25/03/2009 - 22:00

Australian women big spenders on credit

25/03/2009 - 22:00

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AUSTRALIAN women seem to be doing their bit to reinforce traditional stereotypes of financial irresponsibility, according to a global survey of women's financial independence.

AUSTRALIAN women seem to be doing their bit to reinforce traditional stereotypes of financial irresponsibility, according to a global survey of women's financial independence.

The Synovate survey of 12 nations found that women who like to have a flutter are most likely to be found in Australia, with 35 per cent of respondents admitting to gambling on a regular basis.

Synovate Australia managing director Julie Beeck said the Australian market for gambling products was mature and had a high incidence of participation.

"The dream of winning big and changing your life overnight is very much alive...and even more so in such uncertain economic times," Ms Beeck said.

Australian women were also some of the highest credit card users, on a par with the United States at 71 per cent, but behind Canada (77 per cent) and France (72 per cent).

The survey found 71 per cent of Australian women spend part of their incomes on credit card accounts. 38 per cent said credit card bills were an obstacle to their financial independence.

"Australia has seen personal debt levels rise to their highest ever level as a result of increasingly available credit, credit cards strongly promoted by banks, reward schemes associated with credit card usage and more financially independent individuals," Ms Beeck said.

Another major obstacle to financial independence was home ownership, with 43 per cent of respondents saying home loans and mortgages impeded their sense of financial independence.

62 per cent of Australian women considered themselves to be financially independent, only slightly above the survey average of 58 per cent.

French women were the most financially autonomous, with 80 per cent saying they were financially independent, followed by 76 per cent of British women.

The difference between men and women seems as wide as ever, at least in financial terms, with Australian men and women disagreeing on a number of points.

About 56 per cent of men think women spend more than men, while only 34 per cent of women agreed.

Half the male respondents thought men should be responsible for paying the mortgage and providing for family, while 88 per cent of women disagreed.

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