December 02, 2011
Survey Reveals Female Consumers Polled across Seven Markets Struggle with Understanding Investments or Inflation
Singapore, 2 December 2011: Women have stronger money management skills than men in areas such as everyday financing and planning but struggle around more complex financial concepts, according to results of the latest MasterCard survey on Consumer Purchasing Priorities - Money Management.
Respondents across seven  Asia/Pacific markets were questioned on their ability to handle everyday budgeting; keeping track of expenses; paying bills on time; knowledge of compound interest, and whether paying minimum amounts on unstructured loans such as credit cards was a good idea.
The survey polled consumers on various aspects of financial literacy such as their basic money management skills, investment knowledge and financial planning. It was conducted from 15 March to 27 April 2011 and involved 4,359 consumers from the seven markets. Data collection was via internet surveys, personal, telephone and Computer Aided Telephone interviews, with the questionnaire translated to the local language wherever appropriate and necessary. The survey and its accompanying reports do not represent MasterCard financial performance.
According to the MasterCard survey, women scored better than men in most markets when it came to tracking expenses regularly, but trailed when it came to understanding investments and inflation compared to their male counterparts.
Results showed that both men and women were adept at budgeting for their everyday finances—eight out of 10 respondents overall said they could handle budgeting. The survey also found that women believed it unwise to only pay the minimum amount for unsecured loan facilities such as credit cards, led by New Zealand (76% women vs. 73% men) and Hong Kong (76% women vs. 66% men).
Survey findings revealed a generally weak understanding of the concept of compound interest across most markets, with the exception of Chinese women who had the highest score (47%), followed by Chinese men (37%), and Japanese respondents (men 33% , women 30%).Women were found to be more money conscious and better at keeping track of their spending more regularly than men. Women in both Australia and New Zealand (76% of respondents) were especially systematic account keepers.
Women also edged ahead of men in their prudence, with Taiwanese women leading in regular savings (96% women vs. 92% men) and the belief in having 3 to 6 months’ emergency cash savings. In a majority of the markets surveyed, women also showed up as being more financially prepared in taking out insurance for anything unexpected, led by Taiwan (92% women vs. 89% men).
Survey questions about more complex financial concepts—such as understanding inflation or investment—favored men, with a significant proportion of women unable to answer or answering incorrectly when questioned about the concept of inflation. In Japan, 65% of the women did not know the answer or answered incorrectly, compared with 49% of men, with Australia a close second from the bottom (63% women vs. 49% men).
Similarly, women did not have a clear understanding of whether single company stocks provide safer returns than a diversified stock portfolio. Across seven markets surveyed, on average 63% said they did not know or answer incorrectly on whether a single company stock portfolio was better than a diversified one compared to 57% for men.
Georgette Tan, vice president, Communications, Asia/Pacific, Middle East & Africa, MasterCard Worldwide, said: “It is very encouraging to see that women have a good understanding of how to manage everyday finances, and are responsibly thinking about finances for the future. However, the fact that they still do not have a clear grasp of inflation or investments might affect how prepared they are for the future.”
“Given that women in many countries play a very important role in helping direct the flow of finances in their household, it is imperative that they better understand these concepts. That is why MasterCard runs various consumer education programs targeted at women across Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa that aim to impart various aspects of financial literacy.”
- While women are also more conscious about where their dollars go – and are better at keeping track of their spending regularly (63% of women versus 60% of men across all seven markets), more men regularly monitor their investments than women (62% of women versus 69% of men across all seven markets) .
- Across the region men are more cognizant of how much funds they will need at retirement (36% of women versus 40% of men across all seven markets) though both genders are strongly in favor of having a financial plan (78% across all seven markets for both genders)
For the full report, please visit www.masterintelligence.com
The MasterCard Worldwide Index suite in Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa includes the long-running MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence, as well as the MasterCard Worldwide Index of Women’s Advancement, Online Shopping, Index of Financial Literacy, and the Index of Global Destination Cities. In addition to the Indices, MasterCard’s research properties also include a range of consumer surveys including Ethical Spending and a series on Consumer Purchasing Priorities (covering Travel, Dining & Entertainment, Education, Money Management, Luxury and General Shopping).
MasterCard also regularly releases Insights reports providing analysis of business dynamics, financial policies and regulatory activities in the Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa region. Over 80 Insights reports have been produced since 2004.
MasterCard has also released a series of four books on Asian consumer insights, authored by Dr. Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, Global Economic Advisor for MasterCard Worldwide and published by John Wiley & Sons.
MasterCard (NYSE: MA), www.mastercard.com, is a technology company in the global payments industry. We operate the world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. MasterCard’s products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone. Follow us on Twitter @MasterCardNews, join the discussion on the Cashless Conversations Blog and subscribe for the latest news.