Women Still Want Control Of Family Finances, Reveals Survey

A Japanese bride contemplates her wedding

Fifty years ago, the standard Japanese couple met through an omiai, or formal matchmaking. The wife would then stop work after getting married, but though the husband was usually the sole breadwinner, the wife would receive his full salary and only give him back a bit as ‘pocket money’, sometimes even opening ‘secret savings accounts’ far from his reach with the rest.

Though attitudes towards marriage have changed, getting married is still seen as more than a personal choice; it is also an important social or familial duty. Because of this, the word ‘konkatsu’, which makes a play on the word ‘shukatsu’, or ‘job hunting’, recently appeared as a new buzz-word describing young professionals who start actively (sometimes desperately) ‘marriage hunting’.

While many people simply get married for love, a recent survey reports that those who hunt for marriage like they hunt for jobs still have extremely pragmatic attitudes towards the couple’s money.

From Yahoo! Japan:

Marriage-Hunter Attitudes Towards Money – 60% of Women Want Their Man’s Annual Income to be Over 5 Million Yen a Year

The Marriage Information Center which manages the popular matchmaking service Nozze surveyed 623 men and woman who use Nozze (aged 20 to 50) about marriage-hunter attitudes to money.

Approximately 30% of women said that they want to be housewives

Concerning their partner’s annual income, 77.5% of men said that they ‘would be satisfied with under 3 million Yen a year [approx. 34,930 US$]‘ with 44.6% saying they ‘would be satisfied with under 1 million Yen [approx. 11,640 US$]‘, the lowest bracket in the survey. 66.3% of women, on the other hand, want ‘their partner’s annual income to be over 5 million Yen [approx. 58,000 US$] a year’. Even the lowest income bracket women will be satisfied with, ‘between 3 million to 4 million yen’, shows the huge gap between men and women.

A table from the original survey, showing the minimum wage Japanese couples think their spouse should earn.

A table from the original survey, showing the minimum wage Japanese couples think their spouse should earn.

Many men gave answers which reflected that they did not have too many expectations about their partner’s salary like ‘I want her to work in something I am interested in’ (28.9%) or ‘I want her to stop working’ (9%).

For women, 47% answered that they ‘would like to keep their current job after getting married’, but more than half as many, 27.7%, answered that they ‘want to quit work and become housewives’. This shows that there is still a tendency for women to want a future lifestyle where their husbands are the main breadwinner, which goes against the DINKS [Double Income No Kids] lifestyle which is popular nowadays.

The woman still controls the household purse-strings

Concerning how the couple should manage their money, the percentage of people answering that they want ‘the husband and wife to both mutually manage the couple’s money’(50% of men and 47.7% of women) is higher than it has ever been before.

However, about 1 in 4 men still answered ‘I have no problem entrusting the whole family budget to my partner and only getting a small allowance’ (24.4% of men answered this, compared to 2.7% women). 28% of women answered that ‘I want to manage the family budget myself and give a small allowance to my partner’ which shows that there is still a strong tendency for women to control the family purse-strings.

One reason for this is that many men say ‘I want my partner to manage the money because I don’t have any good sense with money matters’ (24.7%).

What’s more, the average amount men said they ‘would like to be given as pocket money’ was 28,333 yen a month [approx. 330 us$], but the average amount women said they ‘would be prepared to give their partner as pocket money’ was 34,244 yen a month [approx. 400 US$], which is more than 20% more than what men are asking for.

Women say their ‘secret savings account’ should be 16% more than what men think it should be

61.1% of men said they did not want their partners to have a secret savings account. On the other hand, 64.7% of women said they planned on making a secret savings account.

Men and women can’t agree on the amount of secret savings either, with women on average saying that 678,608 Yen [approx. 7,900 US$] should be deposited per year, which is 16% more than the average 415,769 Yen [approx. 4,840 US$] men think should be put aside. The majority of men also think that the way of using it should be ‘as a surprise present to them’, while the majority of women think that ‘it should be saved until we really need it’.

A couple toast an arranged marriage in Japan, but what about their finances?

