Mothers More Likely To Discuss Money Matters, While Fathers Reach For Their Wallets

Women are engaging in more regular financial conversations with their families, but men may be more willing to reach for their wallets – at least for certain types of purchases. New findings from the Money Across Generations IISM study, released today by Ameriprise Financial, demonstrate significant differences in how American men and women approach money matters, especially those concerning their adult children and parents.

A vast majority (93%) of baby boomers say they’ve provided financial support to their adult children, but fathers are significantly more likely than mothers to have helped fund an automobile purchase (58% vs. 48%) or co-signed a loan or lease agreement (42% vs. 32%). Likewise, findings suggest that men are more likely than women to have paid for their adult children’s car insurance (51% vs. 43%) or helped with car payments (37% vs. 29%). More boomer fathers than mothers say they would help their child buy a car or pay off credit card debt than say they’d continue contributing to their own retirement savings.

“Women and men may be predisposed to help family members in different ways – which can cause disagreements and add to family tension if plans aren’t discussed upfront,” said Suzanna de Baca, vice president of wealth strategies at Ameriprise Financial. “Couples may not always agree on the best way to support an adult child or aging parent, but they can often reach a compromise if they simply take time to talk and consider each other’s perspective.”

Women appear more likely to broach sensitive subjects like money and healthcareBoomer women are significantly more likely than men to report having regular conversations with their relatives about finances (54% vs. 46%), healthcare costs (45% vs. 34%) and family issues (59% vs. 46%). What’s more, boomer mothers may be starting a trend; two-thirds (67%) of their daughters say they regularly discuss money with their families, compared to 59% of their sons.

Women may also be more aware of how rising health care costs could impact their parents’ retirement security. Significantly more boomer women than men say they’ve adequately discussed their parents’ medical expenses (70% vs. 59%) and how they’d pay for a long-term care situation (62% vs. 49%). So why are men staying mum? The most common reason boomer men give for not discussing their parents’ current money situation is that they don’t feel it is any of their business (28%).

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