Across the nation, Washington residents included, a majority of wives let their husbands make all the investment decisions. This can cause problems if they divorce or their spouse dies.
An estimated 60 percent of married women let their spouse make all long-term financial decisions, leaving them in the dark when something happens to their husband. This is especially crucial since the divorce rate for couples older than 50 years has doubled in the last couple of decades. This conclusion was reached by UBS Global Management, which surveyed 600 divorced or widowed women and 1,500 couples with at least $250,000 in investable assets. The study also found that a majority of millennial women were letting their spouses make financial decisions.
A majority of women were surprised by their finances when their husbands were no longer in the picture. Some of the surprises were good with women who discovered they had more money than anticipated, but some women got unpleasant news, such as debts they didn't know about. If there is a silver lining to this situation, it's that divorced women became more proactive in dealing with finances in subsequent marriages. This is considered good since remarriages have a higher divorce rate.
As couples age, finances become more important because there is limited time to recoup what is lost when a divorce occurs. The end of a marriage, either through divorce or death of a spouse, can be a traumatic situation. Older women contemplating a divorce may wish to consult with a divorce attorney for advice and assistance in getting a fair financial settlement, which might include spousal support and property division.