Indian women still shy away from making independent financial decisions, reveals a survey.
The survey also found that they still rely on the 'man of the house" when it comes to making financial decisions, although 44 per cent of respondents prefer to make their own financial decisions when they have the option to do so, as per Tata AIA Life Insurance (Tata AIA) survey about Financial Awareness Among Women.
The survey findings indicated that 89 per cent of married women depend on their spouses for financial planning.
Before marriage, the father is responsible for the financial decisions for women, which then is tacitly passed on to the husband, post marriage. The survey also indicated that since the average age of women getting married is 20-22 years, they do not have the liberty of deciding about their finances. Thus, marriage is one of the foremost deterrent factors in impeding the independence in financial decision making for women.
For 39 per cent of the women covered in the survey, financial planning is restricted to planning the monthly budget. Of 42 per cent of the women who have a better understanding of financial planning, only 12 per cent are homemakers.
According to the survey findings, for most women being financially independent does not necessarily mean they have the freedom to make their finance related decisions. Among the working women, 59 per cent do not independently take decisions on their finances. The ratio is higher in tier 3 markets, where 65 per cent of working women do not take independent financial decisions.
This behaviour is despite the intense narrative of women empowerment and gender equality that has been extensively deliberated over the decades. Laws against women have also been strengthened, and a positive shift has taken place over the years regarding the position of women in society. Yet when it comes to financial planning, women do not get to call the shots, the survey said.
Given a choice, however, 44 per cent of women are willing to make their own financial decisions. Encouragingly, in tier-2 markets, women are warming up to the idea of making their own financial decisions. Increased awareness of their rights and a general lifestyle upgrade could contribute to this change.
Asked about priorities, the survey revealed that women prioritise their family's financial security over themselves. Among the various financial instruments, 62 per cent of the women are more comfortable investing in Bank FDs for the benefit of their families. However, when asked about a preference for themselves, they trusted their spouse's decision.