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Meet Ms. Financially Independent - New Study Finds More than Half of Women Control Household Finance

Women still feel underappreciated and underpaid at work but they're planning to take action

WASHINGTON, April 12, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- New research on female financial independence released today from HerMoney and the Alliance for Lifetime Income reveals that women are breaking down stereotypes and taking control – of their finances, careers, and futures.

Almost all women who reported being in a relationship play a role in managing not only their household finances (94%), but also managing investments (94%), and contrary to popular belief, retirement planning (94%).

Women are proud of the financial decisions they've made, according to the first chapter of the State of Women in 2022 study. More than 1,000 women surveyed by HerMoney and the Alliance say they are most proud of engaging with their finances on a regular basis (68%), paying off debt (56%), buying a home (53%) and being able to talk openly about money (53%).

Ms. Financially Independent is here to stay

When it comes to love and money however, most women prefer to keep the two separate. Among women who are partnered, only one-third (33%) have completely merged their finances with their significant other. This trend appears to have staying power. Among women who are currently single, only 2% (2%!) say they would merge all their money with a spouse or partner in the future.

Clearly, women have earned the title "Ms. Independent," as even those in relationships take on more financial responsibility than their partners. More than half have primary responsibility for household finances (59%) and investments (51%), while nearly half (48%) manage retirement planning for themselves and their partner.

On average, women who share money management duties with their partner take more than half of the responsibility for household finances (55% of the work), investments (54%), and retirement planning (55%).

How do they make it work? By dividing household labor more equitably. While some women in relationships say they take the lead on household chores (28%), a majority are sharing or delegating responsibility for chores (66% and 6%, respectively) and home maintenance (16% lead, 47% share and 37% delegate).

"It's inspiring to see these women take the lead on not only managing their household finances but also investing for the future and planning for retirement," said Alliance for Lifetime Income CEO Jean Statler. "This research clearly dispels an old belief that women are the CFOs of the household but are somehow absent when it comes to investing and planning for retirement. Women have more to lose because they are more likely to live longer, traditionally get paid less than their male counterparts, and therefore need to stretch their retirement income further, which magnifies the risk and possibility of running out of money. Making sure our income lasts for 20, 30 or more years in retirement takes some complex planning, so I tell all my female friends, 'it's time to take charge – and find a financial professional who looks out for your interests.' I will add that those financial advisors who ignore women, do so at their own financial peril."

Women now focused on getting ahead at work

Despite taking the reins in being financially independent, only 60% of the women surveyed believe their workplace is making progress in how it supports women, and the pay gap is a major issue for many – a third (34%) know or suspect men at their companies earn more for the same jobs. Among women who feel they aren't well compensated, one in six (17%) suspect they are being underpaid because of their gender.

Nearly two-thirds (63%) of women who work for others don't feel well compensated and, notably, about two out of five (39%) who are dissatisfied with their pay are planning to seek employment elsewhere. More than half (54%) who work haven't received a raise above the cost of living in the past two years.

"Women have truly taken on a financial leadership role at home. What this new research shows is that we're beginning to apply that same initiative when it comes to money at work," said Jean Chatzky, CEO of HerMoney and education fellow at the Alliance for Lifetime Income. "It's really hard to separate your home and work life at the end of the day, so expect to see women continuing down a path that brings them together. One way that may show up this year: 100% of employers should be making progress in their support of women – and those who don't face the very real scenario that women will seek out new employers that are."

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