Women and Their Finances: 'Worry' Outweighs Action

ShareBuilder's Second Annual Women & Investing Survey Finds Many Women

Concerned About Retirement, But Not Taking Steps to Address Those Concerns

Apr 04, 2007, 01:00 ET from ShareBuilder

    BELLEVUE, Wash., April 4 /PRNewswire/ -- When it comes to personal
 finances, many women are worried about their financial future, but are
 either unwilling or unable to take action to improve their situation,
 according to a new survey conducted by Harris Interactive for ShareBuilder
 Securities Corp. The ShareBuilder 2007 Women & Investing survey reveals
 that this theme of "worry outweighing action" manifests itself in
 everything from women's participation in retirement plans, to having a
 brokerage account, to whether or not they have a financial game plan in
     Comparing men and women, the second annual ShareBuilder Women &
 Investing survey examines the factors that shape American's saving and
 investing practices, how they make investing decisions, their confidence
 levels and whether they believe they are adequately addressing their future
 financial needs. New this year, the survey also looks at the impact
 relationships have on women's finances.
     "We're seeing a fairly significant 'financial disconnect' between what
 women are concerned about, what they envision their own retirement will
 look like, and the steps they are taking -- or not taking -- to ensure that
 their vision meets with reality," said Jeff Seely, Chairman and CEO of
     Financial Disconnect By the Numbers
     Underscoring the financial disconnect is the fact that 36 percent of
 women say they worry about retirement "all the time" (compared to 29
 percent of men); conversely, 48 percent of men say they are well prepared
 for retirement, compared to only 36 percent of women. In terms of saving in
 general, nearly half of the women surveyed (49 percent) say they saved less
 than 5 percent of their total income last year. Half as many women as men
 save more than 10 percent of their annual income.
     At a broader level, only 40 percent of the women surveyed say they have
 any kind of "financial game plan" at all (compared to 55 percent of men).
     In addition, the survey revealed that nearly one quarter (23 percent)
 of the women surveyed who have a retirement plan available to them at work
 do not participate at all in that plan (compared to only 17 percent of
 men). This, despite the fact that 24 percent of women envision tougher
 times in their retirement, characterized by "coupon clipping" and
 "downsizing my home" (compared to only 15 percent of men).
     Yet when it comes to spending patterns, women are reluctant to cut back
 on some discretionary expenses in order to better their financial future.
 For example, thirty-four percent of women said they spend more money on
 dining out than they do on clothes, electronics, entertainment, sporting
 events and travel, but are least willing to cut back on dining out in order
 to save for retirement.
     The survey reveals a similar pattern when it comes to personal
 investing. Women are much less likely than men to have a brokerage account
 (41 percent versus 55 percent) and women feel more "intimidated" and
 "overwhelmed" then men do when it comes to investing in general.
     "When it comes to saving and investing, it would appear that there is a
 hesitancy that prevents women from taking action as early as they should,
 despite their acknowledgement that they should be doing more than they
 are," Seely said. "The good news is that at ShareBuilder, we recognize this
 and are continually looking for ways to break down barriers and make
 investing easier in order to help women achieve their financial goals."
     On a positive note, the survey indicates that women feel more
 comfortable about investing as they age. While only 39 percent of women
 under 30 described themselves as knowledgeable about investing, that figure
 jumps to 54 percent for women 51-60. By contrast, men's knowledge of
 investing changes very little with age. Sixty seven percent of men under 30
 consider themselves knowledgeable. This figure increases only three percent
 for men aged 51-60.
     Interestingly, about the same number of women and men (40 percent) say
 they carry no credit card debt.
     About This Survey
     The 2007 ShareBuilder Women & Investing Survey is the company's second
 annual survey conducted to evaluate women's saving and investing knowledge,
 attitudes, trends, and behaviors. Data for the survey was collected online
 within the United States by the Harris Interactive Service Bureau on behalf
 of ShareBuilder in March 2007. The results were analyzed and compiled by an
 independent research firm. Respondents included 967 women and 1057 men aged
 21 and older. The subsets of men and women surveyed have an average
 sampling error of not more than +/- 2%.
     About ShareBuilder
     ShareBuilder (www.sharebuilder.com) is an online brokerage designed to
 make investing in the stock market easy for long-term investors.
 ShareBuilder does not require any account or investment minimums, offers
 low fees on transactions and automatic, dollar-based investing programs.
 ShareBuilder also offers a flexible and affordable 401(k) plan for small
 business owners with fewer than 50 employees (www.sharebuilder401k.com).
     ShareBuilder Securities Corporation, a subsidiary of ShareBuilder
 Corporation, is a registered broker-dealer and member NASD/SIPC. See
 www.sharebuilder.com for complete brokerage information, including full fee
 schedule. ShareBuilder Advisors, LLC, a subsidiary of ShareBuilder
 Corporation, is a registered investment advisor.
     A complete copy of the 2007 ShareBuilder Women & Investing survey is
 available upon request by contacting Eric Walter, DDB Public Relations at
 206.447.1213 or via email at eric.walter@sea.ddb.com.
     Media Contacts
     Kathy Schanno, ShareBuilder              Eric Walter, DDB Public Relations
     425.467.7469 /                           206.447.1213 /
     kathys@sharebuilder.com                  eric.walter@sea.ddb.com

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