Own your worth

Women and the path to financial independence

Billie Jean King and Lisa Leslie joined us to unveil our new report

An all-star line-up shares their own stories of money, power and resilience. Watch the replay above, featuring: Billie Jean King, Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, sports icon and equality champion; Lisa Leslie, 3-time WNBA MVP, 4-time Olympic Gold Medalist and Hall of Famer; Paula Polito, financial industry leader, Divisional Vice Chairwoman of UBS Global Wealth Management and author of the Own your worth report; Tina Brown, award-winning journalist and editor; Paulina Porizkova, model and author; Elaine Welteroth, The New York Times best-selling author, award-winning journalist, former Teen Vouge Editor-in-Chief and Judge on the new Project Runway; and Dr. Jill Yavorsky, University of North Carolina sociologist focusing on gender and finance.

The journey continues

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.1

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. 98% of widows and divorcees urged other women to participate in long-term decisions early on.2

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.

The behavior persists even though the majority of women—and men—believe equal financial participation is necessary for true gender equality. But there are signs that women are ready to own their worth.

Nearly half of women let their spouse take the lead on financial decisions

49%

"I let my spouse take the lead."

35%

"We participate equally."

16%

"I take the lead."

Even high-achieving women and Millennials defer to their spouses

Education

  • 46% Advanced degree
  • 50% College
  • 60% High school

Breadwinner status

  • 41% Primary
  • 45% Equal
  • 62% Secondary

Age

  • 54% Millennials
  • 53% Gen X
  • 39% Boomers

But the pandemic—and its economic fallout—have increased women’s financial concerns

80%

of women want to protect their family more than ever before

2/3

intend to discuss finances with their spouse

Nearly 40%

intend to discuss their financial plan, portfolio and will with their spouse

Will women follow through on their intentions? Or will they continue the status quo?

Much depends on the willingness of not only women, but men as well. If men help the women they care about feel encouraged, empowered and welcome—and women commit to participating—then both can make wise decisions. With the lessons of the pandemic fresh in their minds, women have set their intentions.

Now it’s time for women to act.

See where we started

Explore the entire Own your worth series, and visit our financial participation site to learn the top 10 money moves.

4 actions to take now

Own your worth

Know where you stand today and what you want for the future

Take the time to add up your assets and your liabilities, like loans, credit and other debts, and ask for full transparency from your partner.

Ask yourself a series of questions to help frame your needs

  • What do you want to accomplish in your life?
  • Who are the people who matter most to you?
  • What do you want your legacy to be?
  • What are your main concerns?
  • How do you plan to achieve your life’s vision?

Then think about your wealth along three key dimensions:

Liquidity—to provide cash flow for short-term expenses. Longevity—for longer-term needs and Legacy—for needs that go beyond your own.

Find your voice

Start the conversation with your partner

Talking about money is considered taboo to some couples. But ask yourself, if you found yourself alone tomorrow, do you know what first steps you’d take to make sure you’re financially secure? Even if you’re single, there’s a tremendous benefit to having open communication with a trusted confidante or financial advisor.

Set an example

Set an example

Women are repeating the gender roles they saw growing up. Set an example of financial partnership for the younger generation.

Make your money move

Make your money move

UBS developed the Own Your Worth Financial Participation Site for women who want to take that first step. You’ll find tips, tools and the top 10 money moves—without jargon or complexity—to help you make your first "money move."

A money move can be anything that helps you participate more fully in your financial life—any action that brings you closer to the future you want. To get started, take this quiz to learn your money language.

Visit ubs.com/mymoneymove to learn more.

Latest updates

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Women's equality 100 years later

Are you ready to own your worth?

Connect with your UBS Financial Advisor or click here to find one.