Financially Empowered Women Are on the Rise

They make major investment decisions, understand investment products and are interested in learning about financial matters. An Allianz Life study examines women, money and power.
Since the financial meltdown of 2008, women have begun relating differently to money, according to Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America. The “2013 Women, Money and Power” study shows that a new type of woman has emerged, more empowered and informed about finance—and more likely to seek the advice of a financial professional. 

Allianz named this woman the Woman of Influence, and said that one in five women fits this profile based on criteria that include activity in major investment decisions, good understanding of financial products and interest in learning about financial matters.

As a result of this increased level of engagement, the Woman of Influence is more likely to feel financially secure (79% agreed versus 62% of all women surveyed) and more likely to feel confident in her ability to spend, save and invest wisely than the average woman (87% agreed versus 69% of all women surveyed). 

“The compelling thing about the Woman of Influence is she doesn’t necessarily fit the typical Power Woman profile of someone with a six-figure salary and an MBA,” said Katie Libbe, vice president of consumer insights for Allianz Life. “The Woman of Influence can just as easily be a stay-at-home mom who is fully engaged in household finances and committed to actively managing her family’s financial future.” 

The 2013 study also found Women of Influence have a much better idea about their financial future, including their prospects for retirement. Forty-seven percent of Women of Influence began saving while in their 20s and they are much more likely to have started saving for retirement than the average respondent – with only 1% of Women of Influence saying they have not begun saving versus 12% of all women surveyed.

Higher Earning Power 

As a result of their financial savvy and empowerment, Women of Influence tend to have more earning power (average of $57,000 per year versus $48,000 per year for all women surveyed), a higher incidence of post-graduate education attained (26% have completed a graduate degree versus 20% for all women surveyed) and more success in the workplace (they are 50% more likely to be a business owner and 80% more likely to be at the director or VP level within their company than the average woman).

Among the significant findings of the study is the new level of financial empowerment for women across all age ranges and relationship status categories. Other findings from the study are:


  • 57% say they have more earning power than ever before;
  • Six in ten say they are the primary breadwinner in their household;
  • More than half (54%) of all women also describe themselves as chief financial officer (CFO) of their household;
  • 75% say they can’t rely on their husbands to handle the investing;
  • Women of Influence are likely to believe that becoming more financially knowledgeable has made a real difference in the quality of their life (90% agreed versus 67% of all women surveyed);
  • They are less likely to feel that poor management of their finances created real problems for them (23% agreed versus 30% of all women surveyed); and
  • They are more confident about seeking financial information (46% said they have “no problem knowing what to ask or where to go,” versus 35% of all women surveyed).


Work with Financial Professionals 

One reason Women of Influence may have more confidence is the higher level of involvement with financial professionals. More than half of Women of Influence (52%) say they work with financial professionals (versus 38% of all women surveyed), and are more likely to view their professional as a “go to” source for information on how to save, spend and invest (45% agreed versus 31% of all women surveyed).

This increased engagement with a financial professional has been beneficial for the Woman of Influence in a number of ways. Because of this relationship, Women of Influence are:

  • More likely to feel confident and prepared for their financial future (86% agreed versus 77% of all women surveyed);
  • More likely to feel they earn a better return on their money (83% agreed versus 75% of all women surveyed);
  • More likely to say they understand financial terminology and issues better (80% agreed versus 65% of all women surveyed); and
  • More likely to be active in financial planning (85% agreed versus 68% of all women surveyed).

However, despite higher earning power and greater financial engagement, the Woman of Influence still shares concerns about running out of money in retirement. Forty-six percent of these women noted they sometimes worry about losing all of their money and becoming a “bag lady,” only slightly below the response from all women (49%).

“It’s inspiring to see a growing number of women fit this empowered profile, and we encourage women to evaluate their own relationship with their finances to determine where they stand and what steps they need to take to become more confident with financial and retirement planning,” Libbe said. “It’s important to remember the Woman of Influence doesn’t have to be career-focused and high-earning, although the study found that many do have more professional success.”

The “2013 Allianz Life Women, Money and Power Study” was conducted by Larson Research + Strategy in December, with more than 2,000 women, ages 25 to 75, with a minimum household income of $30,000 a year.