Psychotherapists writing in Psychology Today about financial decision making in relationships suggest that people deal with money in different ways. There are hoarders, spenders, avoiders and worriers, and various other types. Underlying these types are the gender differences in decision making with respect to money.
Perhaps it's a throwback to the time when men were hunters and women gatherers. Men tend to buy stuff they need right away. Women tend to gather stuff!
Another factor here is that men are raised in a hierarchical, competitive, win-lose world. Women tend to function in a much more cooperative way. It is also okay for them to be vulnerable, not so for men. Despite our changing world, it's usually considered that men are better at handling money than women, even though there is virtually no training in it.
Even high school boys consider themselves good with money and the girls consider themselves not good. In truth, they probably know the same amount about money. Perhaps they have a bank account and have used personal tax prep software to file taxes. Their ideas come from cultural stereotypes that are rarely questioned.
Another factor to consider in financial decision making in relationships is that when men make money on the stock market, they pat themselves on the back. When they lose, they blame circumstance. When women win, they credit their advisers or good luck. When they lose, they blame themselves.
When a man is the main breadwinner, he believes he is entitled to more power in decision making. A woman who is the main breadwinner however, usually wants democratic decision making.
These gender differences in financial decision making in relationships lead to some interesting situations. Typically, men prefer joint accounts, often wanting to keep decision making power in the relationship. Women frequently want to keep at least some money separate.
For the male, it is considered that sharing the money is a way for them to connect. For the female, some separate money may be their way of holding onto their sense of themselves, and not losing themselves in the relationship.
However, this situation can be misconstrued in different ways. The man may think she's keeping the door open for herself to leave, if necessary. She may think he's trying to control her.
While couples may argue over money, they more frequently argue over what money represents to them. This may polarize couples, so that an overspender forces the other into being a hoarder. The avoider creates a worrier and so on.
The situation occurs because money issues are difficult for couples to talk about. Not only is there cultural conditioning, but the personal meaning of money may not be clear to the individual. People are often not aware of the underlying emotions they have attached to money.
Bringing these out into the open is a useful first step to sorting out financial decision making in relationships. Money may signify security, love, independence, happiness, freedom, self-worth, and a host of other things. Understanding your relationship with money is an important aspect of understanding who you are, so that you can actually have a relationship with another.
Financial decision making in relationships is only one of many other gender differences in decision making...
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