Many women are deferring long-term financial decisions to their spouses, which puts their future financial security at risk, according to a UBS survey.
The survey of nearly 3,700 high-net-worth married women, widows and divorcees in nine countries found that 85% of wealthy women take care of day-to-day expenses. Yet, according to the study, few take the lead in managing their own long-term finances: Only 23% of women globally take charge of long-term financial planning decisions.
“Women in general are super comfortable being in the day-to-day money and finance issues,” said Jane Schwartzberg, head of strategic client segments at UBS Global Wealth Management, during a recent press event in New York. “However, when it comes to long-term planning, they are saying — or somebody is saying to them — that’s not your place or that’s not my place.”
The study, which largely takes a hetero-normative view of relationships, found that more than half of women globally (58%) defer to their spouses to manage critical, long-term decisions. According to the study, women who defer to their spouses have many reasons for doing so, such as more urgent responsibilities, a lack of interest in long-term finances and even discouragement from their spouses.
The main reason why women abdicate long-term investing decisions, however, has to do with women’s assumptions of who knows more about the topic in the relationship.
According to the study, 82% of women think their spouses know more about long-term finances, citing this belief as their top reason for deferring.
Surprisingly, according to the study, younger women are perpetuating the status quo.
The study finds that younger women are even more willing than older women to leave investing and financial planning decisions to their spouses.
Nearly 60% of women between the ages of 20 to 34 let their spouses take the lead, compared with 55% of women over 50.
Most of the younger women surveyed said they have more urgent responsibilities than investing and financial planning. They are also most likely to believe their spouses know more about long-term finances than they do.
One 38-year-old American woman told UBS, “I’m exhausted with running around with the toddler and have fears about my own lack of investing knowledge.”
According to Marielle Schurig, account vice president at UBS Financial Services Inc., this type of thinking is “deeply ingrained in our culture.”