For the most part, men and women are in the same boat when it comes to managing debt and spending responsibly, but there are some noteworthy differences in the ways men and women handle their finances. So, in this financial battle of the sexes, who’s the winner? The answer is that there really is no conclusive data to that end, but there have been a variety of studies on specific aspects of how men and women differ in their handling of money, that can shed some light on the matter.
Spending habits account for one the largest differences in the ways men and women manage their money. The Journal of Financial Planning reports that nearly 24 percent of women say they can’t resist a sale, while only 4.5 percent of men say their unable to resist that same urge to splurge. According to the study, women also outnumber men, by a measure of 2 to 1, when it comes to impulsive or unplanned buying, and making unnecessary purchases. The numbers show that when it comes to spending, men are generally more practical and pragmatic, where as, women tend to be more susceptible to impulsive decision-making.
Although, the data shows that women tend to rack up larger numbers of unnecessary bills, another study suggests that women also have a slight edge in managing their debts. According to Money Magazine, over a five year period, men accounted for 60% of those who defaulted on their debts (things like unpaid credit card bills, or car payments), and 54% of recorded bankruptcies. It’s also worth noting that most defaults and bankruptcies, by both men and women, were attributed to young adults, between the ages of 18 and 37.
Education and Income
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average income for full time working man is $47,715 and the average income for a full time working woman is $36,931. Men earned on average about 29% more than women. Though, just 30 years ago the average full time working female earned only 62% when compared to their male counterparts. Also, the average earnings for college educated women has increased by 33%, while the average earning for a male graduate has only increased by 19.9%.
Not So Different
While the available data shows some interesting differences in the ways men and women handle their money, both genders face most of the same struggles in managing their budget. Both men and women face the risk of financial emergencies and making common money management mistakes, which can alter their spending and budgeting habits. There are also a number of other variables that effect people’s money handling, like social status and family obligations. At the end of the day, the key to managing money effectively isn’t in a gender, but rather in a person’s own financial understanding and their ability to apply that knowledge to their daily lives.