Millennial women and finances: Study yields surprising results

When it comes to investing and planning, more millennial women cede control to their husbands than women of previous generations.

If any generation would have strong feminist tendencies, it would seem to be the millennials. They grew up seeing women gain power and influence.

But when it comes to managing their family’s investments and planning for their financial future, more millennial women cede control to their husbands than do women of older generations, according to a recent UBS study.

“I was very surprised,” said Marielle Schurig, a UBS vice president of wealth management. “It’s still engrained in our culture that that is a man’s job to do.”

In talks with millennial women, Ms. Schurig has tried to get them interested in financial planning by making it more relatable than simply information in a portfolio.

“I talk about finances as part of your overall health and wellness routine,” Ms. Schurig said. “It’s a good way to help them realize it’s not just about numbers. It’s about your lifestyle and goals.”

road map

When working with women going through divorce or the death of a spouse, Stacy Francis uses a “wealth management road map” that outlines their income, real estate, retirement plan, expenses, Medicare and long-term care insurance, emergency fund and insurance. The document, which is never longer than eight pages, is easily digestible and focused on life planning.

“There is no gobbledygook with charts and graphs no one can understand,” said Ms. Francis, president and CEO of Francis Financial. “It makes much more sense and is less intimidating.”

In the right environment and with the right education, women can thrive while managing a family’s finances.

“Women can make better decisions with money than men,” Ms. Francis said. “We have these fantastic skill sets. No one has taught us how to use them.”

Helping a women achieve autonomy on finances can be fulfilling for an adviser, said Wendy Holmes, a UBS managing director and private wealth adviser.

“There’s just nothing like seeing someone start to engage and take ownership,” Ms. Holmes said. “It’s probably the best thing that we do.”

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