Women Trust Advisers Over Cyberspace

Although the Internet is the first place they tend to start their search, women said advisers and other human sources are the most effective way to absorb financial information, according to a new study.

The latest Women, Money and Power study released today by Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America (Allianz), found that despite the popularity of the Internet, it’s still not the most trusted source. The study also found that single women are the most interested group in learning about retirement.

When asked where women first turn as a financial resource, the Internet was most frequently cited (46%), ahead of family members (34%), advisers (30%), banks (26%), and friends (22%), according to a press release describing the results. These sources are in line with other studies, such as a recent study by Prudential that found women rank advisers, the Internet, and friends and family as their top three sources of financial information (see Women Look to Advisers, Internet for Financial Information).

As far as effectiveness, the Internet ranks behind human sources, such as advisers, family members, friends, seminars, magazines, and television, the release says.

Eager to Learn

More than half of the women surveyed want to learn more about retirement planning and entry-level saving and investing, particularly single women, Allianz said.

According to the results, the majority of single women with children were interested in planning for retirement, with 68% saying it was a topic of interest. Of this group, 49% wanted to learn the definitions of basic financial terms.

Forty-five percent of single women with children and 55% of single women without children expressed interest in learning about financial planning. Divorced women were also above the group average, at 42%.

As far as what is discouraging women, the most frequently cited concern was information overload of some sort. Forty-four percent of respondents said financial information is overwhelming, too plentiful, or too hard to sort through. Women also said financial information is too complicated (36%), too boring (32%), or not understandable enough (26%).

“This study is significant because it offers solutions to concerns women have with financial planning,’ said Arika Larson, the owner of Women Be Wise, a San Jose, California, company dedicated to teaching women financial planning, in the release. “Women and men think about money and savings in completely different ways, so it is helpful to better understand these customers, who are poised to control 60% of the nation’s wealth by 2010.’ Larson is an independent agent with Allianz.

The study, conducted by Larson Research, was based on a sample of 1,443 women between the ages of 25 to 75 with an annual household income above $30,000.