Financial Planning

Women seek financial advice that’s tailored to their personal situation, and that’s focused on long-term financial security

By Megan Harman |

Canadian women are largely in charge of the financial decision-making in their households and are confident about their financial planning capabilities, but also value the advice of a trusted advisor, according to the results of a recent survey.

A survey of more than 1,000 Canadian women, entitled Financial Lives of Girls and Women, was commissioned in August by Barbara Stewart, portfolio manager at Cumberland Private Wealth Management Inc.

A staggering 89% of respondents revealed that final decisions about household spending ultimately rest with them. The survey also reveals that more than half of women typically hold the balance of power in their households when it comes to budgeting and day-to-day banking.

Nearly two-thirds of respondents described themselves as very or moderately confident in financial and investment matters, and among women over the age of 55, confidence levels are even higher.

“Historically, we were led to believe that women and finance didn’t mix; that women left the financial planning to the men in their lives and were largely ignored or under-serviced by financial firms and planners,” Stewart said.

She commissioned global research firm Angus Reid to conduct the survey in an effort to challenge these “no-longer relevant stereotypes”, and capture deeper understandings around women’s financial behaviour.

As she suspected, the results dispelled historical notions of women as financially powerless.

“Contrary to common misperceptions, and in contrast to their self deprecating language around their financial aptitude, women are largely in charge of their financial relationships and activities, successfully managing their advisors, long-term financial goals, and their family’s financial well-being,” Stewart said.

When it comes to advice, the survey shows that women seek out professional guidance that’s tailored to their personal situation, and that’s focused on big-picture planning and long-term financial security.

More than two-thirds of respondents said they’re pleased with the financial advice and service they receive. Three quarters of women said they have no plans to change their investment advisor.

The results show that women rely on their natural communication skills to enhance, drive and manage relationships with their advisors.

While many women have financial goals, however, most lack a financial plan to achieve them. Three quarters of respondents agreed that a plan is important, but only 29% have one in place.

Almost all women universally agreed that financial security and freedom are among the most important reasons to value money. Other reasons include supporting children, paying for big ticket items and vacations, and supporting charitable causes.

Interestingly, although the majority of survey respondents said that financial decisions should often or always be made with their spouse or partner, only half of women admit to consulting their significant other before making a financial decision. Only a third of married or common-law women said they had completely joint finances.