Does age or gender affect financial behaviour? I’ve recently discussed it at the Institute of Inertia with comparethemarket.com and University of Sheffield and have looked further at the differences between me and Skint Mum.
Attitudes, financial behaviour and approaches to money change from day to day depending on many things, including what’s happening in your life, in your wider town and even the state of the national economy.
Earlier this month, I discussed how age and gender affect financial behaviour at the fourth Institute of Inertia panel meeting – a partnership between comparethemarket.com and University of Sheffield.
It was quite an in-depth meeting with plenty of interesting views, but I thought it would be good to share some of my thoughts on this topic.
How Skint Mum approaches money
Skint Mum is very different when it comes to money. While I can quickly work out sums in my head, she needs to see things written down and is a whizz kid on a spreadsheet (our lives are run by spreadsheets!)
She is good with numbers written down, if she doesn’t see the spreadsheet, or log in and check the bank account, she doesn’t know what’s happening with our money. Whereas, I can keep track of things mentally far easier. If we went to a few shops at the weekend, I will be able to remember how much we spent and how much we have left, without looking. I don’t know if this is due to my younger days of playing darts and having to do calculations quickly or if we are genuinely just wired differently.
She also always acts like we’re always skint, even if we have money in the bank. In one way it’s good as she can make sure that we check every penny before we buy anything (even when we’ve in the queue of a shop).
However, it can also limit us as she will hold back on days out with the family. She sees it as an indulgent spend that we shouldn’t be making.
I see things differently.
How I approach money
I don’t mind admitting that I am a risk taker when it comes to money.
I’d be happy to spend money on something, think it will turn out alright in the end (and, to be fair, it usually does!)
I’ve got a “hit by a bus” mentality and would rather make sure that I get enjoyment from my money than, well, dying. I would prefer to be able to enjoy my life and give my kids some great memories.
Skint Mum will shy away from the idea of things like family days out, but I love the sense of adventure and don’t mind spending money when I know we’ll gain memories and life experiences.
Even though I like risk, I am the one who manages the money in the house. While I have in the back of my mind that the worst may happen (so want to spend the money), I make sure that all the basic bills covered first. I ask myself if the rent is paid, are the household bills covered, is food all taken care of, have we put something away into savings? Then the rest I am happy to spend.
Attitude to money when I was young
My current attitude has changed a bit from when I was younger, when I didn’t give money a second thought. I never considered the consequences of not having a penny to my name. I barely thought about what would happen if I didn’t pay a bill.
I lived on my own from the age of 18. Along with hideous multi-coloured walls in every room of my flat, my spending habits were just as colourful.
I didn’t have much of the way of a financial education. With a relatively good income and with no guidance from any adults, I just did what made me happy in the moment.
Money was VERY important to me. I liked to spend money on clothes, tech, booze and nights out. Without money, I couldn’t have what I wanted so I worked to get more. I liked to earn so I could have enough to spend and I liked to spend rather than save.
Money was easy come, easy go.
Financial behaviour today
My interior decorating skills have improved with age along with my financial habits. While I am still a risk taker, I make sure that priorities are taken care of before I take care of myself.
I think my attitude to money has changed as I’ve got older because I have got more responsibility.
With children comes great responsibility and I am conscious that I need to look out for them over and above everything else.
Unfortunately, this wasn’t always the case for me. I’m ashamed that when my first daughter was born I was very immature. I was just 20 and nowhere near being a real adult in any way. I was selfish and spent more time on me. I can only put this down to age.
Being young, not having an understanding of the wider picture, put me in a weak position; in terms of life and money.
Now I have developed a maturity. I now know that this comes with age and see older generations knowing the world far better than I do today.
I still like money, I still want to earn more money, but I don’t have the total desire to spend every penny in a few hours.
In the comments below let me know if you notice a difference between men and women when it comes to money and whether there is a difference between a younger you and you right now.