Category Archives: finance for women

Many women are baffled by finance terms which can be more female friendly.

Money has the Mamma Mia effect

I liked this story about life in economically challenged Greece and how a bit of wealth creation (and some ABBA music perhaps) can go a long way towards the feel good factor…

Imagine it is a slow day in a small Greek Village in November.

The rain is beating down and the streets are deserted. Times are tough, everyone is in debt, and everybody lives on credit.

On this particular day a rich German tourist is driving through the village, stops at the local hotel and lays a €100 note on the desk, telling the hotel owner he wants to inspect the rooms upstairs in order to pick one to spend the night.

The owner gives him some keys and, as soon as the visitor has walked upstairs, the hotelier grabs the €100 note and runs next door to pay his debt to the butcher.

The butcher takes the €100 note and runs down the street to repay his debt to the pig farmer.

The pig farmer takes the €100 note and heads off to pay his bill at the supplier of feed and fuel.

The guy at the Farmers’ Co-op takes the €100 note and runs to pay his drinks bill at the taverna.

The publican slips the money along to the local lady of the night drinking at the bar, who has also been facing hard times and has had to offer him “services” on credit.

She then rushes to the hotel and pays off her room bill to the hotel owner with the €100 note.

The hotel proprietor then places the €100 note back on the counter so the rich traveller will not suspect anything.

At that moment the traveller comes down the stairs, picks up the €100 note, states that the rooms are not satisfactory, pockets the money, and leaves town.

No one produced anything. No one earned anything. However, the whole village is now out of debt and looking to the future with a lot more optimism..


And that, foxy ladies, is what quantitative easing is supposedly all about and why Economics remains a smoke and mirrors subject in my mind…

If only it were that easy. Someone explain this to me please.


PS No banks were named or shamed in this story…

Women are gender spenders for car finance

Most of us know that women are THE gender spenders who influence c80% of  all household purchases and are described as ‘instigators-in-chief’ when it comes to c60% of car sales (and presumably their garage care afterwards). We’re professional shoppers, we do our homework in advance, we know what we want and we’re not afraid of going somewhere else if we don’t get it.

But when it comes to comparing male and female shopping behaviour we know that men can do the job in hand quicker 😉 whereas we want to compare and contrast value and features before making our (better) informed decision. Take shopping for a pair of trousers for example. Casual or formal. He is more likely to buy the same style and the same colour as the last time and from the same shop before retiring to the pub for a liquid reward; happy because the job has been done efficiently and as painlessly as possible…

Whereas she might spend ages looking at what everybody else is wearing, comparing this season’s colour choices and then shopping online and on the High Street for the best deal… This has been known to take weeks in our household ;).

But it’s very important to take your time when it’s a big ticket item like a car or financing the deal for that matter. I’m sure we can all remember unhappy purchases we made in a hurry or when we’ve been seduced by a low price, only to experience the steep learning curve borne out of realising we’ve bought a lemon, wasted money and that we should have bought a different brand or product…

A recent survey from BMW Financial Services has been looking at men and women’s attitudes towards financing a car which reflect precisely these differences in our gender genes. Whilst the economy is struggling it seems that more of us are turning to dealer finance to fund the purchase of our dream cars than was the case in 2010.

This is probably because the car finance market is very competitive today and it’s so much more convenient to sort out the finance transaction alongside their new car and any part exchange paperwork.

According to BMW’s research, many males admitted rushing into an ill-judged car finance decision within just two hours whereas one third of women drivers take at least two days to make the choice. That’s the foxy way…

But apparently some consumers gave about as much thought to purchasing a car as they did to purchasing a sofa; not thinking through the implications of a longer finance deal for the more expensive vehicle transaction. Very costly I imagine.

BMW’s survey also confirmed that women are prepared to compromise when it comes to making joint decisions about which car or car finance package to buy whereas men prefer to choose entirely independently. Or put another way (assuming a gsoh)…
He thinks “This is motoring – this is a MAN’s department.”
She thinks “Oh for an easy life – let him think this is his decision but I’ll make sure he makes the right choice…”

This is in stark contrast to shopping for a new kitchen apparently which is more likely to be a joint decision. Or put another way (assuming the same gsoh)…
He thinks “ With a bit of luck she’ll be spending more time in it (cooking for me) than me so she really should have one she’s happy in (cooking for me…).
She thinks “If I am expected to do more cooking, washing, ironing and cleaning in the kitchen (than him) the least I expect is one that suits me best.”

Certainly attitudes to car ownership seem to have changed with women in particular spotting that buying a new or used car using car finance carries a number of advantages.

In fact Joe Pattinson at BMW Financial Services has detected a growing trend for women to sign up to ‘rent to own’ finance deals as he explains…
“Finance is the car purchasing model for women in future and we see this as a long term purchasing trend that is here to stay. A quarter of women (surveyed) say they are cutting back on all spending and changing their lifestyle considerably, and as these attitudes are applied to the concept of car ownership, (staggered car) finance will become the norm in the not too distant future.”