Comments from Yahoo! Japan:

姜維さん:

5 million yen a year — hell, it’s only a minority of women who want this. And they should rather take a good look in the mirror at their own faces before saying that’s what they want.

bus*i*uniik*ruk*tin*shiさん:

I’m in my late 20s and making 5 million Yen a year, but it really doesn’t feel like I’m keeping a parasite.

マーメイド姫さん:

You can’t keep a housewife on 5 million a year. I think it’s only natural to try and both earn money at first.

ぱっぱぱらりらさん:

Do marriage-hunting women know how many men of marriageable age earn over 5 million Yen?
That’s why the marriage rate is not going up.

slowninnalifeさん:

Even if you try really hard to earn a lot of money, tax and social insurance are so insanely high that not much income is left. I can forgive partners who only think about managing their money even if they earn tens of thousands of Yen.

des*terさん:

Click like if you think it sucks that the wife spends all the money the husband painstakingly earns during the day eating at family restaurants with the bitches from the neighbourhood

exileさん:

Really? And what is the fugly bitch who says this doing? Tell her to go get a job!

wan**nkun2さん:

This kind of take on marriage is already well out of date. It’s dumb. From now on they should ask ‘what is a good income for two people?’

bdd*q40*さん:

It’s nicer to be on your own… you’d be poor, though w

yh0*200*さん:

Know your place.

エブリデイ お注射さん:

There are so many harsh comments from guys.I got married to someone who wanted to be with someone like that. Our income is low, but we have two kids and are happy. Money is important, but I think that there are also other more important things.

dipさん:

He might fit all your hopes, but you should check if you are actually the type of girl who fits well with that type of guy first –by Japanese men.

烈風さん:

You can say that people earning between 2 and 4 million yen a month are the new middle class. If that’s the case, that’s scary.

蘭丸さん:

My wife doesn’t do the housework well and is obsessed by the internet. We just eat ready-meals from the store. She’s a parasite housewife. She doesn’t even think about working herself. She’ll rely on other people’s earnings until she dies. My kids are more important than my own life, but I don’t need a wife like that.

ppppqqqloveさん:

It should be the same thing for women earning more than 5 million yen. It’s stupid to say they are just gonna resign themselves to bringing up kids.

mac272leoさん:

60% of women have no idea how hard it is to earn 5 million yen. Do the women who say this have an income which is even close to this? Stupid self-important women. They don’t know anything about shame, common sense, or the world.

kiy*s*imo*oseさん:

I don’t think there is anything wrong with 63% of women wanting their partner to earn more than 5 million yen a year. I kinda wonder what the other 10% who want their partner to earn more than 5 million yen a year are like though…

ひやむぎさん:

“Women say their ‘secret savings account’ should be 16% more than what men think it should be” Sorry but that is stealing.. (;_;)

表示出来ませぬさん:

Will she be that good a wife if she wants an income like that? It’s like, not just thinking about prioritising the stability in your own life. These wives only let their husbands have about 100,000 or 200,000 yen a month.My mom says that a lot but I think that it’s crazy that an adult man works really hard at work and it only allowed to have 200,000 or 300,000 yen. For example, at lunch, if you don’t have a bento you’ll spend at least 1000 yen ‘cos you need to eat to have strength for work. You’ll only be able to work, you can’t properly relax or have fun. They should just relax. ‘Doing it for the family’ is such a heavy cross to bear. ‘Cos there are many women who think like me that guys should live for themselves a bit, they can’t get married. When the hell did women become so full of themselves?

AINAさん:

Women won’t be able to find a husband under 40 if they want a guy who makes more than 10,000,000 yen a year w

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  • http://twitter.com/vonPeterhof Vadim Dominov

    Happy holidays, everyone! I’m here again with my translation nitpicks: I don’t think “I want her to work in something I am interested in” is what’s meant here. The pronouns are absent in the original sentence, so it could theoretically mean that, but I think “I want her to find work in something *she is* interested in” makes more sense. The context of the whole paragraph (men not having expectations of their partners’ salaries) seems to imply that the thinking behind that answer was “If she wants to work, then let her get whatever kind of ‘feelgood job’ she likes, while I’ll be the one with a ‘real job’, making money for the family”. Besides, I believe the use of 好き in (indirect) relation to another’s action (仕事を見つける) would imply the preferences of the one performing the action in question (i.e. the hypothetical wife), not the speaker (the man). For example, 「好きにしろ!」 means “Do whatever you want!”, not “Do what I want!”

