Many smart and talented women take the lead on managing people, projects, events, volunteer committees, households and a long list of other responsibilities in personal and professional lives—but when it comes to taking the reins for their own finances…not as much.
This was the message at a recent UBS luncheon for women led by Carey Shuffman, Women’s Market Head, highlighting results of their recent “Own Your Worth” study. Here are seven eye-opening statistics cited in the study:
- 80% of women will find themselves alone at some point, forced to manage their own finances
- The median age of widowhood is 59 and the divorce rate of couples over 50 has doubled in the past 30 years
- Yet, 56% of women now delegate long-term financial decision-making to a spouse
- 98% of those divorced and widowed urge other women to become actively involved with finances now
- Millennial women are repeating the mistakes of their mothers…an even higher percentage of millennials opt out of long-term financial planning
- The lack of involvement in long-term financial planning is just about the same for female breadwinners and non-breadwinners
- 66% of women who are not involved in investing think it’s just too complicated—and 85% believe their husbands are more knowledgeable.
But here’s the good news: there’s a lot of research supporting the fact that when women do get involved in long-term financial planning, they outperform men. And about 70% of women overestimate the amount of knowledge required to actively manage their savings and investments. The overriding message women at the luncheon heard: you don’t need to be an expert to be meaningfully involved. It’s a confidence, not a capability issue.
The UBS study reveals that there are still quite a lot of women stuck in the Mad Men era—believing that men should fully engineer financial security—and in my coaching practice I’ve seen that in terms of long career breaks as well as no participation in the financial planning process. At the luncheon I pointed out that women also have to be involved in the earning piece because they live longer and because there are so many life you never knows.
A woman sitting next to me, a former banker turned small business owner, said that so many of her friends who once had big professional roles left the workforce and have been out for many years. It’s likely that many of these women manage short-term household finances, but probably not as many are involved in the critical financial planning for the decades to come.
As I write in my book, Ambition Redefined: Why the Corner Office Doesn’t Work for Every Woman & What to Do Instead, today women have so many options for flexible work that fits busy lives and caregiving for children and aging parents. Any amount of money is “worth it” to earn, save and invest. Dive in! International Women’s Day is a good time to say that it’s never too late for women to be active participants in their own financial futures.
Join my 9 Lives for Women community so that you never miss a blog post, you get flexible job alerts and you stay on top of flexwork trends. After signing up you’ll also receive a copy of my free guide, “6 Flexible Work Options: Which is Best for You?”.