With the youngest Baby Boomer women now in their 50s, there is no doubt that they have redefined middle age and retirement. It brings to mind Bob Dylan’s song from back in 1964, “The Times They Are-A Changin.”
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Boomer women have achieved the highest levels of success in business, politics, media and the arts. They deserve much credit for helping to change the mindset that a woman’s most important job was to bear and raise children.
With that being the case, it is no surprise that a new Allianz Life study finds even more American women today are taking the reins of household finances, with the majority (51%) claiming they are the chief financial officer (CFO) at home. And more married women (37%) today are the primary breadwinner of the family (compared to 31% in the 2013 study). Additionally, 53% of women said they either have a “great deal of responsibility” or they “do it all” when managing the household’s long-term savings and investments.
While that sounds like reason to celebrate, despite having such a large impact on household finances, the number of women who say they “have more earning power than they’ve ever had” has decreased to 50% (compared to 57% in 2013).
“Factoring into this perceived decline in earning power, less than half (44%) claim they have ‘leaned in' at work by asking for a raise or promotion they thought they deserved,” said Katie Libbe, vice president of Consumer Insights for Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America.
“This is a troubling trend and one that many Boomer women have no doubt seen evolve over the decades. Although many of these women are at the tail end of their working years or already retired, there are lessons they can pass on to younger generations about the growth in financial acumen and responsibility they've seen and/or experienced in their lifetimes,” Libbe said.
Here is what Libbe said younger generations can learn from Boomer women:
Keep learning: Although they say they feel financially secure, too many women still report uncertainty about their financial decisions. Sixty-one percent of women wish they had more confidence in their financial decision-making and 63% wish they knew more about financial planning and investing. Likely having experienced an evolution in their own financial knowledge and responsibility over the years, many Boomer women understand the importance of continuing education in this area. Those that put time and effort into increasing their financial knowledge said it paid. Do your homework. It is worth your time to ask questions and find answers.
Build a support system: Even though most women claim they are financially savvy, nearly two-thirds report financial information and the various investment options available to them can be overwhelming. Additionally, running out of money in retirement and managing the rising costs of health insurance remain worries that keep women up at night. Having the right support can make a major difference in addressing these issues. Approximately 40% of Boomer women report using a financial professional for guidance, and more than two-thirds of those wish they had done it sooner. By utilizing available resources or working with a financial professional, women can gain the insight they need to achieve more financial security.
Don’t delay, start planning today: When asked, “What advice should women pass on to their daughters or granddaughters about money?” – the majority of Boomer women said they thought future generations should focus on having financial independence and creating a good financial plan. The vast majority of Boomer respondents advise younger women to: start planning early, not depend on others for financial security, create a good financial plan and learn how to invest money. Hopefully, by taking more initiative with financial planning at home, younger women will be more assertive and have more confidence to take risks in their careers.