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Money a major cause of conflict in relationships


8 March 20105

On International Women’s Day, Westpac Women’s Markets is urging women to capitalise on their growing financial expertise to tackle money conflicts in their relationships.

The call comes as new Westpac research reveals 47 per cent of all Australians admit to arguing with their partner over money, according to the Westpac Women’s Markets Women & Money Survey1.

The survey also found:

  • 19 per cent of women do not totally trust their partner with shared finances, compared to 10 per cent of men
  • 47 per cent of women believe their partner wastes money, compared to 40 per cent of men
  • 47 per cent of women are in charge of managing joint savings accounts, compared to just 24 per cent of men
  • 36 per cent of women have more control over the way money is managed, compared to 31 per cent of men

Westpac’s Head of Women’s Markets, Larke Riemer, said that women are in a great position to put an end to unnecessary budget barnies by starting a money conversation.

“Women are savvier than ever about money – they are more aware of how they can use it to achieve their goals. We want to see women using their financial know-how to avoid arguments.

“International Women’s Day is the perfect day for women to have a conversation, not an argument, with their partner about their short and long term financial priorities. Then, it’s just a matter of agreeing on joint financial goals and putting some simple systems in place to achieve them.

“During the economic downturn, we saw women take immediate action to re-adjust the family finances. They pulled back on spending on themselves to maintain spending and saving for the family,” Ms Riemer concluded.

Relationship psychologist and author of the recently released book Accidentally Single, John Aiken, agreed that women need to have the 'money conversation' in order to avoid arguments.

“The key to avoiding, or overcoming, money related issues is to communicate openly and honestly. Women need to talk to their partner about their financial priorities, so that they can then develop ways to deal with money-related stresses.

“The 'money conversation' can be awkward, especially for newer couples. But if neglected at the outset, squabbles over money can manifest into serious problems that breed resentment later down the track,” he said.

On International Women’s Day, is hosting an online forum for like-minded women to have a chat about saving, spending, managing money in their relationship and much more. Additionally, more than 12,000 women will celebrate International Women’s Day at over 300 events being held in-branch across the Westpac network.


Westpac Women's Markets Women and Money Survey - State Breakdown

  Australian Females Australian Males NSW Females VIC Females QLD Females SA Females WA Females
Argue with partner over money 47% 47% 52% 41% 53% 46% 38%
Do not totally trust partner with shared finances 19% 10% 15% 21% 21% 20% 15%
Believe their partner wastes money 47% 40% 49% 39% 54% 44% 54%
In charge of managing joint savings accounts
47% 24% 42% 55% 51% 21% 55%
Have more control of the way money is managed 36% 31% 32% 46% 37% 21% 35%
Saving is personally important 93% 91% 92% 94% 95% 90% 88%

1. Research based on an independent survey of 1000 respondents in all states and territories conducted by Pure Profile in February 2010