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Gender Spender!

In the ongoing battle of the sexes, the long-held stereotypes are that the blokes like to splash their cash on grog, sport and tech gadgets (boys and their toys!), while the babes shop ‘til they drop for shoes, clothes and make-up (girls just wanna have fun!). In recent readings we came across some interesting behavioural patterns in men and women when it comes to money. Ladies and gentlemen, let us begin! Bear in mind, we’re having a bit of fun here and we’re all for equality, but there’s simply no denying certain fundamental gender differences. Sometimes it even feels as if we’re from different planets. Remember the book Men Are from Mars, Women Are From Venus by John Gray? That world-famous publication may have been first released in the early ‘90s, but the idea harks back to caveman days of hunters and gatherers. Let’s consider a modern-day interpretation. A man hunts down a shirt at the local shopping centre, wears it until it essentially disintegrates, then goes out again — out of pure necessity — and acquires a replacement. A woman, in contrast, chooses to “feathers the nest” by gathering lots of pretty things for family, friends, herself, the home... Generally speaking, women are conditioned to devote themselves to lifestyle and family, focusing more on longer-term, non-monetary goals. They often associate money with security, independence and quality of life for them and their loved ones. It’s said that men, on the other hand, tend to invest in things that hold value, like a house or superannuation. They’re more motivated by the power and status that money provides, often acting independently because they’re more competitive by nature. Why can those with the XY chromosome combo be so extreme in their actions? Research into male hormones suggests that testosterone surges when men are succeeding and decreases fear of risk, while the “stress hormone” cortisol is released when they’re failing. On the flipside, and contrary to the stereotype, women adopt a more measured approach. They take more time making decisions, explore investments in-depth, exhibit more patience and consult their advisors. Whether married or not, have kids or not, they’re more financially cautious than men and less disposed to take financial gambles. Studies show that on average women live almost five years longer than men, meaning they need to stretch their superannuation further. The tricky bit is that the ladies save less for retirement because, generally speaking, they work lower-paid jobs and their careers are interrupted by pregnancy and child-rearing. Despite these financial setbacks, research suggests women may be better at paying back loans. They supposedly give more to charity too. One titbit we stumbled upon numerous instances is that of the sexes, the fellas spend the most on Valentine’s Day. And that’s the way it should be, right ladies? It seems that men and women exhaust roughly the same amount of money, with the gals spending more often than the guys, and guys spending more on single purchases than the gals. Ultimately, the reality is we’re all happy to hand over the folding stuff for the same thing — having a good time.