Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Women set to control purse strings

Nine out of 10 households where women were in charge of long-term financial planning had some savings, a survey found

Women are set to gain control of the family purse strings in UK households within the next decade, a report has predicted.

In households where people are aged under 45, the balance of financial power has already tipped over to females, according to the Lloyds TSB Family Savings Report.

Across all age groups, women could gain the overall balance of power as early as 2020, according to the report, which interviewed 1,500 adults aged 18-64 across the UK.

Such a change could have positive effects on people's finances, as the study also suggested a link between female control of household financial planning and higher rates of saving.

Nine out of 10 (91%) of households, where women were in charge of the long-term financial planning, had some savings but only 82% had cash put aside in homes where men took greater responsibility.

Among couples aged under 45, women are already behind more than half (52%) of long-term financial planning as well as 54% of bill payments. But among couples aged over 45, men still hold sway in financial matters, albeit narrowly, researchers found, a position they expect to have shifted in the opposite direction in eight years' time.

Greg Coughlan, head of savings at Lloyds TSB, said: "Female control of the family purse strings is likely to give rise to an increase in households' savings, as women tend to be more cautious savers in terms of the vehicles they save in, and have a longer-term orientation to saving."

The report also compared financial habits in the UK with those in Germany and China to see how families in the two similar European economies differed from those in a rising power.

It found that around almost six in 10 younger German women were controlling financial activity among younger couples. But the results were more mixed in China, with no clear trend towards rising female financial power. On some measures men were more powerful among younger couples than older couples in China.

Some 750 people were interviewed in China and Germany, resulting in a total of 3,000 people surveyed for the report.