When it comes to economic equality between the genders, it’s easy to assume that millennials have a stronger grasp on how to maintain a level playing field than their older counterparts. However, Quartz reports quite the opposite, citing a study conducted by the UBS global investment bank thats suggests affluent millennial and Gen X women are more likely to defer to their male partners in financial matters than female Baby Boomers over age 55.
According to the UBS survey, 59 percent of well-to-do millennial women claimed to hand off monetary investment responsibilities to their male partners, while only 55 percent of women over age 55 said the same.
UBS managing director Shona Baijal has a few theories behind this surprising outcome:“I’m wondering whether part of this is to do with how millennial woman have been brought up… I think they probably see themselves as even more gender-neutral than our generation. They don’t see themselves as necessarily going to have a gender pay gap, they don’t as yet fully grasp the impact that maternity leave or flexible working is going to have... They don’t, for different reasons [than previous generations], understand the impact of not being involved in that decision-making process when they do get married, and obviously have started to defer to [their spouse].”
Of course, this survey only addressed a sample size (3,700) of women, so it’s tough to make any large-scale declarations about gender parity and generational attitudes based on these figures alone. However, the UBS survey did discover that 85 percent of the female participants manage the day-to-day expenses of their households, while only 23 percent took charge of long-term spending and investment plans.
Whether this division between everyday expense management and “big picture” investments will cause problems for these couples in the future remains to be seen. If you’re a woman who wants to take a more active role in the “big picture” of your family finances, Baijal has a suggestion for you: "Have a financial date night. During the date—and though it might not sound like much fun—it’s important to lay everything on the table: to talk openly about what assets you have, what longterm investment or savings plans are already in place, and what you want out of them for your later life and retirement.”
Open communication increases the odds of lasting financial stability and relationship-based satisfaction, making it a worthy suggestion for any pair with shared finances.