Women see themselves as better financial managers than men and the older women get the more likely they are to keep their own nestegg in case the man loses everything.
These are among the conclusions of an Australia-New Zealand study of women’s attitude to finances published by Mattingly and Partners, Australian Consolidated Press and Brian Sweeney and Associates.
It shows women have a greater control over household finances than men.
It shows also that women do not trust financial institutions to give them good advice; that they feel they are not taken seriously and they resent it.
The survey was conducted late last year across seven cities and included women of all ages.
The key issues for women were independence and security.
Ninety-eight per cent of the 1108 surveyed thought it important that women are capable of organising their own finances; 86 per cent said women should be financially independent; and 78 per cent said women should have their own accounts.
Mothers’ experiences of dependency influenced opinion. “”Mum never have any money of her own; I’m not going to be like that,” and “”When my Dad shot through Mum was left with nothing,” were two responses.
Older women learn from their own and their friends’ hard knocks. Thirty-six per cent of under 30-year-olds have their own nest egg rising to 57 per cent of those over 46.
Respondents commented: “”His decisions are not always right; I’ve signed papers in the past for deals that have gone wrong; now I would never trust him,” “”I’ve got some inheritances he doesn’t know about,” “”It’s your running-away money.”
Younger, blue collar women are more likely to have “”shooting through money” and not let him know about it. Other women have smaller amounts kept aside “”because he doesn’t look to the future”.
Women take the leading role in finances. 69 per cent prompt discussion of finances; 77 per cent do all the banking; 68 per cent manage the savings and 67 per cent pay all the bills and credit cards. Only 18 per cent had surrendered control over finances to their partner.
Many women do not have a high regard for their partner’s financial ability. 65 per cent sort out the junk mail “”before he sees it”. Respondents said: “”You get to know how to manipulate and read your man” and “”My husband comes up with the ideas; I just talk him out of them.”
And this gem, which provided the title of the report: “”We always discuss things, then I’ll make our minds up.”
The report, called When I’ve Made Our Minds Up, shows how women seek long-term control over finances. “”Plant the thought, let it develop”, “”Planting the seed is a lengthy process”, respondents said.
Eighty per cent thought that women control household spending better than men and 62 per cent thought they could strongly affect their partner’s spending.
More women thought women were better financial organisers and more responsible than men. And nearly a half thought “”men are just hopeless with household money matters”.
“”When they see something they want cost is not important,” a respondent said.
Major financial organisations are not well thought of by women. One respondent said: “”The trouble is most of these places are run by middle-aged men and they’ve no idea what a woman’s life is like.”
Their main concerns were trust, being exploited and being patronised. Women tended to put their trust in people rather than institutions. Eighty two per cent thought attitudes to women in the financial arena needed to improve. More than half thought financial institutions and sales people took them less seriously because they were women.
Ironically, the survey showed that while women had greater control over household finances and spending the institutions controlled by the middle-aged men were reluctant to believe that women could make financial decisions.
However, only 25 per cent said they would prefer a female financial adviser. “”Women can be just as patronising,” one respondent said.
The survey found that women’s views were remarkably similar either side of the Tasman. The cities surveyed were: Adelaide, Auckland, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney and Wellington.