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What women do with their money

Visa study gives insights into savings and investments behaviour.

PRETORIA – One in every two women have a credit card and nearly 10% have no savings whatsoever. More than 50% of women would, however, pay off all their debt if they win the lottery and almost three-quarters at least have a savings account.

These are some of the findings of the Women’s Money Matters Survey 2012, released by Visa, in which 2 000 women from all income groups across South Africa were surveyed. All the women surveyed had some household financial decision-making responsibilities.

According to Visa Country Manager for South Africa, Mandy Lamb, the study was to give insights into how South African women approach money and to flag areas of concern.

“Increasingly it’s women who have their hands on the purse strings. Even for traditionally ‘male’ purchases such as cars, women are having a greater say,” she said.

As an example, Lamb highlighted the statistic that almost 10% of women have no savings whatsoever, saying that this “alarming statistic” is something that each women needs to address.

One of the other interesting findings is that 10% of women in a relationship have a secret bank account that their partner is unaware of – with an average amount of about R17 000 in it.

But while some women keep a few money matters secret from their partners, 35% of the respondents still look to their partner for financial advice and only 27% seek expert help in the form of an adviser or broker. The study shows that only one-fifth of women make their financial decisions entirely on their own.

When it comes to savings and investments, 71% of the respondents indicated that they had savings in a bank, while 13% used Stokvels and other informal saving mechanisms. Interestingly, buying shares topped the “worst investment choice” rankings in the study. The top investment choice was in property.

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