10 Aug

Men and Women and Money and their Differences


It shouldn’t come as any great shock to of you that men and women are different.  In case this is breaking news to you or you’re just from another planet, John Gray wrote a pretty interesting book called ‘Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus’. Besides the obvious physiological differences, there are also psychological differences.  So, it also shouldn’t come as a shock to learn that when it comes to money, men and women are different as well – which adds a further layer of complication to a couple's relationship.

Here are a few differences that have been identified.  Bear in mind these are generalisations, so not every man or women is going to fit nicely into these areas (this list was compiled by my mentor, psychiatrist Prof. David Krueger)

  • Men tend to view money as representing power and identity.  Women view it as security and autonomy.
  • Women investors are less aggressive, trade less and earn higher returns than men.
  • Men invest it to grow principle.  Women want to protect it.
  • Women worry about losing money, more than doing nothing with it. Men don’t like inaction.
  • Men orientate towards results.  Women put a higher priority on relationships.
  • Women tend to take it personally if they lose investment money. Men tend to blame external factors, e.g. the market, the broker, etc.
  • Men view effective money management in terms of long-term strategies, e.g. retirement.  Women look at shorter range goals, e.g. finding bargains, eliminating debt.
  • If a man earns more than his wife, he thinks he should have the prime decision making authority. If the other way around, the wife thinks of shared democratic decision making.

Do any of these sound familiar to you?

So, where do these differences come from?

A lot of these gender differences are thought to be socio-cultural, in other words the characteristics of the men being the hunter while the women is the gatherer and nurturer.

Sounds reasonable, but are your brains hardwired with these differences?  If you are a parent of boys and girls, I am sure you will have a gut answer to this question.

In 2007 Leonard Sax (a psychologist and family Doctor) released his research which included compiling research results of others.  This is a snippet of his findings:

As part of a behavioural study into new-borns, the babies were placed in their cots where, a woman was on one side of the cot and on the other side was a revolving mobile.  The study found that every new-born boy looked at the mobile and the girls looked at the woman.  This implied that from day one of life, we are hardwired.

Your eyes are wired differently too.  In simple terms, girls look at colour and texture (M cells connected to rods), while boys focus on movement (P cells connected to cones).

We also hear differently as well.  A girl’s hearing is seven times more sensitive than boys.  By the time we reach adulthood it is about 24 times more so.  So, when a man says, “I can’t hear you honey” he may well be right! (phew!)

There have been numerous studies to support these findings that men and women’s brains are hardwired differently.

Add to that, the socio cultural and stereotype differences, it’s little wonder we have so much trouble working through the money minefield in our relationships.

Many of you will find it hard to talk to your partner/spouse about money and if that’s you, you’re not alone.

Even in the tightest relationship money can be hard to talk about – but easy to yell about.  Sigmund Freud noted that people find it easier to talk about sex than money.

There are all sorts of reason why couples find it difficult, but unless you find a way, you severely limit the chances of your relationship staying together.  The ability to discuss money and your financial plans is an important skill in developing your relationship and your financial wellbeing.

Here’s another scary statistic: 1 in 4 couples has a partner that is secretly spending or hiding joint money.

Sadly, money issues are now the single most common cause of relationship failures in the western world.

In the next blog, we will delve a bit further into the some of the spending differences between men and women.

If you would like me to help you to explore your own relationship with money and that of your partner, drop me an email or click on this link to find a day and time that suits you to have a chat with me – it’s completely free!

While you’re here, take my free Money Personality quiz.