Managing finances – Nature or Nurture?


Are women natural born accountants? Just because we run a household, does it automatically make us good at looking after money? Surveys are still inconclusive and show that men and women can be equally good at managing household expenses and keeping to budget, despite the age old thought that women are natural shoppers and therefore spenders.

Single Mums

Talking to a group of single mums, they all had different attitudes to money but all seemed to know what they had coming in and going out. All tended to use cash or daily monitoring to keep track of their money, mainly because they have to; no one else will do it for them. They had no formal training, however out of necessity they had to learn hard and fast.

We as women, don’t mind ‘asking directions’ therefore if we need help on finances, don’t we just ask or find out? Are we good at it because we make things happen and so become masters at planning and organising…? Also, do we get any better at managing money with age? There seemed to be no difference, as on talking to young girls, they can be just as good or bad at managing money, plus it didn’t seem to matter if they had children or not, it was more about their mental and emotional attitude to money and how they want to spend it.

Looking across the family, ages 19-28, the girls do seem to have it altogether, one,19, off to Camp America in her uni break, then travelling North America, the other, 21, in her uni break, second trip to Southern states of America, other one already passed her test before 18, will be on her third car and working all the hours allowed and all of them on the whole have done it through their own loans or working. So proud!

Surveys say that girls mature quicker and are more successful if they see their mothers working, even part time, as they grow up, which is true for all these girls. On the boys side, 25-28, bit hit and miss, one finished uni via China, now in full time advertising after internship (done all this despite battling a serious illness). A couple others, finally coming into some sort of peace with themselves and starting to try and work instead of ‘complaining about upbringing and the world owes them a living’ syndrome. Finally…I think.

Single to Partnering to Children

So, how does it change going from single to partnering to children? Surely, it must be easier to manage yourself if you are single, as you get to make all the decisions and can know exactly where your money is at any one time. However as soon as you enter the couple fray, money can be one of the most contentious areas of argument! Do you know which accounts your partner has and roughly how much is in there? Or would you rather not know since you have your own stash as well? Do you only discuss the big purchases or is the food shopping trip a whole discussion as well?! Then, when the children come in, the money gets split again! Who said Jonny has to go to that after school club or football three times a week?! Do you as a women take care of the now extended budget? Is it because you are better at it or the fact that we as women always ‘need to know’ therefore we want to take up the mantel anyway?

So…nature or nurture? I’ll let you answer that as I conclude that there is no single straight answer. If you can look at the long term view, budget, plan, prioritise, organise, juggle the household and still have enough for a treat in the sale, then you’re doing pretty well no matter what age or gender. We owe it to ourselves and the next generation to be responsible but yes splash out when you can (sometimes even when you can’t) because bills will always be there and there are only two things certain in life. So live, love, laugh, dance and wear that ‘bright purple hat’ but above all…be kind to YOU and yours.

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