Married women forfeit their opportunity to manage finances and they’ll regret it in the future, says a new study.
Fifty-six percent of women leave financial decision-making to their husbands, while 80 percent of women end up in a situation where they eventually need to — either because of divorce or their husbands passing away before them, according to Swiss bank UBS.
Eighty-five percent say they believe their husband knows more about finances and therefore should make all major financial decisions.
Older women say: “bad idea”
Nearly all (98 percent) widows and divorcees say women should be more active in making financial decisions.
It seems that financial wisdom comes with age. Younger women are more likely to leave their husband in charge of their finances, the study says.
Sixty-one percent of millennial women leave financial decisions to their husbands, while only 54 percent of women from older generations do.
Older women are also at an age where retirement planning is increasingly important. One reason women need to be in charge of their financial decisions is the fact that they will likely live longer than men.
Debt.com has previously reported there is a wealth and investment gap between men and women. And the gap will halt women from having enough assets and savings to fund a full and healthy retirement.
Paula Polito, global client strategy officer of UBS, points out that the results sound like a step backward for women.
“The twin forces of longer life expectancies and high rates of divorce have produced a sobering likelihood, that more women will end up alone and solely responsible for their financial well-being,” Polito says. “What’s most concerning is that women are more educated, successful and outspoken than ever, yet 60 percent continue to abdicate important financial decisions that affect their future.”
What happened to progress?
History and society are to blame for the little confidence women have in their financial decision making, according to the study.
Only 55 percent of women are confident in making a financial decision, while 79 percent of men are. The study suggests women may just psyche themselves out when it comes to money. Sixty-nine percent of survey respondents agree that women underestimate themselves when making financial decisions.
“Despite living in an age of empowerment, the majority of women still waive their participation in long-term financial decisions,” the study says. “The consequences of abdicating responsibility for long-term financial decisions lead many women to struggle after divorce or the death of their spouses.”
Invest in retirement
Half of all marriages end in divorce, says a report from the American Psychological Association. The average life expectancy for women is 79, while it’s only 72 for men, according to investment firm Black Rock. This means women need to save more to fund a longer retirement. BlackRock recommends saving for an additional 10 years.
Unfortunately, most women haven’t saved anywhere near as much as men, says BlackRock. On average, women had $33,000 saved for retirement, while men had $77,000, according to research in 2015.
The average American is recommended to save $1 million to $1.5 million for their retirement, with women leaning toward the latter. That’s all the more reason for women to involve themselves with more financial decision making, like investing.
Originally published at www.debt.com on June 1, 2018.