A recent whitepaper produced by Investment Bank UBS, revealed an alarming state of play which calls for women to take more control of their wealth.
The study surveyed 1,700 married couples, revealing 56 per cent of married women still leave key financial decisions to their husbands.
For millennial women, the rate sits at an astonishing 61%, indicating arguable regression among the lower age bracket. The majority of those respondents said it was because their husbands were more knowledgeable when it came to money.
What’s more, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reports the average female wage as sitting at 89% of the average male wage – a figure which hasn’t budged in the last decade.
If that doesn’t seem dire enough, consider the state of superannuation balances across genders, which also sit disproportionately unbalanced. Men’s balances are averaging significantly higher, even in younger age brackets where one might assume the disparity to be narrower.
The UBS study also sought insights from around 600 women who had either been divorced or widowed in the preceding five years. And it’s no wonder – given the findings – that 98% of those women urged other women to take more financial liberty and to do it earlier on in life.
The report also highlighted the reality of both women’s life expectancies and divorce rates as continuing to climb, pointing to a future where women will increasingly find themselves solely responsible for their finances later in life.
Inovayt Wealth’s Director, Tony Stewart, says it’s a predicament advisers are seeing more and more of, despite women’s liberation progressing vastly in other areas, “it’s really common for women to come to us for advice later in life. Either they have separated or become recently widowed and are suddenly expected to take full control of the finances, often for the first time. It’s a daunting scenario for anyone to face.”
While not all women relinquish key financial decisions, in a society that still places high emphasis on traditional domestic roles, it’s a pattern that can’t be ignored.
Stewart believes that mutual monetary involvement from the outset is the way forward, “it’s ok if one party wants to take charge as far as financial admin goes, as long as both parties feel empowered to step up and make decisions at any point.”
In order to shift things, Stewart says spouses need to have equal levels of access, transparency, and knowledge of what’s happening with their wealth at all times. Additionally, calls for increased financial literacy are also warranted, across the board.
“Regardless of gender, or whether or not you’re in a de facto arrangement, married, or flying solo – having a good grasp of your finances, accompanied by some basic professional advice, is the best course of action for anyone.”
Should you require more information on any of these topics, please contact us today on 1300 354 355