According to a recent UBS study, in the wake of the pandemic, “80% of women want to protect their family more than ever before”. Will they take action?
Let’s change the “Women budget, men invest” cultural norm.
UBS recently completed their “Own your worth 2020” (link opens in new tab) study, which examines women’s views and actions related to financial independence. In 2018, they completed a similar study and found that at some point in their life, 8 in 10 women would find themselves alone and solely responsible for their financial situation, as a result of divorce, becoming widowed, or never marrying. It’s clear to see that women need to be engaged in their personal financial situation, and empowered to make financial decisions.
The study finds that the old trope “women budget, men invest” still applies to many women. Even among single women and millennial women, they feel less confident in their ability to make financial decisions than similar men do, according to the study.
The study says that “nearly half of women with an advanced degree (46%) defer to spouses” when it comes to financial decisions – even though the majority of both men and women believe “equal financial participation is necessary for true gender equality”.
Among the women who defer to their husbands on financial decisions, there are multiple reasons, including “lack of confidence, complacency, entrenched roles and a desire to keep the peace in their relationships. Overall, most women who defer tend to believe their spouse knows more about investing and other long-term decisions,” according to the study.
We need to do a better job making financial advice and education more accessible to women.
I try to create a “judgement free” zone as I’m discussing financial matters with clients. There can be a lot of shame and fear that people associate with financial matters; shame that I don’t know enough, fear that I’m not where I should be. These feelings can sometimes get in the way of taking action on financial matters. But how are we supposed to learn about these topics? We’re not required to take a class on personal finance in school – although that might be a good start! We also need to offer up more women role models, so moms, this can mean figuring out how you can become a better role model in this area for your daughters and sons.
The pandemic has led many women to want to take action more than before.
According to the UBS study, 8 in 10 women want to protect their families more than ever before. So here’s a few tips if you’re considering taking action on your financial situation.
- Talk to your spouse about your concerns or questions. Try to leave behind the unhelpful past behaviors and pre-judgements in the conversation, and simply talk about what you would like to learn.
- Agree on some financial goals. These could be budget-oriented, such as keeping track of your monthly expenses to identify where your money goes; or more long-term, such as saving up for children’s college education or buying a new home. The financial goal could also be task-oriented, such as getting all your financial papers in order.
- Ask for help from a professional. Sometimes a professional financial advisor can be helpful in creating a financial plan for your family. Maybe you need help managing your investments. Reaching out to a fiduciary financial advisor, who will keep your interests top priority, can be a wise choice for some families.