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It Pays to Be a Girl

When it comes to getting a bartender's attention, send your gal pal for the next round. Shoe manufacturers clearly favor the fairer sex, and no one is arguing about Mom deserving more closet space than Dad.

When it comes to money management, the odds also favor madame. According to the National Association of Investors Corp. (NAIC), women's portfolios better those of the hairier sex by 1.4%. Is it women's intuition that makes us better investors? A study by finance professors Terrance Odean and Brad Barber found that men trade more, resulting in lower returns than those earned by the more patient female investors. The biggest offenders were those managing money without a woman in the passenger seat: "Single men trade 67% more than single women and earn annual risk-adjusted net returns that are 2.3% less than those earned by single women."

Some guys are getting the picture. In marriage women are frequently trusted to handle the day-to-day money tasks, even among the well-to-do. According to a study by the Spectrem Group, a woman is the head of household and/or primary investment decision maker in 2.3 million households that have total assets exceeding $500,000.

We may be stereotyped as the overspending gender (and I freely admit to my shopaholic tendencies), but our debt levels are actually lower than the guys'. (Men age 30 to 44 years old carry on average $16,400 in debt compared with $14,575 for their female counterparts.) And while we pay more for dry cleaning, go ahead and compare your car insurance costs to your brother's.

When it comes to money, ladies (and sensitive guys), tap those feminine wiles.

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