Women: A Growing Economic Force

Economic Force

As we celebrate Women’s History Month in March, it’s important to remember it’s not just about celebrating a few individuals in history that championed for women’s rights, but also the everyday woman who is quietly changing the world economically.

Women are a growing economic force. They create, control and influence upwards of $20 trillion, or 27 percent of the world’s total wealth. In the U.S., women currently exercise decision-making control of $11.2 trillion – that’s 39 percent of the nation’s estimated $28.6 trillion of investable assets.

Additionally, two-thirds of women identify themselves not only as influencers but as primary decision-makers in their households. But women aren’t just controlling their families’ assets – they are increasingly becoming the primary or only breadwinners in 40 percent of U.S. households as well.

As women continue to create and inherit wealth, their impact on the consumer industry will only increase in the coming years. For those in business, it will be important to evaluate and evolve by conscientiously delivering new and better ways to serve women as customers, clients and decision makers.

Yet, even with such an important role within the household and in the economy, four out of five women say they lack confidence in their financial knowledge. While many do well in monitoring everyday finances, many leave long term wealth building such as investing and retirement planning to their spouse or partner. Perhaps it’s because women also represent two-thirds of family caregivers for young children and/or aging parents. Between their responsibilities at home and at work, it leaves limited time for women to focus on building their financial futures.

But ladies, it’s time to fully embrace our power – and education is key. Nowadays there are various resources online that you can use to build a strong financial knowledge base. If you’re looking for more in-depth knowledge or insights tailored to your own personal financial situation, consider consulting a financial advisor. Another important step will be to have an open discussion with your spouse or partner. Finances should not be a taboo topic but rather something that can be freely discussed. Both should understand the role that each wants to play.

Currently, 70 percent of women with children under 18 participate in the labor force, women and their “power of the purse” will only continue to grow as an economic force within the household and in the economy as they expand their roles as wealth creators and controllers. Embrace the growth and commit to building your own economic force because you’re more powerful than you know; and we have Women’s History Month to prove it.

kristen-fricks-romanKristen Fricks-Roman CFP®, CRPS®, is a financial advisor and senior vice president at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, Atlanta. She can be reached at [email protected].

The information contained in this article is not a solicitation to purchase or sell investments. Any information presented is general in nature and not intended to provide individually tailored investment advice. The strategies and/or investments referenced may not be suitable for all investors as the appropriateness of a particular investment or strategy will depend on an investor’s individual circumstances and objectives. Investing involves risks and there is always the potential of losing money when you invest. The views expressed herein are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect the views of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, or its affiliates. Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, LLC, member SIPC.

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