PAKISTAN WOMEN

Social

Optimists

young, optimistic, planners

17% of adult female population

10.7 million women

 

Social Optimists are amongst the financially healthiest segments in Pakistan. They prioritize building savings and insuring household liquidity, and are strong planners. They are open minded, but find financial services complex. They primarily manage finances through family and the home, but are members of informal financial groups at the highest rates amongst women, and are the most frequent savers and borrowers with groups and friends. While few own and use formal accounts, they are more likely to do so than most Pakistani women. They personally own smartphones at the highest rates amongst Pakistani women, but use their phones somewhat infrequently. They hold progressive views on gender and finances, but strongly believe men are better financial managers than women.

Social Optimists

Pakistan Average

INCOME

self-employed

N/A

N/A

formally employed

N/A

N/A

EDUCATION

primary

46%

25%

secondary or tertiary

46%

25%

PHONE

own smartphone

39%

19%

feature phone

35%

52%

LAND

own land

18%

30%

have access to land

52%

N/A

GENDER (FEMALE)

100%

51%

AGE (18-34)

56%

45%

GEOGRAPHY (URBAN)

61%

41%

SOCIOECONOMIC

52%

SES 4-5

FORMAL ACCOUNT

OWNERSHIP

10%

18%

INFORMAL

FINANCIAL USAGE

27%

15%

MOBILE WALLET

OWNERSHIP

0%

5%

TECH USE

(LOWEST FREQUENCY)

74%

64%

ANALYSIS

 

CONTEXT

Who are they?

SOCIOECONOMIC STATUS (SES)

Social Optimists

Pakistan Average

Basic Demographics

Social Optimists are mostly middle to high income, urban, married women. Most depend on other people to make financial decisions on their behalf, though a significant minority participate directly in decision making. They they youngest segment amongst women and best educated of all segments.

Social Financial Network

Social Optimists have robust social networks that they rely on for financial and in-kind support in emergencies. Nearly two-thirds have relied on their networks for financial support in emergencies over the past two years, though nearly two-thirds feel it would be impossible or not very possible to raise emergency funds in the future, suggesting that while their connections are robust, their networks are limited in their ability to deliver support and may be limited to immediate family who who may be affected by the same emergencies. They speak to more people on the phone per day than average, but have fewer people to draw on when sick.

RESILIENCE: PRIMARY SOURCE OF MONEY IN AN EMERGENCY OVER THE PAST TWO YEARS

Social Optimists

Pakistan Average

 

ASPIRATIONS

What do they want?

Social Optimists primarily aspire to build bank savings and their cash reserves.

They also prioritize making investments and putting away money for future expenses.

This suggests a strong desire to work towards savings goals, while balancing the need

to maintain adequate household liquidity.

 

BEHAVIOR

How do they manage their finances?

Financial Behavior Overview


Social Optimists exhibit healthier financial behaviors than average across all metrics, and perform especially well at shaping income and expenses, planning, and prioritizing. 

FINANCIAL BEHAVIOR INDEX
FINANCIAL ACCESS

Social Optimists

Pakistan Average

Financial Access

Social Optimists primarily manage finances through family and the home, but are members of informal financial groups at the highest rates amongst Pakistani women, and save and borrow through such groups and friends more than any other segment. While few own and use bank accounts, they are more likely to do so than most Pakistani women. None report adopting mobile wallets.

Financial Priorities

Social Optimists primarily aspire to build bank savings and their cash reserves. They also prioritize making investments and putting away money for future expenses. This suggests a strong desire to work towards savings goals, while balancing the need to maintain adequate household liquidity.

HOW THEY PRIORITIZE A WINDFALL

Social Optimists

Pakistan Average

MAKES A PLAN AND FOLLOWS THROUGH WITH IT

Social Optimists

Pakistan Average

Financial Planning

Most Social Optimists identify as effective planners, have a plan to manage expenses and are goal oriented savers, yet measure low conscientiousness and high impulsivity. Perhaps driven by their positive view of the future, stable incomes, and high SES, they are motivated to plan their finances despite psychological characteristics that might suggest otherwise. Because they tend to view themselves as more lazy, careless and impulsive than average, they may turn to planning as a way to exert control, instill discipline, and bolster their financial health. Most Pakistani women identify as effective planners, which may be due in part their self-perceived role as managers of the household.

Shaping Income and Expenses

Social Optimists effectively manage income and expenses. Most have low or medium income volatility, report having a plan to manage expenses and are confident in their ability to pay household expenses. They report struggling to pay fewer types of expenses and having faced fewer types of emergencies in the recent past than Pakistani women on average.

WEEKLY INCOME VOLATILITY

Social Optimists

Pakistan Average

SAVINGS FREQUENCY

Social Optimists

Pakistan Average

Building Reserves

Just over half of Social Optimists are savers, and nearly half do regularly (monthly or more). Most savers amongst them have only  one active savings channel used in the last quarter. They primarily save through family and at home. Nearly two-fifths of the segment doing so, second only to Confident Planners. Nearly a quarter save with informal groups and friends, the highest rate of any segment. Few save with formal accounts and none report saving using mobile wallets. While they are the least likely segment to own livestock, nearly half have purchased personally or commonly held land.

