Money is a loaded topic; perceived differently by men and women, how it is earned, spent and what it symbolises.
More often than not, conversations about money among couples amount to arguments about it. Usually, there is one who hoards and the other one spends too much.
Of all factors that drive couples apart money is a huge factor. One basic difference in the outlook about money is that men see the world as a battle field where there is a winner and a loser. We are aggressive about how money is sought and having all or most say in how it is spend.
Women, on the other hand, concentrates on and would spend big on sprucing up herself and of course her home.thus the uncountable pairs of shoes, constant browsing for home and other items and of course, time in the salon.
It is no wonder, that a lady friend of mine felt that men tend to splurge on electronics, cars and of course women while we could be spending on more important and long-term assets such as a parcel of land and a house. We rarely spend on ourselves but on things.
So why is it difficult for men and women to change their outlook on money, even if it threatens an otherwise happy union?
The differences between men and women are as much in the mind as they are in their physical make up.
Our minds are wired to understand systems and we enjoy challenges. We have been socialised to value ourselves by what we do in terms of work. A car, which will be seen by others as a show and declaration of status by its make and value, will therefore solicit attention as we unconsciously polish our image, so do we polish the car.
The same dedication and readiness is not forthcoming especially when it comes to cleaning or polishing anything in the home or indulge on a set of dishes or curtains because it would not score us points.
Why do men hate Shopping?
We are wired to achieve and women to explore.
Women will want to see every available option first, take in the array of colours, designs and most likely, the company of another female which to us is a serious waste of time and of course, money.
Why would we keep quiet when there are financial problems rather than admit I am short of cash or ask for my wife or girlfriend's help?
We are programmed to be providers and defenders of the family. Our value in society is also pegged on how much we have achieved materially. Admitting lack is admitting failure, so we would rather hide the fact that we are broke.
Then how comes we are willing to spend on night outs and weekends away with the boys but cannot be inclined to spend on a nice evening out with the girlfriend or wife?
Answer: you are at home, you are mine and so the mission is complete and now it is time to move on a conquer other things such as career or business. It sounds cold, but a potential girl is a challenge and once she has been overcome, the mind just concentrates on other things.
Is there any good reason for women spending so much on items like shoes, bags, skin products and curtains?
Answer: while a man is socialised to be a hunter, a woman expects to be hunted. A woman is socialised to believe that her worth as a woman lies in being able to snag the best, thus taking time to look her best which may be through shoe fetish and a little more on perfumes and skin products. Also part of her value is nurturing and that includes a cozy home hence a need to spend on curtains, the dinner set and other home decor items.
Why do women expect consultations on spending, if a man is the main provider?
Answer: Women see themselves as a part of a team they are a couple, while we see ourselves as solely responsible for providing, thus will not consult on big purchases or sale of assets. She is not so much concerned with purchases or sales but she would be satisfied to know her opinion is important.
How to achieve financial compatibility?
To avoid the accuser and defender lock horns, there is a need to sort out specific issues on spending tendencies rather than argue that one always overspends or is stingy.
- Give each other financial space through separate accounts apart from the joint account. Spend the money in your account as you wish, as long as family finances are taken care of first.
- Separate individual and 'married' goals and budget family finances based on this. For example, individual goals maybe going back to school and the joint goals may be a mortgage and children's expenses.
- Set your standards, rather than go with the society's expectations. For example, if the woman earns more, allocate funds in away agreeable to both of you rather the common thought that the man must do the most or at least more than the woman.