Women and money: Survey says majority think they're doing just fine

A new survey reports that 58% of women polled globally say they are financially independent. Market research firm Synovase polled about 4,500 women in 12 countries about their financial habits. France had the highest number of women (80%) who said they were financially independent, followed by British and South African women. About 64% of American women said they were financially independent.

Claire Braverman, Synovate's senior vice president of client services in the U.S., said, "It may be that American women have higher expectations of what financial independence actually means; in part, there are a lot of women in marriages and partnerships who willingly cede monetary control; and there are an alarming number of women (often single mothers) in risky financial situations."

One of the interesting things about this survey is that the women were asked to explain what financial independence means to them. About 41% said it means not being dependent on a husband or partner for money, 30% said it means being able to live debt free, and 18% said it means being able to afford the things they want without worrying about the cost. Women in Mexico and Malaysia were more likely to equate being debt free with financial independence.

Women were also asked about their feelings about the role of men in household finances. About 43% said men should be responsible for mortgage/house payments. In Indonesia, 82% of women polled agreed with that, as opposed to only 12% of women in Australia.

When it comes to being responsible with money, women (61%) were more likely to believe they do better in that role than men. About 4,500 men were also polled on that question, and 40% agreed that women are better at handling money. In Mexico, 62% of men agreed that women were better at managing money.