 20% of millennial women through the pandemic sought professional advice, versus 47% of traditionalists — the study’s term for respondents born between 1928 and 1945 — she said.
“That’s something we have to work on,” she conceded.