Women Have Better Credit Habits and Less Debt

A new study from Experian shows that women might be better at managing debt and credit. That’s right; the results show women as having less debt and better overall credit habits. While men’s egos are likely to take a hit, we want to take a moment to celebrate this announcement. This is much better news than the recent study that claimed women with student loan debt are less likely to marry. The news from Experian also caught our attention, because we have been talking about relationships and money lately. But anyways, let’s take a closer look at this study and what we can learn about credit habits for men and women.

Do Women Lack Financial Confidence?

First, let’s think about something else we’ve learned recently. Women aren’t confident with their money. That’s right. According to another recent study (this one from the National Foundation for Credit Counseling) 67% of kids think their mother is intimidated by money. Believe it or not, this could be a good thing. Maybe that lack of financial confidence causes women to analyze decisions thoroughly and to take financial commitments seriously. Both of these traits could lead to healthier credit habits.

Women have Better Credit Habits and Better Credit Scores

Nationally, women have higher credit scores than men. But don’t get too excited, ladies. It’s a tight race. Women have an average credit score of 675 and men have an average credit score of 674. It’s not exactly a landslide victory here, but keep reading.

Women Have Less Debt

Women also have less debt than men. The averages:

  • Average debt for men: $26,227
  • Average debt for women: $25,095

Another sign of Credit Habits

Credit utilization is an important factor in credit scores, and it can speak to financial health. The study revealed another tight race:

  • Men – 31% credit utilization
  • Women – 30% credit utilization

How about Mortgages?

This study also looked at an interesting category—individual mortgage debt. Individual mortgages are held by one person. Mortgage loans held by men average a total of $187,245 and for women that average is $178,140.

The study gave a breakdown of these statistics by metropolitan area. You can check it out here.

One Caveat

Women still have some financial struggles. Compulsive spending, such as retail therapy, is a problem for many women, and studies show that women aren’t typically strong budgeters. Men, on the other hand, are capable of being solid budgeters, but they tend to shy away from handling the budget. Also, men take risky investments, something women don’t typically manage. The National Marriage Project sums up the dilemma as follows:

Men lose money at the stockbroker’s office; women lose it at the shopping mall.

A Simple Strategy for Household Finances

Based on the advice from the National Marriage Project, here is a good strategy couples can use to improve their credit habits and overall debt level.

  • Men: You handle the monthly budget worksheet. Consult your partner, of course, but take responsibility for the household spending plan and help your family reach its goals.
  • Women: You handle the household investments. Use your lack of financial confidence to your advantage. This will help minimize risk and keep your investments safer.

What does this mean for your relationship?

Women might claim “bragging rights” over their higher average credit scores and better credit habits, but how are things in your relationship? Bad credit habits and debt levels can lead to tension and a variety of problems in relationship. Whether you are married or single and looking, there are some important things you need to know about Love & Money so that you can have both! You should read The Complete Guide to Love & Money to learn more.

What do you think? Are women really better with credit? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

Thomas Bright is a longstanding Clearpoint blogger and student loan repayment aficionado who hopes that his writing can simplify complex subjects. When he’s not writing, you’ll find him hiking, running or reading philosophy. You can follow him on Twitter.

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