Gold tops investment choices for women in Chennai. Nearly 33 per cent of urban women in Chennai invest in gold, surpassing the national average of 16 per cent. Over 90 per cent of women in Coimbatore lean towards investments in fixed deposits and savings accounts, says DBS Bank India and CRISIL Survey.

In Chennai, 19 per cent of women allocate 30-50 per cent of their income to investments. However, those navigating their financial decisions independently in Chennai tend to be risk-averse. Notably, the city showcases the highest preference for gold investment at 33 per cent, surpassing the pan-India average of 16 per cent. Meanwhile, in Coimbatore, an impressive majority of women — over 90 per cent — lean towards the stability offered by investments in fixed deposits and savings accounts.

The survey

The survey was done to understand the way urban Indian women plan, prioritise and manage their money. The first of three reports was launched today, based on the survey that was designed to reveal the financial preferences of women, both salaried and self-employed, across various life stages.

Over 800 women were surveyed across 10 cities in India on a wide range of behaviours, including their involvement in financial decision-making, goal setting, saving, and investing patterns, adoption of digital tools as well as their preferences for different banking products.

The survey findings pointed to factors like age, income, marital status, presence of dependents and home location as major influencers of the financial behaviour of women.

Financial autonomy

Whether it’s charting out their children’s educational paths or balancing multiple, competing financial goals, women are not bystanders, but are at the helm, shaping the future of their families. An encouraging 98 per cent of salaried and self-employed Indian women actively participate in long-term family decision-making. In fact, the findings revealed that about 47 per cent of them make independent financial decisions, a reflection of women’s growing financial autonomy.

In Chennai, celebrated as an IT hub with a global work culture, 72 per cent of women confidently take charge of their financial decisions. Conversely, in Coimbatore, only 31 per cent of women make these decisions independently.

What emerges as an interesting pattern in both Chennai and Coimbatore is the reliance on family opinions. Surpassing the national average of 47 per cent, more than 70 per cent of women in these cities turn to family input as their primary choice when making financial decisions. This trend sheds light on the distinct financial dynamics within these southern cities. While nationally, 27 per cent seek advice from their accountants to make financial decisions, this number reduces to less than 5 per cent in Chennai and Coimbatore, the survey said.

Study highlights

Prashant Joshi, Managing Director and Head of Consumer Banking Group, DBS Bank India, said the insights from the survey highlight the importance of financial stability in the aspirations of independent female earners across India. Ownership of financial decision-making, diverse investment and borrowing choices and growing adoption of digital channels are all evidence that the modern Indian woman is not just a participant but a planner of her journey.

The study highlighted that women in the southern regions, particularly in cities like Chennai and Coimbatore, show a strong preference for digital payments. In Chennai, cash usage is limited to 10 per cent, and in Coimbatore, it drops even further to 6 per cent. Credit card adoption in both cities stands at approximately 76 per cent, while Hyderabad leads the nation with 98 per cent of women opting for credit cards, the survey said.