The Rise of the "Woman of Influence"
In the 2013 Women, Money, and Power Study by Allianz Life, one in five women today can be described as a "Woman of Influence" — someone who plays a more empowered, informed and active role with respect to finances. Yet it might not be the kind of woman you'd expect.
"The compelling thing about the Woman of Influence is she doesn't necessarily fit the typical Power Woman profile of someone with a six–figure salary and an MBA," said Katie Libbe, vice president of Consumer Insights for Allianz Life. "A new type of woman has stepped forward. She may be career oriented. She may be a stay–at–home mom. She could have a non–traditional family — perhaps she has a same–sex partner, is a single mother, or is in a blended family. Or she may be on her own."
The Women, Money, and Power Study identified these Women of Influence based on a number of criteria, including activity in major investment decisions, good understanding of financial products, and interest in learning about financial matters. This increased level of engagement has paid off in other ways as well — 90% percent of the Women of Influence participating in this study believe that becoming more financially knowledgeable has made a real difference in their quality of life.
Tips to become a Woman of Influence
According to Libbe, there are a few specific things that today's women can do to put themselves on the path to becoming a Woman of Influence:
- Be willing to learn: The more you know about money management, investing and retirement planning, the more confident you'll be about making decisions and taking action.
- Start saving early and regularly: Take your financial future seriously. If you're not already consistently putting away money for the future, get into a systematic savings habit now. Know where you want to be in the future and keep working toward those goals.
- Take financial responsibility for your household: Be part of the money management decisions for your household. Know your current financial situation and get involved in helping to ensure your financial security.
- Build an emergency fund and pay off debt: An emergency fund can help ensure your short-term security, your retirement savings is the foundation for your later years—both are critical.
- Fund your retirement. Retirement savings are the foundation for your comfort in later years. If you don't have a retirement account, get one. If you do, maximize your contributions and take advantage of any employer matching contributions.
- Embrace risk: By nature, many women are risk averse. However, it takes a certain level of risk in investing to realize greater returns. To help manage risk, diversify your investments.
- Advance your career: Your career can be one of the most important investments you make. More income, more benefits, and more opportunity can help you in both the long- and short-term.
- Seek professional guidance: Women will hire a trainer to get in shape but often shy away from seeking out a financial professional to help them get their money matters in order. Talk to a financial professional about your financial situation, and your financial goals — as well as how to achieve them.
Would you like to learn more about the Women of Influence described in our 2013 Women, Money, and Power Study? See all the major findings here.
To learn how Allianz Life can help you create a more secure financial future, start by exploring these retirement insights and retirement tools.