Gender plays a role in most social issues and interactions, but the difference between men and women isn’t always considered, when it comes to managing money. In many cases, mums and dad take a team approach working out family finances, but there are also examples in which men and women fend for themselves, without help from members of the opposite sex. In these cases, there may be noted differences in the way money matters impact individuals, relative to gender.
Personal finances aren’t identical across UK individuals and families, but many households face a similar set of financial responsibilities. Managing monthly bills, controlling credit, investing, and setting aside savings are common money concerns, shared by most Britons, but not everyone responds to these financial demands in the same way. Though gender isn’t always the first point of reference explored by analysts and observers, some of the differences identified between household money managers may indeed be related to the sex of the person in charge of the books at home.
Women Encounter Different Issues
Despite similarities in the financial challenges faced by men and women, there may also be differences between the two sexes. The women-focused blog, Money Nuggets, recently highlighted a few of the unique finance concerns that set apart women from male money managers. The specialized financial education website, aimed primarily at UK women, pointed out a handful of issues that contribute to women’s unique perspectives about money and finance.
Women worry more about their future finances – The Trade Union Congress (TUC) presented data showing women typically have smaller pension pots than their male counterparts. The gap is so pronounced, in fact, women’s defined contribution pension schemes may be worth half as much as men’s. The result for women is greater uncertainty about their financial futures, leading to higher levels of worry for women than men. Stepping away from work roles, in order to care for children is a contributing factor, leaving women less secure about their future finances.
More women are tending to family finances these days – It is thought roles may have evolved in many UK households, leaving women in charge of financial matters. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) found women are making more financial decisions than was once the case. In addition to overseeing day-to-day financial matters, women are also deciding which car to buy, making house purchase decisions, and taking control of family investing and saving needs. Taking on the added responsibilities gives women a louder voice, making decisions at home, but it also puts them under more stress.
Women are among the first to feel the pinch – Women disproportionately work in part-time roles and public sector jobs. When recession hits, these are often the first types of employment to feel the pinch. During the noted recession, beginning in 2008, unemployment among women went up, even as men’s unemployment moved in the other direction. Such trends directly impact women’s ability to earn, and when combined with reduced benefits and services for working mums, can have a significant impact on women’s financial health.
Women tend to be caregivers – Children and aging relatives need extra attention, so it’s no surprise women often take on roles as caregivers. Adopting this vital family responsibility often takes them out of the work force for a period of time, or limits the number of hours available for women to pursue a full-time livelihood.
Women are less financially secure than their male partners – The traditional family dynamic leaves women concerned about the future, should something happen to their spouse or coupled relationship. Short-term financing is available for women with jobs, providing fast funds when money’s most needed. But the potential for lasting changes, such as divorce, death, or illness of a partner, creates added anxiety among women, compared to their spouses.