Stereotypes aside, men and women think differently when it comes to home finances and debt. Who is more careful with money? Who is the bigger risk taker? Take a look at some numbers.
Who takes on more debt? Women tend to take on less overall debt than men, according to a 2014 Bankrate.com article exploring gender roles in money-making decisions. In a survey, men took on 4.3 percent more debt, on average, than women. And when it came to mortgage debt, the difference was even greater. Men opted for almost 5 percent more in mortgage debt. Men also tended to fall behind on their mortgage payments at a higher rate. Could this be because more women than men reported handling day-to-day household expenses and may have a better handle on household finances?
Asking for help? Women tend to seek credit counseling sooner and more willingly than men, according to Bankrate.com. When it comes to whom they prefer to consult, men seemed to prefer men and women preferred women. When their husbands passed away, wives often moved their investments from a male investment adviser to a female, the Bankrate.com article said.
Risk taking. Females were much less likely to take risks with investments, often holding large amounts in risk-averse instruments like CDs, the Bankrate.com article found. Men tended to be more risk tolerant, viewing investing as competitive. Why so different? The more conservative female approach could be fueled by the fact that women outlive men and are statistically more likely to suffer financially upon their husband’s passing than the other way around.
Blending strengths. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to gender roles and money. However, understanding differences in philosophy will go a long way toward finding a happy medium in a couple’s household finances. Appreciating each other’s strengths and reaching compromises is essential.