Leaving Financial Decisions Up To Your Partner? That Could Hurt You Later

Women who later divorce or are widowed say they “regret” not taking a more active role in financial decision-making when they were married

One of our clients was suddenly thrust into the role of financial decision-maker when her husband died several years ago.

While he was alive, she never reviewed the investments, handled the budget, or even wrote a check.

You can imagine the confusion when she found herself alone … and in charge.

We were brought in to manage the investments and help her sort out the daily budget. One of our key tasks was to decipher how much she could afford to spend without running through the assets too quickly. That’s always a challenge when she wants to lend the adult kids a helping hand, but needs as much as possible to provide for her own needs.

Current research shows that too many women leave investment and financial decisions up to a spouse, and that can hurt them later if they divorce or are widowed.

More than half of baby-boomer women follow the traditional practice of leaving financial matters to the male partner. Surprisingly, that number is higher – not lower – among younger millennial women.

But here’s the problem.

Almost sixty percent of widows and divorcees say they “regret not taking part in long-term financial planning when they were in a couple,” reports Suzanne Woolley, writing for Bloomberg BusinessWeek.

“Women and divorcees who find themselves alone wish they had been more involved in finances while they were married,” says Paula Polito, of UBS Global Wealth Management, the organization conducting the research.

Tip:  If you’re the one handling finances in your family, try to involve your partner and bring him, or her, up to speed with at least the big picture issues affecting your income, investing and spending. If you have a financial advisor, make a point of including your partner in meetings, and spend time together discussing major financial decisions and concerns.

About Mari Adam

Mari Adam, Certified Financial Planner™ has been helping individuals and families chart their financial futures for over twenty-five years. Have a question about your financial situation? Ask Mari!

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