11 Feb

Do Boys & Girls Spend Differently?

I came across an interesting article on MSN today, which suggested that boys and girls might have differing perspectives on money. The article studied a collection of same-age pairs, from two schoolmates to a set of twins of opposite gender, and noted the disparities in their financial beliefs and habits.

The results were telling: on average the boys seemed to know more about saving practices, while the girls were more apt to spend now, without worrying about the future.

By the Numbers

Author Abby Ellin used a number of surveys to back up her generalizations, and the statistics seemed to agree with her. One survey conducted by blogger Ramit Sethi showed that:

  • 58% of men felt confident about money (and only 44% of women),
  • Only 15% of men felt nervous about finances, as opposed to 26% of women, and
  • 83% of men were interested in investing, but only 70% of women shared that interest.

Gender and Expectation

The article also shared quotes from experts who had explored some reasons for this possible disconnect for girls. Some felt that parenting differences played a large part—parents tended to involve boys more in matters like buying cars or discussing investments and entrepreneurship (like “the family business”). Others felt that girls don’t value money because they expect to be cared for first by Dad and then by a spouse.

Breaking the Cycle

There seem to be a lot of factors in play in this scenario, and as parents we have the opportunity to ensure that our children are financially aware–regardless of gender. Here are some suggestions for helping your children learn the value of money:

  • Have your children work for their allowance, and consider basing the dollar amount they receive on the chores they do,
  • When they’re old enough, consider allowing them to get a part-time job (read my entry about 5 Ways to Raise More Financially Savvy Kids for more on why this is good!) My own son, a freshman in college, is expected to work during each summer to earn his spending money while at college.
  • Make your child pay for luxury items like movie tickets, eating out, prom tickets, or expensive clothes,
  • Have your child open a bank account and practice saving a portion of each allowance or paycheck,
  • Discuss some of your financial moves (and why they worked or didn’t work) with your children,
  • Involve your children in financial decisions like purchasing a car, choosing insurance, or selecting stock.

They may not seem to be listening, but you’ll be surprised over time how much your student will pick up!

All the best,
Deborah Fox

photo: chriz-home‘s Money 10$ Bill

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