Women's wealth

There have been many reports to suggest that the proportion of women’s wealth will grow significantly in the next few years. In fact, according to Statisa the percentage of ultra-wealthy women has already risen from 6.5% in 2016 to 11% in 2022.[1]

Despite these statistics, a 2023 survey from Standard Life [2] reports that we still see a large number of women not seeking financial support (64%) and more women worrying that their pension pot will not last. This is why it is more important than ever to understand women’s wealth goals, needs and challenges in order to serve them appropriately.

Gender dynamics across generations

As a financial planner, it’s important to ensure you are creating an environment for female clients to feel empowered to make decisions. When I am advising couples of retirement age, I find that although they may be present in meetings, the women tend not to be the final decision makers. This may be due to past societal norms where men were typically the sole earner and women the homemakers of the family.

It’s imperative for planners to be aware when this dynamic occurs and make a concerted effort to include the less dominant member of the couple in the financial planning process. This can help to build confidence and bring a fairer balance to decision making around finances. It can also ensure they are informed of the family’s financial position as there may come a time when the finances are handed over, for example, in the event of the husband dying.

Offering educational resources and clear communication can help to empower women to make informed investment decisions. When you remove the stigma and communicate without jargon or gender coded language, female clients can feel more informed to make decisions for themselves and for their families. 

Spouse-to-spouse wealth transfer

Among the baby boomer generation, there is a rising wave of spouse-to-spouse wealth transfers. The Centre of Economics and Business Research (CEBR) estimates that women will hold 60% of Britain’s wealth by 2025 through inheriting from their deceased spouses.[3]

It is clear there needs to be financial advice tailored for widows, and that starts with emotional support in navigating grief and loss. A planner can then assess the immediate impact the inheritance will have on a client’s personal situation, both emotionally and practically in terms of financial education, informing them how they can make the most out of their windfall.

Following the death of a spouse it’s also important to assess the widow’s financial stability. The loss of a partner can have a significant impact on lifestyle both in terms of household income as well as expenditure. Will the client likely to be able to achieve their objectives with the wealth they have, or is further planning required?

There then must be provisions made for the future. What happens to the wealth beyond their own lifetime? Who is to benefit from the estate they leave behind? Preparation can make such a valuable difference, especially when considering the continuation of a family legacy.

Understanding women’s wealth needs

Advising female clients involves a clear understanding of their unique financial goals and challenges. We must acknowledge that women may have different concerns, needs and considerations to factor in. These can be wide ranging from career interruptions due to caring for children and elderly relatives, to lower comparable salaries.

There are also challenges around menopause that impact both personal and professional lives. According to the CIPD ‘Menopause in the workplace’ survey, 67% of those asked experienced symptoms that negatively affected their work, with a staggering 53% that remembered instances where they were unable to work at all.[4] Needing to take time away from a career will have a significant impact on a women’s savings for retirement.

Financial planning for women should also factor in longer life expectancy. According to the Office for National Statistics, the average life expectancy for women in the UK is 82.6 years, 4 years older than the expectancy for men.[5] Financial planning for women and couples should therefore factor this into retirement and care costs. If a woman does not have children and outlives her partner, the planning for her end-of-life care needs to be considered in advance as there may not be dependants to arrange this.

With tools like cashflow modelling, you can illustrate how these life stages can have a significant impact on female financial planning. Tailoring financial advice to address these specific needs fosters inclusivity and ensures the financial needs of women are met in the professional advice space.

Seek advice from a professional

Everyone’s wealth journey is different depending on their individual circumstances, but there are common experiences that women may encounter that could have a significant impact on their financial journey. It is the role of a financial planner to provide trusted and bespoke advice for these life events.

If you are looking for more bespoke guidance with your wealth or want to discuss the prospects of inheriting transferred wealth, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

[1] Women as a proportion of ultra-wealthy individuals worldwide (UHNW) from 2014 to 2022 – Statista – 2024
[2] Retirement Voice 2023 – Standard Life – 2023
[3]  Neglected heirs: widows who take over the family finances – CEBR – 22nd April 2022
[4] Menopause in the workplace – CIPD – 4th October 2023
[5] National life tables – life expectancy in the UK 2020 – 2022 – Office for National Statistics – 11th January 2024
The information contained within this document is subject to the UK regulatory regime and is therefore primarily targeted at consumers based in the UK.
The opinions stated in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the view of Progeny and should not be relied upon to make a financial decision.
The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate will writing and some forms of estate planning.

This article is distributed for educational purposes and should not be considered investment advice or an offer of any security for sale. This article contains the opinions of the author but not necessarily the Firm and does not represent a recommendation of any particular security, strategy or investment product. Information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable but is not guaranteed.

Past performance is not indicative of future results and the value of investments can fall as well as rise. No representation is made that the stated results will be replicated.

Shona Barr

Associate Director, Wealth

Shona founded Affinity IFA Limited in 2008 which then joined forces with Progeny in 2021.

Learn more about Shona Barr