Working mother

Work-life balance is an unattainable dream concept for many working mothers.


Nearly 95 percent of women will be their family's primary financial decision maker at some point in their lives. But with this added financial responsibility comes tremendous stress, according to a new study of breadwinning women from the Family Wealth Advisors Council, a national network of independent wealth management firms. Reuters spoke to Heather Ettinger, a managing partner of Fairport Asset Management in Cleveland, Ohio, and co-author of the study, about the critical issues facing women breadwinners.

Related: How to talk about money with your family

What impact does the role of breadwinner have on women?
Sadly, it's a role of stress, stress, stress. She is caring for her kids, maybe her parents and even kids in the next generation. In fact, 40 percent of the women surveyed acknowledge that they feel pressure from family and friends to downplay their breadwinner status, and 28 percent of married or committed women reported that their parents actually disapprove of their breadwinner role.

Related: Why you're so stressed out


How is this stress affecting her finances?
It's not that the women don't want to be in control, they just don't have time. Women are taking on 75 percent of all family financial planning, and, in some cases, they are assuming as much as 90 percent of the responsibility for charitable giving, paying for college, retirement planning and overall saving. But there is a gap in the advisory services available: 35 percent of these women have no financial adviser.

When they do work with a financial adviser, they say they are not satisfied with the experience. Meanwhile, 62 percent of women say they are leaving money on the table in terms of getting their financial house in order and taking advantage of a company's benefits.

Are breadwinning women taking advantage of flexible work situations?
Nearly 85 percent of the women we surveyed said companies are doing an excellent job of providing technology that gives them the ability to be more flexible. That's really important, but 46 percent of them are also saying: '"My employer is not supporting my needs in terms of a work-life balance."

When it comes to their jobs, they are some are getting more leadership training and mentoring. But there is still a big gap between: "I'm going to help coach you in your career,' and 'I'm going to make sure you are getting a defined career path." There is an opportunity here for companies to really differentiate themselves in terms of talent development as well as attracting and retaining women.