MADISON, Wis. (8/6/13 UPDATED 11:55 a.m. ET)--The Credit Union National Association's Women's Financial Survey finds the most important financial concern for women isn't buying a house or paying off debt, but saving for retirement.
"The fact that women are thinking about retirement planning is a good sign that the message is getting out there that time is one of the most important aspects of retirement savings, and the sooner they start the better," said CUNA Executive Vice President of Strategic Communications and Engagement Paul Gentile.
The survey also indicated that although women aren't confident in their financial knowledge, they might know more than they think.
It revealed that saving for retirement is the No. 1 financial concern for women. Findings showed that women use 401(k)s (45.3%) and pension plans (35.8%) the most to save for retirement, while 40% of women reported owning multiple retirement plans.
The survey also found that 51.2% of women were not confident in their financial ability, despite the fact that 38% of the married female respondents manage their household finances exclusively and 46% co-manage their household finances. This was particularly true with the youngest demographic, those born from 1980-1993, where 59.1% lacked financial confidence.
Most women reported balancing their checkbooks, maintaining six-month rainy day funds, paying their credit card balances in full every month and prioritizing long-term goals like retirement, home ownership and education ahead of transactional goals such as vacations and cars.
"It's surprising that although most women manage their household finances, they lack confidence that they are doing it correctly," said Gentile. "Our findings indicated that women take all the appropriate measures to be confident in their financial literacy but lack the reassuring knowledge to have confidence in how they manage their finances."
Another key finding was that fewer than half of the respondents across all demographics reported following a monthly budget, which is critical to efficiently manage any finances.
The Women's Financial Survey polled 1,042 via the Internet from a population of women nationally, with an even distribution of respondents born in each decade from 1920 to 1980. The survey was conducted on behalf of CUNA.