Allianz commissioned the Women, Money and Power Phase II study to examine two key questions: what women want to learn about finances and how they want to learn it. It found that while the Internet is the most consulted resource, it is the least trusted. Human contact remains "the most meaningful and effective" source of information. In fact, 50 percent of women prefer "a person telling me" versus "reading about" something.
"The financial services industry has a tremendous opportunity to make long term and lasting changes that will benefit women today and in the future," said Sherri DuMond, vice president of Marketing Solutions for Allianz. "As a result of these findings, Allianz is continuing to help financial professionals connect with women in a way that addresses their concerns and help them achieve their financial goals and objectives."
Key topics: retirement planning, entry-level saving & investing
The study identified the financial planning topics women want to learn about most. The top five subjects include:
Planning for retirement/maintaining lifestyle in retirement
How to start saving or investing on very little income
Basics of buying smart (savy shopping, buying vs. leasing, etc.)
How to select the right insurance products (life, long-term care)
Definition of basic financial terms (IRAs, annuities, mutual funds)
Single women with children were overwhelmingly interested in planning for retirement, with 68 percent saying it was a topic of interest. In addition, 47 percent of that group was interested in how to buy or select the right insurance products, and 49 percent wanted to learn the definitions of basic financial terms. Single women were particularly interested in educating themselves. Forty-five percent of single women with children and 55 percent of single women without children expressed interest in learning about financial planning. Divorced women were also above the group average, at 42 percent.
Human contact most preferred source -
When asked where women first turn for financial information, the Internet was most frequently cited (46 percent) compared to family members (34 percent), financial advisors (30 percent), banks (26 percent) and friends (22) percent. But when asked to rank effectiveness, the Internet plummets to number twelve, behind sources such as advisors, family members, friends, seminars, magazines, and television.
"This study is significant because it offers solutions to concerns women have with financial planning," said Arika Larson, the owner of Women Be Wise, a San Jose company dedicated to teaching women financial planning. "Women and men think about money and savings in completely different ways, so it is helpful to better understand these customers, who are poised to control 60 percent of the nation's wealth by 2010." Larson is an independent agent with Allianz.
Women Feel Overwhelmed By Materials and Language -
Difficulty in understanding financial information is a critical barrier for many women, the Allianz study found. When asked about their financial planning concerns, women responded:
Information is overwhelming/
Information is complicated or hard to understand
Materials are really boring and dry
Don't understand terminology/
Despite their reservations, more than one in three respondents – 35 percent – said they were very or quite a bit interested in learning about financial planning, retirement planning and investment decisions.
Allianz takes next steps-
Based on the study findings, Allianz is taking several steps to help financial professionals connect with women and help them to meet their financial goals. These steps include:
Expansion of educational efforts targeted at women
Delivering content through human contact whenever possible
Addressing the need for early education, helping young women and mothers to freely discuss finance with each other or their children
Designing highly relevant seminars and materials that utilize real-life success stories
Creation of breakthrough materials that are clear
"I'm excited about this opportunity to really take a look at what women need from a financial services company," said Tom Burns, senior vice president and chief distribution officer. "This study represents a clear opportunity for Allianz and the financial services industry as a whole to break the cycle of women's hesitance to be involved in financial planning."
About the study-
Larson Research conducted a telephone study among a national probability sample of 1,443 women between the ages of 25-75 with an annual household income above 30,000 US dollars. In addition, 21 focus groups in five large U.S. markets were conducted. The sampling was based on the most recent U.S. Census data.
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