MAJORITY of women in Kenya spend as much of their income on beauty items as they do on school fees and the least money on rent, a new survey shows.
The Kenya Women Money Habits Survey 2013 by global card payments firm Visa International, indicates that out of the income earned by women, an average 12 per cent is spent on their personal care and clothing, a similar percentage is spent on education while 8 per cent is spent on rent or mortgage.
Contrary to belief that women spend most of their money on grooming and beauty, the report shows food items take the lion share of their income at 19 per cent.
Visa country manager for Southern and East Africa, Jabu Basopo, said the report is important to point out areas that could pose problems to economy and personal finance.
“Increasingly it is women who have their hands on the purse strings. Even for traditionally ‘male’ purchases, such as cars, women are having a greater say,” Basopo said.
According to the survey which covered 2,069 women aged between 25 and 55 across the country, majority preferred to invest in real estate. Thirty three per cent said they would build a house, 31 per cent opted to buy land and 27 per cent would invest in starting a business. Four per cent opted to invest in stock exchange, two per cent in bank savings, one per cent in pension schemes while other investments scored two per cent.
“Shares have proved to be excellent investments over time. Perhaps the high volatility over the past 5 years has made people wary about stock markets,” Basopo said.
Fifty per cent of the women said they do not seek financial advice when investing and decide on their own.
Fifty five per cent ask their friends, 45 per cent family, 31 per cent bank, 29 per cent turn to a financial consultant, 6 per cent to brokers or insurance companies and 2 per cent inquire from stock brokers.
Only 7 per cent were found not to have a retirement savings compared to 88 per cent of women who said they had savings. Banks were their most popular choice to put their savings in at 88 per cent, chamaas or investments groups 28 per cent, 26 per cent saved under a ‘merry-go round’ arrangement 23 per cent on mobile phones and 23 per cent saved in Saccos.
Fifty nine per cent said they borrowed money from time to time, majority of these opting for bank loans. Fourty four per cent preferred to take loan from a bank, 39 per cent from friends and 28 per cent from Saccos despite the latter having relatively lower rates than banks in most cases.
As regards card usage, 66 per cent had debit cards compared to 11 per cent with credit cards. The rest were not holders of any of the two types of payment cards.