Sept. 25, 2013 -- Despite women working and earning more than ever before, many Generation Y females are not inclined to take the reins when it comes to retirement planning, according to an online survey. Instead, they defer to their mates.
An unscientific study fielded by Fidelity Investments in May analyzed 1,616 individuals (or 808 couples) who were age 25 or older, married or in a long-term relationship, living in the same household and earning at least $75,000.
Of the 808 couples that opted into the 2013 Couples Retirement Survey, 109 were Generation Y, falling between the ages of 25 and 34. Strikingly, only 12 percent of females in that age range identified themselves as the primary decision maker for day-to-day financial decisions, compared to 24 percent of female Baby Boomers polled.
"While a lot of progress has been made, it's critical for women to empower themselves by becoming equal partners managing the family finances and in long-term financial planning conversations," said Kathleen Murphy, president of Personal Investing at Fidelity.
One reason is the possibility of divorce.
According to Fidelity research, Americans may spend at least 30 years living in retirement, which is fine if you're spending eternity with the partner who did all the investing. But with the current divorce rate at more than 50 percent, personal financial planning takes on a greater, if gloomier, significance.
"This prospect underscores the importance of both partners making sure they are equally prepared to make life's tough decisions should they ever have to go it alone; particularly women, who have a greater life expectancy," said Murphy.
Other findings in the survey suggest that even if you're going to go the long haul, more communication between partners is still needed: One in three couples disagree as to their ideal vision for retirement, with men envisioning hours logged playing favorite sports and women picturing more time for family and hobbies.