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MacroMonitor Market Trends July 2013

MacroMonitor Market Trends is a newsletter from Consumer Financial Decisions (CFD) that highlights topical news and trends of interest to you and your colleagues. If you would like more information about the newsletter topic or would like to discuss other ways that we can assist you in your research or marketing efforts, please contact us.

Women Rule Financial Matters

A major development of the past two decades is the growth in the number of households in which women are primary financial-decision makers. The 2012–13 MacroMonitor reports that women are the majority of financial-decision makers in all households. The incidence of women as primary financial-decision makers (65%) is the same even when retired households are not in the mix. Financial-services providers ignore the growing importance of women as financial-decision makers at their peril.

The MacroMonitor began reporting about women as financial decision makers in March 1994—Women Are Different! A subsequent report, Women as Financial Consumers: Gaining Ground (January 1999) and a MacroMonitor Market Trends newsletter article, "Sex Differences in Financial Decision Making" (July 2007), track women's steady growth as primary decision makers.

Financial-Decision Makers in Nonretired Households

Although the number of all US economic households has increased from 104 million in 1992 to 131 million in 2012, the proportion of nonretired households has not changed; about 78% of all households are nonretired. However, the proportion of nonretired households in which women are the sole financial-decision makers has increased from 30% in 1992 to 43% in 2012. During the same period, the proportion of households in which both heads share decision making has declined from 33% in 1992 to 22% in 2012.

The fact that married woman are more likely than men to manage the household's day-to-day finances and to shoulder a greater portion of caregiving responsibilities is well documented. With regard to finances, men claim to be responsible for more investment and insurance decisions than do women. These decisions are arguably more important to the household's long-term financial health, but—in the majority of cases—these decisions occur less frequently than do other financial decisions. Considering the stock market's undependable investment performance of the past decade, some men may feel less confident in their financial-decision-making abilities than previously. For example, some myth-busting issues about gender differences in investments are the topic of a 10 June 2013 Time Magazine article, "Why Some Men Are Big Losers".

For more insights about women who rule financial matters, MacroMonitor sponsors may access the Households Headed by Nonretired Women Segment Summary (July 2013), available through your company's SBI/CFD landing page. Sponsors may request a full presentation about these households, including a customized and proprietary Q&A session. Sponsors may also request Segment Summaries about other populations. To learn more about nonretired women financial-decision makers, or for answers to questions, please contact CFD.