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Why Lesbians Are Better At Saving Money
When I was a kid I loved to watch The Flintstones and always laughed at Wilma and Betty’s shopping habits. Whenever they had the chance they were off to their Palaeolithic department store with their battle cry “Charge it!” Before you knew it they were home with boxes filled with saber-toothed tiger coats and fancy shoes (despite the fact that they wore neither). Wilma and Betty were clearly not good savers.
I wonder if this depiction of women and credit helped shape a generation’s perception that women are poor financial planners who depend on the discipline of their husbands to keep their spending in check. Well, interestingly there is a way to test this theory. All we have to do is imagine that Betty and Wilma are in a same sex relationship and see if they save less than, say, Fred and Barney in a same sex couple (now that is a cartoon I would watch today!).A recent paper, published last month, sets out to test a hypothesis that couples in same sex relationships plan their finances differently than those in opposite sex relationships. They find that on average women in same sex relationships are significantly better savers than either men in same sex relationships or heterosexual married couples.
The authors can’t use the data (from the US 2000 Census) to directly measure a couple’s saving-to-income ratio so instead they use an acceptable alternative – the ratio of mortgage payments to the value of a couple’s home. Couples who are good savers will, on average, repay their mortgages at a faster rate than those who are poor savers. So the mortgage payment to home value ratio is a proxy for the household’s propensity to save.
Compared to heterosexual married couples and gay couples, lesbian couples pay almost 9% more on their annual average mortgage even after controlling for age, education and socio-economic factors (including the number of children living in the home).
This isn’t the only evidence that lesbians are better savers. Looking at the income of seniors, retired women in same sex relationships have on average $4,715.35 more in social security and retirement income than do heterosexual married couples. Gay men also have more income than heterosexual couples --$6,358.77. Part of that effect probably reflects the fact that men on average retire with higher incomes than do women, rather than a higher lifetime propensity to save for gay men.
Here are three possible reasons why women in same sex marriages might be better savers. The first explanation is that lesbian couples have, on average, fewer children than do heterosexual couples. Children are costly and as a result cut into savings as well as personal consumption. However, having children also encourages savings if parents plan for their children’s post-secondary education. Education savings might not be reflected in mortgage payments, but rather in other more liquid assets that can be withdrawn when children reach college age. If this is the case, and heterosexual couples buy different assets with their savings, then this measure of savings (mortgage payments over home value) will overstate the true difference in savings rates.
And, as gay couples have even lower fertility rates than lesbian couples it seems odd that this is really an explanation given they do not seem to save any more than heterosexual couples. The second possible explanation is life expectancy. Women live longer on average and realistically need to save more in preparation for the period of their life when they have no waged income. It makes sense that couples with two women, as opposed to two men or one man and one women, would save more if they accurately predict their needs later in life. Finally this effect could be explained by relationship stability. This data is from a period before same sex marriages were legal anywhere in the US (2000). In planning their lives, these women would have had no way to predict that one day they would be offered the same security as heterosexual couples (and of course many are still waiting for that to happen).
Thus the observed higher savings affect might realistically reflect insecurities around the legal status of their relationships. If this is the case then we should expect to see the savings gap between lesbian and heterosexual couples fall as their relationships are given legal recognition.
Negrusa, Brighita and Sonia Oreffice (2011). “Sexual orientation and household financial decisions: Evidence from couples in the United States.” Forthcoming in the Review of Economics of the Household.
What is human dignity? Here's a primer, told through 200 years of great essays, lectures, and novels.
- Human dignity means that each of our lives have an unimpeachable value simply because we are human, and therefore we are deserving of a baseline level of respect.
- That baseline requires more than the absence of violence, discrimination, and authoritarianism. It means giving individuals the freedom to pursue their own happiness and purpose.
- We look at incredible writings from the last 200 years that illustrate the push for human dignity in regards to slavery, equality, communism, free speech and education.
