Busting 5 myths about women and money
When it comes to money, our society fosters a lot of silly stereotypes. One successful businesswoman helps us dismantle some of them.
This post comes from Brandon Ballenger at partner site Money Talks News.
A lot of gender stereotypes persist in our culture. How many times have you heard "men think about sex every seven seconds" and "women aren't good at math"?
Evidence abounds that these stereotypes are nothing more than that. Take, for example, Lenore Nolan-Ryan. "I started my own company when I was 18," says Nolan-Ryan, who now runs a self-named cooking school and catering business in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Fla. We asked Nolan-Ryan to rebut some stereotypes. Listen to what she said about her own philosophy in this video, and read on for some more myth-mashing.
Now let's go over those myths Stacy Johnson mentioned in more detail:
Women aren't good at business. Maybe this stereotype is a holdover from when female faces in the office belonged to secretaries and phone operators -- you know, 60 years ago.
According to small business advice group SCORE.org, women account "for more than 1/3 of all people involved in entrepreneurial activity," and the number of women-owned businesses is growing at twice the rate of all businesses. Also, according to the National Restaurant Association, women own about half of American restaurants.
But women still have some ground to gain: According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2007 women owned 7.8 million businesses and accounted for 28.7% of all businesses nationwide, while men owned 52%. Businesses owned equally by men and women comprised 17% of all businesses.
Women can't invest well. "Women will ask more questions," Nolan-Ryan said. "It's all right if I don't know the answer -- I'll get the best information. You have to leave your ego at the door when it comes to investing." Investment management company Vanguard backs her up: They found that women save more, trade less, and diversify better. Why? "Economists suggest that men tend to overestimate their investing abilities," says Vanguard.
Women spend more than men. While women and shopping has been the fodder of countless jokes, the notion that women spend more money than men is simply not true. Nolan-Ryan says, "I think it's proven that single men spend more money on food and toys than women do." She's right: Single men are the biggest spenders. According to Bundle.com, single men spend 18% more than single women. They also carry slightly more credit card debt.
Men are just as likely as women to make impulse buys, but for some reason the stereotype sticks to women. Sure, they do spend a lot of money as managers of the household, which is why so much advertising targets them.
According to Elizabeth Duke, a member of the Board of Governors of the U.S. Federal Reserve, "Women account for 80% of all consumer purchasing decisions, making 93% of food purchases and 65% of auto purchases." And they're also more likely to be budget-conscious than men and more likely to take advantage of things like sales and coupons.
Women make the same as men. This one's unfortunately not true. According to a recently released study from the White House called Women in America (.pdf file), the average woman's income is only 75% of the average man's. (This doesn't mean, however, that women are necessarily paid less for the same job -- see this recent story from Stacy.)
Why do women bring home less? Nolan-Ryan says, "I don't think money is what always motivates women. It's the passion and the love for what we're doing, and who we're doing it for -- often, the family."
While that may be true for some, there's evidence to suggest that societal prejudice might also play a role in the gender pay gap. A Harvard University study (.pdf file) found that women are less likely than men to ask for a raise -- and can be considered "too aggressive" if they do, whereas it's more acceptable for men to do so. Over a career, this adds up.
By the way, it is getting better, slowly -- in 1979, women's pay was only 62% of what men earned. (See "3 ways to help close the financial gender gap.")
Women are too emotional to manage money effectively. A survey from PNC indicates men are more likely to take more risks on investments than women, and more likely to act impulsively. Also, men are more likely to strive for money for money's sake, while wealth is less of a measure of success to women.
More from Money Talks News and MSN Money:
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
The thing I'm tired of is the continuing "women are like this and men are like this" when in reality both sexes are a mixture of things. I've seen women I wouldn't trust with a nickel, women I'd trust with everything I had and women on a continuum in between the extremes.
Neither sex is this or that. We're all kinds of things. All articles, such as this, that work so hard at comparing the sexes do is keep the whole mess going. I've been married three times. The first one was a real jerk and, know what, so was I!!. Now I could mount a real argument as to who was worse but what a waste of time.
As a male, I have a bit of resentment at every "men are like this or that" article because we're not "this or that". There are no perfect men and no perfect women.
Taking one side or the other is far too simplistic and, actually, should offend both sexes.
One (1) women making it good does "NOT" constitute the majority, Nor make it a reality for the rest..
Stacy Johnson; Your article is NOT fooling the intelligent readers...
What's a shame here gentlemen is individuals like Stacy Johnson who continuously bash men in this society. It makes me wonder if she even likes men? I agree with No Justice for Men contributor that men are highly discriminated against when it comes to obtaining a decent position whether in college or the workforce. The only reason these women obtain the appealing positions is because they use their sex appeal as an attribute to gain position status. I'm a Chemical professional individual with an IQ above 150 and I can't even find a stable employment position due to being discriminated against in this society. And I have yet as of date never seen a women who can hold a candle to me when it comes to doing my profession. They think they know what they’re doing but believe me they don't! The country is going downhill in a hurry. More clowns attempting to run the show!
Just like the rose,
Pretty and innocent but look out for the thorns,
Some are vicious, will tear the shirt off of mans back
Like a snake, will strike and swallow a man’s wealth
Do not chase after her to reason with
she will strike again with intentions to cripple
Ms. Johnson needs to take a good hard look at her misleading stats.
The commenter (Cassandra?) who said she is not a feminist whatsoever (and that's one word, not three, incidentally) said she merely fights for "equal rights for all." That's pretty much the definition of feminism: The idea that you shouldn't have fewer rights just because you're female.
I'm in my 50s and really disappointed that some young women STILL expect men to pay for everything, every time. Come on, ladies, be fair.
And guys: You need to date a less-predatory, less-selfish type of woman. Where are you finding these women?
Thanks. I'll be here all week. Be sure to tip your waitress.
Hey Fella's, I have my own job, my own house, my own car and my own money. You can keep your little change. I am perfectly capable of taking myself out to a steak dinner, and buying pretty things for myself without having to deal with some dude thinking I OWE him a little something at the end of the evening or I'm just using him for...what? A steak? A baseball game I have to pretend to like? You're all the same. But carry on. This is amusing.
If you all can't seem to find a woman that doesn't require large amounts of money from YOU to keep her satisfied and coming back, I've got news for you. You're dating ho's Charlie Sheen! Higher standards will fix that. And if you're intimidated by a woman because she has more money or education than you, or you think she thinks you're not good enough, then step up your game instead of whining about it feeling like women don't think you're goode enough. That's a personal problem. You need to work that out in therapy. If we didn't think you were worth it, we'd drop you. Wouldn't you?
Best thing I have found is to keep your money separate and choose potential mates according to whether they have a job and are self-sufficient without you. That goes both ways. And yes, women can handle their own finances. Save more, spend less, pay your bills, buy it on sale. It's pretty easy.
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