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Covid Forced More Women to Take Charge of Finances: Report

By Alex Padalka July 7, 2020

The Covid-19 crisis has disproportionately increased women’s responsibilities at home — and it’s also made them determined to take more financial decision-making into their own hands, according to a recent report. 

Women surveyed by UBS earlier this year say that they have been handling more childcare, cooking and cleaning than men during the crisis, and have the additional burden of homeschooling. But eight in 10 also now want to better protect themselves and their families financially, according to results of multiple UBS surveys. The bank collected data from 906 women and 919 men from Jan. 8 to Feb. 28. Then, from March 15 to 25, the firm conducted a survey of 414 women and 469 men who have never been married as well as data from 50 women in same-sex marriages.

UBS found that 49% of women say they let their spouse take the lead on the household’s financial decisions, while 35% say they participate equally. Sixteen percent said they take charge.

And the division of labor seems to have little to do with career or advanced age. “High-achieving women” and millennials tend to let their spouses do the decision-making, UBS found. 

Now, however, “many women are resolved to act,” UBS says. Two-thirds plan to have financial discussions with their spouse, and close to four in 10 are considering updating their wills or conducting financial reviews or portfolio discussions, according to the survey. A little over half of the women surveyed plan to discuss their inheritance provisions with their children as a result of the coronavirus crisis, UBS found.

Moreover, 45% of women have discussed the impact of the crisis on their portfolio with their advisor, while 34% are considering doing so, according to the survey. And 33% of female respondents say they have reviewed their financial situation, with a further 40% considering doing so, UBS found. Sixteen percent of women have updated their will, with a further 37% considering it, according to the survey.  

And it’s absolutely essential for women to get involved with their finances, UBS says. Women earn 82 cents on a man’s dollar, according to a 2018 report from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, according to UBS. Meanwhile, eight in 10 women will end up alone and solely responsible for their finances, UBS writes, citing 2017 National Vital Statistics Reports. 

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