For as long as there has been money, whether you were born a man or a woman meant that you were most probably raised to view and spend money very differently. While experts say our socialisation (our trained behaviour), is primarily modelled after our same-sex parent, they also agree these generalisations are being broken down. The focus here is on where men and women “choose” to spend their money, their expendable income, so forget necessities like rent, mortgages, household goods, petrol, bills, children etc, we want to know where men and women spend their hard earned cash.
It’s long been the knowledge of our Neanderthal history that men hunt and women gatherer. So it should come as no surprise that when you enter your local Target, you’ll tend to see women browsing around, “gathering” up the best from various sources and enjoying the experience, while men haven’t got much time to waste and prefer going straight in for the kill.
Women have been taught to invest in lifestyle and children, while men have been taught to invest in things that hold value like a house and retirement. 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 real value. According to surveys conducted in The US, the top 5 things men and women choose to spend their money on are:
Men don’t spend, they invest. Men don’t want something, they need it. Theirs is a future-money orientation. Men are trained to fix and provide, so they view money as a means to capture and accumulate things to add more value.
With as much progression in equality between the sexes as we’ve had, men are still the primary bread winners in most cultures, (about 25% of women in The US make more money than their husbands or boyfriends) and caring for the future of their family is a duty most happily accept. Whoever makes the most income aside, governments and financial institutions are aware that people can’t be apart of the workforce forever and as such cleverly provide workers with provisions so they won’t have to pick up the slack later and our economy remains strong.
Depending on the age you retire, planning for how much you’ll need to live like you would like is hard to estimate with many financial planners advising that you need about 65% of your pre-retirement income. Women mostly feel comfortable about everyday money management like budgeting but are less confident when it comes to investing. Whether it be in stocks and bonds, property or art, the male need to keep accumulating wealth sees investing as the number 1 thing they choose to spend their money on.
This includes electronics, games, movies, TV, music, travel and events which cover the majority of male spending. Male spending on these purchases is usually reoccurring and tend to come with expensive additions. As the need to be more digitally connected and state of the art continues, our obsession with technology, not only to navigate us through life but to do business, sees men more than willing to pay for high end products.
Following on to sporting events, advertisers and sponsors are responsible for making this a multi-million dollar industry. With an advertising spot during a Superbowl commercial break going for around $3 million and sport star contracts costing teams hundreds of millions of dollars, men making and spending money through sport is a phenomenon. Filling the need to have the latest item or the one their favourite sport star uses puts entertainment in a close second.
3. On Women/Love/Online Dating
With these 3 all falling under the same heading, men see finding love as important as women; with the one thing the sexes seeming to have in common is the need for companionship. Men and women are very willing to spend their hard earned money on the search for a happy ending and according to a study in Canada for every woman using an online dating service, there are at least 2 men. That accounts for $214 million a year and this is even before the people even meet! That’s when the dinners, gifts, coffees and movie tickets get factored in.
With women more often paying for themselves, there is still a social obligation that men pick up the tab. The new rule that has come out of all this is: whoever asks the other out should pay. But men can’t help that innate feeling to provide and in some instances can feel emasculated if the woman foots the bill.
4. Hobbies and Sports
From collections of cars, guitars and musical gadgets to stamps, model aeroplanes, train sets and coins, every man enjoys a hobby and is willing to pay enormous amounts to enjoy it. And following on from a man’s need to invest and accumulate things that add value, there are even hobbies that can make money. Collecting and later selling sporting memorabilia is one such hobby. There is a tremendously large market for balls, bat, clubs, hats, shoes, jerseys, or anything that a famous sport star has touched or even better used to win something.
5. Betting and Gambling
Men love any opportunity to make something they already enjoy watching even better and putting a wager on your favourite sports team or horse takes the 5th place position for male spending. Proven to make more money than the lotteries, the gambling industry provides men with everything they like: risk, adrenalin, competition and potentially fast rewards.
The biggest trend to come out of the past decade was the increase in popularity of poker. Thousands flocked to casinos all over the world, especially in Las Vegas to try their hand at beating the pros (something a lot of sports can’t offer the everyday punter). The World Series of Poker is played once a year and anyone with $10,000 can enter. Past winner have collected between $7 and $12 million for about a week’s work.
Women are trained to nurture and seek acceptance and so 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. “Women are the collectors of stuff and are taught that what they need to get through life is approval. They have to look good, act good and be good, as their Top 5 choices expose:
An average woman will spend 8.5 years of her life shopping and with so many clothes, handbags and shoes to choose from, there was never a doubt that this would take the number 1 spot. According to a report, women make up 70% of al consumer spending in The United States with 60% of online shopping being done by women.
For women, shopping is an adventure for the senses and a great way to indulge them. With sales and coupons regularly made the most use of, women may come home with a lot of bags, but the total cost of a women’s shopping isn’t even comparable to a man’s number 1 spending choice. However, shopping is only a temporary source of happiness for women, with the order going: pets, sex, food, friends and then shopping.
With the popularity of gossip and fashion magazines and with wealthy reality TV stars often gracing the covers, everything from anti-aging products to cosmetic surgery has women spending thousands of dollars a year on beauty products in order to look as good as them. This exploding industry has come from the long agreed viewpoint that looking good makes people feel good and the market that appeals to these emotions is boundless.
With niches that extend to eyebrow shaping and bejewelling ones private parts, women fuel a never ending fire that keeps the beauty industry flourishing. Japanese men are now even buying cosmetics. Factor in all the places on a woman’s body that might be seen in public (hair, nails, feet, face, skin) and there will be five different methods to make it look and smell good.
3. Health and Fitness
Along with the fear of illness and death comes the large majority of female spending on preventative measures and natural remedies to stay fit and healthy. We all know the benefits a healthy lifestyle can have in extending one’s lifespan and this industry particularly hits home with women. Vitamins, Supplements, Medicines, Teas and Exotic Juices are all used in the battle for good nutrition and weight loss.
Particular phenomenon’s that have taken the western world by storm like the lemon detox diet and the cabbage soup diet have done so because they really appeal to women’s emotions to feel and look good at an cost (not just a monetary one).
4. Love/Online Dating
The booming online dating industry sees millions of dollars being spent on personal ads, online dating websites, relationship books and this even extends to pets, with women choosing their partner based on the pets each owns.
5. Home Furnishings
Women are said to be responsible for today’s mass-luxury trend. With the movement of both partners working to afford a luxurious lifestyle, women enjoy spending their hard earned cash on making the home warm and friendly for their families and guests. It is now not uncommon for women to save up for new bathrooms and kitchens than holidays. A bathroom that promotes relaxation on a daily basis will serve her much better than a week away at the end of the year. And home furnishing companies are aware of their huge buying force in the marketplace.
The case may be that men spend much more than women and their spending habits couldn’t be more different, but the message here is to spend wisely and never spend beyond your means. And remember, you read it on the Internet so it must be true.
This article was written be Alban who is a personal finance writer at Home Loan Finder, where he provides advice on first home buyer loans. Visit the Home Loan Finder website for more information on how to compare home loans.