MINNEAPOLIS – Aug. 10, 2021 – After the disproportionate economic and career impacts that the COVID-19 pandemic dealt women, an increasing number report they are taking a back seat when it comes to their finances, according to a new study from Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America (Allianz Life).
The 2021 Women, Money and Power study found that compared to two years ago, women are less likely to consider themselves to be the CFO of their household (41% in 2021 vs. 47% in 2019), and also less likely have primary or equally shared responsibility for managing finances and making financial decisions (84% vs. 90%). They are also less likely to say they have more earning power than ever before (36% vs. 42%).
The impacts of the pandemic are forcing women to also focus more on short-term finances, rather than longer-term priorities like saving for retirement, with 42% saying “I can’t even think about saving for retirement right now, I’m just trying to take care of day-to-day expenses.” Additionally, since the pandemic began, over half (51%) say they are paying a lot more attention to what they are saving and spending, but only 35% have put more thought into their retirement plan.
“Looking back on the past year and a half with record numbers of women leaving the workforce and taking on primary childcare and other caregiving responsibilities, these findings are understandable but certainly troubling,” said Aimee Johnson, VP of Advanced Markets, Allianz Life. “Women can’t be relinquishing control and need to be actively involved in understanding and planning when it comes to addressing risks to their financial security – both in the short and long term – because women often live longer than men, and divorce and widowhood can plunge women into dealing with their finances for the first time. It’s important to be proactive, rather than reactive when it comes to our finances.”
There were also big declines when it comes to questions related to women’s financial understanding. Compared to 2019, women say they are less likely to be interested in learning more about financial planning (43% vs. 49%) and also less likely to have a good understanding of the financial products they own (49% vs. 54%).
“We know that working with a financial professional can help women feel more confident and prepared for their financial future, with 85% saying they feel better able to handle life’s curveballs by working with a financial professional,” added Johnson. “Now is the time for women to seek out a trusted professional to help them take charge of their finances, address risks to their retirement security and get back some of that empowerment that was lost during the pandemic.”
According to the study, almost a third (29%) of women indicate they have never used a financial professional, but would consider using one in the future, and only 26% say they are currently working with one.