Women & Wealth


Tremendous strides have been made by women in the most recent generation, as evidenced by several  statistics cited in a recent RBC Perspectives Magazine issue:

-Women represent 56% of students enrolled in post-secondary education

-The employment rate for women has increased to 57.5% vs 40% in 1976, compared to the rate for men, which has decreased from 70% to 64.9%

-Employment participation for women aged 25-54 is > 80% (a 30 percentage point increase since 1976)

-Just under half of all Canadian SME enterprises are owned (partially or wholly) by women

-1/3 of women currently out-earn their spouses

These social and economic advances, along with the upcoming $400 billion generational transfer of Canadian wealth, create a dynamic full of implications for wealth management.   One of the key realities highlighted in this article, is that women stand to inherit twice – once from their parents & then, most likely, from their spouse.  Female life expectancy is 4 years longer than men, but because many women, particularly in the Boomer generation, married older men, widowed females may live 16 years beyond their partner.    This means that 90% of Canadian women will be exclusively responsible for their finances, at some point in their lives.

However, only 22% of women that responded to an RBC survey confirmed they had a full strategy for wealth transfer in place.  And despite education advances, only 48% of female respondents felt confident in their knowledge of wealth & money topics (compared to 65% of men).  Compounding the complexity of these forces, is the fact that women are twice as likely as men to succumb to brain-aging diseases, which could require additional financial resources in later stages of their lives.

These trends converge to create meaningful opportunities for the wealth management industry.  In an era of growing Artificial Intelligence (AI), which will increasingly automate investment management, this frees up time for the industry and its advisors to focus on matters where both human judgement and empathy are required.  Understanding individual circumstances and desires, providing education, and customizing financial plans that establish resources to support life-stage changes, are all value-add activities to assist in smooth transition of wealth for women.  This sort of financial planning will not only provide prudent financial management, but also financial peace-of-mind for women and their families.

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