Research released as part of MoneySmart Week 2013 shows how significant the influence of family and relationships are to women’s approach to personal finance. The qualitative study led by Professor Roslyn Russell (RMIT School of Economics, Finance and Marketing) focused on the factors that underpin or influence how women make decisions about money.
Our research confirms that gender very strongly shapes financial decision making and wellbeing.
Key themes that influence women’s money decisions include:
- Experiences had as a child played a significant role in shaping women’s views about money
- Providing for children was the most common significant factor in financial decision- making
- “The woman’s money is the family’s money, the man’s money is his money”
“Having information or knowledge wasn’t enough to motivate women to make changes to their financial management habits,” said Russell. “The major motivation for seeking financial education or information was to provide a more comfortable, easier life for their families or children.”
- Negative outcomes of decisions made by a spouse had life-long consequences in how women viewed money and made financial decisions.
- Finances were inseparable from their emotional journey and the relationships held with family, partners, children, and friends.
- The trust that women had in a source of information was more critical than the information itself.
- Without a trustworthy source, no decision was deemed better than the wrong one. “What was interesting was the lack of confidence, or the perception of roles within the family, which held them back from being part of financial decisions.
“Several women allowed all large financial decisions to be made by their partner or spouse, and in many cases this put them at significant disadvantage,” said Russell.
MoneySmart Week is urging women to get more active in financial decision-making beyond managing day-to-day budgets.