SOURCE: Luxury Institute

May 14, 2008 11:00 ET

Females Flex Financial Muscle: Luxury Institute WealthSurvey Finds Women in Charge of Most Buying Decisions in Wealthy Households

Educational Achievement Brings Financial Rewards

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - May 14, 2008) - Married wealthy women on average make almost two-thirds (64 percent) of a family's purchase decisions, according to a Luxury Institute survey of women from households with $150,000 or more in annual income.

Women hold particular sway over home appliance and travel spending: in 68 percent of wealthy households, the matriarch has the final word on ovens, ranges, and refrigerators; 61 percent of wealthy women make the family's vacation decisions. Health care decisions, including choice of plans and providers, are the domain of women in 48 percent of wealthy households and nearly half (48 percent) call the shots on home improvement purchases.

Even in financial affairs, the female influence is profound: 22 percent of married wealthy women make all of the family's investment decisions on their own; another two-thirds report making financial decisions jointly. Forty-six percent choose the family's bank accounts.

Choice of automobiles and consumer electronics fall to the female in 40 percent of wealthy households, and women control their family's real estate purchase in 31 percent of households.

The driving force behind the spending power of wealthy women is often their own money: 72 percent work on at least a part-time basis and 54 percent work full-time. Most are well compensated for their efforts, with 60 percent earning at least $100,000 a year. The median annual income of working wealthy women is $124,000. One-third hold jobs at the vice-president level or higher; 22 percent hold managerial positions. Twelve percent serve on a board of directors.

"Winning over wealthy women is a do-or-die proposition for companies in industries as varied as travel, healthcare, financial services and home improvement," says Milton Pedraza, CEO, the Luxury Institute. "Education is a big ingredient: 88 percent of wealthy women hold at least a bachelor's degree and 35 percent have a master's."

Marriott, Hilton, Visa and Home Depot stand out for their skill in marketing to wealthy women -- each earned an unaided mention from seven percent of respondents for being companies that do the best job of marketing to wealthy women.

This latest WealthSurvey, plus ten best practices surveys per year, a resource library of over 30 consumer surveys, the Wealth Report newsletter, plus networking with trusted qualified peers, are all available to members of the LuxuryBoard.com, an online community for Luxury Professionals who wish to learn how best to serve luxury consumers. Learn more and register for only $995.00 per year at www.LuxuryBoard.com.

About the Luxury Institute

The Luxury Institute is the uniquely independent and impartial ratings, research and executive education institution that is the trusted and respected voice of the high net-worth consumer. The Institute provides a portfolio of proprietary publications, research and courses that guides and educates high net-worth individuals and the companies that cater to them on leading edge trends, high net-worth consumer rankings and ratings of luxury brands, and best practices. The Luxury Institute also operates the Luxury Board (www.LuxuryBoard.com), the world's first global, membership-based online community for luxury goods and services executives, professionals and entrepreneurs. To reach the Luxury Institute, please call 646-792-2669 or go to www.LuxuryInstitute.com.

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