The FINANCIAL -- Women
are on average younger than their husbands and outlive them, according
to the report, “The Younger Wife’s Curse”.
In the past, these extra years were more of a curse than a blessing as many women spent them in old-age poverty. “Social norms are changing, and pensions are improving for women, so today’s younger women appear better positioned to ensure their own financial security. This is a trend that the financial industry will need to respond to in the coming years”, says Brigitte Miksa, Head of International Pensions at Allianz.
Older women are at greater risk of poverty in 27 out of 30 OECD countries, says the report. Poverty rates are 15% for women and 11% for men. Researchers investigating poverty have shown widowhood is the single most predictive factor concerning a decrease in female income in later years. This is often due to the shorter working lifetime of previous generations of women and dependency on their spouse’s Social Security and private pension benefits, which tend to decrease after his death. In addition, the couple’s assets are often depleted by costs linked to the sickness and death of the spouse making thenewly widowed woman financially poor even if as a married couple they were not, according to Allianz, a German multinational financial services company.
Against this, another recent report (“2013 Allianz Women, Money, and Power Study”) focused on women’s changing attitudes and behaviors as it pertains to money in the United States. 68% of respondents have become more actively involved in financial planning, retirement and investment decisions since the financial crisis, shows the study.
“Overall the two studies are complementary and found that women are becoming more and more financially aware, though of course this masks huge differences between countries,” explains Miksa.
Generally women in the developed world today are more educated than their mothers and spend more years in employment. They also enjoy far greater financial independence than their grandmothers and contribute to their own pensions. In addition, they tend to marry later and marry men increasingly closer to their own age. Today’s younger wives, it seems, have a far better chance than their mothers and grandmothers of securing their financial future. Yet, new trends threaten prosperity in later life. Pension reforms implemented in recent years will affect everyone, but men and women are affected in distinctly different ways, according to Allianz.
The financial industry is struggling to come to terms with the increasing role women are playing in their own and household finances. 54% of women still believe the industry is geared towards men, the “2013 Allianz Women, Money, and Power Study” found. Some 62% of women still don't have a financial advisor and financial professionals placed a distant second to the Internet as a source for financial information.