Credit Study Undermines Stereotypes About Women and Finances

Women have been lampooned as being lavish spenders for eons (OK, maybe not eons, but a long damn time). The tired joke goes that we blow through cash, spending it on trivial purchases like clothes and shoes and purses and... oh my, is that Prada?

These claims are no more than gender stereotypes packaged as comedy. But Experian has a message for these jokers. In a new report, the global credit information group revealed that men carry 4.3 percent more debt than women.

In some ways, men and women are nearly equal when it comes to handling credit. As the researchers reveal, the sexes have almost identical average credit scores — women 675, men 674 — and use almost the same amount of their available credit, with men using 31 percent, and women 30 percent.

Still, women carry less overall debt. An average man has $26,227 in debt from credit cards, personal loans and auto loans, compared to a $25,095 average for a woman.

As reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel , an even larger difference can be seen when it comes to mortgages. 72 percent of consumers have joint mortgages (a home loan to more than one party). The remaining 28 percent is made up of men and women who borrowed on an individual basis. Nationally, men have 18.3 percent more independent mortgages than women.

But maybe men are just taking out larger mortgages because they have higher incomes than women? Yes, but "it would appear that they are having a slightly more difficult time making those payments on time," says Michele Raneri, vice president of analytics Experian.

I guess we've learned how to budget and make a dollar stretch — you know, since we get paid less.

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