Survey: Many women feel ‘trapped’ in their relationship due to financial dependence

NEW YORK — Money can be a major issue in marriages and relationships, and a new survey finds many women feel powerless at home due to their significant other’s “breadwinner” status. A study of 2,000 married and cohabiting women discovered that two-thirds of respondents whose partners are the primary providers feel “trapped.”

In all, 70% of those surveyed said they feel societal pressure to be subservient to their husbands and take their last name. Many others said they feel a joint bank account stifles their financial independence. Among respondents who share a bank account with their spouse, 64% said they felt pressured into the decision in the first place. Overall, 60% of respondents in the survey, which was commissioned by Self, said they have a joint bank account with their significant other.

In addition to feeling trapped, nearly 69% of those surveyed admit they wouldn’t be able to maintain their current lifestyle without their romantic partner. Another 70% wish they had more power regarding monetary decisions with their partners.

Meanwhile, 64% of all respondents would be happier if they had some personal money for themselves set aside somewhere. Similarly, 66% of married women regret not creating a safety net for themselves to fall back on, and 53% of all cohabiting women in the survey had the same wish.

All in all, 71% of respondents think women should have separate accounts from their partners, but only 51% actually have their own account.

Among those who do have some personal money, 54% keep their money separate in a hidden account in case of divorce, while 45% have set aside some extra personal money in case of financial or medical emergencies. Finally, almost 40% said they have separate funds to handle their own personal expenses.

“While sharing finances can create a real sense of partnership, having your own money in a relationship is important because it gives you a level of control, and options, you might not have otherwise,” says Self spokesperson Lauren Bringle Jackson in a statement. “Unfortunately, women are more likely to experience financial abuse within a relationship. Having savings means you have some control over your financial future and can choose to stay – or leave – as you see fit.”

A notable 20% of respondents with a separate account said their significant others don’t know about their savings; including 19% of married women and 28% of cohabiting women. For justification, 45% said it was their money and therefore they can do what they want with it, and 27% said their separate account consists of only money they made prior to getting married.

“The best way to take control of your finances is to get involved, get informed and ask questions,” Jackson says. “Be aware of where the money goes in your relationship and talk to your partner about setting mutual financial goals. Ask questions about financial decisions and take a seat at the table when those decisions are being made.”

The survey was conducted by OnePoll.

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