PAKISTAN WOMEN

Careful

Strivers

diligent, investment-minded, financially-stressed

38% of adult female population

23.9 million women

 

Careful Strivers are mostly middle-aged, low-income, rural, married women with

little education. Nearly three quarters rely on their spouse or someone else to make

major household decisions, yet they identify as effective planners, and exhibit high conscientiousness and low spending impulsivity. They prioritize investing first and building cash reserves second, reflecting a strong desire to grow their way to better financial health. Over two-thirds experience high income volatility and over half are not confident in their ability to cover expenses. Most feel they do not earn enough to save and save infrequently, though they borrow at relatively higher rates despite a low sense of dependability. Still, most never borrow. They primarily manage finances through family, few own formal accounts or mobile wallets, and few are members of informal groups They have a weak sense of agency and low confidence in the future, but high satisfaction with the past and high self-esteem. They trust people, but not institutions and though they rely on their social network for financial support, they have less confidence it will deliver in times of need.

Careful Strivers

Pakistan Average

INCOME

self-employed

N/A

N/A

formally employed

N/A

N/A

EDUCATION

no/informal education

71%

51%

primary education

13%

20%

PHONE

own smartphone

8%

15%

feature phone

39%

38%

LAND

own land

17%

30%

have access to land

52%

N/A

GENDER (FEMALE)

100%

51%

AGE (25-44)

64%

64%

GEOGRAPHY (RURAL)

66%

59%

SOCIOECONOMIC

75%

SES 1-3

FORMAL ACCOUNT

OWNERSHIP

4%

8%

INFORMAL

FINANCIAL USAGE

13%

16%

MOBILE WALLET

OWNERSHIP

1%

1%

TECH USE

(LOWEST FREQUENCY)

91%

75%

ANALYSIS

 

CONTEXT

Who are they?

SOCIOECONOMIC STATUS (SES)

Careful Strivers

Pakistan Average

Basic Demographics

Careful Strivers are mostly low income, rural, married women with no or only informal education. Nearly three quarters rely on their spouse or someone else in the household to make major financial decision on their behalf, and only ten percent identify as head of household. They are slightly older than Pakistani women on average, though skew towards middle aged.

Social Financial Network

Most Careful Strivers can rely on one person or less when sick, though over two-fifths can rely on two or more. On average, they have the largest such support networks among Pakistani women segments. However, they speak with the fewest people over the phone daily, with most speaking to one to two people per day. Most rely on their social network for financial support in emergencies, though feel it is impossible or not very possible to raise such funds in the future (the highest rate among segments).

RESILIENCE

Careful Strivers

Pakistan Average

 

ASPIRATIONS

What do they want?

Careful Strivers prioritize investments. They would invest over one-third of a windfall, the largest share among segments and nearly twice as much as Pakistani women in general. Compared to other women, they would keep much less of a windfall in cash, just under a quarter in cash, making cash reserves their second priority. This suggests that they would prefer to put money to work rather than lock it away against a future expenses or emergencies, which may reflect their low SES and a strong desire to grow their income, despite struggles with income volatility, unpaid bills and financial emergencies. They likely seek to grow their way into financial health, rather than making due with the status quo.

BEHAVIOR

How do they manage their finances?

 

Financial Behavior Overview

Careful Strivers struggle to maintain financial health. Over two-thirds experience high income volatility and over half are not confident in their ability to cover expenses. Most feel they do not earn enough to save and save infrequently, though they borrow at relatively higher rates despite a low sense of dependability. Still most do not borrow. They prioritize investing first and building cash reserves second, reflecting a strong desire to grow their way to better financial health. Despite most reporting little control over household decisions, they identify as effective planners and exhibit high conscientiousness and low spending impulsivity. Yet, they infrequently plan expenses or save deliberately.

