The majority of husbands think they make most family investment decisions, but most wives don't agree, according to at least one survey in this magazine as well as others elsewhere. But there is one kind of financial planning where they do agree that women play the leading role.
That's philanthropy. The Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund survey released Tuesday reports that most men (81%) say they defer to their spouses on which charities to support and how much money to donate (83%). Women are more likely than men to report they assume the role of primary or sole-decision maker when it comes to how much to donate or which charities to support.
The survey also found that high-income women (those with annual household incomes of at least $150,000) are more likely than other donors to give publicly, rather than anonymously. They are more likely to use giving vehicles such as donor-advised funds, charitable remainder trusts and private foundations; they are most likely to use securities for donations; and they also are most likely to want guidance from a financial advisor regarding charitable giving, the study found.
"Our research indicates that, in many ways, women are shaping the future of philanthropy," said Sarah C. Libbey, president of the Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund. "Women have always had a hand in their household's charitable outreach. But that role is evolving as women increasingly create their own wealth and become the beneficiaries of wealth transfers because they live longer. As a result, women are stepping up to take on more philanthropic leadership roles."
Data for the Gift Fund's survey was collected online January 28 to February 4, 2009, by the independent market research firms Chrysalis Research of Kirkland, Wash., and Research Data Technology of Woburn, Mass. The results are based on responses from a national sample of 1,003 adults at least 25 years old. The respondents were evenly divided among men and women. Half donated at least $1,000 or more in 2007, the other half donated $5,000 or more the same year.