How do single ladies stack up against their married peers and men in terms of their investing and financial lives?
Much has been written to compare the financial situations of men and women, with women generally facing more difficult conditions in terms of income opportunities. Adding to that wealth of knowledge is a new report from UBS, which looks at an even more specific group.
The report, titled Single Point of View, found that 82% of single millennial women in the US wish to get married, with 48% of those from Generation X and 21% from the Boomer generation feeling the same. And when that time comes, 79% of single female millennials said they expect their spouse to provide financial security, as opposed to 57% and 48% of their Gen-X and baby-boomer peers, respectively.
Looking at different measures of financial confidence and control, single women tended to occupy the middle ground between their married peers and single women. The statement “I know a lot about investing” resonated with 45% of single women, compared to 61% of single men and 28% of married women. A similar pattern emerged for the statements “I’m confident I can make long-term investing decisions” (74% of single men, 67% of single women, and 55% of married women) and “I monitor the markets regularly” (63%, 47%, and 37%, respectively).
Focusing on single women, the study also found millennials were the least engaged with their finances among all age groups:
- 61% of millennials said they put other parts of their lives ahead of finances, compared to 38% from Generation X and 28% among boomers;
- 67% of millennials said they know the types of investments they have, as compared to 87% of Generation X and 92% of the Boomer generation;
- 69% of millennials said they know how much they’re saving for retirement, as opposed to 90% of Gen X and 93% of Boomers; and
- 59% of single millennial women said they know they should be doing more with their finances, while 47% of Gen Xers and 22% of boomers said the same
Another possible concern comes from the fact that single millennial women were more willing to tap their retirement accounts early, with 32% saying they’ve done so and 29% saying they’d consider it. Among Gen Xers, just 9% dipped into their retirement accounts early, and 23% said they’d think about it; for boomers, the numbers were 5% and 13%, respectively.
The survey also looked at how single millennial women’s expectations of their financial roles in marriage compare with the realities experienced by their married counterparts. While 83% of the single group expect to participate in investing during marriage, just 39% of the married cohort said they actually do. When it comes to paying bills, 89% of single millennial women said they expect to share the burden, which was closer to the 79% of married millennial women who said they do.
UBS also found that conversation is critical among single millennial women: 78% said discussing finances with friends is helpful, 65% said they wished doing so were easier, and 89% said they’d like an online forum where women can talk about investing.