“At some point eight in 10 women will end up alone and solely responsible for their financial well-being.”
That is one of the opening lines to a new report from UBS which surveyed how women are dealing with that responsibility. The findings suggest they have a long way to go.
Although 82% of the roughly 900 women surveyed believe equal participation in financial decisions is necessary for gender equality, 49% let their spouse take the lead. Sixteen percent take the lead on financial matters and 35% said they participate equally.
Altogether a little over 1,800 investors were surveyed in January and February, split almost equally between men and women, 25 and older with investable assets of at least $250,000 (the minimums were higher for those 31-39 and those 40 and older.) Fifty same-sex female couples were included. Findings from the report also included data from a survey among roughly 880 single men and women conducted in March 2019.
Even 41% of the women who were the primary breadwinners in a household said they defer to their spouses on financial matters, including half of those with a college degree.
One surprising finding: 54% of millennials surveyed defer to their spouses on financial decisions — far more than the 39% of boomers that do so — despite an overwhelming majority of single millennials (88%) who said they want to participate equally or take the lead in planning their finances for the future.
Women offered multiple reasons for deferring to their spouses on financial matters, which fall under several major categories: lack of confidence, entrenched roles, complacency and keeping the peace. The most common reason, cited by 67% of women: a feeling that their spouse knows more about financial issues.