Women Need Financial Planning Help in These 3 Areas: Fidelity

20 Richest Women in the U.S.: Forbes, 2023

What You Need to Know

Fidelity says its female customer base is growing fast and is largely making smart investing decisions.
According to a survey, women’s top financial stressor is thinking they should do more with their money.
Women’s financial plans should account for caregiving, longer life spans and health care costs in retirement, Fidelity says.

Fidelity Investments released research Monday, showing that women are making smart money decisions to gain ground with their finances. 

The firm added 48% more female customers in 2023 than in 2019. This included 99% more Generation Z customers and 48% more millennials. (The oldest members of Gen Z, born in 1997, were 22 in 2019.)

Fidelity’s research shows that women are making financial gains on many fronts and modeling healthy money behaviors. Fifty-one percent of those who invest in the market say they typically stay the course on their investments when the market experiences a dip, compared with 43% of men. 

Despite this progress, Fidelity said, more work needs to be done as women’s finances often must stand up to caregiving responsibilities, longer lifespans and higher health care costs. 

The research is based on findings of an online survey conducted by Big Village in July among a sample of 1,002 women and 994 men. 

Why Women Need to Plan Differently 

Although women have made considerable progress, the survey found that the percentage of those who consider themselves knowledgeable about important financial topics — such as how to invest to prepare for retirement, when to start taking Social Security and how to pay for health care expenses in retirement — has stayed relatively flat since 2019, with slightly more than half of women over the four years saying they are knowledgeable. 

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Perhaps not surprisingly, the top five financial stressors facing women are largely tied to these factors, all of which affect women disproportionately more than men. In descending order, they are: 

Thinking I should do more with my finances than I am
Saving enough to retire
Paying off debt
Tackling health care costs in retirement
Knowing how to invest savings to reach my financial goals

Key Financial Planning Areas

To help reduce these stressors and make the most of their money, Fidelity said it is important for women to consider the factors that can often make financial planning different for them, especially in three key areas: 

Caregiving

More women have been returning to the workforce since the end of the pandemic, but they continue to shoulder the majority of caregiving duties, which can affect their mental health, career trajectory and savings potential. The survey found that 22% of female caregivers say they’re not saving as much for retirement because of these responsibilities, including 24% of millennial caregivers and 28% of those in Gen X.