Our Top Takeaways From the UBS Own Your Worth Study

The DDP team has pulled together some of our favorite findings and resources offered by UBS as part of the Own your worth study and financial participation website.

In 2018, UBS began the Own your worth study to observe the relationship of finances and gender equality. According to the study’s introduction, “it started with the recognition of two major trends impacting women: increasing life expectancy and the rise of ‘gray’ divorce.” Since then, UBS has developed multiple resources to help women manage their personal finances.

DDP’s Key Takeaways

82% of women believe that equal financial participation is key to gender equality.

Despite views on equality, 49% of women let their spouse take the lead on financial decisions. 

16% of surveyed women take the lead on making financial decisions. 

Of the 49% of women who defer financial decisions to their spouses, 67% said the spouse is more knowledgeable on the subject of finance. 

Introduction to the Study

The following introduction is featured on page 2 of the UBS study.

In 2018, UBS embarked on a groundbreaking study of US women. It started with the recognition of two major trends impacting women: increasing life expectancy and the rise of “gray” divorce. This meant that, at some point in their lives, 8 in 10 women will end up alone and solely responsible for their financial well-being.

When we spoke to women living this reality—widows and divorcees who were financially responsible not just for themselves but for children, loved ones, even family businesses—we uncovered a deep well of regret.

Many of these women had not prepared themselves to manage finances on their own, or participated with their spouses in decisions that impacted their future.

Whether they were highly engaged or not, 98% of widows and divorcees urged other women to participate in long-term decisions early on.

So we wondered… were women heeding their advice? In this age of #metoo, women’s empowerment and progress toward greater equality, were things actually changing?

In short, not enough.

Facts & figures

Need a visual? The following figures break down some more key findings from the study. We also encourage you to view more graphic representations of UBS’ research in the full report, linked at the end of this post.

The following figure gauges gender-based and generational opinion on the importance of financial decision-making in relation to overall gender equality. Source: Own your worth 2020

The next figure shows the common reasons women defer financial decisions to their spouses. The responses fall under four main categories: Lack of confidence, Entrenched roles, Complacency, and Keeping the peace. Source: Own your worth 2020