Do women really just want to be taken care of financially? According to a completely non-academic, non peer-reviewed survey by money-saving website CouponCodes4U, one-third of women would prefer to depend on their partners for financial support.
Considering the fact that the 2,135-woman survey was conducted by a coupon website, it's probably best to take the results with a giant grain of salt. However, it does bring up some interesting questions about women's attitudes toward money, financial literacy and financial independence.
XOJane's Natalie Meehan reflected on the survey's results on April 18th. She wrote:
I was really surprised by [the survey], maybe because the idea of having no money of my own makes me feel really uneasy ... As someone who contributes half of our rent, our bills, our living costs, I do not expect to have to bow down to my boyfriend's every want and need (unless I want to of course! I'm not a MONSTER!), which is something I think I'd feel obliged to if I were not contributing to the household financially.
I agree with Natalie in spirit. I can't imagine counting myself as one of those supposed 32 percent of women. I too love my job, would never feel comfortable ceding financial control over my life to another person and truly don't think I'll ever want to fully bow out of the workforce -- even if and when I have children. There is something fundamentally satisfying about earning your own way, seeing your paycheck deposited into your bank account, paying your own rent and saving up for that weekend getaway to the Catskills or the pair J. Crew shoes you definitely don't need but feel fabulous wearing. However, the numbers of the survey don't necessarily surprise me, largely because I think they reflect the financial anxiety that many women feel.
There's a certain fantasy to the idea of letting someone else take control over your money and never thinking about taxes, utility bills, rent checks and student debt ever again. A March study found that nearly 50 percent of American women who make over $30,000 a year fear becoming destitute "bag ladies." Considering that, it's not all that hard to imagine that some women would welcome the out of a financially strong partner -- at least theoretically.
It's also important to remember that while even if this is what one-third of women say they want, it doesn't reflect an option most women are ever likely to have. The majority of women aren't in a position where they can stop working and unmarried, urban women are increasingly likely to outearn their male counterparts, so the chances of securing a husband who can support you in the lifestyle to which you've become accustomed are decreasing.
I know women who joke about getting on OKCupid just to save money on food, and Ariel Black recently wrote in New York Magazine about her adventures in obtaining a "Sugar Daddy." However, even Black admitted that "being a sugar baby isn't a sustainable lifestyle." At the end of the day I believe that the majority of women have to -- and want to -- save themselves from their financial problems, even if riding off on a white horse with an investment banker sounds tempting in passing.
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