Women and Finance Survey with Vibrant Nation

How do boomer women feel about finances and the financial services industry?

That's what I set out to find along with my research partner VibrantNation.com, the leading online community for women 50 plus.  The results were surprising and insightful.

The one message we got loud and clear was, Boomer Women want financial services companies to recognize them as important decision makers.

Boomer women and finance survey key findings

Perhaps the most striking insight came from these two questions:

 Q – Were you raised to believe:  

     – You have to take control of your own finances – 56% 

   -  A man will take care of you financially – 44% 

Q – What do you believe now?   

   -  You have to take control of your own finances  – 97%   

    - A man will take care of financially – 3%

While almost half of Boomer Women respondents said they were raised to believe a man would take care of them financially, only 3% believe that now with a stunning 97% saying they have to take control of their own financial future. For these women, financial security means financial independence and not having to depend on others as they age.

Even if they started out with the "A man is my plan" mentality, they are now stepping up to the plate and getting involved in the long-term financial planning. 

Stephen Reily, Founder and CEO of VibrantNation.com points out:

“Financial service companies that want to help the Boomer Woman maintain her independence need to talk to her directly, not through surrogates like her husband, children or parents.”

Finacial ad images don't resonate with women

Another key finding was that financial services advertising and images are missing the mark with Boomer Women.  We showed the women images from actual financial services ads featuring couples.  Many ads feature the man as the "protector and provider."   I've always wondered if women related to these images.  Are they a negative because they often portray the woman as a subordinate? Or are they a positive because they remind women how much their husband loves them and supports them.

Financial services ad images - couples 
Q – When you see images like these in financial ads, how do they make you feel?

– I don’t relate to these images- I don’t want to have to depend on someone else(husband or otherwise) for financial security – 78%

- Loved and supported- I can rely on my husband to take care of me – 12%

– Sad- I've lost my husband and miss him- 9%

So what images DID Boomer Women prefer?  They prefer images of families (with no clear hierarchy) over images of couples. 

What financial messages resonate with Boomer Women?

Terms like ‘feeling financially secure’ and ‘having a comprehensive plan in place’ scored higher than traditional marketing language like ‘wealth management."

Another interesting question was this:

Q– Which article would you rather read

– The 4 biggest mistakes in retirement planning & how to avoid them – 42%

– The 4 secrets to having the retirement of your dreams – 30%

– Neither – 28%

I've found in my overall research that men are often focused on achieving goals, while women can be focused on avoiding bad outcomes and not making mistakes. 

In this brain research study where men and women made investment decisions in an MRI – when men thought about investment decisions, the reward center of the brain lit up.  When women thought about investment decisions, the reward center lit up, but so did the consequence center.

If you're creating articles or educational pieces, look at how you title the content. 

Is there any good news?

Overall, women seem pleased with their financial advisers.  We asked if they are satisfied with the services and what it costs.

 - 88% said yes

For more information on the survey, read the full press release about our study on Boomer Women and financial services.

For those of you wondering if women younger than 50 feel differently – I'm doing a survey with them next and will keep you posted on those results.

Special hanks to my research partner VibrantNation.com.

About Vibrant Nation:
VibrantNation.com is the leading online community devoted exclusively to the influential and fast-growing demographic of smart and successful women over 50. At VibrantNation, these women (whom we’ve named “Vibrant Women”) can look for tips, share information, and join smart conversations about work, style, relationships, wellness, books, and more




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9 Responses to Women and Finance Survey with Vibrant Nation

  1. Great survey; interesting results!

  2. Leigh says:

    Interesting results.
    It’s funny though – I’m Gen X and I’m not at all happy with my past financial advisors. I entered in to investing having done my research and when I left the advisors office I felt patronized and talked into investments that I didn’t want.
    When I decided to switch funds or control my accounts I was told it wasn’t a good idea and that I should come and talk to them before I made any decision. Grrrrrrr.
    Sometimes I wonder how much “protection status” gets transferred over from the ideal partner to the ideal advisor?

  3. Jeff says:

    Great stuff, Holly. Forwarded this onto a colleague of mine who recently took on a client in the financial services industry. Outstanding insight. Thanks for sharing.

  4. What a great post, very interesting and full of information. I guess it’ll take a couple of generations more to decrease the social gaps between men and women. I’m an International Relations student and am writing an assay about economics and feminism. This has been very helpful, thank you!

  5. Temp CFO says:

    I was raised to believe to support myself 100 percent and to never EVER rely a man for anything. I wouldn’t even rely on a man to buy me a meal from McDonalds let alone take of myself. That is a big laugh. This woman does it all on her own!

  6. I have some doubts for which I need to consult a financial planner but have no idea of how to go about finding a reliable one. I have made a few investments but those have been random and I need some professional advice on how to structure and maintain my financial portfolio.

  7. David says:

    I’m not sure I agree with the Baby Boomer theory since I’m under the improssien that most of films like you describe are not targeted at the Boomer demographic (or were you referring to film *makers* and not audiences).Even so, is the number really going up? I’m under the belief that vampire stories in particular have always been popular. Using IMDB to search for feature films with the vampire keyword, and focusing on English-language (testing the Boomer theory) films with at least 100 votes (to weed out arcana) for the moment, the last handful of decades yielded the following counts:1970s: 54 films1980s: 35 films1990s: 56 films2000s: 82 filmsThat is a generally upward trend, but not overwhelmingly so, especially when once takes into account that more films are made today (well, let me refine that IMDB better documents more films). I understand that the above search is imperfect and these results are non-scientific, but this data is the most objective measure I could think of and produce quickly .

  8. You are one straightforward writer. I enjoyed reading your article and taking in all the interesting information. I share your thoughts on many points in this content. This is great.

  9. Aian says:

    I have been waiting for a Mint like secrvie in India for quite some time. This is a good news, but most people do not realize the security of giving your username/password to these sites. The main problem in India (as against in west) is that none of the Indian banks provide a secured api to money management applications (third party developers). Hence these third party developers resort to create a browser bot, which logs in to the bank website with username/passwd you provide, and simulates mouse click/key strokes to retrieve the required data. This alone is a huge risk. If the bank website change a little layout, your mouse click simulation for get details’ can actually click transfer money’. And since the bot used the login/passwd provided by you as far as the bank is concerned, you made the transaction and not the bot. Ofcourse I am exaggerating. But you do get the point right? There is just no way they can guarantee you a read only access. Oops the bot clicked on the wrong link.Another issue I faced earlier (with yodlee) was that when I changed my bank password, and forgot to update it with yodlee, it kept trying to login with old incorrect password. After 3 failed attempts the bank just locked my account. It took me one full week to get my account unlocked. I hope people understand these issues before using these applications (Others I can think of are yodlee.in, perfios)

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