The majority of household financial decisions are made by men, with little or no input from other members of the household, according to a global study commissioned by HSBC. Sixty-five percent of men said they were the sole decision makers.
In Canada, the situation is considerably more egalitarian, but 34% of men said they have sole responsibility for retirement planning, compared to 24% of women.
“It is disappointing and concerning to see that there is still such inequality globally between men and women of all ages when it comes to making decisions about saving for retirement,” says Margaret Willis, executive vice-president, head of retail banking and wealth management, HSBC Bank Canada.
There is some good news; half of those surveyed (49% of men and 54% of women) said they shared responsibility for making decisions about saving for retirement.
“Women need to be encouraged to play a more active role in financial decision-making. While it might be practical for one partner to take the lead in research or action, decisions should be discussed and made jointly on a fully informed basis,” Willis adds. “This will help ensure that families are better prepared for the future and will also ensure women are less financially vulnerable.”
These findings come as part of the latest in a series of reports on retirement and financial planning from HSBC, entitled The Future of Retirement: Why family matters, which is based on a survey of 17,000 people in 17 countries across five continents.
On a global basis, 39% of men claimed sole decision-making responsibility for retirement planning, compared to 25% of women.
Taiwan is the only country where more women than men say they are solely responsible for taking decisions about saving for retirement (39% compared to 35% of men).
In China and South Korea the gap between men and women taking sole responsibility for retirement planning is just three percentage points.
Women were least likely to have a say in the United Arab Emirates, where just 11% of women claimed sole responsibility, compared to 45% of men.