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Understanding Women's Financial Needs & Behavior

Controlling or influencing over half of family investments, women have come to control over 60 percent of the nation’s wealth. As women play a larger role in making financial decisions, the results of this AARP study underscore the importance of understanding their financial attitudes and behaviors which can vary greatly – and the information and assistance they need – when handling money.

  • The two consistently overarching factors playing the most significant roles in affecting women’s financial situation and attitudes are their socio-economic status and life stage.
  • While most women describe themselves as either comfortable with their financial situation (35%) or having enough to get by (39%), one-in-five struggles to make ends meet and half say it would be a challenge to deal with an unexpected $1,000 expense.
  • In addition to struggling financially today, many women struggle preparing for the future. Only two-thirds of women use a savings account and over half (57%) do not pay off balances on their credit cards each month.

About 90 percent of women report that they are either the primary financial decision maker or equally share in the decision. About two-thirds also say that they manage their money entirely on their own.

This telephone survey of 2,017 women ages 18 to 65+ was conducted for AARP during December 2006 by Lieberman Research Worldwide which also prepared the report. Further information about the study may be obtained by contacting Xenia Montenegro of AARP Knowledge Management at 202-434-3538 (5 pages)