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Men vs. Women: Debt and Spending

gender differences in debt

Men and women are united in their struggle to stay out of debt and be responsible with money, but there are gender differences in how they handle debt and spending. So who comes out on top in the battle of men vs. women: debt and spending? While there isn’t much published research on gender differences in debt and why those differences occur, a few new studies may provide some answers.


Spending habits have striking differences between genders. According to a study published in the Journal of Financial Planning, 23.7% of women and only 4.5% of men agreed that they can’t resist a sale. Almost double as many women as men agreed that they buy unplanned items and buy without need. The statistics show women are more likely to spend on an impulse, which may be a result of societal pressure or another influence.

Default and Bankruptcy

While spending stats may not be in women’s favor, women appear to better manage their debt. According to a Vega study published by Money Magazine, 60% of debt defaults between 2002 and 2007 were made by men. 54% of bankrupts were also men, according to the study. Young adults (age 18-37) contributed the majority of defaults and bankruptcies.

Lack of Fish in the Sea

A recent study by the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management found that debt may be affected by the presence of the opposite gender. When told there are more men than women in a local population, men were willing to increase credit spending by 84% each month. The men also decreased their savings rate by 42%.

More Alike than Not

It appears that many pressures of society are at work when it comes to spending and debt for both genders. It can be difficult to look beyond stereotypes, but it is essential to stick to the facts when it comes to gender differences. Women may feel pressure to have the latest fashion, while men may feel they need to overspend to impress a woman.

There are so many other factors to consider that it may be difficult to find any meaningful conclusions based on gender alone. These factors include income, education, financial knowledge, health costs, and others. Both women and men face financial struggles and debt. Both men and women deal with crises and common mistakes that may cause them to incur debt. Both men and women can get help from an organization like CESI Debt Solutions to get control of their money and live debt-free. Seems like men and women have more in common than not.

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