Women tilting scales of household economics

March 26, 2012 | Last updated on March 26, 2012
2 min read

More than one-quarter (26%) of working women are the sole or primary income earners in their households, and a significant majority of Canadian working women (86%) consider their income as necessary in maintaining the household lifestyle, according to the latest poll from Investors Group.

The group’s new research also reveals that women like the breadwinning role and that the majority of women in relationships (61%) feel accomplished when able to earn a substantial income.

“Household economics may be shifting as the earning influence of women becomes more significant,” says Jane Olshewski, financial life planning expert at Investors Group. “Along with elevated earning power comes an elevated responsibility, presenting new opportunities to be actively engaged in personal finance management.”

Most women whose income is required to maintain the household (63%) feel pressured to maintain their salary, and 67% feel responsible for the long-term financial well being of their family.

More importantly, over half of the working women who are in a married or common-law relationship (51%) feel they share joint responsibility in making decisions.

In fact, 44% feel more involved than their partner in investment and retirement planning decisions, while the majority of women (58%) say they are more involved in household budgeting than their partner.

“In an age where dual income households are the status quo, it’s no surprise that breadwinning is a priority for women,” says Olshewski. “They have an equal vested interest in taking their role in money management seriously.”

Working women believe they are more knowledgeable than their partner about personal finance and investing topics, but in reality 46% of men, compared to 38% of women, are more likely to take the primary responsibility for personal finance and investing matters outside of the home.

Low confidence in dealing with major financial decisions may be a contributing factor, with less than half of women (46%) feeling confident enough in their knowledge and ability to successfully make saving and investing decisions.

It is not surprising that women who work with an advisor (68%) display more confidence than those who do not seek expert advice (44%) in their ability to manage their personal and household finances.

“The knowledge and confidence to guide decisions in long-term financial planning are necessary for all investors,” says Jane. “Clearly, those who work with a financial advisor feel better about their personal financial management knowledge and ability.”