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country financial security index

Study finds men significantly more likely to seek out financial advice than women

Latest COUNTRY Financial survey finds gender gap with seeking advice on retirement planning and tax matters

April 14, 2017

To coincide with Financial Literacy Month, COUNTRY Financial has released a new study that looks at what Americans seek financial guidance around the most. The findings from the COUNTRY Financial Security Index reveal notable differences between the way men and women seek out financial help, with men far more likely to seek out financial advice from others than women. 

Interestingly, when asked whether respondents had ever sought financial advice around common topics like retirement planning or taxes, male respondents had consistently done so more than women on every topic. In addition, the study showed that nearly a quarter of women (24 percent) revealed they had never sought financial advice, compared to only 15 percent of men reporting the same. 

Topic Total Americans Men Women
Have sought financial advice on any topic 80.5% 84.8% 76.4%
Retirement planning 41.0% 45.2% 37.0%
Tax related matters 37.9% 42.1% 33.9%
Insurance 32.9% 39.0% 26.9%
Savings 29.6% 31.6% 27.8%
Non-retirement
investments
27.0% 30.1% 24.1%
Large personal
purchases
26.2% 27.0% 25.4%
Home purchase
planning
21.6% 23.6% 19.6%
Estate planning 19.0% 25.4% 12.9%
Debt management 18.0% 20.4% 15.8%
College/ university
planning
16.1% 16.3% 15.9%
Charitable giving 8.3% 8.7% 7.8%
Have never sought financial advice 19.5% 15.2% 23.6%

When it comes to finances, a diversity of counsel can have a positive impact in guiding well-informed decisions. This is especially true as many Americans report they are not as responsible in their spending choices as they feel they should be. 

In fact, a slight majority of Americans (51 percent) feel they are not managing their own investments or savings as well as they should. Further demonstrating this habit, 39 percent of Americans (43 percent of men and 35 percent of women) also report higher comfort levels in passing along financial advice than acting on it themselves.

“Financial Literacy Month is the ideal time of year for Americans to take an inventory of personal money management habits, determine financial priorities and opportunities, and create a circle of trusted advisors to advise the best path forward when it comes to managing finances,” said Troy Frerichs, director of wealth management at COUNTRY Financial.

Take an Inventory of Personal Money Management Habits: Get started on the road to financial security by assessing money coming in as it relates to current spending and saving patterns. Work toward answering whether you are among the 44 percent of Americans that report they are not as responsible with their spending choices as they should be or the 51 percent that report they are not managing their investments or savings as well as they should. 

Determine Financial Priorities and Opportunities: Leverage what is learned from the personal inventory of finances to identify short- and long-term goals. For instance, Americans report they are currently most concerned about affording unexpected expenses (44 percent), affording healthcare costs (41 percent) and being able to take desired vacations (36 percent). Once priorities are determined, investigate solutions and opportunities for saving or investing to help reach your goals.

Create a Circle of Trusted Advisors: In one’s journey to a more secure financial future, it also helps to have a network of trusted advisors that can be counted on for advice. This can range from family, friends, co-workers, employers, financial advisors and beyond. Today, half of Americans (50 percent) report consulting a family member (i.e., mother, father, spouse, sibling or child) for financial advice, while 40 percent reported going to a financial advisor. Meanwhile, seeking financial advice from friends (16 percent), employers (11 percent) and coworkers (6 percent) is less common, but can also be valuable if you consider them trustworthy, resourceful and knowledgeable as it relates to your financial future.

About The COUNTRY Financial Security Index®

Since 2007, the COUNTRY Financial Security Index has measured Americans' sentiments of their personal financial security. The Index also delves deeper into individual personal finance topics to better inform Americans about the issues impacting their finances. 

The COUNTRY Financial Security Index was created by COUNTRY Financial. This survey was conducted by EMC Research, Inc., an independent research firm, commissioned by COUNTRY Financial. Surveys were conducted using a national online research panel designed to be representative of the general population and includes responses from 1,000 U.S. adults over the age of 18 for national surveys with additional interviews completed in Georgia, Illinois, Missouri and Oregon to bring the total in each of those states to 500 completed surveys.