Original Research

Spouses' views of gender roles: financial management in marriage

Liezel Alsemgeest, Chrizaan Grobbelaar
Journal of Economic and Financial Sciences | Vol 8, No 3 | a125 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jef.v8i3.125 | © 2018 Liezel Alsemgeest, Chrizaan Grobbelaar | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 21 December 2017 | Published: 27 December 2015

About the author(s)

Liezel Alsemgeest, Centre for Financial Planning Law, University of the Free State, South Africa
Chrizaan Grobbelaar, Department of Accounting, Central University of Technology, South Africa

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Arguments about money represent one of the most common reasons for divorce. South African and several Western cultures consider communication about money as uncivil and taboo – even more so than sex and death. The aim of this investigation is to determine newly married couples’ views of gender roles in marriage with regard to financial management. Various factors can lead to personal financial problems and marital problems, namely financial illiteracy, financial phobia, low income, an excessive standard of living, compulsive buying and indebtedness. In general, men are more confident with regard to financial management, a phenomenon that is also confirmed by the results of this study. This was a quantitative study and questionnaires were distributed amongst couples that have been married for less than 10 years. Both spouses had to complete a questionnaire, and in order to ensure frankness they were requested not to share their answers with each other. The results show that both genders consider men to be superior concerning financial behaviour. The women indicated that they are not as self-confident with regard to their own ability and knowledge of financial management, despite major advances in the empowerment of women and the fact that many women are breadwinners in their homes. The indication by men that they have little faith in their wives’ abilities to discern between luxuries and essentials was statistically significant. The sensitivity of the topic was once again emphasised by, in particular, the strong reaction from men about the completion of the questionnaires. Future research in this domain is essential, but it is recommended that anonymity be regarded as a critical point in gaining a larger response rate.


financial management; marriage; money; gender roles; marital problems


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