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.
– 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