Women are the breadwinners in four out of 10 American families, and nearly 95 percent of women will be their family's primary financial decision maker at some point in their lives.
But with this added financial responsibility comes tremendous stress, according to a new study of breadwinning women from the Family Wealth Advisors Council, a national network of independent wealth management firms.
The group's survey of more than 1,000 working women finds that women are spread too thin when it comes to their familial and financial duties.
Reuters spoke to Heather Ettinger, a managing partner of Fairport Asset Management in Cleveland, Ohio, and co-author of the study, about the critical issues facing women breadwinners.
Q. What impact does the role of breadwinner have on women?
A. Sadly, it's a role of stress, stress, stress. She is caring for her kids, maybe her parents and even kids in the next generation. In fact, 40 percent of the women surveyed acknowledge that they feel pressure from family and friends to downplay their breadwinner status, and 28 percent of married or committed women reported that their parents actually disapprove of their breadwinner role.
Q. How is this stress affecting her finances?
A. It's not that the women don't want to be in control, they just don't have time. Women are taking on 75 percent of all family financial planning, and, in some cases, they are assuming as much as 90 percent of the responsibility for charitable giving, paying for college, retirement planning and overall saving.
But there is a gap in the advisory services available: 35 percent of these women have no financial adviser. When they do work with a financial adviser, they say they are not satisfied with the experience.
Meanwhile, 62 percent of women say they are leaving money on the table in terms of getting their financial house in order and taking advantage of a company's benefits.