Research Studies
Women are continuing to gain more and more power economically, politically and socially. Today there are three times as many women earning college degrees than in 1970, and 71 percent of mothers with children under age 18 are working.1 Only 40 years have passed since the Equal Credit Opportunity Act made it illegal for lenders to discriminate based on gender, and the number of women-owned businesses rose 44 percent between 1997 and 2007 – and has likely continued to grow since then.2

But when it comes to household finances – saving for retirement, managing budgets and making insurance and investment decisions – how are women involved, and what motivates their role in making financial decisions? That is what the Women and Financial PowerSM study set out to understand. The data uncovered that nearly every American woman surveyed is influencing these decisions or making them on her own; and those women nearing retirement, one of life’s biggest milestones, are most engaged in and confident about their finances.

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Americans juggle multiple financial goals through various life stages, but it can be a challenge for many to strike a balance between pursuing short-term needs and wants while saving for the future. People of all ages and incomes make lifestyle choices that affect their immediate financial situation — and often these decisions have long- term effects.

We conducted the Financial Trade-Offs study among three generations of Americans to discover which financial needs and goals they prioritize, and which trade-offs they consciously make to meet these goals. What we found is that most people say they are generally willing to make trade-offs today in order to save for tomorrow. However, their financial actions — and the bills they have yet to pay — suggest they may not always be thinking about what will have the biggest long-term impact.

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For the fourth consecutive year, Ameriprise Financial polled Americans in the 30 largest U.S. metropolitan areas to determine their retirement readiness. The New Retirement Mindscape® 2013 City Pulse index measures American consumers’ preparation for and confidence about retirement by asking them about their savings habits and expectations for their financial futures. Along with taking the nation’s pulse on financial preparedness and attitudes, the survey also explores the activities people intend to pursue during retirement. Metro areas are then ranked against one another to determine which American cities are most or least ready for retirement.

The data compiled over four years also helps identify meaningful changes from year to year. This provides an indication of how local and national developments may come into play in determining the degree to which individuals feel ready for retirement.
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