COLUMN: Who holds the purse strings in your house?

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Who wears the trousers in your house? Do you make the decisions over what you buy? What colour you paint the living room? Where you go on holiday? And who literally holds the purse strings?

A study by a worldwide research and development organisation in the US shows men and women approach planning finances differently. Apparently, and probably not surprisingly, men like to be in charge, especially older men.

Only 46 per cent of surveyed men aged 50 or older said that they shared financial decisions with their spouse, while women of the same age were more inclusive, with about two-thirds saying they shared financial decision-making.

But who makes the better decisions over money? Not just should you buy a season ticket to the Proact Stadium or have major blow-out at Meadowhall, but serious stuff, like savings, investments and pensions.

Well this research is interesting on the gender divide over that.

Apparently women are good on some fronts and men on others. Women are better at things like working out retirement expenses, how long the money will last in retirement and how you can keep the income coming in from savings. Men on the other hand are better at working out what the incomes will actually be.

This led the experts to muse that perhaps men are better at working out income and women better at working out expenses. Does that sound like your family? If it does it makes sense for you and your spouse to share the decision-making. Basically however you come to decisions about finances in retirement, you do need to plan and you need to plan now.

And do remember when you are planning to think of basic things like how long are you going to live in retirement?

Both men and women get it wrong here, with women being even more off the mark than men. Research shows that more than four out of five people approaching retirement don’t expect to live as long as official figures say they will.

Men underestimate their lifespan by an average of five years and women by ten. You need to get that right whether you are a man or a woman. Or, as I often say, retirement is one long holiday, or a prolonged period of unemployment, depending on how well you have planned it.

No individual investment advice is given, nor intended to be given in this article and no liability will be accepted in respect of any action you make take as a result of reading this article.