Study shows gender differences in money management

Each individual has his or her own way of managing their finances, with some being more responsible than others. The results of a new study reveal that money management not only differs by the individual, but also by gender.

According to a Northwestern Mutual study, women tend to be more cautious when it comes to financial planning, and are more likely than men to say that their money management strategies need improvement. The results show that 41 percent of women label themselves as planners, as opposed to only 35 percent of men. In addition, women expressed concerns over their financial preparation for their golden years. Those who report being financially prepared to live to age 75 accounted for 48 percent for women versus 65 percent of men. Only 37 percent of women said their finances would last them to age 85, compared with 55 percent of men.

Women reported being more conservative in their savings and investing strategies, they were more likely than men to prepare for sudden costs. Sixty-one percent said they prioritized building an emergency fund in 2012, compared with 54 percent of men.

“There are some good signs here – particularly in women’s recognition that their financial planning needs more attention,” said Rebekah Barsch, Northwestern Mutual vice president. “But as is the case with everyone we surveyed, not just women, there is a distinct need to bring more focus and discipline to the financial planning process.”

Although many Americans resolved to improve their finances following the recession, many individuals continue to be burdened by economic uncertainty, unemployment or job instability and large amounts of debt. Consumers who realize they are not reaching their financial goals have options when it comes to financial education and guidance. For example, credit counseling agencies can help individuals establish a money management plan that takes into account their short- and long-term goals. These can range from paying off debt or saving more money to planning for retirement or putting money aside for college.

In addition, individuals have access to a wealth of financial information online and through their financial institutions. By better understanding the various strategies and planning options they have, Americans can begin to make more calculated decisions about their finances.