Joe continues: “Sadly many drivers are making greater compromises on the make, model and specification of their vehicle than they need to.”

Women need to know their foxy car finance choices perhaps?


Women control family finances

Yet more evidence about the power of the female purse when it comes to taking control of household finances.

According to a new survey from Sheilas’ Wheels 28 per cent of couples have no idea what their partner earns, or what savings or debt they might have.

And when it comes to the gender divide, men are seen to be the most dishonest about money with almost a third (29 per cent) admitting they are not open about finance with their partner.

But this mistrust is shared with many women too! Despite more than half of women (51 per cent) taking charge of the bills in the relationship many females would rather ask their friends for financial advice than their partner.

In fact 36% of the women in this study keep their bank accounts divided to maintain a sense of financial independence. But when we have good news such as a pay increase or an unexpected windfall, 42% of us treat our partners and 67 per cent use our own bank account to buy them a present at least twice a year.

And I am fairly sure that most men do this too.

Isn’t it human nature for us all to want to ringfence some personal money for things we REALLY want versus the things our joint incomes buy as essentials? Regardless of how much we earn or the money we have for the household budget.

Vive la difference … although I wouldn’t like to think my husband was hiding significant stashes from me 😉


PS: The image I chose is a bit of fun – yes women are saddled with the reputation of being dizzy shoe and handbag shoppers but I think that is by and large unfair. Most of us know the bills come first and we are good at budgeting for them (and then allowing an occasional treat of course, when there’s funds to spare…)

Retirement income gap for women

Women trust women more in an industry with a male dominated reputation

UK women are likely to need financial advice about their retirement income following recent research from Prudential showing a gap of £6,500 per year based on gender.

Figures from the study showed that men expect to retire on an average income of £19,400 per year which is 50 per cent more than women expect, with an income forecast of £12,900.

There is some good news however as the firm’s latest Class of 2011 research has revealed that the retirement income gender gap has shrunk since last year.

Vince Smith-Hughes at Prudential advised women who were looking at their finance choices to support them during retirement to take the following action to boost their income: “For example, it is a good idea to maintain pension contributions during any career breaks and to explore making voluntary National Insurance contributions after returning to work”.

He also advised all women to start saving as much as they can, as early as they can. And to seek professional financial advice in the run up to retirement.

Let’s hope the finance industry can become more female friendly in its dealings about pensions and savings schemes so women can see at a glance which businesses they’d prefer to be dealing with in future.

An opportunity for the female friendly finance businesses, run by women perhaps, to gain a distinct advantage over others.

Foxy financial advice that women can trust is needed in all instances.


Females, family finance and the Budget

With foxy females playing an ever increasing role in negotiating and managing family finances, surely it’s time for financial providers like banks to become more female friendly and look at less traditional and more creative ways to market to women in future?

In his Budget speech, Chancellor George Osborne has increased the personal tax allowance and cut fuel duty by 1p. Even so, inflation is expected to continue at between 4% and 5% this year, putting further pressure on most family finance. And it’s we women, apparently, that are likely to manage finance matters in UK households, even where men remain the primary income earners.

According to M&S Money research, men still tend to earn about 10% more than women with the majority of them admitting that we are better at running the household budget. No surprises surely – this is an extension of our naturally caring role especially when it comes to looking after our family’s health and fitness.

Supporting this, the majority of women said they controlled the family budget when it came to everyday shopping for household, home, family and holidays.

Despite this, men feel they make the more important financial decisions (62%).and it’s true that  having managed the complex family budget successfully many of us devolve the likes of pensions, life insurance, finance loans and mortgage shopping to men. Yes these are often critical financial decisions for the female and her family and areas where things can go massively wrong for women facing a divorce or sudden bereavement.

The reasons why women are less likely to get involved in shopping for finance are surely to do with the miles of small print, the shady reputation of big name bankers, not knowing who you can trust, the associated financial fog factor and, most importantly, the risk. Women are not natural risk takers whereas men often enjoy this area. And like the motor industry, whenever it’s seen to be a man’s world, we look to women to trust and in my experience there’s not enough of them out there yet, visibly batting for our best interests when it comes to pensions, life assurance and mortgages.


I’d be doing my gender a disservice were I to attempt to teach women drivers anything about fuel efficient driving practice, economic choices of cars and the fact that a well maintained car will last longer and prove better value for money when it comes to sell (or buy) one.

Although if that sort of information (and friendly insider advice like it) has appeal, why not join FOXY Lady Drivers Club,  the UK’s only everyday motoring service for women tohave us on hand to help and support you when you need us most – such as when you’re next shopping for cars, female friendly garage services, insurance and finance products.