Portfolio

It’s husbands versus wives

Meera Siva | Updated on August 03, 2013 Published on August 03, 2013

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According to a survey, husbands take about more than half the financial decisions even in households where the women are working.





In India, men call the shots when it comes to making investment decisions. This is true even in families where the women are working, according to a recent DSP BlackRock study.

Data based on a pan-India survey (spread over metros and non-metros) of working and non-working women in the age group of 21-60 years found that overall, only 23 per cent of working women make their own investment decisions.

Less involved

According to the survey, even while 92 per cent of working women claim to be involved in the investment decision-making process, it turns out that most of them are actually joint decision makers.

Worse, over half of these women are only informed about the investment decisions which have already been made.

So then, who makes the decisions? Survey data shows that husbands make about more than half the financial decisions even in households where the women are working. In non-working women households, a whopping 80 per cent of all decisions are made by them.

Women in non-metro locations who do not work are the least empowered when it comes to making sole financial decisions.

Only a meagre three per cent of these women get to make their own decisions, compared to 20 per cent for working women in these areas. This is also unfavourably low compared to 14 per cent for non-working women in metros.

So, what is keeping women from taking an active role in financial decisions? Possibly lack of interest, says Anjana Rajguru, a writer with Femina.

She takes her own financial decisions and says that she is able to make informed decisions using data from sources such as Internet, newspaper and friends.

Sarada Mahadeven, a retired bank employee, feels that women must be active decision makers these days. This is because investments risks are getting higher and at the same time, children’s education and future are becoming heavily dependent on the performance of the investment.

Sridevi Ganesh of Chamomile Investment Consultants says that women have an innate ability to handle money better.

She says that women have more control over family spending and can change the expense patterns better than men. In her practice, she observes that although many working women do not take part in decision making, they actively participate in maintaining and monitoring the investments that are made.

Sridevi is part of a women investor education initiative called Winvestor from DSP BlackRock Mutual Fund, which did this study. The initiative aims to build financial awareness by bringing together interested women and professional women financial advisors, says Aditi Kothari, Executive V-P and Co- Head Marketing, DSP BlackRock Investment Managers.

Focus on safety

Not being given a role in decision making is indeed preventing many women from making their own investment decisions. But women who do invest, don’t seem to have an appetite for risk.

The survey reveals that the foremost in women’s mind is the safety of their future. They hence prefer investments in secure instruments that yield fixed returns.

Most of the surveyed women stated that they are disciplined and have control over their spending habits.

Word of mouth is the main source of financial information for women, but expert advice from independent financial advisors and bank relationship managers also figures.

>Meera.siva@thehindu.co.in

Published on August 03, 2013
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