The Rise of Women’s Earning Power

women's earnings

Every year, women in the workforce contribute a whopping $5 trillion to global wealth. And this wealth is accruing more rapidly now than ever. In 2019, women controlled 33% of global wealth. In North America, women own $35T of all assets, which is expected to grow at a 6.9% compound annual growth rate by 2023.

Married Female Breadwinners

Married females who are the breadwinners of their households make up 25% of all households in the U.S. that have over $250k of investable assets. Wealth management professionals still haven’t caught on to this massive opportunity.

These women describe themselves at independent and hard working. 75% work with an advisor, yet only 41% feel knowledgeable about their finances. 82% are college graduates.

A study by RTi Research grouped female married breadwinners into four archetypes:

  • We’re in this together.
  • I got it.
  • A little help, please.
  • I got this from here.

We’re In This Together

This archetype sees their family as normal and no different than others. These women are typically knowledgeable about investing. They work as a team with their partners and typically have a positive outlook. The partners are proud and appreciative of each other.

  • 74% say “My spouse appreciates my hard work”
  • 59% say “We live in a ‘normal’ household”
  • 80% report having a supportive spouse
  • 66% say they and their spouse are aligned on future financial goals

I Got It

This archetype feels fulfilled and proud to be the breadwinner of the family. She enjoys being in control and knows she can do a better job than her partner. She is comfortable and experienced in being the breadwinner and has a spouse who is supportive and comfortable with a secondary role.

  • 43% say “Primary earner role is a source of pride”
  • 41% say that their role as the primary earner is fulfilling
  • 33% say “As the primary earner I am in control”
  • 61% have always been the primary earner

A Little Help, Please

This archetype feels stressed out and tired and wants more from their partner. She feels that the world is on her shoulders and would like her partner to contribute more. She’s reluctant to be in this position and would prefer if the roles were reversed.

  • 42% say “Everything depends on me”
  • 29% want their spouse to take on more responsibilities
  • 97% say there is a negative impact to being the primary breadwinner
  • 59% would prefer if their spouse were the primary breadwinner

I’ve Got It From Here

This archetype is proud to be in the role of the highest earner and feels strong and proud of her current position. She is typically new to the role of primary earner and feels supported by her spouse. They have the same long-term financial goals. She appreciates the hard work her partner has done in the past.

  • 59% say “My spouse supports me”
  • 51% say their spouse appreciates her hard work
  • 100% of these women became the primary earner later in life
  • 51% feel strong

Wealth Management and Financial Goals

Female breadwinners have a wide and diverse range of financial goals. These goals vary across different stages of life.

  • Among female married breadwinners aged 25-39, a comfortable lifestyle is most important, with little thought put into long-term care.
  • Ages 40-59 are most interested in saving for retirement, living a comfortable lifestyle, and protecting the future.
  • Ages 60 and up are focused on living a comfortable life, protecting the future, and long-term care.

It’s important for female married breadwinners to have a financial advisor and utilize wealth management services. What women are looking for in an idea financial advisor are:

  • 53% Help with retirement planning
  • 50% Takes the time to understand my specific financial needs
  • 49% Speaks to me in a language I can understand
  • 46% Treats me the same as my partner
  • 40% Knows the right questions to ask even if I don’t
  • 35% Educates me on my investments 
  • 31% Eases the burden of my investing responsibilities

Female primary earners who work with advisors have better views on their finances.