According to recent survey results from global investment management firm BlackRock, women are more optimistic than ever about their financial futures.
The BlackRock Global Investor Pulse Survey reports that just over half, 51 percent, of women feel positive about their financial futures, compared with 46 percent the prior year.
Forty-two percent say they are confident that they are making the right saving and investment decisions.
But the research also revealed that women are considerably less likely than men to actually be saving for retirement (55 percent versus 65 percent) and as a result, they report being more concerned than men about their ability to meet retirement goals.
“It’s clear that women need to become much more active in managing their money toward urgent long-term goals, particularly retirement,” Heather Pelant, head of personal investing at BlackRock, said in a statement. “But our survey also indicates that women have some key positive financial instincts that can lend valuable support to their saving and investing efforts.”
A recent report out of the Bank of Montreal Wealth Institute revealed that women control 51 percent of personal wealth in the United States.
That’s about $14 trillion, projected to be $22 trillion by the year 2020.
But the gender gap in retirement savings persists, according to the BlackRock study, with women’s savings providing about $3,000 less in income per month in retirement than men’s savings.
Considering the numbers at stake, it is no surprise that an industry would pop up that is centered around women’s finances.
Platforms like Ellevest and Worth Financial Management are modeled to address the specific factors that affect women’s savings and retirement plans, for instance, the fact that they tend to live longer and will thus need more savings to get them through retirement.
The traditionally male-dominated financial advising industry, in other words, is making room to accommodate women, especially the younger generation which reports that it is more comfortable making and managing investment decisions.
But in an increasingly mobile world, robo advising is becoming more popular, especially with young women.
That’s where platforms like Ellevest come in. Co-founder, CEO and former Wall Street executive Sallie Krawcheck said that she saw the need for the concept after she realized that the investing industry has been “frankly, by men for men.”
“We’ve heard from so many women that they have a different approach to investing than men,” says a white paper from the company. “Women are more risk-aware and prefer less volatility and more certainty of achieving their financial goals to taking big bets that may or may not be accompanied by greater investment returns.”
Ellevest works on helping its clients set goals, what it calls “goal-specific investing,” and then sets timelines for the achievement of those goals.
That in itself isn’t very female-specific until you take into account that the company factors in things like a gender-specific income curve for retirement savings since women tend to reach peak income earlier in their careers than men.
And even though women tend to be more risk averse, according to BlackRock, they are much more likely to ask for advice when it comes to savings and investments.
And if there is a product on the market where they can go and get that advice from other women, it’s likely that this sector of financial planning will soon grow to include many more platforms for women.