Men and Women on Money: Dual Surveys Reveal Surprising Differences

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Ask.menSo it seems two out of five of men wouldn't mind sitting down with Warren Buffett and listening as the avuncular Oracle of Omaha dispenses bon mots like, "Whether we're talking about socks or stocks, I like buying quality merchandise when it is marked down."

That's according to AskMen, a division of News Corp's (NWS) IGN Entertainment that advertises itself as "the leading men's lifestyle website." On Tuesday, AskMen unveiled the results of its Fourth Annual Great Male Survey. To complement this study, AskMen partnered with women's mag Cosmopolitan to create a Great Female Survey, a kind of online poll-Bride of Frankenstein. Together, these surveys comprise "the ultimate guide on how men and women think in 2011," culled from more than 80,000 respondents, according to a press release. The combined poll has been approved by Ipsos-Reid, Canada's largest market research and public opinion polling firm; read on for some of its more striking results.

  • "If men could ask for financial advice from one person," the survey reports, "40% said it would be Warren Buffett. Next highest: 25% of men said they would look to their fathers for advice, 19% said Donald Trump, and 10% said Jim Cramer. Only 6% percent said that they would turn to Suze Orman for help." A mix, then, of mild sexism, moving nostalgia, and extreme starstruck-ness. (Trump, of course, has seen his share of business bankruptcy, but maybe men figure that's just capitalism -- creative destruction and so on. Cramer, too, has made some questionable calls.)


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  • Fully 77% of men think women put too much value on a man's financial worth. What's somewhat strange is that 82% of women agree.


  • Good news for sex equality -- although, weirdly, women are slightly lagging men: "85% of men said that they would be okay with having a partner who makes more money than they do, and 73% of women say that they would be okay with having a partner who makes less than them." Perhaps that's a sign of our hard economic times.


  • Somewhat puzzling news, given that women tend to live longer: "45% of men have a plan for retirement and either are currently saving or will start saving for retirement soon." But only 21% of women have any plan, and 45% of women surveyed said they "have not even thought about retirement."


  • Maybe that discrepancy relates to a sex-correlated difference in retirement expectations: 34% of women think they'll only need savings of $500,000 to retire comfortably. By contrast, 46% of men think they'll need between $1 million and $2 million.


  • Finally, the survey's most counter-intuitive result: "43% of women think that a beautiful house is the ultimate status symbol, while only 26% chose having a successful partner. On the other hand, men ranked 'family' as their number one choice (39%)."


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