Survey Reveals Joint’ Financial Decision Making in Irish Homes is Most Common

Wed Jan 17 2018

Royal London

“Equality in financial decision making in Irish homes is not reflected in the value of the financial protection put in place by men & women”.  Men insure their lives for up to 49% more than women do

One of the biggest cultural impacts over the past 50 years has been the fundamental change of the role played by women in Irish society. As modern women focus more on careers and become on a par with or perhaps become the main breadwinner, does the once traditionally held view that the main breadwinner controls the major household financial decisions still hold true? Is it men or is it women who are more likely to manage important financial decisions in the Irish home, or is it a 50:50 split?

Leading life insurance provider Royal London surveyed 1,000 people from a variety of backgrounds throughout the country to get their views on how financial decisions are made in the home.

Royal London put the following question to survey participants:

In your household, in general, what gender is the person or people who make the ultimate financial decisions when it comes to things like health insurance, life insurance, etc.? Would you say such decisions are?

100% female                                      18%

100% male                                          13%

Completely joint                                 52%

Primarily female                                7%

Primarily male                                   10%

Speaking of the survey findings Barry McCutcheon, Proposition Lead at Royal London said,The survey revealed that 52% of people describe financial decisions as ‘completely joint’ within their household, with respondents in Munster polling highest in this regard (61%). Of those who don’t believe there is joint financial decision-making in their home, a greater number believe that women have more influence than men in the process – in 25% of instances respondents believe that women solely or primarily make the decision while just 23% of respondents say that men do the same.

“In the past, men would have been viewed as in charge of the major financial decisions, like banking and financial planning, within the ‘traditional’ Irish family while women would have been seen to maintain control over the family’s day-to-day household spending. Our research would lead us to believe that there has been a ‘blending’ together of what would have been considered typical gender roles and responsibilities when it comes to financial household decisions as 1 in every 2 adults described making financial decisions as ‘completely joint’. However, there was some divergence in opinion, with 24% of men saying they believe decisions were 100% male dominated whereas 30% of females felt they were the gender calling the shots.”

Where the genders divide

Royal London report that while decisions over households budgets might be taken jointly, there are still some discrepancies between the sexes when it comes to putting financial protection in place.

Barry explained,

“After conducting a review of our database we found that while the number of men and women taking out life assurance policies is split almost 50:50, the sums assured on men’s policies were anywhere between 17% and 49% higher than their female counterparts. Looking at the figures it’s clear that men insure themselves for larger amounts than women. From a life cover point-of-view, irrespective of it being a policy set up on a single or dual life basis males are, on average, insured for €58,647 more than females. So despite there being a joint decision when it comes to financial decisions in the home, with financial planning, it seems that men are more likely to insure their lives for a higher amount than women.”

Single Life Only
Benefit Female Avg Male Avg Difference
Life Cover 159,235 236,750 49%
Accelerated Serious Illness 69,977 90,131 29%
Single and Dual Life Combined
Benefit Female Avg Make Avg Difference
Life Cover 160,450 200,229 25%
Accelerated Serious Illness 61,079 71,159 17%

(Source: Royal London 2017)

Barry concluded,

“We would encourage people to assess their ‘sum assured’, the amount of life cover they have, to ensure it’s the right amount for their financial circumstances. Understandably, determining the ‘right amount’ can be daunting, which is why Royal London always recommend people get independent financial advice from a Financial Broker.”

Read Full Survey Link


About Royal London:

Royal London is the largest mutual life, pensions and investment company in the UK and Ireland with group funds under management of over €120.7 billion. Group businesses provide around 9.0 million policies and employ 3,449 people (figures quoted are as at 30 June 2017).

Royal London’s Irish office is based at 47-49 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2.

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