Own your worth

Why women should take control of their wealth to achieve financial well-being

06 March 2019

Our recent UBS Investor Watch, “Own your worth,” explores how women around the world approach their financial well-being. Are they fully engaged in the financial decisions that affect them? And if not, why not?

The answers are surprising.

Almost all women globally are highly involved in everyday finances, like expenses and bill paying. But almost 60%* of women do not engage in the most important aspects of their financial well-being: investing, insurance, retirement and other long-term planning.

Why do so many women focus on the present but ignore the future? In the US, women opt out of long-term financial decisions because they believe their spouses know more. Regardless of the rationale, failing to plan for the future carries risk. As women around the world live longer, the likelihood of becoming widowed or divorced increases. Inevitably, women who plan for these possibilities will be better prepared.

But women don’t need to do it alone. In fact, women who approach long-term decisions in partnership with their spouses report soaring levels of satisfaction. Nearly all have high confidence in the future, feel less anxious about money and make fewer financial mistakes.

By sharing decisions jointly, both women and men can face the future with optimism—and set an example of financial partnership for generations to come.

Women know that they’re living longer

78% believe they will outlive their spouse


80% say retirement planning is top priority

Most women take care of short-term finances…

91% manage day-to-day expenses equally or more than their spouses

…but opt out of long-term finances

54% “My spouse takes the lead in major financial decisions.”

Globally, women defer long-term financial decisions to spouses

Singapore 72%, Hong Kong 71% Switzerland 69% UK 62% Germany 60% US 54% Italy 52% Brazil 45% Mexico 39%

Why women opt out

88% “I think my spouse knows more than I do.”
76% “I’m not interested in planning and investing.”
69% “We divide-and-conquer. I focus on other responsibilities.”

Women who have been there know better

98% of divorcees and widows encourage other women to be more involved with their finances now

Sharing decisions equally has big benefits

99% “If something happens to my spouse, I will know about our finances.”, 97% “We make fewer mistakes when we’re both involved.”, 96% “I’m more confident about our financial future.”, 96% “I’m less stressed about our finances.”

Be involved in your financial future.

Talk to your UBS Financial Advisor. 

About the survey

From September 2017 to January 2019, UBS surveyed 3,652 women. Of these women, 2,251 were married with at least $1m in investable assets. Others (1,401) were either divorced or widowed. These women had at least $250k in investable assets. UBS also conducted interviews with 71 female respondents. The entire sample was split across nine markets: Brazil, Germany, Hong Kong, Mexico, Singapore, Switzerland, Italy, the UK and the US. The US sample consisted of 797 women (632 married, 165 widowed or divorced).