Many women in Europe would love to be independent
WThe great good that freedom is can be seen in numerous countries around the world these days, with never-ending protests and great suffering. Nevertheless, freedom has many facets, including very personal ones. For many people, financial independence is important because it enables freedom. Apparently, many women in Europe feel the desire for it. This is the result of a representative survey by Mastercard together with the research institute Alpha Research among 12,000 women in twelve European countries between the ages of 25 and 75.
For many, financial independence is an epitome of freedom. Almost three quarters of the women surveyed in Europe strive for it. For almost two thirds of the 1000 German respondents, it is one of the most important goals in life. 70 percent of them feel financially independent – but 30 percent do not. In Europe, Germany does not occupy a top position, it is said. French and Romanians (79 percent each) and Portuguese (78 percent) are further along in this regard.
Almost three quarters of the German respondents who feel financially independent see the comparatively lower pay of women than men (“gender pay gap”) as the main reason for dependency. This is by far the highest value in Europe, says Mastercard. Two other reasons also went hand in hand with lower income: a higher proportion of unpaid “caring” activities or even giving up one’s professional career as a housewife for the benefit of the family. Nevertheless, 63 percent of the German respondents felt more financially independent than previous generations.
Victims have little hope
The vast majority of women who describe themselves as financially dependent in this country see this situation as unchangeable. There is often uncertainty when dealing with money issues, so that financial decisions are left to the partner. Only every fourth German woman feels well informed when it comes to finances.
The main factor for financial independence is clearly your own income. This is what 87 percent of the financially independent German study participants say. Savings are also important for the feeling of independence (29 percent), and managing finances with financial tools (12 percent) also helps. Apparently, the young years of life are particularly decisive: 59 percent of German women say that they have achieved financial independence by the age of 24, and 85 percent by their 30th birthday.
According to the experts at Mastercard, the perception of financial independence is often strongly influenced by growing up in outdated role models. More than half of the German respondents stated that the father took care of most of the finances in the family. Only 12 percent of the women reported that a woman in the household in which they grew up had made major purchases such as a car or even real estate alone. According to the analysis, this is one of the lowest values in a European comparison (average: 25 percent). It is essential that mothers stand up for financial independence and that these daughters set an example.
“We are observing a higher risk of financial bottlenecks and poverty in old age among women,” says Peter Robejsek, who is responsible for Germany at Mastercard. This has to change. Many people are not comfortable with the subject of finance. This is mostly due to the fact that the necessary knowledge was not imparted. Acquiring this is not as complicated as many might think. It can even be fun.