Family Office

Allianz Life examines women's financial attitudes

FWR Staff, 12 October 2006

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Survey: Most women feel only "somewhat" or "not at all" financially secure. A new survey by Allianz Life points to a puzzling sense of financial insecurity among women, even though women have better access to education and careers than ever before.

"Women tend to live about eight years more than men, and they realize that their husbands may use up their savings for medical care and support before leaving them alone and without money in their retirement years," says Lisa Resnick, president of life and long-term care insurance at Allianz. She cites this as the cause behind the survey's findings.

The Harris Interactive polled 1,925 women and 1,258 men for the survey. In responses, about 90% of women admitted to feeling "somewhat" or "not at all" financially secure. Almost half said that they were afraid of becoming destitute.

Well maybe

But Allianz' view that this insecurity stems from women's changing role in society is a bit hard to swallow. "Women's roles in society, the economy and at home" -- two thirds of U.S. women are now active in the workforce, compared with one third in the 1950s -- "have now evolved to the extent that an increasing amount of decision-making and control falls to women," according to an Allianz statement.

Absent any comparative measure of how financially secure women felt when more of them were homemakers, Allianz' summary is purely speculative. It's also unhelpful that Allianz fails to tell us how men regard their financial security.

It's just as likely that women's anxiety about personal finance boils down to a growing sense -- right or wrong -- that you have to be a millionaire to contemplate a comfortable retirement.

The survey says that men are three times more likely to take risks in financial planning, and assume -- contentiously -- that they should be in control of the family finances. "Money is 20 times more likely to trigger arguments in a marriage than sex," says Allianz.

Resnick also points out the lopsided ratio of male financial advisors -- in the U.S. 80% of them are men -- and says that since women are more likely to work well with female advisors, there is a need for more. Allianz Life is part of the Frankfurt-based Allianz Group of financial-service companies. -FWR

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