Affluent women represent a viable market for fixed annuities, according to a new survey by Nationwide Financial.

Consider how women differ from men in terms of finances:

Avoiding risk. The study found that 36% of women were willing to take substantial risk for a chance at substantial return. In comparison, 60% of men said they would undertake the risk.(To appeal to the risk-adverse crowd, Nationwide points out that fixed annuities offer protection features such as guaranteed rates of return and a guaranteed return of principal.)

Looking for direction: Women are more inclined to hire a financial planner (45% vs. 32%). And women value assistance with retirement planning, particularly income management (76% vs. 66%).

Searching for expertise. Women are more likely to value certification of advisers (86% vs. 76%), recommendations (85% vs. 75%), expert status (66% vs. 56%) and national brokerage firms (28% vs. 19%).

The 2001 Nationwide Financial High Income Survey surveyed 500 people younger than 60 with annual incomes greater than $150,000 annually. Respondents were medical doctors, attorneys, corporate executives, small business owners and high-tech executives.

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