How many times have we heard the phrase “men are from Mars, women are from Venus”? When American author John Gray penned those words, he was simplifying the differences in our gender when it comes to relationships.
But it’s not just relationships. Never have these differences been more apparent than when it comes to finances and our spending habits. Think about it – how many times has your spouse shaken their head at where you spend your money?
In 2014, the Financial Health Barometer explored the savings habits of Australian consumers. While it uncovered some significant differences between generations, it’s no surprise it also discovered men and women have different priorities when it comes to spending and saving.“men said they averaged $1175 in savings each month while women saved $675 per month”
For some time, it has been widely stated that men save more money than women. In the 2014 report, men said they averaged $1175 in savings each month while women saved $675 per month. While some of that can be attributed to a difference in employment status and wage earnings, there is some good evidence to show a gender difference in financial priorities.
Gen Y showed up as being the most committed savers, while baby boomers were the only generation to not increase their monthly savings. Of course, many boomers are now retiring from the workforce and therefore do not have a savings priority, or even surplus funds to do so.
Just as in previous years, the report indicates that health and happiness is directly related to savings patterns. Regular savers, regardless of generation or gender, are twice as likely to feel happy with their life and subsequently enjoy good health.
The report also showed that in 2014 there were more incidences of impulse buying for both males and females. Would you be surprised to learn that women are more likely to impulsively buy clothing whereas men buy alcohol and gadgets?
One in four females say they need regular visits to a hairdresser or beautician. This is because females are more likely than males to consider that maintaining their physical appearance is essential to their wellbeing.“The average total spend on impulsive purchases in a week was $164 for men and $111 for women ”
Of course, if you want to stop the impulsive purchases, carrying cash is one way to prevent it. Nineteen per cent of Gen Y say they do not carry cash as opposed to 9 per cent of baby boomers.
Chaining yourself to the house is another way to prevent impulsive spending, but with the increase in online shopping there are no guarantees you won’t be tempted to make a purchase from your home computer or tablet. Two-thirds of our population now say they make at least one transaction this way every month.
There are some interesting figures regarding the difference in fiscal priorities between the sexes. Buying your own home and socialising with friends is more important to women. Men place greater importance on retiring before the age of 65, eating out in restaurants and being able to afford domestic help.
Next time you are having either a ‘mild discussion’ or ‘heated debate’ about the amount of household money being spent on differing priorities, it might pay to remember that men and women just do not have the same opinions.