As a mortgage broking business operating in the personal finance space, we see a large group of clients, a diverse group of clients, whose money management skills span the spectrum from those who don’t have any experience to those who have a lot.
The one thing all our clients have in common is a drive to build their personal wealth and the decision to use an expert to guide them on that journey towards their financial goals.
We know that women and men are equally capable of building personal wealth, with neither gender having an innate advantage over the other.
For fun – women vs men
But just for fun, we thought we’d tap into some prehistoric frontal cortex thinking and try to make a case for gender being relevant to money-management skills.
In reality, we want to be very clear that we know that everyone – whether they are male, female, intersex or transgender – can develop good money management skills and create great financial habits that set them up for a future of independence and wealth.
From being more cautious with debt to comparing phone plans to make sure they get the best deal, women and men generally do have different attitudes to finance.
Why women are better at finances than men (Alex Pappas)
Compared to men, women tend to be more cautious. Women are a bit more considered in their approach when taking risks and when profiled, tend to be more risk averse. Women weigh up pros and cons and are more thoughtful about potential costs. As a gender, women tend to take fewer risks and when this translates to managing money women are not as likely to lose their savings in risky, or higher risk, settings.
According to a recent BMO poll, men are more likely to get into debt. About 33 per cent of the male respondents had more than $100,000 in debt as opposed to only 22 per cent of women. This doesn’t necessarily equate to bad money management because, as we all know, there are strategies that use debt to grow your wealth. However, women tend to prefer other strategies that grow personal wealth rather than, say, debt recycling strategies which can present an unpalatable level of debt.
- Pragmatism vs optimism:
Women are pragmatists, while men tend towards optimism. Optimism can be very useful in a money management context, but the flip side of that coin is that optimism can be wishful thinking.
A positive attitude is key to investment success, but it must be grounded in reality. Women focus on the reality of the situation, the here and now, when making decisions and they tend to take into account worst-case scenarios, while men may focus on the best-case outcome of the risky strategy they want to embark upon.
- Seeking support:
Women are expert at finding experts to help them. Women readily accept that they are not experts in every area and don’t shy away from seeking help to guide them on their way to their financial goals. Women are expert researchers – they know they must find the answers from someone who has extensive knowledge. Also, we know that women are more likely to do whatever it takes to keep the household afloat than men. According to a report by Fidelity, 53 per cent of women against 44 per cent of men were more likely to seek information and advice from professional financial planners.
- Goal setters:
When it comes to managing money, it’s important to have specific, crucial and measurable goals. Without them, focus will be lost and it’s impossible to measure progress or success. Women are more likely to write down their goals and map out the journey, step by step.
- Women are healthier:
This one is less a sweeping generalisation and more a scientific fact. Women live longer and compared with men are less likely to smoke, abuse alcohol or take drugs. As a result, women are less susceptible to lifestyle-induced diseases and generally lead much healthier lives than men. This gives us a natural advantage financially – we don’t have to budget for cigarettes, as much alcohol as men, or medications to manage deteriorating health conditions!
Why men are better at finances than women (Lachlan Mirams)
- Cost-effectiveness and practicality
Men, as a gender, tend to make more cost-effective and practical purchases. They are not swayed by labels or by brands, but rather focus on the efficacy of the product or service. In other words, why spend a fortune on an expensive brand when a home brand will do the job? Does the product work, or, is the service achieving the desired outcome? If not, they’ll ditch it and hunt for something new.
- Men compare data
When it comes to utilities, insurances, phone and internet costs, men tend to compare deals and identify the bang for buck before committing. Then, they’re more likely to follow up and review those decisions every 12 months, ensuring the deal remains the best one possible and not a penny is being wasted.
- Men compare features
When researching purchases men are more likely to compare features of products to find the best deal. For example, a car purchase is guided by engine size, performance, interior comforts and budget. The colour does not figure into the decision-making process.
- Men are planners
Men prefer to plan their spending in advance. Men identify the purchases that are needed and plan for those purchases. Unplanned expenses will likely put men under pressure because of the lack of planning opportunity. They are not spontaneous spenders. Through planning, men are able to manage finances carefully and successfully.
- Men focus on the bigger picture
Retirement and future needs are front of mind for many men when it comes to finances. They naturally tend to be focused on providing for themselves and their family’s future needs. Men are more likely to want income protection and insurance products that will safeguard theirs and their family’s future needs. This gives men a natural advantage when managing finances.
- Men love technology
Money apps and other such digital tech tools are favourite toys of men when it comes to managing money. This is a natural advantage for keeping track and keeping on target with money goals. Men tend to enjoy spending time poring over detailed spreadsheets more than women. The spreadsheet is the natural domain of the money manager and this tends to be a tool that men excel at (pun intended) more so than women.
Anyone can be a money whiz
As we said at the beginning, our fundamental belief when it comes to personal finance is that anyone can be a great money manager and we see plenty of evidence of this every day in our business.
Based on our years of experience helping clients manage their personal finance goals, whether it’s women and finance or men and finance, every client is unique and has their own distinctive set of needs and requirements.
We see women and finance as a natural fit, just as men and finance is a natural fit. Neither has an innate advantage over the other.
However, we do also recognise that men and women come with different attitudes to money and different emotional mindsets. Money represents different things to different people. Usually, it’s freedom and security for family and loved ones. But it can mean lots more than that to many people.
Women in finance events
A growth area in recent years has been personal finance for women, with many podcasts, books, websites and events designed to help women gain more confidence and knowledge around managing their goals. The events, in particular, have grown significantly in number of late, and there is an occasion for pretty much everyone, no matter where on their personal finance journey they are. Beginners through to experts, personal finance for women is a massive growth sector. If you’re looking to grow your own financial knowledge, a quick google search will help you find a women-in-finance event near you.
Women and finance – a growing area
In our own practice we are seeing an increase in personal loan finance enquiries from women. Gaining more information about the loan application process and how they can prepare for it better is the general nature of these enquiries, from a broad range of demographics. Personal loan finance enquiries from young men also are on the rise.
What really matters is how well each person works with their partner to achieve their financial goals. The strategies used may vary from person to person, from couple to couple and from family to family, but the goal remains the same – an accumulation of personal wealth.
The information provided in this article is general in nature and does not constitute personal financial advice. The information has been prepared without taking into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on any information you should consider the appropriateness of the information with regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs.
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