An Educational Guide. MassMutual s State of the American Mom

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1 An Educational Guide MassMutual s State of the American Mom

2 The majority of household financial decisions are made by moms, and with over 85 million in the United States,* this group of women can be very influential in the way their families view finances. A 2012 national survey of moms conducted by Forbes Consulting Group for Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) sought to understand mothers views, goals, and feelings about finances especially as they relate to their families. Results show that American moms are characterized by strong beliefs about providing financially for their families but given multiple demands, many find this goal hard to achieve. Not surprisingly, family comes first when making financial decisions as two-thirds always consider their family s needs first. This selflessness appears to come at a cost though. * Population estimates U.S. Census Population Estimates 2009

3 Moms are being stretched thin American moms are stretched thin. They are balancing household duties, the ever changing needs of their children, managing their finances and, for those who work outside the home, their careers. With all of these competing responsibilities, it is no wonder that many mothers say they feel overwhelmed. 77.2% of women with school age kids 6-17 are now working 1 When talking about work-life balance, six-in-ten mothers feel they have a good balance and are not actively trying to get promoted at work. Younger mothers are more likely to strive for promotions and advance their careers, yet they are also more likely to feel the pressures of work cutting into their family time. Almost four in ten Gen Y moms struggle between their desire to spend time with their children and the need to work. No matter how they feel, though, moms may be surprised to learn that a blurred line between work and home life can be beneficial at times. Consider the following: Networking with children s friends parents can help land a mom that new job (or at least secure an interview) or foster a new business relationship. Multitasking, and other skills that moms hone by virtue of all of their competing priorities are very marketable skills in the workforce. Moms may want to think about how some of these mom necessities can help further their careers. Moms contributions to household duties Please indicate how you and your significant other contribute to each of the following: My spouse/partner/boyfriend/girlfriend contributes more We contribute the same amount I contribute more Management of household finances Household chores Child rearing 28% 22% 50% 9% 24% 68% 3% 38% 58% US Census, Facts Profile America: Facts for Feature, February 22,

4 Spending imbalance 94% of moms believe that their husbands or partners are a wonderful source of companionship and stability but imbalances within their relationships can be a source of stress. Moms point to a key imbalance in spending habits: moms are twice as likely to see themselves as savers and their partners as spenders. Perhaps this difference in spending drives moms to take control of the family s purse strings. Even though there is a perception that men are good with money, fully one third of moms say they contribute more to managing household finances than their partners. As much as couples may want to be on the same page financially, disagreements inevitably occur. When they do, the majority of moms and their significant others compromise. In light of their potentially different financial priorities however, moms need to be careful that they are making the right compromises to ensure their Almost half of marriages end in divorce 2 and financial problems is commonly cited as a reason for filing. If couples fail to discuss financial situations such as debt, spending habits, and salary information regularly, the potential for money misunderstandings can grow. Having these conversations can be difficult, but here are a few ideas that may help couples to get started: Set aside a specific time and place to talk openly each month. In doing so, both partners can be prepared while decreasing the chances that one partner will make a financial decision without the other knowing. By monitoring progress, the couple can stay on track and motivated. Once couples decide on goals, they may want try to stick to the commitment by automating the decisions transferring funds from a bank account to college savings for instance. family s financial future sometimes necessitating tough conversations about financial priorities, budgeting, and long-term planning. Two-thirds of moms always consider their family s needs first when making financial decisions. How often moms have financial conversations Which of the following best describes how often you and your significant other have conversations regarding finances? 39% 28% 20% Total Moms ($100k+) 8% 20% 1% Daily Weekly Monthly Quarterly 0% Annually As needed Never 2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Births, Marriages, Divorces, and Deaths: Provisional Data for 2009, Table A 2

5 Financial stress American families have weathered recessions, but the recent downturn has taken a particularly heavy toll on moms. One quarter say they are struggling just to make ends meet and are worried about meeting their long-term financial goals. At the other end of the spectrum, one quarter is satisfied with their financial situation. Between these two endpoints fall half of American moms doing a bit better than struggling but not yet financially satisfied. Gaining control over a family s finances may feel like an impossible task to some, but if approached in small increments, the task can become more manageable. Mothers who want to take a first step may consider the following: Understand what the family s fixed expenses are each month and how much money can be used for discretionary spending by creating a budget. Set savings objectives for the family s short- and long-term goals and then incorporate them into the budget s fixed expenses. After a few months or a year, evaluate the progress toward those goals and readjust allocations if needed. 3

6 Preparing for college Moms consider saving for their children s college education to be top priority but find the realities of college costs to be daunting. Nearly half of moms insist on paying for their child s college education. In fact, nearly threequarters of full-time working moms reported doing so to provide a better future for their children, which far surpasses other typical reasons for working like access to health benefits and not giving up the progress made in one s career. Even when their children are very young, the importance of college savings to moms can t be overstated four in five moms feel it s never too early to start saving for their children s college education. Over one-third of moms who have children under age 7 own college savings accounts and this number jumps to more than 40 percent among mothers of 7-12 year olds. Despite the strong follow-through of these moms, nearly half (46 percent) of moms have no college savings plan. Nearly one-quarter of all moms want to save for college but don t have the money available to invest and one in ten struggles with the decision about whether to save for their child s college education or their own retirement. Alarmingly, 10 percent of moms admit to actually reducing their level of retirement savings in order to save for college. The costs of college are rising more rapidly than the prices of other goods and services. Among public four-year colleges and universities, in-state students tuition and fees increased at an average of 5.6% per year beyond the rate of general inflation between the school year decade of This rate of increase compares to 4.5% per year in the 1980s and 3.2% per year in the 1990s. 3 Mothers who want to start saving or contribute more to their children s existing college savings plan can try the following: Start saving as early as possible to take advantage of compounding interest over time, and treat the payment as a monthly bill so the savings become regular. Why moms work full time I work full-time Total Moms ($100k+) so that I am able to provide a better future for my children (i.e. pay for college, etc.). 72% so that our family can pay the bills 68% so that our family has money to spend on vacations, activities, etc. 62% because I enjoy having a career/my career is important to me 53% because I want to set an example for my child(ren) 43% so my family can have health benefits 42% because I ve worked hard to get where I am in my career and I don t want to give that up 37% because I need adult interaction, socialization, etc. 36% 3 The College Board Trends in College Education Pricing report, issued

