A banker, a salesman and an oilman walk into this blog…

Recently, I was at a family party and the subject of who pays the bills came up. Not, as in, who makes the money to pay them. But rather, who sits down and actually pays them? I took a quick unscientific poll to find out which partner in each couple took the time to painstakingly ensure cheques didn’t magically bounce and cell phones wouldn’t mysteriously shut off.

Among the men in the room, there was a banker, a salesman and an oil man. (This is not a set up for a joke, I swear.)

Photo: Heather Setka

Out of these three men, only the oilman had ever paid bills during his partnership.  When the banker’s wife had a major health crisis, he was forced to adopt all household duties. That meant paying the bills.

“I screwed it up too,” he said.

A banker who can’t pay bills?!?! What does this mean?!?! Is the apocalypse merely moments from descending upon us?!?!

It probably means I come from a family of assertive (read: controlling) women who want complete knowledge (read: control) of their individual households’ finances, so they can manage (read: control) them better.

But I’d hoped it meant something significant, and signalled a larger trend. I went in search of data that proved modern women are more adept at expense management than men.

Instead, I found this story from Reuters, July 2009:.

Men and women handle their personal finances much differently, research shows, with men more likely to keep a close eye on their spending and investments and to pay their bills on time.

The gender gap emerged in the results of financial planning questionnaires filled out by some 3,500 U.S. workers nationwide for Financial Finesse Inc., an employee benefits company.

The data showed two-thirds of men but just one-third of women said they regularly pay their credit card balances in full, said Liz Davidson, chief executive of the company based in Manhattan Beach, California.

Strange. Most women I know (and not just the bossy ones I’m related to) are the money managers in their relationships. Perhaps if these researchers want a real sample size, they should come to my next family dinner. That oughta learn ’em something.


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