How Wealthy Women View Retirement


Retirement is the end game for most Americans. It is a time when people end their pursuits related to their career and move on to a part of life that usually includes more time for relaxation than they had during their working life.

For affluent women, retirement may have a different meaning, because many of them worked at two jobs during their time employed, the job in a career pursuit and the job of raising a family. While it is true more men are taking an active role in the “family” business these days, it is still more of a requirement for women, including those who pursue a career as well.

Today, an entire generation of wealthy women are in retirement, while a new generation remains in the workforce, dealing with many of the same issues their predecessors dealt with. Spectrem’s new study, Successfully Growing Your Business with Wealthy Women, discerns some differences between women who have competed their time in the workforce and those who are still making money employed outside of the home.

The study provides information to advisors who work with wealthy retired women to assist them in understanding some of the decision they make toward investments.

A majority of wealthy women work or worked full-time, but 70 percent of retired wealthy women lived in ah household where both members worked full-time (only 62 percent of wealthy women still working are in that positon). Among those retired women who worked full time, a significant majority (72 percent) continued to work even after staring a family, rather than taking time off to complete the child-rearing years before going back to work. (Practically none of the wealthy women decided to quit working altogether after starting a family.)

So work was important to these retired wealthy women. Did work stand in the way of family commitments? Apparently not, as 79 percent of retired wealthy women are pleased with their work-life balance (and, despite efforts by employers to improve work-life balance for employees, only 70 percent of wealthy women still in the workplace are pleased with their ability and opportunity to balance work and home.

Retired wealthy women are more likely to feel the need to protect their children financially, either by providing them with financial assistance after they finish their college education or by making sure to leave their children a portion of their accumulated wealth in an estate plan. Advisors working with retired wealthy women need to ask questions about every investment decision to determine how those decisions will affect the investor’s children. (According to the Spectrem study, this attitude may be changing; women currently in the workforce do not feel as strongly about caring for their children financially).

An overwhelming majority (87 percent) of retired wealthy women believe their financial situation is better than that of their parents, a feeling shared by a smaller percentage of wealthy women still in the workplace. Perhaps it is a feeling that occurs once you enter retirement. It is interesting to note that only 20 percent believe their children will fare better than the investor did when the children reach the investor’s current age. Almost half believe their children will not do as well as the investor going forward. Advisors working with wealthy women who have such a pessimistic view of their children’s future finances needs to determine why the investor feels that way.

Finally, advisors must understand one other factor that affects retired wealthy women: two-thirds of them make decisions jointly with their husband. That is a much higher percentage than among wealthy women who are still working, and is a trend advisors must watch going forward.

Asked to name the obstacles they have faced in retirement, almost half of wealthy women cite health issues. Almost one-third said they were too conservative in their retirement spending, while 22 percent cited their investment decisions and their risk determinations in investments as a retirement concern.

Top Takeaways for Advisors

 Another statistic from the report shows that 30 percent of wealthy retired women do not have a financial advisor. That’s a high percentage, especially for an audience that is perhaps steeped in difficult financial decisions an advisor can assist with. Advisors with the proper pitch could possibly find clients by advertising in portals that attract the attention of retired women.



©2017 Spectrem Group