London: Men might think they hold the purse strings but it is actually women who control the family finances and make the biggest decisions on spending, according to a new UK study.
Nine out of ten middle-aged women in Britain take control of paying bills, financial planning and buying goods for their household, the study found.
Dubbed the family CEO, these women believe the term housewife is old-fashioned and no longer relevant to them. Instead, they say their wide range of responsibilities mean their role is more akin to the boss of a company, the 'Daily Mail' reported.
Around 2,000 British women aged 40 to 60 were questioned for the survey, commissioned by magazine publisher IPERCENT media.
Some 93 percent said they made all or most of the financial decisions in their household but that figure rose to 98 percent among those who were the main breadwinners.
More than a third - 36 percent - said their partner or husband believed he was in control of the purse strings.
However, in reality, they controlled the finances and were responsible for making sure bills were paid, balancing the books and keeping on top of household spending, they said.
Nine out of ten of the women questioned said they made the decisions on furniture purchases, 92 percent controlled the buying of large appliances - including TVs, stereos and computers - while 85 percent said they decided where the family went on holiday.
A staggering majority - 66 percent - also revealed they had the final say on the family car.
The survey found these women believe they are a trusted section of society, with around 70 percent claiming others often turned to them for advice and that friends and family valued their opinions.
More than half said their confidence was the highest it had ever been in their lives, with two thirds saying they no longer worried about what other women thought of them.
Around 67 percent said it was important to be healthy in order to stay on top of their responsibilities, while almost half said they looked after themselves better than when they were in their 20s and 30s.
The survey found that UK women have a lot of spending power - accounting for more than 92 million pounds of High Street purchases.
But they are demanding customers and often feel they are not properly catered for by shops and brands, especially in the fashion and retail sectors.
Some 80 percent said they shopped around for the best deals, two thirds said they had the confidence to demand a better service from retailers, while a third said they wouldn't put up with second best.
"Family CEOs are a powerful group of women that are extremely influential in terms of purchasing decisions and household expenditure - especially in areas that have been traditionally thought of as being made by men," Amanda Wigginton, of IPERCENT Media, said.
First Published: Monday, November 26, 2012, 18:03