Wealthy Women Flex Their Financial Muscles

May 14, 2008

Married wealthy women on average make almost two-thirds (64%) of a family’s purchase decisions, according to a Luxury Institute survey of women from households with $150,000 or more in annual income.

“Winning over wealthy women is a do-or-die proposition for companies in industries as varied as travel, healthcare, financial services and home improvement,” said Milton Pedraza, CEO, the Luxury Institute. “Education is a big ingredient: 88% of wealthy women hold at least a bachelor’s degree and 35% have a master’s.”

Marriott, Hilton, Visa and Home Depot stand out for their skill in marketing to wealthy women – each earned an unaided mention from 7% of respondents for being companies that do the best job of marketing to wealthy women.

Among other findings of the survey:

  • Women hold particular sway over home appliance and travel spending: in 68% of wealthy households, the matriarch has the final word on ovens, ranges, and refrigerators; 61% of them make the family’s vacation decisions.
  • Healthcare decisions, including choice of plans and providers, are the domain of women in 48% of wealthy households, and nearly half (48%) call the shots on home improvement purchases.
  • In financial affairs, too, the female influence is significant: 22% of married wealthy women make all of the family’s investment decisions on their own; another two-thirds report making financial decisions jointly; and 46% choose the family’s bank accounts.
  • Choice of automobiles and consumer electronics fall to the female in 40% of wealthy households.
  • Women control their family’s real estate purchase in 31% of households.

The driving force behind the spending power of wealthy women is often their own money:

  • 72% work on at least a part-time basis and 54% work full-time. Most are well compensated for their efforts, with 60% earning at least $100,000 a year.
  • The median annual income of working wealthy women is $124,000.
  • One-third hold jobs at the vice-president level or higher;? 22% hold managerial positions. 12% serve on a board of directors.

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