A significant number of single women are not feeling optimistic about their finances heading toward retirement, motivating them to seek the advice and support of a financial advisor, according to a study by Nationwide.

Of single women surveyed, only 31% felt optimistic about their financial outlook for the next 12 months as opposed to 39% of married women, the company said.

The firm, through The Harris Poll, interviewed 518 advisors and 2,346 investors. Of that group, 346 were single women and 726 were married women. 

Single women showed a resolve to fix their financial problems, with 36% saying they are working with an advisor, which is a a slightly higher rate than married women, according to the study. Forty-one percent of single women began working with an advisor in the past 12 months compared with 37% of married women.

“While women in general face significant challenges when planning for retirement, single women are doing so without the balance provided by a partner’s savings and income,” said Ann Bair, senior vice president of marketing for Nationwide Financial, in a released statement. “For many, there is no backup plan.”

Advisors are making a better effort to reach out to women and include them as clients, the survey found.

Of the advisors surveyed, 90% plan to work with more women in the coming years, which represents an increase of 11 percentage points since August. Not only are the advisors reaching out to more women, they feel comfortable doing so, as 96% said they feel well-equipped to speak with women, the survey found.

“One of the key drivers for why clients want to work with advisors is they want to have that feeling of trust and reassurance, and confidence,” Bair said in an interview. “They want to work with someone who is an expert in financial services and can help them, based on their stage in life, be confidant to build trust and reassurance that their future is well planned out.” 

When working with single women, advisors should remember that they face unique challenges that most married women may not have to deal with, said Suzanne Ricklin, vice president of sales and retention for Nationwide Retirement Solutions.

Since they are on their own, they have to work harder at building up an emergency savings, she said. They also have the same concerns about making sure they have enough money to fund their retirement, Ricklin said.

Thirty-seven percent of single women said tax planning strategies is their most important topic, while 34% said it was accumulating sufficient savings to enter or stay in retirement and 27% said it is converting accumulated savings into retirement income.

There is still a disconnect between female investors and their advisors, the survey found. About 47% of single women and 51% of married women said that their advisor does not understand their financial goals.