Despite the fact that many of us feel our progress in the workforce has been glacial, women have made great strides over the last several decades. Over the years that I’ve been working, I’ve personally seen many changes firsthand, and I see the pride that many women feel in their own professional accomplishments reflected in the latest Wells Fargo Affluent Women Retirement survey. It’s good to see that these women have a great sense of pride around earning money. A majority (93%) say they “enjoy making and accumulating money” and 94% say “I’ve worked hard to create my wealth.”
I remember a conversation with my husband when our children were young. I had just returned home from the office, exhausted and as usual, worrying that I wasn’t handling either work or family very well. He told me that while he had never discussed it with me before, my ability to provide for our family was a great relief to him. He knew that if anything happened to him, I would be able to care for myself and our children. I’ll never forget how that made me feel – I was a strong and equal partner in our relationship, and in our financial life.
For many women, however, this is not the case. This survey found that women are primarily in charge of the money decisions for the household, and about eight out of 10 manage the household budget, purchasing decisions and pay the bills. But while they are doing a lot of work in seeing where their hard-earned money goes, just 46 percent are taking primary responsibility for choosing and managing investment accounts. The good news is that the younger women surveyed, those in their 40s, are managing their investments more, at a rate of 56 percent. And hopefully they will continue that trend by being involved in the investment decisions which will greatly impact their lifestyle in retirement.
While there may be skepticism about the stock market, two-thirds of affluent women credit the stock market for their wealth. More than three-fourths feel the stock market is the best way to grow savings for the long term. They even get excited watching their assets grow through good investments rather than earning it and saving it. This is an encouraging shift that’s taking place.
Some other interesting findings from affluent working women:
- 62 percent believe that women can “have it all” when it comes to balancing their career and family; however that is the goal for only 38 percent of them
- 58 percent are struggling with work-life balance
Over my life, I have found that you constantly have to adjust your priorities as life comes at you. I had a manager who told me that in life you will have to juggle a lot of balls, and the important thing was not to drop the glass ones. There is sacrifice involved and that’s why you have to prioritize what matters most—at the time you may be struggling with work-life balance as many women are.
What does “having it all” mean to you? Is that your goal? How are some ways you deal with work-life balance?
Stocks offer long-term growth potential, but may fluctuate more and provide less current income than other investments. An investment in the stock market should be made with an understanding of the risks associated with common stocks, including market fluctuations.