financial control

Why are women giving up financial control to husbands?

New research suggests that women are still handing over financial control and their independence to men and that millennial women are the worst for doing so.

2321 0

More Australian women are working full-time and earning more money than ever before, but it bugs me to stumble upon data which shows that many are handing over financial control to their partners.

New research by global investment bank UBS found that 56 per cent of married women leave investment and long-term financial planning decisions to their husbands, and 85 per cent of women who do this, believe their spouses know more about financial matters than them.

I know a lot of women who do this because they figure the man in their lives has a better financial mind, or business smarts.

This may certainly be the case, but what you don’t want to do is completely disengage with your family financials as this can affect your financial independence and confidence with money.

This becomes a real issue should divorce, separation or death of a partner occur. Not to mention financial abuse.

I’ve seen many cases where some women don’t even know how many bank accounts or credit cards are held by themselves or partners, and once trouble strikes, the whole situation becomes messy.

Research by St George Bank found that a lack of financial transparency between partners can lead to money secrets.

Such financial infidelity includes having a secret bank account (24 per cent), a large debt (22 per cent), hiding an expensive purchase (21 per cent) and having a credit card their partner does not know about (16 per cent).

Disengagement from your household financials won’t help you get better educated either. This could in turn keep you pegged in a place of informational disadvantage when it comes to things like understanding asset ownership, tax, superannuation and just budgeting.

While this 56 per cent figure cited in the UBS report may be less than it would have been in the 1950s, what’s more concerning is that millennial women are part of this trend.

The report, as published by CNN, also found that young women are more likely to hand over financial control and leave investment decisions to their husbands than any other age group.

The findings, which stem from surveys of nearly 1,700 married couples, including heterosexual and same-sex couples, come as an increasing number of Australian women are earning more.

Women reported being the main breadwinner in 39.5 per cent of Australian households according to new Roy Morgan data commissioned by the National Australia Bank (NAB) in 2014. This is data still referred to today and is yet to be resampled.

This is up 10.7 per cent since 2008, when 28.8 per cent of women identified themselves as the main household income earner.

The research looked at women who were married or in a de facto relationship and reported being the main income earner in their household.

More recent data released by MLC found that more than half of Australian women feel in control of their finances, but many are concerned about their savings and are missing out on valuable opportunities to boost their superannuation.

The all-female study revealed just 57 per cent of women across the country feel in control of their financial situation and have confidence they will be able to retire comfortably.

Subscribe to Financy®

Get your Financy fortnightly fix with Financy Rewards, content and more. Plus each quarter you'll receive the latest Financy Women's Index, helping you keep pace with women's financial progress.

In this article