Myth or Reality : What Do Woman Really Want

What is it that women really want when it comes to managing their wealth and relationships?  If you hoped to find it in mainstream media, you may be woefully disappointed in news, reality shows, movies and magazines as they often portray negative stereotypes.  Today’s media all too often seems to grossly simplify and paint stereotypes of affluent women.  So what is the reality?


The United States recently conducted a study which explored women’s knowledge, awareness, involvement, decision making, attitudes and intentions of transferring wealth to their children.  Over 100 affluent women participated and, as a result, myths were challenged and found not to accurately reflect today’s affluent women.


The vast majority of myths do not reflect the general view, attitudes and perceptions.  The findings were as follows:


MYTH 1:     
Women with wealth do not work, are not that educated, and would prefer to rely on a man.

  • 53% of women surveyed are employed and 70% expect family members to work
  • 80% have a Bachelor’s degree, and over 40% have a Master’s or advanced degree
  • Women expressed the importance of not relying on a man when it came to their wealth, and the importance of being educated and knowledgeable of wealth management issues


SUMMARY:  Women are educated, often employed and believe in a strong work ethic.
MYTH 2:      

Women with wealth would prefer not to be involved and do not feel in control of their wealth.


  • Women feel they have control (68% agree) and are involved with their wealth (53% agree)
  • Women make most daily household financial decisions (64% agree)
  • Most women feel that they make overall strategic wealth management decisions with their spouse (68% agree)
  • If left alone, women feel confident to make wealth management decisions for their household (62% agree)


SUMMARY: Women are interested and involved with their finances.
MYTH 3:      

Wealthy women see their wealth connected to their image, identity and power.


  • Women are impressed by people with wealth (88% disagree)
  • Having wealth equates to having power (55% disagree)
  • Wealth is connected to image—Women are divided (41% disagree, 42% agree and 17% are neutral)
  • Most women interviewed do not consider themselves to be wealthy


SUMMARY:  Wealth is a means not an end; women may not connect their image with wealth, but others might.
MYTH 4:     Wealthy women are designer shoppers and love to just buy, buy, buy… REALITY:

  • 71% disagree that family spends too much and 64% disagree that they spend too much
  • Women are concerned about losing wealth (50% disagree)
  • Women consider themselves bargain shoppers (68% agree)


SUMMARY:  Women are looking for quality when spending and don’t want to just “spend, spend, and spend for the sake of buying.”
MYTH 5:     

Talking about wealth is taboo…the children don’t need to know…


  • False… Families are talking about wealth (71% agree)
  • Women are talking to advisors & spouses about wealth (over 70% agree)
  • 62% of women have talked with children about estate plans
  • 64% of women have talked with children about inheritance


SUMMARY: Communication is a critical tool for families, and women agree it is important to be talking about wealth and wealth transfer 
MYTH 6:    

Live lavishly today… Why leave a legacy for the next generation, it’s not important.


  • False… 82% of women intend on leaving a legacy
  • Women feel strongly about passing along wealth to heirs as 95% of mothers would like to give equally among children
  • Philanthropy
    • Women believe it’s important to give to charitable causes (92% agree)
    • Women believe it’s important to give of time to community (88% agree)


SUMMARY: With great wealth comes great responsibility; Stewardship of family wealth is pivotal to sustaining it for future generations


In summary, the findings from this research and in fact the experience from our own clients would support that women are increasingly in control, included in decisions (and often drive them), are educated about the options for wealth management and its implications on family members and relationships.



*Information provided is an extract from the Women and Wealth Report, sponsored by GenSpring Family Offices and reproduced by Kirby Rosplock, PhD and Director of Research and Development at GenSpring