Starling Bank has produced a new report, Hers and His: Opening up the household budget, in partnership with the Fawcett Society.

It explores the dynamics of financial management in households with women who are living with male partners, and also looks at who controls spending. Financial decision making has often been done along gendered lines in the past. Although our findings suggest that much of the progress that women have made in the workplace are still not being reflected at home in many households, several new trends are emerging.

While women are still more likely to pay for items such as cleaning products and even childcare, and men are more likely to shop for tools for the house and household insurance, women are almost twice as likely as men to take charge of household budgeting. The study also found that financial independence is becoming more of a priority for young people, with older couples far more likely to have joint accounts and younger couples preferring to keep their money separate.

This report builds on Starling’s #MakeMoneyEqual campaign, which examines the different ways in which the media report on men and women’s relationship with money. By examining decision-making in households we wanted to further explore and challenge the ways in which we so often assign gender norms to financial discussion and behaviour. Our aim? To help men and women have a more balanced and productive dialogue about spending, saving, investing, and managing debt.

It’s important to note that while our research provides key insights into households where women are living with a male partner, this is only a reflection of a fraction of society. This report should sit alongside other research that sheds light on the financial challenges that other women face, including those living alone or with friends, LGBTQ women and single mothers, so that we can have a full picture and better understand the experiences of all women when it comes to money.

Our research was conducted before the Covid-19 outbreak and we’ll be closely monitoring the situation to see how the emergency affects the dynamics outlined in this report.

The Stats

According to our report 37% of men pay for household utilities compared to 15% of women.

Men 37%

Women 15%

46% of women under 55 are more likely to feel guilty when they buy something for themselves compared to 27% of men in the same category.

46% of women100%

27% of men100%

30% of women believe that being financially autonomous is more important than sharing money with their male partner.



71% of women scored themselves as 7 or higher in being confident they can manage their money vs. 67% of men who scored the same.


The report reveals some stark and perhaps unsurprising truths: that despite mostly wanting to share the burden, the majority of women take on the lion’s share unpaid care work such as household budgeting and childcare arrangements, ultimately leading to a greater sense of domestic burden in a relationship, and less financial autonomy if they leave it.”

Anne Boden
Founder and CEO of Starling Bank

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