Mothers Are Household CFOs Except When it Comes to Retirement


A majority of women act as chief financial officers of their households, making most of the financial decisions or sharing responsibility.



But men are still likelier than women to hold investments, have financial plans and be more financially prepared for retirement, a study by Bank of Montreal’s Retirement Institute found.

According to the BMO Retirement Institute, 82% of Canadian women are either the primary decision maker or share responsibility equally for household financial decisions. Women control about one-third of all wealth in North America at a rate that increases by 8% a year.

Despite this financial clout, women are still less confident than men about their finances. BMO Retirement Institute found that:       

·         Men are more likely than women to have investments and a financial plan (62% versus 52%);

·         Men also tend to be more engaged and confident with financial planning, and more open to taking risks; and

·         Because of lower earnings, work histories that may have gaps and longer life spans, among other factors, women tend to be less financially prepared for retirement.




“It’s great news that women are controlling an increasing amount of wealth in Canada and are key decision-makers for household finances,” said Tina Di Vito, head of BMO Retirement Institute. “However, it’s also clear that women need to become more confident with managing their finances and preparing for life events, such as retirement.”

Women need to be actively engaged in personal financial matters in order to take better charge of their retirement, Di Vito added. She recommends making a financial plan, exploring investment strategies and finding a financial professional to help map out everything.

Di Vito notes women are often looking for clear, honest and relevant communication, so when selecting an adviser, she counsels them to look for transparency and good listening skills, and to seek advice tailored to their unique situation.

Education is key to learning more about investing and retirement, Di Vito says. As women learn more they can establish a financial plan that includes short- and long-term goals toward ensuring a secure retirement, and the steps women can take to reach those goals.


More advice and calculators for women, including one on how to assess retirement savings, are available here.