NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. women have long held sway in their families as chief household budget directors, but these days their economic reach extends far beyond simple household expenses.
Data from Fidelity Investments and its Couples Retirement Study shows that more women than ever claim the mantle of "family chief financial officer," managing investment portfolios, taking responsibility for family college spending and buying life and health care insurance.
This hardly puts women in the majority; only 24% of females claim to be the lead decision-maker on day-to-day financial planning decisions in their households.
But that's still way ahead of the 15% of American women who claimed the same thing back in 2011. The study didn't say if any increase could be attributed to growth in same-sex relationships.money management decisions as a team, and just 43% of couples say they make retirement decisions together. Additionally, the number of U.S. women who make little or no decisions about the family finances is 7% higher than men making the same statement. Part of the problem may be that females are hard-wired to resist taking risks, a big component of investment planning. According to the Fidelity study, "women tend to have lower risk tolerance than men." Specifically, women are "much less likely than the men to be willing to invest a substantial portion of money to achieve potentially higher returns, even if it means possibly losing some or all of initial investment."