During her 35-year marriage, Jill DeVaney earned significantly less than her husband, a television executive, but always handled the family finances. So when the couple divorced in 2012, splitting assets worth “several million dollars,” she said, “I knew where the money was.”
Now a semiretired interior designer in Chicago, Ms. DeVaney, 63, has hired a financial advisory firm that specializes in female clients, bought a three-bedroom townhouse and a Porsche, and traveled frequently with her daughter, Britt, 25. “I think I’ve got 25 more good years,” she said with a laugh.
As a woman nearing retirement age with substantial assets, Ms. DeVaney has plenty of company. In part that trend is thanks to gains made in her generation, when barriers to higher education, prestigious professions and credit began to fall, and to demographic factors like older baby boomer women outliving their husbands.
Nearly one million women in 2007 had assets of at least $2 million, a number comparable to the 1.3 million men at that level, according to estimates in the Internal Revenue Service’s Winter 2012 Statistics of Income Bulletin, which does not have such figures from earlier periods. The women in this group tended to be older than the men; nearly 80 percent were 50 or older versus fewer than 70 percent of men.