According to a survey conducted by Gallup Pakistan, 74% Pakistanis agreed with the following statement: ‘Financial matters should always be discussed with the elder members of the household’. On the other hand, 26% disagreed with this statement. These results are a part of the nationwide Access to Finance Study conducted for the State Bank of Pakistan in 2015 with the intent of determining the degree of financial inclusiveness of the Pakistani public.
This press release is part of a special series that aim to foster an empirical understanding of financial inclusion in Pakistan and that hope to create a collaborative network of individuals working on the topic. Before starting any conversation on developing a methodology of increasing financial inclusivity in Pakistan, it is vital to be aware of the perceptions that the general public has with regards to financial matters. This particular press release aims to find out whether financial decisions taken by Pakistanis are an individual or collective decision. The empirical results show that for an outright majority of Pakistanis, financial decisions are mainly a collective decision of the entire family, particularly the family elders.
A nationally representative sample of men and women from across the four provinces was asked, “Please tell me if you rather agree or rather disagree with these statements? [Financial decisions should always be discussed with the elder members of the household]” In response to this question, 74% Pakistanis agreed with this statement whereas 26% respondents disagreed. Thus, empirical results from this question show that for the majority of Pakistanis, financial decisions do not come under the purview of the individual but are in fact a collective decision of the family. This has important implications for financial stakeholders in Pakistan since the measures undertaken to enhance financial inclusivity in the Country need to be tailored accordingly.
A gender breakdown of this result also reveals a picture with not a significant gap between the two genders. 76% males felt that elder members of the household should be consulted while making financial decisions while the same response was given by 72% of the females. Meanwhile, 24% males disagreed with this statement while the same response was given by 28% of the females.
A rural/urban breakdown reveals that 75% of the respondents in urban areas and 74% in rural areas agreed with the statement that elders of the household should always be discussed before making financial decisions. This negligible difference between the proportion of urban and rural respondents agreeing with this statement serves to highlight that people in Pakistan tend to treat any discussion and decision making on financial matters with caution and deliberation, irrespective of socio-economic differences between rural and urban respondents. Since financial literacy levels in the Country are still quite low, people tend to be averse towards adopting new techniques or tools, which is why a financial decision tends to become a big deal in many households. Finally, 25% in the urban areas disagreed with this statement while the same answer was given by 26% of the respondents in rural areas.
According to the provincial breakdown, 78% of the respondents in Punjab, 77% in Sindh, 60% in KPK and 54% in Baluchistan agreed that before making financial decisions, the elders of the family should be consulted. On the other hand, 22% of the respondents in Punjab, 23% in Sindh, 39% in KPK and 46% in Baluchistan disagreed with the statement. The fact that Baluchistan has the highest proportion of respondents that disagree with this statement needs to be examined in further detail.