Women leave financial planning to husbands at their own risk

Divorcing women often have a more difficult time navigating their financial future as newly-single people than their husbands. A significant factor behind this imbalance is their lack of involvement in the couple’s investment and financial planning during the marriage.

A recently-released study from UBS Global Wealth Management found that 56 percent of married women say that they leave these decisions to their husbands. It would be reasonable to assume that this is more likely to be true for older women than younger ones. However, the study showed that 54 percent of women in the baby boom generation let their husbands handle the money management, while 61 percent of women in the younger millennial generation said they did.

When asked why they weren’t actively involved in choosing investments and making financial decisions, 85 percent of the married women surveyed said that their spouses were more knowledgeable about finances than them. As one UBS executive noted, “Despite all the strides that women have made, they are still abdicating important financial decisions that will profoundly affect their future.”

These married women would do well to listen to the advice of divorced and widowed women who were surveyed. Eighty percent of those who had remarried said that they were more involved in financial decision-making in their subsequent marriage.

Over half of these divorcees and widows said that they encountered some sort of surprise when their marriages ended. These included finding out that their husbands had kept spending, debt and accounts hidden from them. Some of the widows reported that their husbands’ wills weren’t current when they died.

One of the first things an Arizona family law attorney is likely to tell anyone (male or female) considering divorce is to find out as much as possible about your finances. Since Arizona is a community property state, it’s important to know what assets you may be entitled to split as well as what debts your spouse may have accumulated that you may have to share. The more you know, the more effectively you can work with your attorney to seek the best possible settlement.

Source: Los Angeles Times, “Rise of ‘gray’ divorce is forcing a financial reckoning for 50-plus women,” Suzanne Woolley, April 20, 2018

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