Insights Into Action

Women on Retirement

Women are more likely than men to invest in the market at an early age, but they may not be taking advantage of this early start by focusing on longer-term goals, like retirement.

Insights into Action

Institutions and advisors who understand women’s views on retirement investing and the obstacles they face can better attract, retain and grow women investors.

Attract Women Investors


60% of women say they want to be rich and 66% describe themselves as optimistic about their ability to build personal wealth. The vast majority of these women (91%) believe investing can be used to help them on this journey.

But, women may not be spending enough time thinking about some of the biggest financial demands they face, including retirement. When it comes to her top money goals, women rank stability, lifestyle and financial independence ahead of retirement. In fact, only 17% of women rank retirement as their top goal.


BE APPROACHABLE – More than half of the women we surveyed believe they almost need to become a financial expert to talk to a financial advisor. This is especially true for millennial women (63%). Advisors who want to attract and retain women investors will need to make the process more comfortable, creating non-judgmental environments and encouraging straightforward, honest conversations about the importance of retirement planning.

Retain Women Investors


This shorter-term focus is evident in many of their survey responses: 50% say that “planning for tomorrow is difficult when there is already so much on my plate today”; and 71% agree that “everyone talks about retirement savings but I want to know more about how to optimize my money today.”

Even when women have access to retirement accounts, such as a 401(k), they may not be taking full advantage of it. Only 14% of women are maxing out their retirement accounts (versus 26% of men) and 57% report they rarely think about the funds they have chosen in their retirement portfolio.


PROVIDE COUNSEL AND EDUCATION – Many women are focused on life goals over financial goals, as evidenced by the 92% who believe health and wellness practices are as important as financial longevity. Recognizing these priorities, advisors should help women investors understand the importance of a long-term strategy for retirement saving and the benefits of starting early. Provide educational materials showing the rising cost of retirement living and the advantages of a longer investment timeframe.

2 women eating at table  2 women eating at table 
71% agree that “everyone talks about retirement savings but I want to know more about how to optimize my money today.”

Grow Your Female Client Base


The good news is that women believe that investing is an important part of retirement planning, even if they may not be acting on it. 91% of women agree that investing can be used to meet long-term goals and 90% are optimistic about investing’s potential to create a steady source of income during retirement.


TAILOR OFFERINGS TO THE SITUATION – Women are looking for an advisor who understands the realities of their lives and want to work with an institution that creates new products that align with their life goals. Present retirement strategies that are easy to monitor and maintain, freeing women to focus on short-term strategies and lifestyle demands.

girl hugging woman  girl hugging woman 
51% of women agree that they almost need to become a financial expert to talk to a financial advisor.

Women, Investing & the Pursuit of Wealth-Life Balance

View our full research findings.

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Expert Salon

In March and April 2018, we conducted expert salons in Newport Beach and New York City to capture ideas from thought leaders in women’s perspectives on investing, lifestyle and goals across media, finance and communications.

Financial Decision Maker Survey
This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of PIMCO from May 3-May 16, 2018, among 1,500 U.S. adults ages 18 and older, including 748 women. All respondents had over $10,000 in investable household assets and at least some financial decision-making responsibility within the household. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. In March 2018, we also hosted 2 salon sessions to explore issues around women and investing with thought leaders, influencers and experts.

Past performance is not a guarantee or a reliable indicator of future results.  All investments contain risk and may lose value.  This report is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered as investment advice or a recommendation of any particular security, strategy or investment product, nor construed as a solicitation or offer to buy or sell any securities or related financial instruments in any jurisdiction.

The survey results contain the opinions of the respondents and not necessarily those of PIMCO. The data contained within the report may not be related to any PIMCO product or strategy and should not be relied upon for any investment decision.

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