Generational studies have proved enduringly intriguing throughout the ages, particularly when comparing attitudes to work and money.
Recent generational shifts have been particularly interesting in this regard, with women becoming increasingly career-focused and an increased amount of attention being given to gender pay discrepancies.
These subjects were recently explored in greater detail by the Greater Bank in Australia, which revealed some truly fascinating insights. You can see the full findings here, but we’ve selected the key takeaways to see how financial dynamics are changing for couples throughout the western world.
The iGeneration will Establish Women as Breadwinners
The iGeneration is the latest demographic to take centre stage, although this does not yet have an official name or categorisation.
Typically featuring individuals born in the year 2000 or sooner, the iGeneration is unique in a number of ways and set to break new ground in the financial relationship between men and women.
More specifically, this generation is set to become the first in which there are more female breadwinners than male, creating a seismic shift in terms of historical gender stereotypes. Many will argue that this is more indicative of a progressive workforce and true gender equality, with employers now compelled to afford equal rights to candidates regardless of their gender.
It’s also a sign of how social values have progressed in recent times, with women increasingly independent, ambitious in the workplace and able to pursue their professional goals.
Men are Still More Likely to Foot the Bill, but Going Halves is Increasingly in-vogue
Despite this interesting observation, it’s interesting to the note that the gender pay gap remains a huge cause for concern.
This has actually increased in Australia during the last 15 years, for example, rising marginally from 14.9% in 2004 to 15.3% at the end of 2017.
Even in nations such as the UK where the gender pay gap has continued to fall, the disparity between male and female wages remains at a median level of 9.8%,and this hardly represents the equality craved by campaigners.
This probably explains why men are around six-times more likely to foot the bill on dates, as for now they continue to earn more than their female counterparts.
Still, a whopping 49% of respondents in Australia now split the bill on a date, which hints are far greater levels of equality and financial independence between the sexes. Long may this continue, although it will only be guaranteed if the gender pay gap is diminished completely.
Couples are Increasingly Loathe to Pool Finances
In previous generations, couples would look to pool finances at a relatively early day in their relationship.
This has become harder in recent times, however, with couples getting married far later in life and often delaying the process of starting a family.
Given that 45% of respondents claimed that they would only feel comfortable opening a joint bank account once they were married, however, this means that many couples are struggling to optimise their financial resources and manage their money effectively.
Despite this, the study also found that couples who pool some resources and retain a percentage of their earnings for personal use are far less likely to cite money as a cause of tension in their relationship.
So, couples would perhaps be best served by adopting a balanced approach to managing their funds, and one that borrows from historical and contemporary trends. Most importantly, they need to create a financial management plan with their own unique circumstances in mind, ensuring that each partner is treated fairly and retains a sense of financial independence.