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Survey Reveals Women Less Likely Than Men to Focus on Financial Planning

Gender & Socio-Economic Differences Influence Views on Meaning of "A Balanced Life," According to Genworth Survey

RICHMOND, Va., July 27, 2011 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Fifty-fourpercent of men focus on planning for their financial health at least once a week, compared to only 42% of women, according to a Genworth survey released today that evaluates consumers' attitudes on financial wellbeing and a balanced life. Despite this, the survey found that more women than men feel financial wellbeing is important to maintaining a balanced life.

"We found it interesting that those who said they need financial wellbeing to maintain a balanced life - particularly women- are less likely to spend time focusing on financial planning," said Wendy Boglioli, national Genworth spokesperson, caregiver and 1976 Olympic gold medalist. "Living well now and in retirement requires a balance between being both financially sound and physically fit. These factors are often overlooked due to busy lifestyles."

Additional research suggests that having financial peace of mind in retirement is becoming a more important financial goal than accumulating as much wealth as possible, and that as people age financial peace of mind becomes a greater priority.(1) This latest research validates that there is a link between one's view of their financial wellbeing and overall physical wellbeing.

Women & Achieving a Balanced Life

The notion of achieving a balanced life can often seem like an impossible goal for women who are juggling the competing priorities of family, career and caregiver. "The principles of achieving a balanced lifestyle are consistent with those I adopted to prepare for the Olympics," says Boglioli. "Like preparing for the Olympics, exercise routines must change and develop with input from coaches and discussions about what works. Creating your plan for financial wellbeing starts with a conversation between you and loved ones and develops over time to a written plan that can change as necessary."

Boglioli offers guidance on how to manage, based on her first-hand experience in balancing each of these multiple roles:

  • Have a written plan:
    • Talk to a financial professional to establish a framework: An advisor can ask the right questions to help you understand your current situation and set achievable, realistic financial goals.
  • Work out for the brain:
    • Physical activities provide extraordinary benefits to brain function. Understanding that exercise is good for the brain as well as the body can be a motivator to participate in regular physical activity to support overall wellness.

The online survey, conducted by ORC International, looked into a variety of socio-economic variables, including gender, age, income and household size. Factors other than financial health that respondents said contribute to a balanced life include family, friends, spirituality and intellectual outlets.

Age Differences

According to the survey, older respondents, 55 and over, were more likely to view financial wellbeing as a necessity for a balanced life, with more than 77% saying it is needed for a balanced life:

  • Those between 18-24 are more likely (58%) to take time to focus on planning for their financial health at least once a week compared to those 35-44 (39%), 45-54 (47%), 55-64 (48%) and over 65 (39%).
  • Over 66% of respondents ages 18-54 say that worries over their personal financial situation have an impact on their health, while less than 52% of respondents ages 55 and above agree.

Income Differences

Financial wellbeing is equally important to all income groups, with more than 60% of respondents across income levels below $75,000 identifying financial wellbeing as needed for a balanced life.

  • Over 70% of individuals making over $50,000 say they feel good about their ability to manage the balance of physical and financial stress, while 61% or less of individuals below $50,000 in household income agree.
  • Households making less than $25,000 are most likely to feel like they need help but don't know where to get it (21% of respondents). 15% or less of all other income groups feel the same way.

Household Size

Respondents in larger households say that worries over their personal financial situation have an impact on their health. This compares to smaller households, which are more likely to feel good about their ability to manage and balance physical and financial stress.

  • 66% of respondents with households that have three or more members say worries over their personal financial situation has an impact on their health, while less than 58% of respondents with one or two household members agree.

"Baby Boomers are a generation of participators, but we are also finishers," adds Boglioli. "Understanding that there is a symbiotic relationship between physical and financial fitness is important to achieving a balanced life."

About Genworth's 2011 Online Consumer Survey

The omnibus consumer study was conducted in collaboration with an independent third party research firm, ORC International. The supporting data for this study was collected online among a demographically representative U.S. sample of 1,046 adults (ages 18+) from June 23-26, 2011. Completed interviews were weighted by five variables: age, gender, geographic region, race and education to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the total U.S. population. Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have volunteered to participate in online surveys and polls. Because the sample is based on those who initially self-selected for participation, no estimates of sampling error can be calculated.

About Genworth Financial

Genworth Financial, Inc. (NYSE: GNW) is a leading Fortune 500 insurance holding company with more than $100 billion in assets that is dedicated to helping people secure their financial lives, families and futures. Genworth has leadership positions in offerings that assist consumers in protecting themselves, investing for the future and planning for retirement -- including life insurance, long term care insurance, financial protection coverages, and independent advisor-based wealth management - and mortgage insurance that helps consumers achieve homeownership while assisting lenders in managing their risk and capital.

Genworth has approximately 6,500 employees and operates through three segments: Retirement and Protection, U.S. Mortgage Insurance and International. Its products and services are offered through financial intermediaries, advisors, independent distributors and sales specialists. Genworth Financial, which traces its roots back to 1871, became a public company in 2004 and is headquartered in Richmond, Virginia. For more information, visit Genworth.com. From time to time, Genworth releases important information via postings on its corporate website. Accordingly, investors and other interested parties are encouraged to enroll to receive automatic email alerts and Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds regarding new postings. Enrollment information is found under the "Investors" section of Genworth.com.

(1)America Talks: Protecting Our Families' Financial Futures: A national survey conducted by Age Wave/Harris Interactive sponsored by Genworth Financial. The survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive through the Harris Poll QuickQuery omnibus survey (January 12-15, 2010). 2,939 interviews were conducted among adults age 18-90. The sample is representative by age, gender, race, income, education and region.

Media Contact:
Thomas Topinka
Thomas.Topinka@genworth.com
(804) 662-2444

SOURCE: Genworth Financial