It’s already been shown that men and women view money differently, which may explain why they also have such different qualities when it comes to their debt. Contrary to what many assume, though many more women are in debt counseling, men actually suffer from the most debt. Here’s a look at how the debt issues of men and women differ and why that might be the case:
Women Are More Optimistic
One explanation for why women remain in less debt than men is their more optimistic outlook on their personal finance situation. An impressive 82 percent of women under the age of 40 polled by Citigroup believe their financial situation is on the upswing.
However, is this the result of feminine naivete over a more realistic male outlook on life or a well-founded sense of assurance? According to Lisa Caputo, CEO of Citibank’s Women & Co. business, “When people are optimistic, it’s because they’ve taken the steps to make sure that their own personal financial situation feels good to them.” Current trends are suggesting this might actually be the case.
Men Find Difficulty in Repaying Debt
According to a recent article in the U.K.’s Telegraph, the Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS) has reported that men vs. women have more trouble when it comes to repaying what they owe. Many more struggle just to cover basic living costs.
The charity saw a sharp increase of 51 percent in the number of men that turned to them for credit counseling help in 2007, while the number of women rose by less than half over the same period of time.
Additionally, a 2007 study by Veda Advantage revealed the male gender is more likely to default on payments of all kinds. Between June 2002 and mid-2007, six out of 10 defaults were made by men.
So what contributed to the overwhelming rise in debt problems for men? Over a quarter of those surveyed blamed a loss of income, while a close second was unemployment.
More Women in Debt Counseling Because Men Can’t Admit There’s a Problem
Even though the number of men seeking debt help versus women is on the rise, women have been and continue to be a debt counselor’s number one client. It’s not because of an addiction to shoes or handbags, either. Women, while keeping a more positive outlook regarding finances, are also more likely to seek help when a problem is apparent.
It’s like when a couple gets lost — who asks for directions? Certainly not the guy (who also insisted that he drive). A stereotypical gender difference–women are just more willing to admit when they need help.
Men Don’t Face the Same Financial Obstacles
Interestingly enough, even though women have less debt than men overall, it’s still harder for the female population to keep up financially. 65 percent of men earn more than women, which should make it a bit easier for them to cover expenses.
Further, just to make it even tougher on women, men are also working at their jobs more and spending less time doing housework. It may be the 21st century, but modern ladies are still picking up the slack when it comes to doing dishes and laundry. According to Intelligent Magazine’s Till Debt Do Us Part, “Men do 313 minutes a day of market work and 163 minutes of housework (liberally defined as anything you could pay someone else to do for you), whereas women do 201 and 271 minutes, respectively.”
In other words, men are getting paid for an extra 42 minutes a day at a higher rate and spending half as much time working on the house than they are working for pay. Women on the other hand, are working fewer hours but spending 75 percent more than that time attending to housework.
How could this be? Men work more and earn more, but also have the most trouble with debt. Perhaps it’s the more positive perspective women maintain. Or, maybe if the male gender were more willing to ask for help, they’d turn things around. Perhaps there’s another reason no one has discovered yet. In any case, men continue to hold the title of “worst debtors” over women.