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London - The man of the house might think he holds the purse strings.

But it is actually women who control the family finances and make the biggest decisions on spending, a survey has found.

Researchers found that nine out of ten middle-aged women in Britain take control of paying bills, financial planning and buying goods for their household.

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.

Around 2,000 British women aged 40 to 60 were questioned for the survey, commissioned by magazine publisher IPC 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.

But, 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.

And the majority – 66 percent – also revealed they had the final say on the family car.

There are around 8.5million women aged between 40 and 60 in the UK, making up more than half the female population.

Around a third are working full-time and the same number are the main breadwinner in their family.

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 these women have a lot of spending power – accounting for more than £92-million 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. But some of the women surveyed said they felt like the “forgotten generation” and were “invisible” to some big High Street names.

Amanda Wigginton, of IPC Media, said: “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.

“Brands simply cannot ignore these women any more and those that do will lose them.” - Daily Mail