Swiss financial giant UBS surveyed nearly 3,700 high net worth married women, widows, and divorcees in Brazil, Germany, Hong Kong, Mexico, Singapore, Switzerland, Italy, the UK and the US.
The report found that wealthy women (85%) take care of day-to-day expenses while men handle long-term planning, with only 23% of women globally take charge of long-term financial planning decisions.
Millennial women are even more likely to let men lead: around 59% of women between the ages of 20 to 34 let their spouses take the lead, compared to 55% of women aged over 50.
However, nine out of 10 women worldwide claimed increased confidence and less stress when partners participate equally in financial decisions, believing they and their partners made fewer mistakes when they were both involved (93%).
“When 58% of women around the world – including Millennials – defer to men on important financial decisions, we need to ask why,” said Paula Polito, global client strategy officer and group managing director, UBS Wealth Management. “This dynamic could go on for generations to come, unless both men and women make a commitment to engage in financial decisions together.”
Lessons from widows and divorcees
Advice from women who have experienced the death of a loved one or a divorce is clear.
Three quarters (76%) of widows and divorcees wish they had been more involved in long-term financial decisions while they were married, rather than trying to navigate them while coping with such significant life changes.
Higher levels of engagement may also protect women from unpleasant discoveries later in life, with 74% of women discovering negative financial surprises after a divorce or death of their spouse.