How the Economy Is Affecting You
The fascinating – and sometimes surprising – results of our survey on women and the economy.
-The Betty Editors
How do women feel about the economy right now? That’s what we wanted to find out at BettyConfidential with our recent survey. And almost 1600 of you, from around the country, shared your feelings about “the great recession” we are all living through. You told us how today’s challenging economy has affected both your attitudes and your lifestyle in some expected – and some surprising – ways.
For example, almost 70 percent of the survey’s respondents said that, at least sometimes, they would like the man in their lives to be solely responsible for earning money for the family. We asked: “Do you sometimes wish it was the way it used to be when men were supposed to be the primary breadwinners and women stayed home to take care of the house and the kids?” Twenty-six percent of the women polled gave an unqualified “Yes!” Forty-three percent said they “sometimes” wanted a return to those traditional ways. Only 31 percent did not want their man to be the sole breadwinner. We’ve come a long way, baby – but is it where we want to be?
That is just one of the surprising opinions you shared with us. You also told us that almost half of you (48 percent) think the economy is worse than last year. Maybe that’s because 12 percent of you have lost your jobs and 11 percent have moved to cheaper homes because of the downturn.
And as the holiday approaches you are keeping your cash and credit cards zipped inside your wallets. Sixty-three percent of respondents said they will spend less this holiday season than last. And even if they receive a Christmas bonus (which this year won’t be many of us!), 75 percent said they will use it either to pay off credit-card debt or just plain save it. Only 7 percent would indulge in a little retail therapy for themselves.
The flagging economy has changed family behavior, too. Nowadays more than one in four women confess to getting money from their parents, while 10 percent told us they now give money to their parents. Couples fight about spending too much. (Thirty-seven percent because he’s the big spender. Slightly less, 32 percent, because she is too extravagant.) And money concerns affect singles, too. Almost 53 percent of our unmarried respondents said a potential mate’s earning power has become, at least somewhat, more important. But 47 percent told us their date’s salary is not important and still think money can’t buy love.
Women have become thrifty in various practical ways. They spend less on eating out and entertainment (32 percent). They have cut back on makeup and clothes (29 percent) and things for the house (27 percent). But they still are indulgent with the kids: Only 8 percent said they are buying less for their children.
As for the future, the participants have concerns about being able to live the way the want (31 percent), ending up “old and poor” (27 percent), facing big medical bills (22 percent) or not being able to give their children “what they should have” (27 percent). These are worries that we can all understand.
Yet despite all the financial difficulties and stress it’s caused, the current difficult economy has had some benefits as well. And women realize this. Almost half said they see the crisis as a way “to learn to be more practical about money. And nearly one–third (32 percent) look on it as “a way to focus on the more important things in life” … which we all know money can’t buy.