Believe it or not, your financial situation is affected by your gender. Although there is an ongoing battle for gender equality, the fact remains that we are just wired differently. Our priorities, emotional state, preferences and basic needs will differ depending on whether we are male or female.
This is why it is quite difficult to determine if men are better money managers than women or vice-versa. It is hard to make a comparison because it is literally like comparing apples to oranges. The differences will always be there.
You can say that men are better because they oftentimes withhold their emotions when making financial decisions. This makes them logical – which is always a good thing when it comes to money decisions. But if you look at it from a different angle, you will realize that it is possible for women to be better at managing their money. For instance, a woman is more meticulous when shopping for something. That means they are more likely to get the best value for their money. Men would usually just breeze through the buying process.
If you notice, men and women are considered financially excellent but under different circumstances. It is that difference that will affect their financial situation. According to an article published on PsychologyToday.com, the use of money will vary depending on your gender. They cited 5 interesting facts about men, women and money.
- They feel different about their income.
- Women are praised more if they earn money – even if they earn less than men.
- Earning women receive more appreciation from their husbands compared to what men get from their wives.
- The income of men and women have varying effects on the economy of gratitude.
- Men and women have different relationships between earning and parenting.
The last part tells us a lot about the difference between men, women and money. A father failing to establish a relationship with his children because he is working will not be as bad as a mother failing to connect with her kids because of her work. Society will crucify women for choosing work over her kids but will not do the same for men. This difference will tell you a lot about the expectations of society for both genders and financial situation.
Being a woman means you spend more on products
Here is an interesting study from NYC.gov that tells us how the financial situation of an individual will depend on their gender. This study tells us the women actually spend more on products compared to their male counterparts.
Here are the facts taken from the study.
- In 4 out of 10 incidents, women will pay more on a product than men.
- 55% of the time, girls’ toys will cost more than boys (8% for boys’ toys costing more than girls).
- 26% of the time, girls’ clothing will cost more than boys (7% for boys’ clothing costing more than girls).
- 40% of the time, women’s clothing will cost more than men (32% for men’s clothing costing more than women).
- 56% of the time, women’s personal care products will cost more than men (13% for men’s personal care products costing more than women).
- 45% of the time, women’s senior home health care products will cost more than men (13% for men’s senior home health care products costing more than women).
If we focus on the personal care products, you will realize that there is some truth to this. There are products that only women need. Take for instance the monthly menstrual period of women. They need to spend on the products that will keep them clean while they have their period. Also, women wear makeup and men do not. The use of cosmetics is an expense that men do not have to be burdened with while society expects women to spend on these to make themselves beautiful. The list goes on and on but the bottomline is this – if women have more products to spend on, their expenses are greater than men. If you consider the fact that they generally earn less than men, then you know that their financial situation will be less ideal.
In a separate study published by Nielsen.com, the differences between men and women are also evident. Here are the findings in the study.
- Men (59%) are more likely to feel positive about their finances than women (54%).
- Men (43%) are more confident in spending their money now than women (36%).
- Men (31%) are less likely to spend on new clothing than women (38%).
- Men (28%) are more likely to buy the latest tech product than women (18%).
- Men (24%) are more inclined to invest than women (17%).
- Men (12%) are more inclined to save for retirement than women (8%).
When it comes to saving, the same study noted specific differences in the behavior of each gender – at least when they are forced to put some effort into saving.
- More women (51%) will cut down on out-of-home entertainment compared to men (44%).
- More women (40%) will cut down on take-out meals compared to men (33%).
- More women (58%) will spend less on new clothes compared to men (45%).
- More women (41%) will opt for a cheaper brand of product than men (30%).
Of course, there are areas where men are more likely to cut back on. For instance, 18% of men are more likely to cut back on smoking costs compared to 10% of women.
The bottomline of this Nielsen study is this: the difference in priorities (and possibly, habits) of men and women can influence their financial decisions. In effect, this will also affect their financial situation.
Financial advice for men and women
Does this mean we have no control over our financial situation because our gender dictates how good or bad things will be for us?
Of course not. We will always have full control over how our finances will turn out. The financial difference for men and women only reveal that each will go through their respective struggles and will probably deal with them differently too. It is a waste of time to argue if women are better at handling credit than men. The difference between the two makes it hard to determine who is better when it comes to managing their money.
It is also this difference that should encourage both genders to seek out specific financial advices. With that, here are a couple of advices that are suited for men and women.
- Be more active in the kitchen. This may not seem like a financial advice but believe it or not, it can be. When you learn how to cook your own meal and even brew your own coffee, it will help you save more money and improve your financial situation. Men can function in the kitchen – sometimes even better than women.
- Rethink your vices. This is another tip that will help you save more money. If you smoke a lot, you may want to give that up. It can save you $8 per stick. If you have other vices like drinking, that may be something that you can give up as well – at least save it for special occasions.
- Give up your gym membership. Run in the park, bike to work and buy a couple of weights that you can use at home. There are many ways to keep yourself fit without spending on a membership.
- Compare products before you buy. Men are actually proud of the way they go straight to what they need in a store. But if you grab the first product that you see without comparing prices, that might not be too admirable after all. Spend a bit of time comparing prices and the quality. Choose the product that will give you the best value for your money.
- Cut back on going out. It’s fun to hang out with friends but if it costs you at least a hundred bucks a month, then you may want to cut back on that a bit. Why not spend more time at home. Invite friends over and have a beer at home. The beer in the grocery is much more affordable than what is served in bars.
- Try to avoid fees. Men are sometimes too aggressive in the sense that they fail to check the details of subscriptions, etc. Make sure you scrutinize the details so you will not end up paying for something unnecessarily.
- Learn to enjoy the free stuff. Opting for what is free will not really make you cheap and less manly. It will not give off the impression that you are not in control of your money. So just opt for what is free if you chance upon them.
- Try to earn more. Although it is expected that women stay at home to take care of the children, that does not mean you should turn your back on earning. A lot of stay-at-home mothers continue to earn by working from home. Explore your options and hold up to your end of the financial responsibilities. If your husband is earning enough, just put your income straight to your savings. It will help secure the family finances.
- Think about your retirement. Some women put their retirement savings on hold because they want to prioritize the needs of the family. While this is admirable, it is not really smart. You will not help secure your financial situation. Think about your future too. If anything, it will keep you from being a burden on your family when the time comes.
- Be vocal about your financial views. This is a common mistake of stay-at-home moms. Just because you are not earning, that does not mean you do not have a say in the family finances. You have every right to the income of your husband and how it is to be spent around the house. Do not lose your voice when it comes to making financial decisions.
- Never be ashamed of your financial needs. This is what makes it difficult for women to ask for a raise from their employer. You have to know your value and ask for proper compensation. Do not be afraid to insist your worth. It will not only make you seem competitive in the workforce, it will also help you earn the respect of your colleagues.
- Take risks. This is where men usually trumps women. The former is usually more aggressive when taking financial risks. Sometimes, the reason women fail to take risks is their lack of knowledge. Be informed so you can take calculated risks.
You see, these differences may end up pitting men and women against each other but it does not have to be that way. A couple should work together and put their strengths to good use when managing the household income and financial obligations. Respect the strengths and weaknesses of both genders and there would be less arguments about money within the family.
In the end, that is how you can make your financial situation more stable and secure.