Net Worth of $19 Trillion: Women 50+ Can’t Be Ignored
Updated on Jul 15 2019
Senior women have become key financial decision makers in the 21st century and many businesses are realizing how important it is to market to this population of powerful ladies. Gain insight in this exclusive interview with Debbie White, Creative Director and Founder of Frank + Candor, a full-service agency that targets this often ‘misunderstood’ demographic.
The spending power of 45+ year old women is at its highest point in history, according to White. As a women who is in the demographic herself, White is amazed that businesses don’t target this goldmine of individuals in their marketing — which is one of the reasons she started her business two and a half years ago. In fact, a recent study by MassMutual Financial Group states that senior women, age fifty and older, have a combined net worth of $19 Trillion and own more than three-fourths of the nation’s financial wealth. Debbie discusses the opportunity in this niche market:
“First of all, 51 percent of stocks in the U.S. are owned by women, which has been gradual since the women’s movement of the 70s. Frank + Candor understands that women are either doing the spending or influencing it these days. Not only that, but only five percent of all advertising is focused on women, age fifty plus. With the amount of money they hold, that’s insane. These are a couple of the reasons why our business is so relevant.”
White hasn’t had a linear career. She feels she has had to reinvent herself many times as a multitude of women of her generation have had to do as a result of caregiving, equality struggles in the workplace and other obstacles; but she is proud of where she has landed. Specifically, she is excited about the opportunity for senior women in the workplace and marketplace, and she believes that proactive planning for the future is important for every woman.
Women’s Financial Juggling Act
It’s pretty astounding when you consider how much personal wealth women actually control, and why it’s so important they get the financial education they need to prepare for their futures. Many women are in a sort of ‘unchartered territory’ as the world of finance and household money-management has been historically male-dominated, but today women are taking charge.
Here are a few reasons women need to take an active role in their financial lives:
Half of all marriages end in divorce, so women need to be in control of their own finances for future stability.
Many women are caregivers, to either their own children and / or their aging family members. Some get caught in the ‘sandwich generation’ of finance and need to learn how to budget, prioritize, save for retirement and protect themselves and their families.
On average, women have spent fewer years in the workforce because they often take part time roles or take time to off work to raise kids or care for family members.
Women are assuming greater professional and leadership responsibilities, while still managing their personal and family finances.
Women are living longer than men.
It’s very important for women, regardless of their marital status — single, divorced, widowed or married — to take an active role in their financial lives. By taking a more active role, women will gain more clarity, confidence and control of their lives. To do so, women need to learn as much as possible about money and while this has been gradually happening for decades, there is still more financial education that needs to happen.
White notes, “It’s empowering when you realize that even though women control so much wealth, on the flip side, women are still primary caregivers. They are having to be clever investors as women are expected to do it all these days. They care for their kids and their kids often boomerang after attending college and women are more likely to offer financial help. Women are also the primary caregivers for their aging parents and family members, yet—as of last year—they were still only making 80 cents to a man’s dollar. Even though women own the majority of stocks, as a gender, women need to be more diligent about smart, informed financial planning.”
Women Need to Get Prepared for Their Financial Future
Women handle money differently than men, relays White. She notes:
“Women are actually really good at saving because women are inherent planners – an aspect that goes hand in hand with caregiving, more conservative with investing. Women are saving a larger percentage of their paycheck to 401ks. Women are more likely to spend money on things that matter, such as their family or community. This can make it hard to save.”
Even though women have come a long way, Americans in general need to save more — and that includes women.
Debbie’s advice is to always “save a little, even it is small,” she says. “Remember, to take care of yourself first and match your company’s retirement savings contribution. I have friends who ‘run the gamut of having zero money saved and those who have a good nest egg, but they’re still worried. There is a lot of fear, which is why diligent planning and saving are important.”
Finance has always been a fairly ‘taboo’ topic, but the bright spot, according to White is that these conversations are happening now. Many women don’t like to talk about investments because they’re too personal, but “women need to get over that,” she says. “Finances being private is considered ‘old school.’ Find a financial advisor who ‘gets you’ – you need to feel heard and comfortable and the advisor needs to talk to you as much as the guy.”
Empowering Senior Women
It is clear that women have cut through every industry that once were only dominated by men. Women are hitting it hard in the business world, creating self-made businesses that have grown to become empires.
Women fifty plus also drive 70 to 80 percent of all consumer purchasing, yet 50 percent of boomer women feel overlooked by product advertising because of their age. Old Spice is doing it right as they are now marketing to women as they are the ones purchasing the products for their household, according to Debbie. More than that, though, the potential for women to grow in the marketplace as well as get educated to prepare for their futures is limitless.
“Remember, the most important thing we can do is support each other. When women support each other, incredible things happen.”
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