‘Falling Back’ Brings Extra Hour for Financial Planning

Given an extra hour to focus on their finances, most women say they’d work on budgets and learn more about investing, according to a Fidelity Investments survey.

Fidelity suggests plan sponsors and advisers could use the end of Daylight Saving Time approaching this Sunday, November 2, when people “fall back” and get an extra hour of sleep, to urge participants to take an hour to do a personal financial assessment.

To that end, Fidelity asked women investors what they would do if they had 60 more minutes to dedicate solely to their financial future. The top three answers were:

  • Work on a budget to reduce debt or find new ways to save (42%);
  • Learn how to become a better investor (24%); and
  • Develop a financial plan and investment strategy (13%).

Managing finances and long-term planning are just a small piece of a large pie of plan participants are responsible for, Fidelity notes, and while many place these items on their “to-do” list, other priorities often take precedence. As a result, many women have been unable to make financial planning a priority, Fidelity says.

Nearly one-in-four women report they do not take part in financial decisions at all. Given the probability that a majority of women will need to be solely responsible for the finances at some point in their lives—whether due to divorce or outliving a spouse—it’s imperative they take their financial futures into their own hands, Fidelity says.

“Many women don’t realize the same attributes that have made them dedicated savers can also make them great investors, and making improvements to a financial plan is easier than they think,” suggests Kristen Robinson, senior vice president, Fidelity Investments. “It’s critically important that women get more engaged in their finances now, and we’re encouraging all women to use the hour we gain this weekend to get started, to ensure the money they work so hard to earn is working just as hard for them.”

In an interesting take on the financial engagement question, Fidelity asked women to identify their approach to investing and money management by using a popular song title. Forty-five percent of respondents named “Independent Woman” as their financial theme song, indicating they feel confident in handling their financial portfolio on their own. Another 23% selected “I Turn to You,” meaning they rely on the help of a financial adviser, spouse or other family members. Most concerning, Fidelity says, is the 12% of women who selected “S.O.S (Rescue Me),” stating they need serious help with their investments.