In the United States, women currently oversee just about one-third of the total financial assets, yet this landscape is on the brink of transformation. Recent projections indicate a substantial shift in wealth inheritance, particularly for women, as part of the substantial wealth transfer set to unfold. McKinsey’s research forecasts that a significant portion of the staggering $68 trillion wealth transfer from the baby boomer generation will find its way into the hands of women. This surge in inherited wealth isn’t solely tied to husbands passing on assets to their wives; it extends to couples planning to leave a substantial nest egg for their offspring. The research strongly suggests that women are poised to reap disproportionate benefits from this historic wealth transfer. Stacy Francis, a distinguished certified financial planner and President/CEO of Francis Financial in New York, highlighted this as an unprecedented moment in history, presenting women with a unique opportunity to establish a more secure financial footing. Her insights, shared as a member of the CNBC Financial Advisor Council, underscore the significance of this evolving landscape for women’s financial empowerment.
Women’s Prospects in the Great Wealth Transfer
Historically, women have faced significant disparities in financial resources and opportunities, primarily stemming from an enduring gender pay disparity. Presently, women continue to earn a mere 80% of what their male counterparts do, reflecting a persistent discrepancy in income.
Furthermore, research from the Pew Research Center highlights that women are more inclined to engage in part-time employment and take career breaks, frequently to assume caregiving responsibilities for children or other family members. These interruptions in employment have contributed to an uneven career trajectory for many women.
Adding to this complexity, women boast a life expectancy that outpaces that of men by five years. This disparity in life expectancy poses distinct financial planning challenges and considerations for women in managing their long-term financial security.
Kelly O’Donnell, Chief Client Officer at Edelman Financial Engines, remarked on the sobering statistics, emphasizing the challenges faced by women due to their longer life expectancy and comparatively fewer financial resources. However, looking ahead to 2030, the forthcoming generation of women is poised to inherit a substantial share of the monumental $68 trillion transferring hands in what’s deemed the largest generational wealth shift to date.
Stacy Francis also highlighted this unprecedented moment in history, noting that women now have an unprecedented opportunity to amass considerable wealth for the first time ever.
Strategies to Propel Women Forward
“Here’s my vision: this chance could pave the way for women’s financial security, but it’s not a guaranteed win,” Francis emphasized. “Equipping them with the necessary tools is key to maintaining that stability.”
Taking an active role in managing finances mitigates risks, and the initial steps toward this goal need not be daunting.
“If you’re in line for a substantial inheritance, seeking financial guidance is crucial,” noted Maggie Wall, Head of Diverse Growth Markets at Citizens.
“Before sitting down with an advisor, women should come prepared,” Wall suggested. This preparation entails gathering a comprehensive inventory of assets and outlining various objectives. These goals might encompass securing a retirement plan, clearing student debt, purchasing a home, exploring travel opportunities, and outlining their desired legacy for their families.
“Arming oneself with this knowledge breeds confidence, peace of mind, and deeper involvement,” highlighted Francis. “Empowered by this, women can leverage a substantial inheritance to lay the foundation for their lifelong financial journey.”