FINANCIAL BEHAVIOR INDEX
HOW THEY PRIORITIZE A WINDFALL

Careful Strivers

Pakistan Average

Financial Priorities

Careful Strivers prioritize investments. They would invest over one-third of a windfall, the largest share among segments and nearly twice as much as Pakistani women in general. Compared to other women, they would keep much less of a windfall in cash, just under a quarter in cash, making cash reserves their second priority. This suggests that they would prefer to put money to work rather than lock it away against a future expenses or emergencies, which may reflect their low SES and a strong desire to grow their income, despite struggles with income volatility, unpaid bills and financial emergencies. They likely seek to grow their way into financial health, rather than making due with the status quo.

Financial Access

Confident Planners primarily manage finances through family. Just over one-fifth save with family or at home, the second lowest rate after Conservative Individualists, while over two-fifths borrow from family, the second highest rate after Confident Planners. Their rates of formal account ownership, mobile wallet ownership, and informal group membership are below average, as are their usage rates across each of these channels for saving and borrowing.

FINANCIAL ACCESS

Careful Strivers

Pakistan Average

WEEKLY INCOME VOLATILITY

Careful Strivers

Pakistan Average

Shaping Income and Expenses

Over two-thirds of Careful Strivers experience high income volatility and over half are not confident in their ability to cover household expenses. They report having recently struggled to pay over five types of household expenses and having experienced more than one type of financial emergency in the past two years, second in both cases only to Conservative Individualists. Most are not impulsive in their spending habits, but do not have a plan to manage their expenses, and do not believe they earn enough to save, most likely a consequence of their low and volatile income.

Building Reserves

Careful Strivers face challenges in building financial reserves. Less than half save and only one-third save frequently, making them the second least frequent savers among women. They also maintain the second fewest active saving channels. Of those who save, most do so through family. Few use formal accounts or informal groups. Their low savings frequency may be offset, in part, by their above average land and livestock ownership. However, their land is frequently inherited and illiquid. Their low and volatile incomes, as well as struggles with expenses and emergencies, likely drives their infrequent saving. Moreover, owning to the same economic and other psychological factors, most are not deliberate-goal oriented savers (see psychology).

SAVINGS CHANNELS USED

Careful Strivers

Pakistan Average

BORROWING CHANNELS

Careful Strivers

Pakistan Average

Cultivating Receivables

Careful Strivers face challenges cultivating receivables but are in line with the average among Pakistani women. Most do not borrow, but just under a third do so frequently, primarily from family, making them the second most frequent borrowers among women. They also maintain the second-most active debt channels. Their frequent borrowing may strain their ability to raise funds in the face of the expense challenges and emergencies. Many are not confident in their ability to raise future emergency funds, and very few consider themselves dependable. Their low rates of formal account ownership and informal group membership further suggests they may be missing an opportunity to leverage their land and livestock as collateral for loans, especially given their moderate comfort holding debt (see psychometrics).

Financial Planning

Careful Strivers identify strongly as effective planners and exhibit high conscientiousness and low spending impulsivity, yet most rarely or never save, are not goal oriented in their saving, and do not have a plan for their expenses. Their infrequent saving and expense planning may be driven by their limited role in household financial decision making and their low and volatile incomes, in addition to their feeling that they are not dependable and do not earn enough to save.

MAKES PLANS AND FOLLOWS THROUGH

Careful Strivers

Pakistan Average

PHONE USAGE

Careful Strivers

Pakistan Average

Technology Use

Careful Strivers are the least frequent technology users and second least frequent phone users among women. Their low internet and social media engagement and their limited texting may suggest they struggle with digital literacy. It may also be attributable, in part, to the fact that most live in rural areas, are low SES and report limited smartphone ownership.

PSYCHOLOGY

How do they think?

 

Self-Perception

About half of Careful Strivers have a weak sense of agency and just under half have dim hopes for the future. Indeed, most report limited control over their finances and probably experience significant constraints to their mobility and economic participation due to cultural norms. Their low sense of agency probably helps protect their self-esteem by making it less likely that they blame themselves for their struggles. About half maintain high self-esteem, though a third have low-self esteem. Moreover, about a third have a strong sense of agency and are positive about the future, suggesting the possibility of a confident and hopeful sub-segment.

