Men better at paying bills: study

NEW YORK Fri Jul 17, 2009 9:19am EDT

Women walk the runway in a file photo. REUTERS/Victor Fraile

Women walk the runway in a file photo.

Credit: Reuters/Victor Fraile

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Men and women handle their personal finances much differently, research shows, with men more likely to keep a close eye on their spending and investments and to pay their bills on time.

The gender gap emerged in the results of financial planning questionnaires filled out by some 3,500 U.S. workers nationwide for Financial Finesse Inc., an employee benefits company.

The data showed two-thirds of men but just one-third of women said they regularly pay their credit card balances in full, said Liz Davidson, chief executive of the company based in Manhattan Beach, California.

Also, 90 percent of men said they pay their bills on time each month but only 74 percent of women said so, it said.

It said 71 percent of men but 53 percent of women have a handle on their cash flow so they spend less than they earn each month.

More than half of men but just a third of women said they have an emergency fund to pay their bills for a few months if they lose their job, it said.

Forty percent of men but just 24 percent of women said they were confident their investments were allocated appropriately, while 73 percent of men but just 40 percent of women said they had a general knowledge of stocks, bonds and mutual funds.

Women tend to be less educated in personal finance, said Manisha Thakor, a Houston-based finance expert for women.

Personal finance is not typically taught in schools and, while men may learn it in their traditional roles as providers, women do not in their traditional roles as caretakers, she said.

"Men talk socially about money and business," said Thakor. "Women are talking about nurturing subjects."

Also, women are paid less than men, making such things as paying bills and credit card balances harder, she said.

The workers in the research were filling out online questionnaires to enroll in financial education programs given by Financial Finesse, which provides employee benefits to some 300 mostly larger companies nationwide.

Most of those answering the questionnaires earned between $60,000 and $75,000 and were assessing their own financial situations from January through April 2009, Davidson said.

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