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NextGen Magazine


Survey of High Net Worth Women Finds Most Defer Long Term Financial Decisions to Spouse

Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Mar 15, 2019

A UBS survey of 3,700 high-net-worth women has found that, while the vast majority take the lead in short-term spending decisions, the majority defer to their spouses when it comes to long-term financial decisions. It found that 85 percent of women are equally or more involved than their spouses on managing day-to-day expenses, 83 percent participate in large purchase decisions and 80 percent pay the bills. However, when it comes to long-term financial decisions on matters such as investments, insurance and retirement, 58 percent let their spouse take the lead, versus 23 percent who do so themselves and 19 percent who share decisions equally. This is despite the fact that 68 percent believe they will outlive their spouse, and that the vast majority say retirement planning, long-term care, and insurance are highly important to them. 

As for why, most say their spouse knows more about the topic than they do, 82 percent; 79 percent it was because they divide responsibilities; 78 percent said it was because their spouse is the primary breadwinner in the family; 68 percent said they were't interested in doing it; 67 percent said it was because their spouse had more assets when they got married; 64 percent said they felt as though it was more their spouse's money than their own; 58 percent said it was because they were never encouraged by their spouse; and 56 percent said it was because their spouse actively discouraged them from becoming more involved. 

Over the eight countries that UBS surveyed, only two did not have the majority of women deferring to their spouses: Mexico, at 39 percent, and Brazil, at 45 percent. The highest percentage of high net worth women deferring to their spouse on long-term decisions was Singapore, at 72 percent. The United States comes in a little bit under the average, at 54 percent.