We see that women who let their relationship partners handle long-term financial decision making feel a sense of complacency in the near term; they are as confident as other women in the savings and investment decisions they are making. However, women who let their partners handle these decisions are also most likely to say they will think about retirement when they get there (34%). In the near term, it might feel fine to get into the habit of being disengaged with investing while someone else handles it, but eventually renouncing responsibility can lead to a shock if and when women have to start making decisions themselves.
Confident they are making the right savings and investment decisionsPartner makes decisions and informs woman
Tend to second-guess their investment decisions*Partner makes decisions and informs woman
Worry they are not doing enough with their investments*Partner makes decisions and informs woman
Say they will think about retirement when they get therePartner makes decisions and informs woman
*base is investors with at least $100K.
Women who let their partners make financial decisions for them might see disengagement as a way to avoid arguments, but these women are less likely to be regularly contributing to long-term savings and investments. It might seem daunting at first, but a woman’s involvement with long-term financial decisions tangibly improves investing behaviors.
Long-term financial planning decisions cause argumentsPartner makes decisions and informs woman
Make long-term financial planning one of their most important prioritiesPartner makes decisions and informs woman
Contribute regularly to long-term savings or investmentsPartner makes decisions and informs woman
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to financial health, but there are some decision making profiles that tend to produce successful outcomes for women. Within couples, women who are engaged with making long-term financial decisions and make financial decision making an important priority feel better about their financial futures and are also demonstrably in a better place financially. The increased comfort these women have with making investment-related decisions will serve them well if they are unable to rely on their partner at some point.
% comfortable making investment decisionsWhen woman is highly engaged in financial decision-making*
Knowledgeable about financial products and servicesWhen woman is highly engaged in financial decision-making*
Contribute regularly to long-term savings or investmentsWhen woman is highly engaged in financial decision-making*
*Engaged women are those who either work together with their partner to make long-term financial decisions or who take the lead in financial decision making AND who also make long-term financial planning decisions one of the most important priorities in their relationship.
The same relationship between being engaged with financial planning and positive financial behaviors is observed in single, divorced and widowed women as well. Women outside a relationship who agree that they take financial planning seriously are much more likely to be on the right track than women who don’t do so. Disengagement with long-term financial decisions doesn’t work any better when women can’t tell themselves that someone else is taking care of it.
Single women who decide to take long-term financial planning seriously are much more likely to be taking actions that benefit long-term financial wellness. They are more likely to have investments and to contribute to long-term savings regularly.
Single women who take long-term financial planning seriously are less likely to ignore retirement planning until the last minute. They are also more likely to pay attention to diversification. However, there is still a lot of room for progress and financial education. Only one of five single women who say they take financial planning seriously ensure their investments are diversified.
Women who rely on their partners to make long-term financial decisions might feel like they are avoiding arguments in the short-term, but women’s disengagement while wealth is being built can lead to them not understanding how to manage investments when the person they have relied on starts to slow down.
There might be a more traditional division of labor in your household when it comes to financial matters. It’s important to make it your business to understand the full financial picture for your household. Use our resources to get your financial house in order.
A successful investing strategy begins with a goal. A good way to get started on your path as a smart investor is to think about your future and what it is that you are looking to achieve – whether with a partner or on your own. Use our Financial Goal-Setting Worksheet to get started.
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