THE NEW FACE OF WEALTH AND LEGACY: HOW WOMEN ARE REDEFINING WEALTH, GIVING AND LEGACY PLANNING

Published by

Jerome JOUANNEAU-COURVILLE activities: Partner, Founder
on the timeline of Norman Alex

Dec 8, 2019

INTRODUCTION

The following is an article written last year by RBC Wealth Management in partnership with the Economist. It explores in some detail how female wealth is constituted and how wealthy females differ from their male counterparts in their attitudes to wealth and legacy. What is clear is that this wealth is increasing more quickly than that in most emerging markets and that it almost certainly has to be managed in a gender specific way.

 

THE NEW FACE OF WEALTH AND LEGACY: HOW WOMEN ARE REDEFINING WEALTH, GIVING AND LEGACY PLANNING

The rising economic clout of women is perhaps one of the most significant economic shifts of recent decades. Not only are women generating and managing an increasing amount of wealth, they are also directing the economy itself—heading up major corporations and pivotal economic players like the International Monetary Fund and (until recently) the U.S. Federal Reserve.

The rising economic clout of women is perhaps one of the most significant economic shifts of recent decades. Not only are women generating and managing an increasing amount of wealth, they are also directing the economy itself—heading up major corporations and pivotal economic players like the International Monetary Fund and (until recently) the U.S. Federal Reserve.

Furthermore, throughout the global economy, women are starting and running new businesses at a rapid rate. In the U.S. alone, women were majority owners of 9.9 million U.S. businesses of all sizes with more than 8.4 million employees in 2012, according to a 2016 report by the Small Business Administration.

These businesses generated US$1.4 trillion in sales. Another 2.5 million businesses were equally owned by women and men, had 6.5 million employees and accounted for another US$1.1 trillion in sales.

Coupled with the accumulated effects of five decades of increasing female participation in the workforce, this translates into real financial power:

  • Globally, women held 30% of all wealth controlled by individuals or families in 2015, up from 28% in 2010; 44% had grown their wealth independently as entrepreneurs.
  • By 2020, women are expected to control US$72 trillion, 32% of all wealth and up from US$51 trillion in 2015.1

In this context, The Economist Intelligence Unit undertook a study of high-net-worth women and men (individuals with US$1 million or more in assets), sponsored by RBC Wealth Management. The survey covered 1,051 individuals (502 women and 549 men) in Canada, the U.S., the UK and Asia (mainland China, Hong Kong, Singapore). (For more information, see sidebar, “Survey sample.”) What follows are key findings and insights about a growing and very diverse group of women who are fundamentally rethinking the meaning of wealth and giving and who are designing legacies that will affect the world the next generations inherit.

 

SURVEY SAMPLE AND EXHIBITS USED IN THE REPORT

For this study, The Economist Intelligence Unit surveyed 1,051 individuals with US$1 million or more in investable assets, defined as excluding personal assets and property such as a primary residence, collectibles, and consumer durables.

The survey sample included 502 women and 549 men located in Canada, the U.S., the UK and Asia (mainland China, Hong Kong, Singapore). The Western markets encompassed 79% of the sample and Asia the remainder.