So, are women in control of their finances? According to a recent UBS article, the answer surprisingly is ‘no’.
The report, ‘Own your worth – how women can break the cycle of abdication and take control of their wealth’ makes interesting reading. It focuses on two key facts, which in isolation may appear a little dispiriting to women.
Firstly, women are living longer, longer than men and secondly, nearly half of marriages end in divorce. This leads to eight out of ten women ending up on their own and facing responsibility for their financial well-being.
This can become an unwelcome and surprise burden at what is probably already a stressful time for a new widow or divorcee. The report states that 56% of widows and divorcees find at least one financial surprise when they take on this newfound responsibility.
The research focused on these two groups but there are learnings and warning signs for those of us who are still happily be-coupled.
How does this happen?
Because, still, in 2019 56% of married women leave key financial decisions to their husbands (or partners).
And it is not getting any better! 61% of millennials are leaving financial decisions to their partner compared to 54% of women from older generations.
Men are very often the breadwinner in a family or partnership and may come to a relationship with their financial life all planned. Women, on the other hand, are very often the ones whose career and earnings take a backseat when children come along, leaving their ability to contribute minimal.
Could it also be that the mental load women take on is so vast that having a partner who is eager to look after this element of their lives comes as a breath of fresh air? One less thing to think about? We are sure there are other things on the daily ‘to do’ list which could be knocked-off and replaced by future financial security.
Women in control of their finances – how?
The report has three key suggestions on how to make sure you are prepared for your future, whatever it holds:
- Own your worth
Have a proper overview of your financial situation. What are your assets and liabilities and get an understanding of the same of your partner. What investments do you have individually or as a partnership? Who benefits from them should something happen?
Have a think about what you want your wealth to do for you. Who will benefit, what would you like to achieve, what is your life vision?
Then, think about what you need for short-term cash flow, longevity – for your longer-term needs and finally, your legacy – needs which go beyond your own.
- Find your voice
Probably the most important of all!
Talk to your partner, insist you are involved in all the decisions which affect your joint future wealth.
Take advice on your own situation from a financial adviser.
- Set an example
The most surprising statistic in the report is probably that the millennials are more likely to be relying on a partner to make their joint financial decisions. In this day of gender equality we need to show this and future generations that women can be independent and have a full understanding of their own worth and what they can do with it.
At home, let your children make financial decisions, let them see and hear you talking about it openly with your partner.
98% of the respondents in the research say they would encourage other women to take a more active role in joint finances and 53% would have done fewer chores to find more time for finances. So, put down the vacuum cleaner and read that pension report.
Parental Choice are passionate about enabling women to have the careers they want and deserve. We are experts in sourcing childcare for working families and delivering parental wellbeing programmes on behalf of companies.
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