    • http://twitter.com/vonPeterhof Vadim Dominov

      And a couple more: I think the latter half of the second comment should be “I really don’t feel like keeping a parasite” or “I really have no intention of keeping a parasite”. Also, does the word へそくり refer specifically to wives’ secret savings? Because otherwise I see no reason why へそくりは作らない should be translated as “did not want their partners to have a secret savings account”, rather than “did not want to make a secret savings account”. The stereotype here in Russia is that both husbands and wives hide money from each other in books, shoeboxes, jars, etc., the only difference being that the wife always ends up knowing where all the husband’s stashes are.

  • Kate

    Eh I know I want me and my husband earning at least $70,000 a yr together though. If a woman wants a high income bracket, she needs to contribute to it or be really pretty and marry a wealthier man. My husband and I share responsibilty of finances, we manage different bills and I usually have to be the one to enforce spending limits.

    It seems though that many japanese women want to be housewives while the husband works, which I personally don’t think is a bad thing. The house and children are a full time job in itself. A child is 24/7 and needs the mom especially the first few years. If a man wants a well cared baby, a spotless house, and a nice dinner then he needs a housewife. Although I don’t see anything wrong with house husbands ether. Men are just as capable of being a househusband and if the woman earns more money why not?

    • http://www.facebook.com/noah.altman Noah Altman

      I agree.

  • 足立 透

    Bitches and whores.

  • きよみ

    If these people are older than 23, they should go shoot themselves. 5 million yen is a starting position salary, not something that men more than 1 year into their career should be making. These guys are wimps!

    • Geo

      What arrogance. Are you from Japan? Don’t try to equate economies from different countries. And to begin with, not everyone is fortunate enough to walk right into a graduate job after their degree, some even end up not being able to score anything relevant to their degrees. To your logic, these people are trash?

    • http://www.facebook.com/noah.altman Noah Altman

      Kiyomi, 5 million yen is not a typical starting salary. It is perhaps a starting salary for a highly skilled in-demand professional. Those jobs are few and far between. For example, the median starting salaries for electrical or mechanical engineers in Japan are less than 3 million yen. Of that, more than a third is taxed or deducted from pay.

    • John Snow

      if you are converting to USD… a year before this article was published the Yen was worth double compared to the USD. With the exchange rate today its pretty much 100 yen to the dollar. I think Japan was peaking at 45 yen to the USD for years. so 5 million yen IS still a lot of money especially in Japan. But outside of Japan today 5 million isnt a lot but it is substantial.

      • plorf

        I’m kind of shocked to hear that Japan has such low salaries, I had no idea.

  • dim mak

    Control? I’m not marrying any man or woman who doesn’t agree to merge accounts. Bitches.

  • Raminess

    I think “control” might be the wrong word to use here. Women typically make the bulk of household purchases, from clothing to food to household necessities. So it’s not like the wife is keeping the husband’s check under lock and key and the husband has to come to her for an allowance or anything.

    Also, if you ask ANYone about their “dream spouse,” of course they’re going to list these first two traits before anything else: rich and good-looking. So it’s nonsensical to say, “Women prefer a husband who is financially secure over one who’s making minimum wage.” ANY woman (or man for that matter) would prefer a spouse who isn’t scraping to get by. Besides, what you want and what you actually get are two different things. I might WANT the fantasy of a billionaire spouse, but odds are I’m going to meet someone making a middle class income and that’s just fine with me.

  • John Snow

    You can say that people earning between 2 and 4 million yen a month are the new middle class. If that’s the case, that’s scary.

    Mod this sentence should be a year not a month.

  • Bruce M

    After living in Japan, I think it’s bad Japanese government.
    Schools should be free and hospital should be free like in Canada.

    I have three children in Japan and I think the system isn’t fair to women.

    It’s no wonder they react by controlling finances. Stupid government!
    Not supporting their citizens.

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