A number of surveys across the world have found that men and women have different priorities when it comes to managing their money. Understanding these differences will impact how a person will plan and save for their futures.
The overarching difference between men and women when it comes to finances is their approach to risk. Generally, women are more risk averse than men. This aversion impacts most of their spending and investing habits. For example, women will typically prefer more tangible assets like houses and cash. Men on the other hand tend to be more willing to invest in stock markets and assets that although more volatile and riskier, can ultimately yield greater returns into the future.
Debt and spending
This risk aversion filters down in the way women spend their money. Women are more likely to pay off their debt faster than men. Typically, a woman will prioritise paying off her credit card, while her male counterpart would be far more likely to plan a holiday. As such, men tend to have more debt than women. Also, men are comfortable using debt to buy luxury items, where women more commonly use their debt to make ends meet when going through a rough patch. Day-to-day spending habits see men spending more on food and cars, while women spend more on clothing. Women are also more price conscious than men and are more like to shop at discount stores, on sales or use discount coupons.
Research has found that women will save towards short- to medium-term goals, while men take a longer-term view to their savings. Women, especially those with children, will save for their families’ needs and will spend more on their children. Women prioritise paying for their children’s education and weddings, whereas men will tend to look to saving for long-term financial security.
While men and women have similar long-term savings goals, a report from Mylo Financial Technologies found that men saved almost twice as much for their retirement. Interestingly though, as a percentage of salary earned, women saved a larger percentage of their salary than men. This discrepancy is due to women, on average, earning less than men. Men also tend to become competitive within the savings arena, while women invest for security and with their families’ needs in mind. Women want to know they have enough saved for retirement, have paid off the house, and have put their children through school and university.
Research has found men are more confident when it comes to managing their money and are more open to risky investments. As such, men will engage more actively in their investments and have more confidence around money management. On the other hand, women tend to be more passive in their investment strategies, are more likely to subscribe to the company pension fund, and are more likely to seek financial advice than men. As such, over time, women’s investment outcomes, although lower, tend to be more stable than those of men.
The gender pay gap is a significant contributor to how well-prepared men and women will be for retirement. Surveys have found that men and women reach retirement age with significantly different pension sums. The reason is that women not only have less to invest each month, they are also more likely to draw on their pension savings in times of a financial emergency or to pay for big ticket items.
Planning for your future
Ultimately, whether you are a man or a woman, having the right financial advisor in your corner is critical. When your advisor understands your priorities, needs and goals, they can ensure that not only are you financially able to meet your financial needs throughout your lifetime, but can also retire knowing you are financially secure.