One third of Brazilians don’t know how much their spouse makes

Global Business

In Brazil, finances are a very private matter, so private that it’s taboo to discuss in certain relationships. CCTV’s Paulo Cabral reported this story.

One third of Brazilians don\'t know how much their spouse makes

In Brazil, finances are a very private matter, so private that it's taboo to discuss in certain relationships. CCTV's Paulo Cabral reported this story.

According to a recent survey by Brazil’s Credit Protection agency, about one third of married Brazilians don’t know how much their partner earns. And only 31 percent said their families discuss their finances openly.

Luciane Humberto and Raimundo Fialho are one example of a couple that doesn’t discuss their finances. She works for an upper middle class family as a nanny and he is an employee of a factory.

“I know she has a salary, but I never ask how much she makes. When the bills come than we split them and each one of us pays part of it,” Fialho said.

While the Fialhos evenly split their housework, some experts say families that are not open about their financial information could be loosing money. Transparency is usually the best option to deal with money at home, particularly for families on a tight budget.

“Women and men have different kinds of expenditures and they think their partner is not going to understand,” Marcela Kawati, chief-economist of the Credit Protection Service said.

Often couples don’t discuss their finances until the situation becomes too difficult and one partner needs to assist in paying debts.

“If we had a joint account, for example, maybe it would be easier to save,” Luciane Humberto said. “Right now, I have a rough idea of how much my husband makes but don’t know exactly. Maybe this is a good moment to find out.”

Is the increase in unmarried women around the world a result of greater equality?

CCTV America examined the relationship between global marriage statistics and gender equality over time. Using information from the United Nations World Marriage Dataset on the percent of women married in Brazil, China, and the United States, and data from the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap report, we found that as the gender equality increased in each country so did the percentage of unmarried women in each country. The Global Gender Gap report measures equality in four areas: economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival and political empowerment. A score of 1 would indicate that women are equal to men in these areas.

While correlation does not equal causality, the data indicate similar trends in equality and the growing number of unmarried women. Note: The UN data lacked information for years 2006-2009 in China and Brazil, and data from 2006-2008 in the United States. When data was not available, the lines were smoothed between two points.