Contributed by Eileen Stoner, The Stoner Group

As women, how can we break the cycle of abdication and take control of our wealth?

Two major trends are profoundly impacting women.  One, women are living longer- longer than men.[1] Two, nearly half of marriages are likely to end in divorce, with rising rates among couples over the age of 50.[2]  Inevitably, many women will become widows or divorcees—and eight out of ten women will be solely responsible for their financial well-being.[3]

Some women will be ready.  Many will not. The twin forces of longer life expectancies and high rates of divorce have produced a sobering likelihood: that more women will end up alone. Women’s average life expectancy is five years longer than men’s,1  and the median age of widowhood is only 59 years old.[4]  At the same time, the divorce rate among couples over 50 years of age has doubled in the past 30 years.[5]

UBS surveyed hundreds of divorced and widowed women about the financial challenges they faced on their own, the lessons they learned, and most importantly, the advice they would give other women. While coping with feelings of grief and anger, these women suddenly had a range of financial responsibilities to address. Some even found unwelcome surprises from their former spouses, such as high debt, outdated wills, and hidden accounts. With the wisdom of hindsight, nearly 60% of widows and divorcees regrettably wish they had been more involved in long-term financial decisions while they were married. A full 98% of them urge other women to become more involved early on.

The clear message here? It is important to OWN YOUR WORTH!

[1] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, 2016.

[2] National Health Statistics Reports, first Marriages in the United States: Data from 2006-2010 National Survey of Family Growth.

[3] National vital Statistics Reports vol. 66, No. 6, 11/27/17

[4] 2009 U.S. Census Bureau, Number, Timing and duration of Marriages and Divorces: 2009

[5] Susan L. Brown and I-Fen Lin.  The Gray Divorce Revolution. The Journals of Gerontology Series B November 2012

Source: UBS “Own your worth” 2018 Full report available upon request.  Courtesy of Eileen Stoner, Sr. Vice President Wealth Management UBS Financial Services Inc.

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