How Women Suffer From Traditional Male-Female Financial Decision-Making

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- When it comes to managing household income, men and women really diverge on approaches to divvying up financial responsibilities, and that could hurt women in retirement.

A report in UBS Wealth Management's Investor Watch Report looked at affluent U.S. couples and saw men taking longer-term responsibilities for the family's finances, including retirement and stock market investing, while women tend to run shorter-term finances such as paying bills and setting a budget.

UBS studied family money management in 10 areas, including retirement savings, real estate purchases, bill paying, charitable donations, insurance coverage and large purchases such as cars or major appliances.

Couples habitually tell UBS researchers they are "equally involved" in the family money picture -- just in vastly different, gender-specific ways. The study saw couples most often truly sharing decisions about real estate and other large purchases, as well as estate planning and college funding.

But there was a split, and it affected who handled "in-house" financial obligations such as bill-paying and "outside-the-house" responsibilities such as stock market investing.

"As an industry, we often use the terms 'financial decisions' and 'investing decisions' interchangeably, but financial decisions do not equal investing," says Paula Polito, a client strategies officer at UBS. "It's 2014, and women of all ages do not take as active a role as they should in investing. Even in millennial and Gen X couples, fewer than one in five women actually make investment decisions. This is alarming because investing is the foundation of financial security."

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