Singaporean women lag in financial literacy

March 3, 2011 - 0:0

SINGAPORE -- When it comes to managing their finances, Singaporean women are behind their counterparts in Vietnam and Thailand, according to MasterCard's worldwide survey on financial literacy. The inaugural MasterCard Worldwide Index of Financial Literacy ranked Singaporean women fifth out of 12 countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

For the region, Thai women topped the index with an aggregate score of 73.9 followed closely by New Zealand (71.3), Australia (70.2) and Vietnam (70.1). Developed markets Korea (55.9) and Japan (59.9) made up the lower spectrum of the index.
MasterCard spokeswoman Georgette Tan told Today that, in emerging markets like Thailand, ""very often there are not that many employment opportunities for women, so it is by necessity that women start their own businesses. Either that, or they continue in their family businesses. Because of that, I think that does give them an edge.""
Conducted between Sept 13 and Nov 11 last year, the survey involved 10,000 women from 24 countries. The respondents were assessed on basic money management, financial planning and investment.
Singaporean women ranked highly in the first two components with scores of 70 and 80.4 (out of 100) respectively. However, they scored only 51.5 in investment skills and knowledge.
When it comes to basic money management, 71 per cent of the Singaporean women surveyed said that they do not have problems staying on top of their bills and credit commitments. However, about a third said they often have problems with setting money aside for big purchases.
At the same time, nine in 10 believe they ""should have three to six months of cash savings to meet their emergency needs, such as illness or job losses"".