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BlackRock Annual Global Investor Pulse Survey: American Women Feeling Better about Their Financial Futures but Keen Focus on Day-to-Day Finances May Deter Longer-Term Financial Goals

March 7, 2016

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- American women are feeling more optimistic about their financial futures and confident about their money decisions compared with a year ago, according to the latest Global Investor Pulse survey* ( from BlackRock (NYSE:BLK). The survey also suggests that men and women have lessons to learn from one another, particularly when it comes to planning for retirement.

About half (51%) of women report feeling positive about their financial futures, compared with 46% one year ago, and 42% say they are confident they are making the right savings and investment decisions, compared with 34% one year ago.

Both women (43%) and men (41%) put a high priority on saving to ensure they live comfortably in retirement. But women are considerably less likely than men to actually be saving for retirement (55% vs. 65%). Perhaps as a result, women are more concerned than men (75% vs. 68%) about their ability to meet their retirement goals.

“It’s clear that women need to become much more active in managing their money toward urgent long-term goals – particularly retirement,” said Heather Pelant, head of personal investing at BlackRock. “But our survey also indicates that women have some key positive financial instincts that can lend valuable support to their saving and investing efforts.”

“Gender Gap” Persists in Retirement Savings

On average, Americans of both genders have similar goals for an annual retirement income, with men hoping to generate $45,956, and women hoping to generate $45,018 each year.

However, according to the survey, women aged 55 to 65, who are closest to retirement, have accumulated $118,000 in average retirement savings that could provide $7,872 of estimated annual retirement income, compared with men aged 55 to 65 who have accumulated average retirement savings of $162,000, that could provide $10,807 of estimated annual retirement income, according to the BlackRock CoRI Index 2015.

Despite the similarity in both expectation and shortfall, only 36% of men express concern regarding their ability to achieve the annual income goal they need in retirement. A much more realistic 52% of women expressed the same concern.

The good news is that 51% of women indicated that they took advantage of a workplace retirement savings plan to get started investing, compared with 43% of men. “For women, workplace plans represent a critical step towards their most important financial goals, suggesting that employers need to keep the characteristics and needs particularly of women firmly in mind in their efforts to help their employees become more effective savers and investors,” said Heather Pelant.

Different Goals Drive Money Views

Women and men look at money and investing in quite different ways, the survey shows.

Women tend to emphasize the day-to-day health of their household’s finances. While 61% of women follow a household budget, just 23% regularly review the performance of their savings and investments (vs. 33% of men) and women assign more importance than men to paying off debt (55% vs. 46%).

Men also put a greater priority than women on growing their wealth (35% vs. 28%, respectively) and holding on to their wealth (26% vs. 20%, respectively). Men are more likely than women to say “I consider myself an investor” (40% vs. 22%). They are more likely to hold stocks than women and have less of their assets in low-return cash (60% of the portfolio for men vs. 71% for women). Men also are more likely to say that they enjoy managing their investments (46% vs. 26%). When asked how the idea of investing makes them feel, men are more likely than women to associate words like “hopeful” and “optimistic,” while women most associated “nervous” and “risky.”

However, the survey shows that adopting a focus on growing wealth, while a higher priority for men, can definitely help women. Among women who have made wealth growth a priority, 63% have investments (vs. 38% who do not make growing their wealth a priority), and they are twice as likely to regularly put money into savings and investments.

Women: More Realistic, Inclined to Seek Help

Though less engaged as investors, women might be more sensitive than men to the realities and requirements of successful investing.

Women are highly attuned to risk: The survey shows that they are generally less inclined to take on investment risk to achieve financial return and are more cautious about the future of the stock market. They also are more likely than men to ask for advice for their investment and savings decision-making (64% vs. 55%) and more likely to say they value professional advice (74% vs. 64%).

“Overall, in deploying their money, women are more focused on managing risks to their financial security and stability over the short term, and men are more focused on achieving long-term money goals,” said Heather Pelant. “In fact, American women and men have a lot to learn from one another, as good financial and investment planning needs to reflect both objectives.”

Millennials: Breaking the Pattern?

In some ways, the money attitudes of younger women are diverging from those of older women.

About three in 10 Millennial women (age 25 to 34) say they enjoy managing investments, compared with just 21% of Boomer women (age 51 to 69), and 37% have prioritized growing wealth (vs. just 22% of Boomer women).

Unfortunately, just 53% of millennial women are saving for retirement compared with 71% of millennial men, and they are considerably less likely than their male peers to feel knowledgeable about investing.

Younger Women Intrigued by “Robo Advice”

Women are much less inclined than men to use online support for their long-term savings and investment decisions. However, younger women might be starting to bridge the “digital divide.”

For all Americans, the Internet is by far the most widely used source of information for long-term financial decisions (used by 32% of the U.S. population), but millennial men (43%) are more likely than millennial women (35%) to use it. Thirty-three percent of American women, across all generations, are most likely to turn to family and friends for guidance on managing their finances.

Generally, men are more interested than women in “robo advisors” – digital wealth management services that provide automated, algorithm-based portfolio management advice – including 72% of millennial men, vs. 45% of millennial women. That said, millennial women express more interest in these digital platforms than women in any other generation; for example, just 23% of women aged 55 to 64 are inclined toward these services.

Millennial women who favor robo advice cite as benefits that they would value the convenience and simplicity of the service in addition to the perception that no one will be “pushing products” on them that they might not need.

“For many investors, technology is playing an increasingly meaningful role in their decision-making, either supplementing the advice of a human advisor or representing a primary source of support,” said Heather Pelant. “It’s encouraging that younger women are attuned to the potential benefits of technology, because – as with many financial habits – becoming comfortable with the role of digitally delivered guidance early on can yield benefits throughout one’s investing life.”

About BlackRock

BlackRock is a global leader in investment management, risk management and advisory services for institutional and retail clients. At December 31, 2015, BlackRock’s AUM was $4.645 trillion. BlackRock helps clients around the world meet their goals and overcome challenges with a range of products that include separate accounts, mutual funds, iShares® (exchange-traded funds), and other pooled investment vehicles. BlackRock also offers risk management, advisory and enterprise investment system services to a broad base of institutional investors through BlackRock Solutions®. As of December 31, 2015, the firm had approximately 13,000 employees in more than 30 countries and a major presence in global markets, including North and South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Middle East and Africa. For additional information, please visit the Company’s website at | Twitter: @blackrock_news | Blog: | LinkedIn:

*About the Survey

BlackRock surveyed 30,500 respondents in 20 nations, including 4,000 Americans, on a broad selection of financial and investment management questions. The US sample comprised 1,960 men and 2,040 women (for more on the survey and its methodology, please visit


Sally Lyden, 1-646-310-1273

Source: BlackRock