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What You Need to Know

  • The Alliance for Lifetime Income surveyed users of a web forum set up by Jean Chatzky.
  • About 68% of the participants had an annual household income over $100,000, and 68% had at least $250,000 in investable assets.
  • About 55% of the women with partners said they are in charge of household retirement planning.

Many women like to think of themselves as taking charge of household financial matters, but a majority are hazy about how they will pay the bills later in life.

The Alliance for Lifetime Income has published data on women’s income planning gap in a summary of the results from a recent online survey of 1,000 women who participate in the HerMoney personal finance web forum. The alliance represents annuity writers and distributors.

About 48% of the survey participants had graduate degrees, 68% had an annual household income of $100,000 or more, 68% had investable assets of $250,000 or more, and 43% agreed with the statement, “I have a financial plan for my future.”

In spite of the participants’ interest in personal finance, just 34% said they had a retirement income plan.

Women’s lack of use of retirement income planning could affect their husbands, too.

About 48% of the survey participants who had partners said they had primary responsibility for retirement planning for their households, and 55% of the women who said they usually shared money management responsibilities with partners said they manage household retirement planning, rather than simply sharing responsibility for that with their spouses or partners.

What It Means

The bad news: Even many women who take personal finance seriously enough to be regulars on a personal finance forum are deer in the headlights when it comes to income planning.

The good news, for you: You don’t have to wrestle women away from top-level income planners to build an income planning practice.

Many women with the means to use annuities or life insurance in income planning, or to begin developing other retirement income strategies, have not even started to think about the topic.

Jean Statler’s Take

Jean Statler, the alliance CEO, said in comments, included in the survey report, that she believes that, overall, the survey results show that women are heavily involved in their households’ investing and retirement planning efforts.

“Women have more to lose because they are more likely to live longer, traditionally get paid less than their male counterparts, and therefore need to stretch their retirement income further, which magnifies the risk and possibility of running out of money,” Statler said. “Making sure our income lasts for 20, 30 or more years in retirement takes some complex planning.”

Women need to find financial professionals who look out for their interests, and financial advisors need to take an interest in women’s needs, Statler said.

HerMoney

Jean Chatzky, the Today show’s financial editor, set up the HerMoney forum in an effort to give women a place to discuss personal finance.

The HerMoney users who participated in the alliance survey were ages 18 through 75. Most of the participants who were past college age were college-educated, and most of the working-age participants were working full-time. Two-thirds had spouses or partners.

Pictured: Jean Statler (Photo: Alliance for Lifetime Income)