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Women win at money matters

A recent survey confirms what many have always suspected: women are better at handling money than men are.

The survey, conducted in December by Reuters, polled 4,500 women in 12 countries (Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, France, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, South Africa, Britain, and the United States).

Extensive surveys such as this can help brands understand women's attitudes and behaviors toward money (banks are you taking note?), which in turn could help them tailor products & services to her needs and who knows: create a loyal, lifelong customer?

The survey finds that that women are less likely to get into debt and strive harder to become financially independent than men.
More than 40% of female respondents also use a part of their monthly income to pay off credit card debts. 70% also agree with the statement that having more than one credit card could lead to financial debt, which clearly highlights women's higher awareness of possibly creating debts without noticing.

And while nearly half of the women surveyed admit to being bigger spenders than men, they also believe they are more responsible when it comes to money matters than men are. (The survey also showed that just over half of all respondents of both genders said women are more responsible with money than men!)

What should financial institutions be doing?

1. RESEARCH. Banks & other financial institutions (insurance brokers, investment consultants) need to investigate the different attitudes and behavior drivers of both genders toward money matters. Not doing so may mean they are (unknowingly) creating frustrated, fickle customers, which is already clearly illustrated in the rather shocking statistic that 1 in 3 women change financial institutions after the death of their partner!
2. REFLECT. Review existing business models, organizational structures and product portfolios. Bet you all 3 are outdated and based on the rules of the "old economy". Start from the question: what does our customer want? (not: what can we offer our customer?)
3. ADAPT. Build flexible, nimble organizations that fit in with the emerging new world order and can respond to changing values and needs quickly and effectively. The days of banks dictating what can and can't be are over. Don't believe me? Watch your customer walk...

The survey may focus "only" on gender differences, but let it also present an opportunity for financial institutions to review the way in which they go forward in these changing times.