You don’t have to tell me that men and women are different (beyond obvious physical characteristics, of course). There’s plenty of data out there to support the idea that, in general, there are some gender-based differences in how we communicate, process information, and make decisions. At least, this is true in the case of my husband and me.
When it comes to finance, there are a lot of sexist clichés about the sexes. In terms of stereotypes, the one you’ll hear the most is that women are cautious and men are risky when it comes to investing. I also once overheard a man say that “most women don’t have a head for math and numbers,” and are best left letting their “men” to do the financial business.
I say let’s prove those stereotypes wrong. Sure—men and women consider information differently, plan differently, and act differently. However, that does not mean that women aren’t or can’t be good at investing or money management. As with anything else, in order to have skill and confidence at something you need to learn it and master that knowledge. Saying women are bad investors is like saying that a man can’t design and sew a dress. (Ever seen how many successful male designers there are out there?)
Historically speaking, women didn’t have much, if anything, to do with their household financial planning (although, it seems like they did and do shoulder the “bill paying” aspect of things). Now that people get married later, women are living on their own longer, building careers, and taking care of their own finances.
I knew very little about personal finance, let along investing, when I graduated from college. I took an interest in it, though, and read everything I could get my hands on. Nowadays, I’m married, but that doesn’t mean I’ve taken a back seat in our financial planning. We either research or make decisions together, or, more often than not, I take the lead on our investment strategy (and FYI, my risk tolerance for the stock market is pretty darn high).
Anyway, the point is to not let yourself get caught up in what people say you can or can’t do or understand when it comes to your finances. Man or woman, we all should take responsibility for our financial future, educate ourselves, and be our own advocates.
What do you think? If you’re married or living with a significant other, who makes the financial decisions in your household?