In its latest survey, Female Financial Empowerment, financial services firm Edward Jones revealed that while 7 out of 10 women say they feel confident in their financial knowledge, research shows that 66% of women have never consulted a financial advisor.
Women are demonstrating greater financial confidence but challenges persist in achieving an empowered financial future.
Competing Priorities Mean No "Perfect Time" to Invest
Perhaps one reason for the gap between women's confidence and ability to plan for their financial future is that they prioritize immediate family needs, putting retirement savings on the backburner. Only 25% of women indicated that saving for retirement is their most important goal in the next three to five years.
"Women put off investing for the future because they are waiting for the perfect time to begin. In reality, there will always be competing priorities in life, and the best time to start is sooner rather than later," said Nela Richardson, Edward Jones investment strategist. "The potential ramifications for those who sit on the sidelines too long can inhibit their ability to make sound financial decisions and generate long-term wealth."
To feel more financially empowered, female respondents indicated that getting more information on how to save for retirement (16%) was less of a priority than getting information on how to increase income to reach financial goals (32%) and how to budget for unexpected emergencies (18%).
Lack of Financial Confidence Negatively Impacts Major Life Choices
According to survey findings, a lack of financial confidence historically has been a deterrent for women, but they are optimistic in their ability to become more financially savvy with time and the right resources.
Thirty-eight percent of women said that a lack of confidence in their financial knowledge had a negative impact on a major life choice such as starting a family, buying a home or pursuing an education. This figure increased for millennial women (55%) and women with children in the household (47%). Furthermore, four out of 10 respondents note that they have not taken or do not plan to take action to become more financially empowered.
Nearly half of women (49%) said that access to additional income would most motivate them to become more engaged in their finances. Other motivators included experiencing an unexpected financial emergency (20%), a significant life event (20%) and an economic event, such as a recession (12%).
"By accurately defining what financial empowerment means to them, women can better identify their financial goals and the ways to achieve each of them," said Kate Warne, principal and investment strategist at Edward Jones. "Some women may find it empowering to work with a financial advisor who takes the time to get to know them and understand their short- and long-term needs as well as advocate for what's most important to them. A financial professional can help them stay on track to achieve those important milestones in their lives and those of their families."
Optimism Paves the Road to Financial Empowerment
With women increasingly breaking barriers and shattering glass ceilings, optimism radiates through their sentiment on their financial futures. Of the women who reported they weren't yet confident in their level of financial knowledge, 40% reported they believe they can become more financially savvy in one to three years. With a continued eye on the future, the majority of women reported they have already taken or plan to take steps towards becoming more financially empowered, including self-educating through financial tools and resources (37%), meeting with a financial advisor (22%) and enrolling in financial education courses (10%).
"As women close the wage gap and begin to inherit wealth from aging parents and grandparents, they will need to be confident and influential in using these resources to improve their families' futures," said Warne.
For more information, go to www.edwardjones.com/women
This survey was conducted by Engine's Online CARAVAN® Omnibus among a national sample of 1,004 adult women 18 years of age and older from March 4-10, 2019.
About Edward Jones
Edward Jones, a FORTUNE 500 firm, provides financial services for individual investors in the United States and, through its affiliate, in Canada. Every aspect of the firm's business, from the types of investment options offered to the location of branch offices, is designed to cater to individual investors in the communities in which they live and work. The firm's 17,000 financial advisors work directly with more than 7 million clients and care for $1 trillion in assets under management. Edward Jones is headquartered in St. Louis. The Edward Jones Web site is located at www.edwardjones.com. Member SIPC