Within the household, many women and men still occupy distinct roles. Overall, women are more likely than men to be caregivers, while men are more likely than women to be working outside the home in a full-time job. But this pattern is gradually changing: more women are in work than ever before, and we know that many men want to take a greater role in caring responsibilities, which requires extending their rights to parental leave.

This report, a joint effort between The Fawcett Society and Starling Bank, considers these changing roles, behaviours and attitudes in the context of financial decision-making within the home. Drawing from survey data, focus group findings and existing evidence, the report sets out how couples living together make decisions about their finances. Spanning day-to-day expenses to significant financial commitments, we show how, in couples where women live with a male partner, men and women are dividing up these household roles and responsibilities and the impact of this on their time and wellbeing.

While this research provides key insights into the finances of women living with a male partner, this is only part of the picture. This report should sit alongside other research that looks at the financial challenges experienced by other women, including those living alone or with friends, single mothers and LGBTQ women, so that we can truly understand the experiences of all women when it comes to money.

Key findings include:

  • Women continue to make most of the daily decisions on household purchases (56% vs 15% of men)
  • 37% of women in couples are in charge of household budgeting, compared to just one in five men (22%)
  • Nearly 4 in 10 women living with a partner (37%) reported feeling guilty when buying something for themselves – almost twice the proportion of men (21%)
  • A majority of couples are transparent about money and discuss it regularly, but a notable minority are not aware of their partner’s savings or income (34%)
  • More women than men would not be financially independent if they split up with their
    partner (46% vs 56% of men)
  • Financial independence is becoming more of a priority for young people, with older couples far more likely to have joint accounts

Read the full report

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