By Catey Hill, Moneyish
January 9, 2018 | 3:30pm | Updated
Success is what you make of it.
And what you make of it may depend on your gender. Research released Tuesday by career networking site LinkedIn concludes that “women define success as ‘feeling’ financially successful, while men want to ‘show’ that they are financially successful.”
Indeed, women are more likely than men to say that not living paycheck to paycheck (76 percent of women vs. 69 percent of men) and being debt-free (72 percent vs. 65 percent) are how they define financial success. Meanwhile, men are more likely to say that material wealth (23 percent of men vs. 17 percent of women) and an enviable job (17 percent vs. 10 percent) are top measures for financial success.
“Regarding men ‘showing’ success, I feel like it’s modern man’s way of demonstrating that he’s a good provider to prospective mates (think peacocking) and the world at large that often judges men on what they can produce,” explains Erika Martinez, a psychologist at Envision Wellness. “Women wanting to live without debt and comfortably speaks to their desire for stability being the gender that births and raises children, which require safety and stability.”
Some of this, of course, may also be linked to the fact that many women don’t have the luxury of flaunting an enviable job or material wealth. Despite the fact that women hold more than half of all professional-level jobs, they represent only 25 percent of executive- and senior-level officials and managers, 20 percent of board seats and 6 percent of CEOs, according to the Center for American Progress.
Women also are more likely to live on lower paychecks and have debt than men. Research released in 2017 by JP Morgan Chase found that women’s take-home pay was roughly 23 percent lower than men’s, and they had 20 percent lower levels of liquid assets. What’s more, women were more likely to carry a credit card balance (76 percent of women versus 70 percent of men) and that balance represented a higher level of their take-home pay. On top of that, women now owe two-thirds of the student loan debt in this country.
And for many women, something like eliminating debt is a way to improve their mental health — which may be why they stress they want to “feel” financially successful rather than “show” it. Just ask Charlotte-based editor Bridgette Wright, who tells Moneyish that managing her debt levels is one of the biggest measures of financial success for her.
“It would be less stressful for me [to slash debt] — I won’t have to worry about debt and how to pay it off. I want to spend my life enjoying it instead of worrying about how I’m going to pay something off,” she says.