LOCUS OF CONTROL

Careful Strivers

Pakistan Average

CONSCIENTIOUSNESS
SPENDING IMPULSIVITY

Careful Strivers

Pakistan Average

Financial Attitudes

Conscientiousness, Impulsiveness & Openness

Careful Strivers identify strongly as effective planners and are conscientiousness, yet most save infrequently and do not plan for expenses. They have very low impulsivity but are not particularly deliberate savers. Their low levels of saving and expense planning may be driven, in part, by their limited participation in household financial planning, rather than a lack of consideration, planning, or drive. They may also feel their income is too low and volatile to do save and plan, and drives a need to Carefully control spending given their slim margins for error.

Financial Attitudes

Debt

Most Careful Strivers never borrow, though just under a third do so frequently, making them the most frequent borrowers among Pakistani women. Most are moderately comfortable holding debt, though just over a quarter are not. They are the most comfortable segment borrowing. Yet, like most women in Pakistan, they do not consider themselves dependable. Their low sense of dependability, limited financial decision making authority in the household, and limited access to formal and informal credit, despite feeling moderately comfortable holding debt, likely drives their low overall rates of borrowing and preference for more accessible and flexible family loans.

COMFORT WITH DEBT

Careful Strivers

Pakistan Average

BELIEF IN EARNING ENOUGH MONEY TO SAVE

Careful Strivers

Pakistan Average

Financial Attitudes

Saving

Less than half of Confident Strivers save and only one-third save frequently, making them the second least frequent savers among women. On average, they are conscientious, identify as effective planers, and are not impulsive in their spending. Given these psychological traits, it is likely that their low and volatile incomes restrict their ability to save and to do so deliberately. Indeed, half are not at all deliberate goal-based savers, and five in six feel strongly that they do not earn enough to save. Moreover, two-thirds feel their savings are not safe from the claims of others. These feelings likely further suppress their savings.

Trust in People

Half of Careful Strivers exhibit high to the highest trust in people overall, while only a quarter exhibit low to the lowest trust. However, they are split in their levels of trust in their social financial networks and their confidence in their ability to raise funds during future crises or to reply on their network for money for investments and education. Interestingly, only a third see their communities as financially and economically equal.

TRUST IN SOCIAL FINANCIAL NETWORKS

Careful Strivers

Pakistan Average

TRUST IN BANKS

Careful Strivers

Pakistan Average

Trust in Institutions

Careful Strivers have low trust in banks, but relatively higher trust in media and government. Their low trust in banks may be driven by their feeling that financial services are complex, their infrequent interaction with banks agents, and their limited knowledge of and use of bank products. Only 4% have an account with a formal service provider.

Gender Attitudes

Most Careful Strivers believe that men are better financial managers than women, and feel formal loan access is biased against women, although only four percent own formal accounts. They overwhelming believe boys and girls should be educated about money in the same way, suggesting they may hope to see a change in the status quo for women. The vast majority do not identify as household decision makers, yet nearly all believe husbands and wives should know each other's’ finances. This suggests many desire greater involvement in decision making, or at the very least greater accountability.

WIVES AND HUSBANDS SHOULD KNOW
EACH OTHERS FINANCIAL AFFAIRS

Careful Strivers

Pakistan Average

 

OPPORTUNITY

How might we develop formal products and services

that can reach Careful Strivers despite strong preference

for managing money through family and strong reliance

on spouses and other people to make major household decisions on their behalf?

 
 

 The Human Account is led, created and developed by Dalberg with Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

 

Local partners are Lagos Business School in Nigeria, Ashoka University in India, not-for-profit development finance company, Karandaaz in Pakistan, and research and advisory firm, Busara Center for Behavioral Economics in Kenya.