The Rising Tide of Mass Affluence Among Women

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015
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Women are experiencing a rise in female mass affluence and are prime prospects for luxury marketers and financial service providers.

America is seeing a rising tide of affluent women becoming captains of their own ships.

Now that women control half of the private wealth in the country,* it’s time for financial service providers, luxury real estate marketers, non-profits seeking high dollar gifts, and every other purveyor of upscale goods and services to focus on them.

Over 41% of Americans with incomes exceeding $500,000 are women. By 2020, women will account for $22 trillion in spending as wealth continues to shift from men to women. There are numerous reasons for this trend. Here are the top 3 that I can see:

  • More women have become entrepreneurs than ever before, while others are rising through the ranks of corporate management in higher numbers than previous generations.
  • When women and men of equal education, abilities, and similar social status are compared, the pay disparity disappears.
  • The largest transfer of wealth in history is underway as Baby Boomers inherit from their parents. These assets are becoming concentrated among female heirs as they generally outlive their husbands.

Constituting half of the U.S. workforce, women are empowered to take charge, “lean in,” and demand more pay. In fact, two out of five working married affluent women age 40-69 report that they earn the same or more than their husbands. Yet when it comes to investing, they lack confidence. An overwhelming majority say that it is important women have confidence in their ability to invest, but only 8% say they are. Clearly this presents a huge opportunity for financial advisors to specifically reach out to affluent female investors.

There’s a large and growing leadership of elite female role models soaring to new heights in formerly male-dominated business sectors. Here are just a few that quickly come to mind:

  • Marissa Mayer, CEO and President of Yahoo
  • Meg Whitman, former eBay and current Hewlett Packard CEO
  • Arianna Huffington, Editor-in-Chief of the Huffington Post
  • Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook
  • Ginni Rimetty, Chairman, CEO, and President of IBM
  • And we must include the women at the top of the new pop culture establishment like Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, and Katy Perry who are smartly building vast empires of self-made wealth.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. A society where women can rise to the highest levels of net worth makes it possible for women in general to attain mass affluence. This rising class of self-made professional women is making a huge impact on the economy. It’s a force to be reckoned with and I suggest that a good start is to speak to affluent women as primary decision makers in a voice that will resonate with them.

* Source: The Power of the Purse: How Smart Businesses Are Adapting to the World’s Most Important Consumer – Women


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