Why British women don't save
Filed under: Savings & ISAs
So what's stopping them?
Women's issuesThe research, by Barclays, CARE International UK and Plan UK has found that nearly half of low-income women in Britain fail to save any money each month. In fact only 55% put anything at all aside - compared to 94% of women in Ghana. Let's not forget that in Ghana many live on less than $2 a day.
The study found that in many ways, women in the two countries couldn't be more different.
Brits fall shortThe survey found that British women fell short in a huge number of ways. They lack optimism about their own future: less than two-thirds of young women in the UK (57%) expect to earn more in the future, compared to 87% in Ghana.
Women in Ghana also proved more optimistic for their children's prospects, with 97% believing they will have a higher level of disposable income than themselves, compared to less than two-thirds (64%) in the UK.
They have no ambition. Only a third of women in the UK consider themselves ambitious, compared to 79% in Ghana, and less than half (41%) of the young women in the UK want to run their own business, compared to 90% in Ghana.
They also lack the skills: only half of women in the UK believe they have the skills to earn more money, as opposed to nearly three-quarters (73 per cent) in Ghana.
Potential for GhanaMarie Staunton, Chief Executive of Plan UK, said this demonstrates the huge potential of communities in Ghana: "These findings tell us that women in Ghana have the ability to lift themselves, their families and their communities out of poverty. They have incredible ambition – they just need the tools to help them realise their vision. That's why we support village savings and loans groups, through Banking on Change, which enable women who don't have access to banks to put aside a little money every week, or every month, and make a lasting change."
British failureMeanwhile, Geoffrey Dennis, Chief Executive at CARE International UK highlighted how much Brits have to learn: "This survey shows that no-one is too poor to save. We know that savings are a safety net – with tiny amounts of money, people can literally save their way from the edge of poverty and go on to invest in the future of their family. The women in Ghana we surveyed are leading the way and we have much to learn from them."
So why are British women comparatively feeble when it comes to money? The answer lies partly in the fact that women in Britain have safer, more comfortable lives. Without the incentive of escaping grinding poverty, women feel happy to sit tight and not stretch themselves. The easy life means many don't want to worry about earning money, learning about finances, or saving, because we're far too busy worrying about tans and haircuts. In fact only 27% believing saving should be on their agenda - compared to 92% in Ghana.
For those on lower incomes, our expectations are simply higher. While women in Ghana can imagine going without food or heat in order to save to change their life, it's something that families in the UK would struggle to accept. You'd be hard-pushed to find many who would give up their satellite TV subscription. So they live from month to month, and hope the lottery will change everything.
The question is what it will take for British women to learn. Let us know in the comments.