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Women who avoid financial involvement often surprised in divorce

A report from a large wealth management firm has revealed that married women still tend to fall into traditional gender roles when it comes to long-term financial decisions and investing. Among married women, 56 percent reported leaving most financial affairs to their husbands. A chief strategy officer at the company called the hands-off approach financial abdication. When women stayed out of the loop about their marital finances, spousal death or divorce frequently involved financial surprises. Older Pennsylvania couples headed toward divorce may want to keep this in mind.

Unpleasant surprises included unknown spending, hidden debt and secret accounts. A huge majority of widows and divorcees, 94 percent, said that they would want total knowledge of marital finances if they had to do it over. Their new attitude shows when they form new relationships. A full 80 percent reported taking an active role in financial decisions within subsequent relationships.

Women who have been through this experience also advise other women to be proactive about their finances. Considering that 54 percent of Baby Boomer wives report that they let their husbands handle the investments, many appear positioned for surprises in the future. Divorces among people age 50 and over have been rising for years since the 1990s.

Knowledge of marital finances is very important during a divorce because the former spouses must divide their assets and debts. For a partner with substantial assets, like a business, real estate or investment accounts, the representation of an attorney could be beneficial. An attorney could strive to ensure that the terms of a prenuptial agreement are observed and that all assets are disclosed by the other party.

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