By 2020, American women will control over half ($22 trillion) of U.S. household assets.
That’s the finding from a new report titled “Women and Wealth: The Invisible Opportunity” conducted by Wells Fargo’s First Clearing brokerage and the Cannon Financial Institute.
According to the study:
Baby boomer women stand to inherit wealth twice in the coming years – first from their parents and in-laws and then from the husbands they statistically outlive. Seven out of 10 currently married American women will become widows, at an average age of 59.
At the same time, women’s earnings have increased. Over the past 30 years, the number of working women has doubled. And women entering the workforce today have achieved economic parity with their brothers and husbands.
Additionally, women have become increasingly confident about managing their finances and, in the years ahead, will be far less likely than their mothers and grandmothers to take a backseat when it comes to making financial decisions for their families.
The study’s findings point to a series of opportunities and challenges for financial services professionals that will increasingly serve a wealthy female clientele.
“Women seek relationships,” says the study. “They want and expect their adviser to be interested in their lives as well as their financial goals.”
To seize “one of the biggest opportunities” the financial industry has ever seen, the authors advocate that financial professionals use a five-part strategy: Commit, Contact, Connect, Care, and Cultivate.
The explosion of female wealth is partly explained by the demographic shifts in higher education. In 2010, women earned 60% of master’s degrees, 52% of doctorate degrees, and 48% of medical degrees.