Women in the US may make $0.78 for every dollar earned by a man, but studies show that in some ways women are actually better at investing, saving, and preparing for the future.
“When looking closer at our data and cross-referencing it with other data sources, we see that women working full-time in the United States earn approximately 23% less income than men but that women are taking steps to manage their finances better than men,” said Michele Raneri, vice president of analytics at Experian, in a statement that accompanied the credit bureau’s 2013 study of gender differences.
Here are five ways women are better than men with money:
1. They have less credit card debt.
According to a 2015 study by ValuePenguin, the average amount of credit card debt women had was $5,245. Men held $7,407, which is a 22% difference.
ValuePenguin reports that various studies, including its own Survey of Consumer Spending Habits, indicate that this may be in part because women tend to use more debit cards in lieu of credit. The site found that 'women were more likely to fall into the smaller spending categories, whereas more men tended to be big credit card spenders -- 19% of men the men surveyed would spend $2,000+ per month, compared to just 8% of women.'
There's nothing wrong with using credit cards if you can afford to pay your balance in full, but credit card debt is known as the penultimate example of 'bad debt,' thanks to its high interest rates.
2. They are more financially independent from their parents.
As previously reported by Business Insider, a survey from financial tech company Yodlee Interactive showed that men between the ages of 35 and 44 are more than twice as likely to need their parents' money than women, and nearly four times as likely to live at home.
When they do live at home it's more likely that they're under or unemployed, as opposed to living at home to take care of their parents.
3. They are more likely to save for retirement.
According to a 2015 report by Vanguard, women are more likely than men to participate in their workplace savings plan at all income levels.
This doesn't always translate to more retirement savings. Despite women's statistical diligence, men are often able to ultimately save more. 'The median account balance of our male participants was $36,875, while the median account balance for our female participants was $24,446,' writes senior research analyst Jean A. Young in Vanguard's report.
She explains that this gap could be credited to two things: that men earn more, and tend to have longer tenure in the workforce.
4. And they're more likely to leave their retirement savings alone.
According to a 2013 report from HSBC, 31% of men in the US would consider dipping into their retirement funds to cope with tough times. Just 23% of women would do the same thing.
Staying away from retirement savings is a good thing because not only does dipping into a retirement account defeat the purpose of it in the first place, but there are also consequences for raiding your account in the form of early distribution penalties and taxes.
5. They are more measured in their investing.
According to a report from automated investing platform Betterment, men are significantly more likely to take more risks with their investments.
'Male customers also tended to crank the dial to 100% stocks at least twice as often as women,' writes Betterment's Catherine New. 'They are also nearly six times more likely to make massive allocation changes -- switching from 100% stocks to 100% bonds or vice versa.'
This tendency to be hands-on with long-term investments is problematic because many times, the most successful retail investors are those who leave their money alone.
According to Dan Egan, Betterment's Director of Behavioural Finance and Investing, the less customers adjust their allocations, the more likely they are to hit their goals.
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