Cultivating Receivables

Only a third of Social Optimists report ever borrowing, and just under a fifth borrow frequently, making them the second least frequent borrowers amongst Pakistani women. As is true for Pakistan women as a whole, family remains the most frequent source of loans for this segment. A small minority report having borrowed from informal groups and friends, which may bolster their resilience in the face of financial shocks, though most of the segment maintains only one borrowing channel (typically family). Family may be less able to provide support when financial emergencies affect the household, which may explain why most Social Optimists, despite heavy past reliance on social sources of financial support in emergencies, are not confident in their ability to raise future funds.

SOURCE OF BORROWING

Social Optimists

Pakistan Average

ACCESS TO SMARTPHONE

Social Optimists

Pakistan Average

Technology Use

Social Optimists, like Pakistani women overall, are infrequent users of technology. Yet, nearly two thirds use a phone on a daily basis and about half have access to a smartphone, with two-fifths personally owning one. Compared to Pakistani women in general, they are connected and urban. A quarter text, second only to Networked Elite, though few repot using the internet or social media. However, over half watch TV with most doing so daily or weekly

PSYCHOLOGY

How do they think?

 

Self-perception

Social Social Optimists have the weakest sense of agency amongst Pakistani women — most feel they are not in control of their lives and that they cannot improve their abilities. Yet, they have high self-esteem, high confidence in the future, and are strong planners. Their higher SES may provide them with examples in their communities of successful women. On the other hand, they are better educated than average and may be more aware of the constraints to social and economic mobility they face as women in Pakistan.

LOCUS OF CONTROL

Social Optimists

Pakistan Average

Financial Attitudes

Conscientiousness, Impulsiveness & Openness

Most Social Optimists are intentional. They identify as effective planners despite viewing themselves as lazy and impulsive, leading to lower than average conscientiousness. Despite their reported impulsivity and relatively low levels of conscientiousness, Social Optimists are intentional and disciplined in their financial management, perhaps in an efforts to overcome these character traits of which they are aware. Their relatively low income volatility, high SES, and above average education levels may make financial planning and frequent goal oriented saving easier. They are also open-minded, and may benefit from experimenting and adapting financial strategies to best suit their personalities and needs.

OPENNESS

Social Optimists

Pakistan Average

Financial Attitudes

Debt

Social Optimists, by far, demonstrate the highest comfort with debt and highest feelings of dependability of all segments. They are, however, less frequent borrowers despite their high SES and above average access to formal financial services (still, few hold accounts). They find financial services the most complex of all segments, and primarily save with and borrow from family, though also do so with informal groups and friends and the highest rates amongst women. Given their relatively frequent use of informal financial groups and their openness, greater exposure to formal financial accounts and mobile wallets might drive higher rates of adoption and use.

COMFORT WITH DEBT

Social Optimists

Pakistan Average

SAVINGS DELIBERATENESS

Social Optimists

Pakistan Average

Financial Attitudes

Savings

Most Social Optimists are deliberate savers, over half report high to the highest levels of deliberateness in their savings, and another fifth report moderate levels. This comes despite most feeling they do not earn enough to save and that their savings are not safe from the claims of others, as well as their reported low levels of consciousness and high levels of impulsive spending. They save because they decide to save, not because they believe they have enough money to do so. This may reflect a strong intentionality and goal orientation amongst Social Optimists, or a desire to mitigate their impulsivity and position themselves to take greater control over their financial lives, given their low general sense of agency.

Trust in People

Social Optimists' high level of trust also applies to some institutions. They exhibit higher than average trust in banks and media, and the highest respect for authority (40% compared to an average 25%), suggesting their trust in different institutions may be based on specific experiences. Their high level of trust in banks is reflected in their being the second-most frequent savers with banks. Still, only a very small proportion of the segment exhibit this behavior. The vast majority, 91%, do not have an account, and a further 4% never save in the account they do have.

TRUST IN PEOPLE

Social Optimists

Pakistan Average

TRUST IN BANKS

Social Optimists

Pakistan Average

Trust in Institutions

Half or more of Social Optimists have high to the highest levels of trust in banks, media, and government, above average for Pakistani women in all categories. Hover, more than a third have low to the lowest trust in banks and government.

Gender Attitudes

Social Optimists have the strongest opinions regarding gender equality of all Pakistani women. They strongly agree with views indicating men and women are equals and should be treated as such, however they believe men are better financial managers than women, despite the fact Social Optimists appear to be active and effective financial planners within their households. Their view in this regard may be driven by the fact that they view financial services as complex and rarely own formal or mobile accounts.

BOYS AND GIRLS SHOULD BE EDUCATED
ABOUT MONEY IN THE SAME WAY

Social Optimists

Pakistan Average

 

OPPORTUNITY

How might we create formal financial tools

that Social Optimists find less complex and more straightforward, that leverage their strong planning orientation and help them exert greater control

over their finances?

 
 

 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.