Traditional Russian household means that social roles in the family are gender defined. Women are responsible for almost all the domestic realm. They are feeding the children; bathing the children; and reading them to sleep, while performing their roles as professionals, however. Women handle the budget and tend to control consumer spending and in many families control the major part of family finances. Whereas the men are supposed to get the money handed out.
Russian men are expected to pay for all large purchases, as well as for the wedding. Traditionally parents made a considerable investment in a wedding and even helped to purchase an apartment for a young family. However the economic changes make Russians either save up for a wedding or take a bank loan as Russian wedding tradition implies a 2-day celebration and is a rich and extremely entertaining ceremony.
In many Russian families spouses still spend and save together and their personal checks are their common checks. They have a common account for all the expenses. However Russians are still using cash more regularly. The idea of equal shares of the household expenses is not habitual for Russians where for years the financial model of a family has meant that a man makes a living for the family and children and a woman suspends her earnings in her own way making a smaller contribution into the budget. The situation changes though and in some modern families spouses have own incomes and back accounts apart from the joint account for utilities, mortgage/rent, cable, anything household.
Both partners in Russian family tend to save up from their incomes without sharing this information to a partner. Usually this is "stacked away" cash that is viewed as the emergency fund. Most still have common savings used for making big purchase, paying for children's education, holidays, etc. Russian women tend to save secretly because they were brought up being aware and prepared to deal with a possible financial shortfall if they decide to get divorced. The divorce settlements in Russia are usually not very favorable to women as the Russian family law does not provide for direct alimony payments to an ex-wife. Alimony is only paid for children until they reach 18.
An average Russian prefers to save up for a large purchase rather than to take a loan to be able to afford something. The years of unstable financial situations and financial affairs of the government have taught Russian not to trust banks. Keeping the savings in cash is quite frequent.
Russians prefer to buy their food at the local markets or supermarkets for the whole week and cook home. Credit cards are usually pre-paid (banks require you to pay money in and won't let you go overdraft). Paying by credit card is not as wide spread as in the Western part of the world.
Money and earnings is something that before Perestroika was easily discussed and talked about. This was partially due to the fact that everyone knew what others were earning as well as how much their rent would be, etc. More recently money has become an uneasy topic to discuss but it is still discussed more openly than in Western Europe.
Mortgage in Russia is taken cautiously due to years of financial instability in the country and especially after the economical crisis of 2009, however for a great number of Russian families a mortgage loan is the only way to improve their housing conditions. Only a small part of Russian citizens can solve this problem without the involvement of credit.
Get a mortgage today can be up to 30 years, under 9-10% per annum in dollars and 10-12% in rubles with an initial contribution of 10-30% in 350 banks, offering more than 1000 loan products. There are not enough low-interest loans, compared with the U.S. and Western Europe, though. Maternity capital introduced by the Russian government to boost birth rates could be used to pay all mortgage loans. According to Pension Fund of Russian Federation 400 thousand Russian families from 2009 to the beginning of 2011 used maternity capital for paying off mortgage loans.
Russian families face lots of problems here though. The rapid growth in property prices is accompanied by the limited capacity of the population to pay either the initial contribution (when the prices change daily and a person has to apply to a bank for another amount of money) or monthly payments on mortgage loans. Imperfect legislation regulating the interests of creditors and the rights of borrowers also hinders Russians from taking home loans.
Home insurance is still considered an optional extra for the majority of Russians manly because of the caution and disbelief to get the insurance payments. Russians generally regard the insurance as a waste of money that was swallowed up by the government. Families recently purchased the real estate however prefer foreign insurers.
Unlike the home insurance auto insurance is compulsory in Russia so all Russian families have to annually purchase a car insurance whatever the car make they have.
The part of the family expenses can go to medical insurance which is gaining its popularity due to low standard of medical care in Russia. The compulsory insurance under which a basis care is provided to Russian citizens by the state does not include many vital drugs and procedures, thus families choose to purchase private medical insurance at least for the children.
Education is what the majority of Russian families consider vital or highly important. The university education for a grown-up child is what many Russian families are ready to invest in and it constitutes a considerable part of the family budget. Increasing tuition fees and decreasing number of budget places in Russian universities makes families or students themselves apply for the state-backed student loans, administered through private banks under Ministry of Education control .
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