Populist beliefs that women are more likely to spend up large on the credit card while men take more risks with their money are not backed up by reality. Research by the Herald has revealed Kiwi men are more likely to have a credit card and have a balance of over $10,000 on it. Men were also less likely to have a savings account and more likely to have a personal loan than women, according to data supplied by the ANZ - New Zealand's largest bank. Women on the other hand are more likely to have a savings account than men but have a lower balance in both their rainy day savings account and retirement savings. But the so-called fairer sex is also worse when it comes to their credit history. Data supplied by credit agency Dun & Bradstreet shows women have a lower average credit rating than men and were more likely to have multiple credit defaults. Women also typically take at least six months longer to pay off their students loans than men. Ana-Marie Lockyer, general manager wealth at the ANZ, said more men having credit cards than women could reflect a higher number of males in the workforce. She said higher balances on credit cards did not necessarily mean men were worse at managing their money. "Whilst they may have higher balance - that's not as important as paying it off on time." ANZ data showed no significant differences when it came to men and women paying off their cards on time but different groups that either paid it all off, sometimes paid it all and a third group that didn't pay it all off. Lockyer said while fewer males had savings accounts they tended to have higher balances. That was also the case for KiwiSaver. Although KiwiSaver has been around less than 10 years ANZ revealed in March there was a 15 per cent difference in the average account balances of men and women members of its scheme. Lockyer said she believed the higher number of women with savings accounts reflected the more conservative nature of women whereas the higher balances for men were most likely related to work and higher earnings. An 11.8 per cent gap remains in the median earnings of men and women creating a big lifetime gap in what women are potentially able to save.
Men inherently tend to be more risk-takers and risk is pervasive if you are risky in one part of your life you will be risk in other parts. But the data proved me wrong.Women also typically had a higher level of debt in personal loans and on their student loan. Personal loans typically charge lower interest than credit cards and Lockyer said this could reflect a smart money move by women but she said overall the data did not conclusively point to one sex being better at managing money than the other. Simon Bligh, chief executive of credit agency Dun and Bradstreet said he had been surprised to see the average credit history for Kiwi women was worse than men. "Men inherently tend to be more risk-takers and risk is pervasive if you are risky in one part of your life you will be risk in other parts. But the data proved me wrong." Not only did women have a worse credit rating but they were more likely to have multiple defaults compared to men.
There are a group of young women who get defaults and then keep defaulting through the course of their lives.Bligh said digging further into the data showed it was a group of younger women under the age of 30 pulling the average down. "There are a group of young women who get defaults and then keep defaulting through the course of their lives." Bligh said if that group was stripped out then the average credit rating was pretty similar for men and women. He said typically as people got older credit ratings tended to be similar for men as women as couples tended to function in life as a single unit. Bligh said people who learned how to manage their finances well when they were young were generally set for life. He said financial education was needed to get the message through that if you used a service you had to pay the bill. "People don't realise what the consequences could be." A poor credit history could affect people getting a credit card, mortgage or car loan in the future, he said.