SOURCE: BMO Private Bank

May 10, 2013 07:35 ET

BMO Private Bank Mother's Day Study: Majority of Women Act as Chief Financial Officer (or Co-CFO) of Their Households

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwired - May 10, 2013) -

  • Ninety-seven percent own/co-own day-to-day budgeting and spending decisions
  • Eighty-four percent are either the primary decision maker or share ownership of decisions related to savings, investing and retirement planning
  • However, despite this increasing financial clout, almost 60 percent do not use a financial advisor
  • Top traits women look for in a financial advisor include strong communication skills, experience and trustworthiness 

According to a Mother's Day study released today by BMO Private Bank, the vast majority of women are either the primary decision-maker or have equal responsibility for household financial decisions. 

The study found that:

  • Ninety-seven percent of women either own or co-own responsibility for day-to-day household budgeting and spending decisions.
  • Eighty-four percent are either the primary or co-primary decision makers as it relates to long term financial planning -- including savings, investing and retirement planning.
  • Ninety percent decide or co-decide which financial institutions the family should use.

"Women are controlling an increasing amount of wealth and this is translating into having more of a say in how money is managed in households across the U.S.," said Mary Jo Herseth, National Head of Banking, BMO Private Bank. "We're at the point where we can say that women currently act as 'CFO' or 'Co-CFO' in the majority of homes across the country."

However, the study also noted that women are more likely than men (58 percent versus 50 percent) to not use the services of a financial advisor, who can help them identify goals, develop financial plans and manage their investments. 

More than half of women stated that they felt they did not have enough invested to make it worthwhile to employ the services of a financial advisor.

"It's important to understand that you don't have to be enormously wealthy to benefit from the services of a financial advisor," noted Herseth. "In fact, you could make the case that, the more modest the size of your investments, the more critical it is for you to seek out help to build them up."

The study also identified the top attributes women seek out in a financial advisor. These include:

  • They want clarity from their advisor -- clear and jargon-free language (93 percent).
  • Level of experience, trustworthiness, personable disposition (92 percent).
  • Competitive fee structure (90 percent).
  • Ability to deliver strong returns (89 percent).
  • Accessibility (73 percent).

"Women are seeking out financial advisors who take the time to listen to their unique financial requirements and deliver value," observed Herseth. "They're looking for clear, honest and relevant communication. As an industry, we need to do a better job of listening to women and responding to these needs." 

All results come from a Pollara survey fielded online with 1,500 Americans between April 26th and May 1st, 2013. The margin of error for a probability sample of this size would be +/- 2.5%, 19 times out of 20.

BMO Private Bank is a brand name used in the United States by BMO Harris Bank N.A. Member FDIC. Not all products and services are available in every state and/or location.

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