Though there has been a reported preponderance of heartache among males in the recent financial crisis-called by some a "mancession," as some 82% of the jobs lost by early 2009 were reportedly been held by men-women felt the pain of the Great Recession, too. Now more than 75% of women with household incomes of $50,000 or more said that they expect to work longer, and some 20% wonder if they will be able to retire on time.
Such are the findings of Prudential Financial's most recent study, "Financial Experience and Behaviors Among Women." Over the past decade, the study concludes, women have become more involved in financial decision-making and have become more understanding of financial products, but some things aren't changing.
Among the other surprising findings of the study was the fact that women are often more likely to go to friends or family for financial advice than to an advisor, citing issues of trust.
"Women were not spared the impact of the financial crisis in any way, shape or form," said Joan Cleveland, a senior vice president of business development in individual life insurance at Prudential who spoke at a Midtown Manhattan press conference Tuesday to announce the findings. "Seventy-five percent of the women still say that it had a very negative impact on them ... but what we thought was encouraging was that 55% of the women-over half-were optimistic about the economic recovery of our nation."
Still, she said, "they did realize of course that they would have to work longer to meet their retirement goals."
According to Cleveland, 70% of those surveyed who didn't have an advisor said they would like financial advice and know they needed it, but didn't know who they could trust.
"This trust element started to become a major theme that we saw throughout the study," said Cleveland. "So who do they turn to? Women-very nurturing by nature-friends and family. So we found that six of ten women turned to their friends and family for advice, now let's keep that in mind because it's probably somewhat unlikely that everyone's friends and family are financial experts."
A lot of women were also not confident in making financial decisions-82% said they needed help.
Though the market crisis has influenced attitudes, it hasn't always changed behavior, the results suggest. Only 37% of all women in the survey said they were saving more than they were before the market cataclysms; only 28% of those ages 55-64 were saving more.
The survey also found some confusion among women when it was time to drill down to specific financial products. While the vast majority of respondents understood the whats and wherefores of savings accounts and workplace retirement plans, some 38% of the respondents said they didn't understand individual stocks and bonds, while 43% didn't understand mutual funds, and 53% didn't understand annuities-"some of the basic investment products that women really don't have a handle on," Cleveland said, "pointing back to the idea that they could really stand to work with a financial advisor."