ING DIRECT USA Survey: Men See Saving as Smart and Sexy, Many Women Disagree

National Financial Battle of the Sexes Survey Compares Thoughts & Feelings of Men & Women on Money

Aug 25, 2010, 10:00 ET from ING DIRECT USA

WILMINGTON, Del., Aug. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- When it comes to attracting men, a low credit card balance could do more than a low cut dress. That's because according to a new survey from ING DIRECT USA, the nation's largest direct bank, the majority of men (61 percent) find a frugal blind date to be both "smart" and "sexy."  Women, on the other hand, find a frugal blind date to be more of a turn off - with only 44 percent describing frugal dates as "smart" and "sexy." In fact, the financial battle of the sexes survey found that women are twice as likely to be upset by a partner who spends too little on them.

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It's not surprising then that women (33 percent) describe frugal as "stingy" compared to 20 percent of men.  Additionally, 17 percent of women call a frugal blind date "boring" compared to 13 percent of men.

"We know that taking sides in a female versus male debate generally isn't a good idea, but this time, we agree that being a saver is smart," said Arkadi Kuhlmann, President and CEO of ING DIRECT USA. "Transparency about your money habits and low credit card debt can prevent money disagreements and help build long term trust in a relationship."

Managing Money, Debt & Sacrifices

The majority of American men and women (68 percent) agree that women are better at managing household finances, including managing bills and household spending.  Still, Americans have accumulated significant debt in the past few decades, and both men and women said they were willing to make significant sacrifices to eliminate their current debt. The nature of their sacrifices both real and imaginative, however, vary by gender.

Women are 56 percent more likely to give up sex than men.  However, when it comes to sex versus chocolate – chocolate wins. Women are less willing to give up chocolate and shopping (39 percent) than they are sex and alcohol (16 percent) to eliminate debt.

When it comes to accumulating more debt and other financial woes, women find personal issues more upsetting than financial ones, while men feel the opposite:

  • Men are more upset about losing a job (46 percent) than about an unfaithful spouse (39 percent) or accumulating debt (34 percent);

  • Women are likely to be more upset about an unfaithful spouse (44 percent) than losing a job (40 percent) or accumulating debt (27 percent);

  • Women are more likely to be upset about gaining weight (30 percent) than accumulating debt (27 percent), while men said they'd be more upset about accumulating debt (34 percent) than gaining weight (24 percent).

Fear of Investing

While Americans think women are better at household finances, they also think that men are the masters of managing investments. More than 60 percent of Americans think men are better at investing. Men are also almost twice as confident as women (29 percent vs. 18 percent) when it comes to investing in the stock market and putting money into retirement accounts.

However, when it comes to the stock market, less than 13 percent of Americans consider themselves to be very confident about investing in the stock market or putting money into retirement accounts. In fact, half of American men and women (50 percent) are more intimidated by investing in the stock market than doing their own taxes (34 percent), completing mortgage applications (24 percent), by technology (19 percent) or their in-laws (10 percent).

"It's always surprising how intimidated Americans are about investing when they don't have to be," said Dan Greenshields, President of Sharebuilder, ING DIRECT's brokerage subsidiary. "There are now great tools, like PortfolioBuilder, that help the most novice investors create a diversified portfolio based on their goals and investing style, taking a lot of the guesswork and fear out of investing."

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted via telephone within the United States by TNS on behalf of ING DIRECT USA from June 16 – 20, 2010 among 1,000 American adults ages 18 and over. The survey has a sampling error of +/- 3.5 percentage points.  A full methodology is available upon request.


ING DIRECT USA, the nation's largest direct bank and largest thrift, is dedicated to inspiring Americans to become a nation of savers. Since its inception in 2000, more than 7.6 million Americans have entrusted their savings with ING DIRECT, building the bank to $91.3 billion in assets.  ING DIRECT has developed a comprehensive social media Savers Community, including Twitter, Facebook and its We, the Savers blog.  For more information about ING DIRECT call 1-800-ING-DIRECT, and for information about its commitment to financial education visit Planet Orange.  

ShareBuilder Securities Corporation is an online brokerage designed for automatic, long-term investing.  The company's vision is to increase the personal investing rate of the average American by helping individuals build and manage wealth over the long term.  Customers pay low commissions on individual transactions, have no account minimum and can choose from two pricing programs.  ShareBuilder offers investment products including stocks, exchange-traded funds, and mutual funds. ShareBuilder Securities Corporation, a subsidiary of ING Bank, fsb, is a registered broker-dealer and member FINRA/SIPC.  For more information about ShareBuilder, please visit Twitter and Facebook.

Securities products are: Not FDIC insured -- Not Bank guaranteed -- May lose value