He Said, She Said in Financial Decisions

Women more often take an equitable view of financial decisionmaking than men.

Who is really making financial decisions? 

Similar to studies that find women and men differ when it comes to investing styles, research from LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute reveals that two-thirds of women (67%) age 50 and older say they split financial decisions with their spouses, while fewer than half of men (46%) admit to sharing decisions. 

In households with more than $1 million in net worth, only 30% of women are the primary financial decisionmakers. The study also found that when women are the primary decisionmakers, they are as likely or more likely to have completed many retirement-planning activities, compared with men.

For both women and men who are primary decision makers, one-quarter have a formal retirement income plan. Women are more likely to have determined what their income will be, how long their assets will last and developed a specific plan for generating retirement income from their savings.

An important takeaway: LIMRA finds that advisers who help their clients with retirement income planning have greater client satisfaction and loyalty. Nearly half of clients (42%) with a plan trust their advisers and the advice they provide—three times more than those clients without a plan.

Yet many couples disagree about their desired lifestyles in retirement. According to an Allianz Life Insurance study, 70% of women switch advisers following the death of their spouse, which is echoed in other studies. Therefore, it is important to involve both spouses in the financial decisions, which will foster a stronger relationship with both spouses.  

Other findings from LIMRA:

  • 76% of women have determined Social Security benefits, vs. 73% of men;
  • 60% of men have calculated the amount of assets and investments available to spend, vs. 44% of women; and
  • 41% of women have developed a specific strategy for generating income from savings, vs. 34% of men.

A link to LIMRA’s graphic on planning activities completed by men and women can be accessed on their website.