Bryn Mawr Trust Releases New Study about Women and their Retirement Plans

The study surveyed 826 women across the country aged 40+ with either a household income of $175K+ or investable assets of $1M, assessed women’s roles and experiences in financial and retirement planning.

According to a new study from Bryn Mawr Trust, a WSFS Company, 87% of women feel financially well prepared for retirement, due to their growing involvement in financial planning, along with support from financial advisors.

The study, which surveyed 826 women across the country aged 40+ with either a household income of $175K+ or investable assets of $1M, assessed women’s roles and experiences in financial and retirement planning.

How Women Approach Financial Planning?

Gone are the days when women asked others to handle their financial planning. In fact, only 1% reported not being involved in their financial planning and just 5% reported being minimally involved. Most women report sharing the responsibility of financial planning with their partner (60%), a fourth report having sole responsibility (25%), and about a tenth report being guided by their advisor (9%).

While one fourth of women maintain sole responsibility for financial decisions, they are increasingly sharing these responsibilities in areas like retirement planning (56%), trust and legacy planning (50%), investment planning and management (50%), and tax planning (46%).

Younger women are more likely to have shared responsibility in retirement planning, with seven in ten (68%) of those ages 40-49 sharing responsibility in retirement planning, compared to 51% of women ages 50-59, 52% of those ages 60-69, and 48% of women ages 70-79.

Mature women, however, are more likely to report having sole responsibility in retirement planning, with 16% of women ages 40-49 reporting having sole responsibility for retirement planning, compared to 23% of women ages 50-59, 19% of those ages 60-69, and 23% of those ages 70-79.

“Women play a vital role in the economic picture of their families and communities. Taking a proactive and engaged approach to their financial planning is crucial,” said Jamie P. Hopkins, Senior Vice President, Director of Private Wealth Management, Bryn Mawr Trust. “This study shows how women can be more confident in their retirement plans, which is an important step in bridging the gender and wealth gap for many.”

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Confidence in Retirement Planning

With women’s involvement in financial planning increasing, it’s not surprising that their confidence in retirement planning has also increased. Among women who are currently not retired, only 38% are anxious or overwhelmed when thinking about retirement planning. The remainder (62%) are neutral (29%), confident and in control (25%), or excited and optimistic (6%). Only 2% are unsure.

While emotional readiness plays a huge role in money management and financial planning, the majority (87%) of women feel financially well prepared for retirement. More specifically, 87% feel well prepared or moderately prepared, while only 13% report feeling not prepared financially for retirement.

Beyond feeling financially well prepared for retirement, most of these women are also confident in their ability to sustain and enjoy themselves in retirement. Women report being confident in their ability to manage any debts and financial obligations effectively (81%), support hobbies and personal interests (78%), engage in the leisure and travel activities they want to (75%), cover unexpected expenses (74%), and maintain their current lifestyle (73%). These are all factors that most consider “concerns” when planning for retirement.

“Increasing involvement and understanding in any field naturally boosts confidence, which in turn, propels growth,” stated Jackie Reeves, Director of Retirement Plan Services at Bryn Mawr Trust. “Given the dynamic landscape of financial regulations and retirement planning, seeking guidance from expert advisors is not merely advantageous, but it’s critical for informed, strategic decision-making that stands the test of time.”

Education about Financial Planning 

When it comes to learning about the ins and outs of financial planning, such as budgeting, saving, investing and retirement planning, most respondents prefer to consult the experts. More than half (57%) turn to a professional financial advisor as their preferred source of learning, followed by a spouse or other family member (40%), online resources (37%), resources from their employer (19%), educational books on retirement planning (14%) and online educational courses or programs (14%). Less popular resources are in-person courses or programs (8%) and social media (6%).

With retirement planning being top of mind for women, it’s not surprising that it is the leading life event prompting women to consult financial professionals. Among those who reported retirement/planning for retirement had an impact on their financial planning, more than two in five (44%) sought advice from a financial advisor. Other major life events that prompted seeking guidance from a financial advisor were losing a spouse or loved one (32%), having a bad experience with a financial advisor (27%), and experiencing poor investment performance (26%).

“The ideal source for financial and retirement planning insights is an advisor who stays attuned to economic trends, market dynamics, investment strategies, and sector developments. Merged with their comprehensive, current insights, this positions them uniquely to navigate you safely through the complexities of the financial landscape, ensuring your goals are met with precision,” Reeves added.

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