Investors Want Gender-Neutral Financial Advice, Despite Perceived Differences in Financial Needs

Hartford Funds study examined how investors of different genders and generations want to receive financial advice and marketing materials

WAYNE, Penn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Hartford Funds today released new data indicating that more than half of investors (52%) agree that men and women have different financial needs, but only 24% want to work with a financial professional who tailors advice based on gender.

The top areas where respondents feel men and women have different needs include career considerations (60%), long-term care planning (56%), and budgeting (55%). Despite these differences, 46% say men and women should receive the same educational material on financial topics.

Despite indicating different financial needs, men and women have similar marketing preferences

When it comes to receiving marketing materials from a financial professional, both men and women rank email as their top choice followed by website and printed brochure. Within those mediums, they both value materials that are easy to understand (52%) above all else, followed by materials that emphasize an individualized plan (37%), and showcase how sound investment advice and decisions help support lifestyle goals (31%).

“While there’s been a lot of conversation in the financial services industry about gender’s role in finance, one thing is clear: Investors want sound, personalized advice,” said Julie Genjac, Managing Director of Applied Insights at Hartford Funds. “Financial professionals must account for the different realities that men and women face without compromising the quality of advice, customization of plans, or client service.”

Reaching the next generation: Lifestyle-oriented materials and ESG considerations

Younger generations (Gen Z and millennials)* feel more strongly than older generations (Gen X and baby boomers) that men and women have different financial needs (65% vs. 46%), but they mutually agree that financial advice should not differ based on gender (53% vs. 52%). Still, younger generations are more likely to have received gendered marketing materials compared to older generations (29% vs. 9%).

“When financial professionals think about the future of client acquisition, an understanding of their clients’ lifestyle goals will be key for marketing to millennials and Gen Z,” said Genjac. “The next generation of clients has more options than ever when it comes to financial advice, and marketing strategies need to reflect that reality.”

When it comes to receiving marketing or prospecting materials, both generations rank email as their top choice (27% for younger generations vs. 32% older generations). Younger generations list social media as their secondary preference (23%), followed by a website (18%), TV advertisement (9%), and printed brochures (5%). After email, older generations list a website (22%), printed brochure (21%), TV advertisement (9%), and video (5%).

Younger and older generations have both similarities and differences in the types of content that drive them to engage with a financial professional:



Younger generations


Older generations

Easy to understand










Focused on how a plan caters to individual needs





Product- and performance-oriented










Design-oriented (colorful and engaging)










When considering product-related offerings, both generations primarily value materials that highlight long-term growth, followed by those that communicate investment goals, and then those that track performance against a well-known benchmark. While materials that communicate a product’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations follow lower on the list, they are much more important to younger generations than older (32% vs. 17%).

On February 24, Hartford Funds will be releasing a new episode of its Human-centric Investing Podcast during which Genjac discusses the findings and examines what they mean for financial professionals.

Survey Methodology

Hartford Funds fielded a survey around investors’ preferences for receiving financial advice and marketing materials. The survey of 904 consumers whose household income is $75,000+ or household’s total investable assets are $75,000+ was conducted online by Engine’s CARAVAN® between November 1 to November 5, 2021.

About Hartford Funds

Founded in 1996, Hartford Funds is a leading asset manager, which provides mutual funds, ETFs, and 529 college savings plans. Using its human-centric investing approach, Hartford Funds creates strategies and tools designed to address the needs and wants of investors. Leveraging partnerships with leading experts, Hartford Funds delivers insight into the latest demographic trends and investor behavior.

The firm’s product line-up includes more than 50 mutual funds and ETFs in a variety of styles and asset classes. Its mutual funds (with the exception of certain fund of funds) are sub-advised by Wellington Management or Schroder Investment Management North America Inc. The strategic beta ETFs offered by Hartford Funds are designed to help address investors’ evolving needs by leveraging a unique risk-optimized approach, which identifies risks within each asset class and then deliberately and systematically re-allocates capital toward risks more likely to enhance return potential. Excluding affiliated funds of funds, as of September 30, 2021, Hartford Funds’ investment advisory business had approximately $152.1 billion in discretionary and non-discretionary assets under management. For more information about our investment family, visit


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Mutual funds are distributed by Hartford Funds Distributors, LLC (HFD), Member FINRA. ETFs are distributed by ALPS Distributors, Inc. (ALPS). Advisory services may be provided by Hartford Funds Management Company, LLC (HFMC) or its wholly owned subsidiary, Lattice Strategies LLC (Lattice). Certain funds are sub-advised by Wellington Management Company LLP and/or Schroder Investment Management North America Inc (SIMNA). Schroder Investment Management North America Ltd. (SIMNA Ltd) serves as a secondary sub-adviser to certain funds. HFMC, Lattice, Wellington Management, SIMNA, and SIMNA Ltd. are all SEC registered investment advisers. Hartford Funds refers to HFD, HFMC, and Lattice, which are not affiliated with any sub-adviser or ALPS.

*“Younger generations” refers to Gen Z (ages 18-24) and millennials (ages 25-40). “Older generations” refers to Gen X (ages 41-56) and baby boomers (ages 57-75).



Lindsay Fitzpatrick


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