it comes to money, men and women view it, spend it and invest it
Despite better education, despite more and simpler
ways to manage it, despite tons of books on the subject, even despite
just plain having more of it, there is one thing we seem
dead set against doing with our money, and that's talking about
Sure, you may know your spouse or partner's
blind spots where money is concerned. But do you know your own?
Born to shop
From birth, American women and men are raised to view
and spend money quite differently. Our socialization,
a trained behavior, is primarily modeled after our same-sex
parent. While experts agree these generalizations are
breaking down, the money paradigm most of us have been
dealt is similar.
||Women vs. men:
||Women, trained to nurture and seek acceptance, view money as a means to create a lifestyle. Women spend on things that enhance day-to-day living. Theirs is a now-money orientation.
||Men, trained to fix and provide, view money as a means to capture and accumulate value. Men don't spend, they invest. Men don't want something, they need it. Theirs is a future-money orientation.
"Women have been taught
to invest in lifestyle and children. Men have been
taught to invest in things that hold value -- a
house, retirement," says Ruth
Hayden, a financial counselor and author of
"For Richer, Not Poorer: The Money Book for
Couples." "The way that translates into
spending is that women spend more money on the stuff
that makes the day work. The problem with that is,
most of that stuff has no asset value, no visible
In other words, let the bickering begin. It
usually starts with the words, "Where did all the money go?"
Even our approach to shopping differs greatly.
Consider the innocent trip to the mall. She
will dive into the clothes racks seeking an outfit she likes, one
that expresses her view of herself, something in fashion, something now. He will make a beeline to the first shirt that will
work, then stand with bag in hand, tapping his toe and fuming about
what he perceives as her inability to make a decision.
"Women are the collectors of stuff. Women
do the clothes. Women are taught that what they need to get through
life is approval. They have to look good, act good, be good,"
says Hayden. "When men go shopping, they expect that whatever
they're shopping for to 'get fixed,' because men are supposed to
fix stuff. They don't want to be part of the process."
Our sense of who we are is intricately entwined
with our spending habits, according to a study by
Tahira K. Hira, professor of consumer economics
and personal finance at Iowa State University; and
Olive Mugenda, professor of Family and Consumer
Sciences and dean of the home economics faculty
at Kenyatta University in Kenya, published in the Journal
of Financial Planning.