7 Preparing for retirement If a family comes across a windfall (inheritance, lottery win, bonus at work, or income tax return), set aside all or at least a portion of the money into the college savings fund. When another regular payment ends, like a car that finally gets paid off, reposition that money into college savings because the household budget already accounted for that expense. Women are expected to outlive their husbands by an average of 5 years 5 so it is no wonder that moms top two concerns are paying for healthcare in retirement and outliving their retirement savings. People can take a loan out for many purposes purchasing a home, defraying college expenses, or starting a business to name a few but they can t take out a loan to pay for retirement. Only one-quarter of moms are confident that they are doing a good job of preparing financially for retirement; top specific concerns are paying for healthcare in retirement and outliving retirement savings. Fortunately, nearly 90 percent of moms currently have either an employer-sponsored retirement savings plan or an IRA of course, this does not necessarily mean that these moms are putting enough money in these accounts. Although sixty percent of women say that they have tried to figure out how much they would need to save for retirement 4, another forty percent haven t. This suggests that a great opportunity exists for moms to calculate the retirement needs and develop a plan to attain it. In addition to the contributions made to employer-sponsored retirement savings plans or IRAs, moms can also consider the following tactics to help plan for retirement The percentage of preretirement income people need to maintain their standard of living varies depending on the family s goals, so moms should think about their current expenses and their future expenses to see if they are saving enough right now. If not, they may want to talk to someone who can help them create a plan. Moms may want to research the social security program to learn more about how it can supplement their retirement savings, with the understanding that policy changes may impact the current plan s structure. 4 State of the American Family: Families, Finances, and Feelings, MassMutual research, CDC National Vital Statistics Report, January 11,

8 Taking action Moms squeeze in managing the household finances when they can and probably don t spend enough time planning as one in five admits to spending more time planning for family vacations than planning for their financial futures. Nevertheless, only one in eight agrees that their daily duties prevent them from having the time to prepare financially for the long-term. Results suggest that time may actually be the scapegoat for moms lack of confidence in their ability to do a good job of planning for the long-term. Not many moms consider themselves to be good money managers, and even fewer feel confident selecting financial products to help to meet their goals. On the bright side, three-quarters of moms feel they have enough life insurance and half feel they have enough disability income insurance. Among the moms who feel under-insured, about half plan to apply for additional coverage either at work or through an individual policy. Moms who want more information can consider: Moms who want to become more involved in the management of their finances can sign up for free financial management tools, blogs, or other online resources. Conducting a formal review of their finances and protection products with a financial professional may help moms to feel more confident in their family s security. 47% of moms say that they handle household finances like paying bills and budgeting whenever they find the time. 6

9 Moms are kids first teachers, especially about money The vast majority of mothers (83 percent) play an active role in educating their children on finances, typically starting between age 6 and 7. Nearly all moms who seek to teach their kids about money focus on the importance of saving, followed by budgeting and understanding the math involved in personal finance. Shopping together provides an opportunity to impart lessons about saving (or at least not over-spending), as do paying an allowance, clipping coupons, and using coins to practice math lessons. Moms of older children are more likely to involve their kids in family budgeting, and teach them about higher-level financial matters such as establishing credit and managing debt. For moms looking for additional ways to educate their children about financial concepts, the following ideas may help: Families may consider playing family board games or activities that have a monetary component so the kids can learn in a fun way. Moms may want to pay interest (even if it s pennies) when children set aside money in piggy banks to teach the concept of interest. Many community organizations offer financial education classes or activities for children from time to time. Moms can research options in their local communities to reinforce the lessons being taught at home. Moms continually think about the needs of their families from mealtime, to healthcare, to finances, and everything in between but they are stretched thin. Balancing household duties, the ever changing needs of their children, and managing their careers, moms juggle many responsibilities. However, just as it s important for moms to make time for themselves, it is also important for moms to dedicate time to think about plans for their future. In doing so, moms can maintain their focus on their families and feel more confident that they can achieve their long-term goals. 83% of mothers play an active role in educating their children on finances. 7

10 Methodology MassMutual s State of the American Mom study was conducted by Forbes Consulting Group, LLC between May 2nd and 11th, 2012 via a 20-minute online questionnaire. The survey comprised 1,014 interviews with American women who are financially responsible for children under the age of 27. Interviews were conducted among mothers aged with household incomes greater than $50,000. Respondents had to contribute at least 40% to decisions regarding financial matters in their household to qualify. Results were weighted to the 2010 US Census to be representative of American women in this age and income bracket. Results are presented for three generational groupings, which correspond to the following birth years: Generation Y (born ), Generation X (born ) and Boomers (born ).

11 MassMutual. We ll help you get there.

12 2012 Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, Springfield, MA All rights reserved. MassMutual Financial Group is a marketing name for Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) and its affiliated companies and sales representatives. FY CRN

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