According to the new study from Global Atlantic Financial Group and Kehrer Bielan—Gender Dynamics in Retirement Investor Households—32% of clients who advisors work with say they don’t know how much to save for retirement. But only 26% of client households where a man makes retirement investment decisions express uncertainty.

Similarly, retirement investor households where a woman makes or influences investment decisions are much more likely to say they need expert help in retirement planning than households where a man is the decision maker.

The study, a collaboration between Global Atlantic Financial Group and Kehrer Bielan Research & Consulting, focused on what the authors call retirement investor households—those in life stage cohorts beyond the first home buying stage and saving for college years that have already accumulated at least $150,000 in financial assets. In other words, the sweet spot for advisors.

Using data from MacroMonitor’s consumer database, a nationally representative sample of 4,230 households, the study divides retirement investor households into three broad financial decision-making groups: 1) male decision makers, 2) female decision makers, 3) two-headed households where men and women share the decisions (aka female influencer households).

More than half of retirement investor household are concerned about having enough income for retirement, and 4 in 10 are worried about outliving their money. Retirement investor households where the man and the woman share retirement investing decisions are somewhat more likely to have these concerns than households where the woman cedes decisions to the man.

Advisors who understand these gender dynamics can better serve their clients as they navigate the uncertainty of retirement investing. Global Atlantic has developed a workshop firms can leverage to help their advisors become attuned to the opportunities and pitfalls of clients depending on whether they are male or female decision makers, or female influencers.

The study is available from Global Atlantic and Kehrer Bielan and its results and impact were presented at the Annual BISA Conference March 7th in Hollywood, Florida.


Global Atlantic Financial Group (Global Atlantic) is the marketing name for Global Atlantic Financial Group Limited and its subsidiaries, including Accordia Life and Annuity Company, Commonwealth Annuity and Life Insurance Company, Forethought Life Insurance Company and Global Atlantic Re Limited. Each subsidiary is responsible for its own financial and contractual obligations.