Women face distinct challenges in preparing for a comfortable retirement, including, on average, shorter careers and longer life expectancy. They also make a mere 80 cents for every dollar a man makes, amounting to a lifetime shortfall of approximately $300,000. Based on estimates from BMO Wealth Institute, women may soon control the majority of U.S. domestic private wealth. As women increasingly become the primary household earners and leading wealth inheritors, they will take on a greater role in the family’s financial decision-making. In fact, according to Merrill Edge, women in the United States will inherit $28 trillion over the next 40 years. Married women also tend to outlive their husbands and often find themselves taking over their finances as widows.
Since we last covered this topic in 2012, women have made positive changes to their finances and have narrowed the gap with men across generations by 37%, per the Financial Finesse Gender Gap in Financial Wellness report. Yet, despite this promising progress, the gap remains quite wide. Frustratingly, this is still not a topic that is universally covered throughout our coverage group; three firms do not offer any related commentaries, reports or statistics on their online platforms. For the firms that do cover it, we continue to see a large range in the depth of information and advice offered. As more women seek professional financial advice and gain economic clout, brokerages should prepare to service their specific and unique needs.