Let’s start with this: a lot of stereotypes are flat-out wrong. Indeed we’ve all visited a different state or country and said to ourselves “wow, this is nothing like what I was led to believe!”
This unexpected — and ideally positive — paradigm shift also applies to things like jobs and even people. For example, we may have thought our neighbor was cantankerous, unfriendly or just plain mean; that is, until we see them dropping off our mail, mowing our lawn, bringing back our lost cat, or doing something else above and beyond our expectations.
However — yes, we all know that this was coming! — there are times when stereotypes, while not precise and absolute, nevertheless have a ring of validity to them. As the saying goes: “there’s some there, there.”
And there is indeed some there, there — in fact, there’s quite a lot of there, there — when it comes to looking, generally speaking of course, in how men and women handle money differently. Here are three of the most glaring discrepancies that leads to everything from wacky misunderstandings to all-out fights complete with extended solo stays on the sofa bed in the den or, in some more cases, Motel 6 (they’ll keep the lights on for you).
Ready? Here we go:
Difference #1: Saving Money vs. Generating Wealth
Generally, women are encouraged from childhood to improve their financial picture by saving money. However, men tend to lean toward investing in order to generate wealth. For example, if a couple needs to save $20,000 for a new car, she may start looking for ways to cut costs on non-essentials, while he may be calling his mechanic “who knows a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy who made a killing in real estate.”
Difference #2: Lifestyle vs. Winning
For many women, in the big picture money is about supporting a lifestyle. For men, however, it can be about winning and losing; or to put things more bluntly: making sure that they have more money than [enter name of arch-rival here]. Be aware that if this objective turns into an obsession, it might be necessary to call a bankruptcy firm like the Law Office of Charles Huber.
Difference #3: Underestimate vs. Overestimate
Many women underestimate their ability to be good financial planners and managers, and as such take a back-seat when it comes to major money matters — that is, until they start learning the ins and outs of things like variable interest rates and leveraging debt, and often become very good at it. On the other side of the spectrum, many men overestimate their financial acumen (until, like the time they tried to fix the leaky roof, they’re forced to call an expert to un-do the damage).
The Bottom Line
The best way for couples to strengthen and grow their financial fortunes is by communicating with each other, and confirming — instead of assuming — that they are on the same page and focused on the same goals. Naturally, this is easier said than done. There will be some arguments, and the sofa bed and/or Motel 6 will be in the picture often enough. But it will be worth it if it means that couples are working together vs. apart. That doesn’t just make a big difference — it makes all of the difference!