Research from financial services firm Allianz finds women’s roles have evolved significantly in American family life, but women in “modern families” still report relatively traditional concerns and behaviors when it comes to managing money and preparing for retirement.
Modern family women openly discuss and jointly manage family finances, Allianz finds. At the same time, women report being more financially stressed than men, researchers note, suggesting that this increased involvement is taking an emotional toll on women.
“We thought that modern families would be equally stressed when managing their household finances, but the LoveFamilyMoney gender data actually shows that stereotypical gender differences still seem to exist today,” says Aimee Johnson, Allianz Life advanced markets manager. “One way to approach household finances and retirement is for every family member to bring their individual strengths to the table.”
Although stressed, modern family women have open financial conversations with their families. In an effort to teach their children good investing and saving habits, for example, more than half (57%) of women share their own personal financial situation with their children, compared with less than half (47%) of men.
Describing their role in household financial management and planning, Allianz finds more women say they have joint responsibility (55%) than men (45%). But even in modern families, more men (34%) report that they have full responsibility and final say of the household financial management than women, who reported having full responsibility and final say just 27% of the time.
The survey results unveiled other important gender-based gaps in confidence. For example, 67% of women worry about covering their current financial expenses, compared to 57% of men. More than three-quarters (81%) of women stress about planning for their future financial needs, compared with 72% of men.
In a more positive finding, women have less household debt than their male counterparts, but only 42% reported being comfortable with their debt level, compared to 56% of men.
While women are more collaborative about money and financial management within their families, Allianz finds only 41% of modern family women have sought input from a financial professional, compared with 47% of men.
Not surprisingly, these differences extend to how modern family men and women view their overall financial status. Among modern families, more men described their financial situation as wealthy/affluent or financially comfortable (49%) compared to women (38%).
The data also revealed that women who live in a modern family structure are less prepared for retirement, with an average of $165,200 saved. Their male counterparts, on the other hand, have an average $243,300 saved. Despite this, the largest portion of modern family men and women expect to retire at the same age, between the ages of 65 and 69.
“Discuss finances openly, share the stress, and be confident in the good decisions you make together, such as saving for retirement or preparing your children for a successful financial future,” Johnson suggests.
The LoveFamilyMoney study involved a panel with more than 4,500 respondents ages 35 to 65 with a household income of $50,000 or more. The modern family, as identified in the Allianz LoveFamilyMoney Study, is one of six distinct modern family types: Multi-Generational Families; Single-Parent Families; Same-Sex Couple Families; Blended Families; Older Parent with Young Children Families; and Boomerang Families.
More information on the firm and its research findings are at www.allianzusa.com.