A new study released today by BMO Private Bank has found that 88 percent of women in Arizona are confident in their ability to manage their finances if something were to happen to their spouse.
The study found that, in the event of divorce or the death or the incapacitation of their spouse:
Seventy-seven percent believed they would be able to maintain their current lifestyle.
Fifty-eight percent stated they “would be fine” being single in retirement. However, 22 percent are concerned that they may end up homeless or broke in retirement.
“We’re pleased to see that so many women in Arizona feel confident that they could continue to manage their household and finances if they were to suddenly be alone as a result of the death of a spouse, divorce or a medical emergency,” said Ashley Ober, Managing Director, Private Banking, BMO Private Bank. “Women across the country are becoming more empowered and are controlling a growing percentage of the nation’s wealth; this is being reflected in their levels of confidence.”
According to the study, an overwhelming 85 percent of women in Arizona and nationally currently manage their household finances or share responsibility equally with their spouse.
Majority of Women Lack Key Estate Planning Documents
Despite the financial confidence of women in the state, the study found that most Arizona women do not have key estate planning documents in place, potentially putting their families at risk:
• Sixty-seven percent do not have a Will.
• Seventy-five percent do not have a Living Will.
• Seventy-four percent do not have a Power of Attorney.
“Estate planning is an important component of your overall financial plan, regardless of your gender,” stated Mary Jo Herseth, National Head of Banking, BMO Private Bank. “Having a Power of Attorney and Will in place can save family and loved ones a significant amount of stress and complication.”
Regardless of marital or parental status or level of wealth, having a Will is an essential part of estate planning that allows people to design how their assets should be distributed. A Will also allows parents of minors to choose a guardian who will care for their young children.
Further, a Power of Attorney is important because it provides for the proper management of people’s property, financial affairs and healthcare during their lifetime should they become mentally or physically incapable, or have to be absent for an extended period of time. Not planning for this contingency can potentially have disastrous financial and personal implications, not only for individuals, but also for their family and loved ones.
Key National Findings
On a national level, the study found:
The vast majority (88 percent) of American women reported that they would be able to manage their household finances effectively in the event of divorce or the death or the incapacitation of their spouse.
· Seventy percent of women are confident they could maintain their current lifestyle should they get divorced or have their spouse pass away or become incapacitated. However, 28 percent are concerned about their financial future in retirement.
· Eighty-five percent of women currently manage their household finances or share responsibility equally with their spouse.
· Many women in the U.S. do not have key estate planning documents in place: 58 percent do not have a Will; 62 percent do not have a Living Will; and 68 percent do not have a Power of Attorney.