LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Money matters when it comes to marriages, but a surprising new report finds that a lot of women are leaving the money matters to men.
Vanessa Chamberlin had a life any woman would envy.
"We lived a big life for sure,” Vanessa said.
She was married to a successful businessman and the mother of two little girls. She had little reason to worry about money. Not until a night in January 2007 when she assumed her husband was having a late night out with friends.
"But instead I got a knock on the door,” said Vanessa.”It was the coroner informing me my husband had taken his life."
The grief was at times overwhelming.
“Devastated. The first ten days I was on the floor,” she said.
But Vanessa was dealt another staggering blow when she realized how little she knew about her family's finances.
“There was this mounting IRS bill that if we didn’t handle it correctly could have taken everything,” she said.
Despite more gender equality in everything from work to marriage; Vanessa's story is not unusual.
A report done by UBS Financial Services earlier this month found that more than 70 percent of women don't consider themselves financially knowledgeable and 56 percent of women who divorce or are widowed encounter financial surprises like Vanessa.
“He was the one that handled everything,” Vanessa said.
Interviews with thousands of married women found that more than half said their husbands handle the finances. Surprisingly that number is even higher among millennial women at 61 percent.
Vanessa admits her late husband had encouraged her to be more involved and experts said that's the way to go.
UBS reports that when women are more involved in financial decisions they overwhelmingly feel higher confidence, they make fewer financial mistakes and are less stressed.
For Vanessa that meant finding a financial planner, it gave her the confidence to pass along a message she hopes will empower her daughters in a way she wasn’t.
“Knowing every detail about your financial situation, household situation,” she said. “Even if you aren't the primary person taking care of it. Knowledge is power.