The inherent worth of all human beings<p>Human dignity is the inherent worth of each individual human being. Recognizing human dignity means respecting human beings' special value—value that sets us apart from other animals; value that is intrinsic and cannot be lost.</p> <p>Liberalism—the broad political philosophy that organizes society around liberty, justice, and equality—is rooted in the idea of human dignity. Liberalism assumes each of our lives, plans, and preferences have some unimpeachable value, not because of any objective evaluation or contribution to a greater good, but simply because they belong to a human being. We are human, and therefore deserving of a baseline level of respect. </p> <p>Because so many of us take human dignity for granted—just a fact of our humanness—it's usually only when someone's dignity is ignored or violated that we feel compelled to talk about it. </p> <p>But human dignity means more than the absence of violence, discrimination, and authoritarianism. It means giving individuals the freedom to pursue their own happiness and purpose—a freedom that can be hampered by restrictive social institutions or the tyranny of the majority. The liberal ideal of the good society is not just peaceful but also pluralistic: It is a society in which we respect others' right to think and live differently than we do.</p>
From the 19th century to today<p>With <a href="https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?year_start=1800&year_end=2019&content=human+dignity&corpus=26&smoothing=3&direct_url=t1%3B%2Chuman%20dignity%3B%2Cc0" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Google Books Ngram Viewer</a>, we can chart mentions of human dignity from 1800-2019.</p><img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDg0ODU0My9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1MTUwMzE4MX0.bu0D_0uQuyNLyJjfRESNhu7twkJ5nxu8pQtfa1w3hZs/img.png?width=980" id="7ef38" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="9974c7bef3812fcb36858f325889e3c6" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
American novelist, writer, playwright, poet, essayist and civil rights activist James Baldwin at his home in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, southern France, on November 6, 1979.
Credit: Ralph Gatti/AFP via Getty Images
The future of dignity<p>Around the world, people are still working toward the full and equal recognition of human dignity. Every year, new speeches and writings help us understand what dignity is—not only what it looks like when dignity is violated but also what it looks like when dignity is honored. In his posthumous essay, Congressman Lewis wrote, "When historians pick up their pens to write the story of the 21st century, let them say that it was your generation who laid down the heavy burdens of hate at last and that peace finally triumphed over violence, aggression and war."</p> <p>The more we talk about human dignity, the better we understand it. And the sooner we can make progress toward a shared vision of peace, freedom, and mutual respect for all. </p>
Scientists find that bursts of gamma rays may exceed the speed of light and cause time-reversibility.
- Astrophysicists propose that gamma-ray bursts may exceed the speed of light.
- The superluminal jets may also be responsible for time-reversibility.
- The finding doesn't go against Einstein's theory because this effect happens in the jet medium not a vacuum.
Jet bursting out of a blazar. Black-hole-powered galaxies called blazars are the most common sources detected by NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope.
Cosmic death beams: Understanding gamma ray bursts<div class="rm-shortcode" data-media_id="cu2knVEk" data-player_id="FvQKszTI" data-rm-shortcode-id="c6cfd20fdf31c82cb206ade8ce21ba3f"> <div id="botr_cu2knVEk_FvQKszTI_div" class="jwplayer-media" data-jwplayer-video-src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/cu2knVEk-FvQKszTI.js"> <img src="https://cdn.jwplayer.com/thumbs/cu2knVEk-1920.jpg" class="jwplayer-media-preview" /> </div> <script src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/cu2knVEk-FvQKszTI.js"></script> </div>
Researchers dramatically improve the accuracy of a number that connects fundamental forces.
- A team of physicists carried out experiments to determine the precise value of the fine-structure constant.
- This pure number describes the strength of the electromagnetic forces between elementary particles.
- The scientists improved the accuracy of this measurement by 2.5 times.
The process for measuring the fine-structure constant involved a beam of light from a laser that caused an atom to recoil. The red and blue colors indicate the light wave's peaks and troughs, respectively.
Scientists at Washington University are patenting a new electrolyzer designed for frigid Martian water.
- Mars explorers will need more oxygen and hydrogen than they can carry to the Red Planet.
- Martian water may be able to provide these elements, but it is extremely salty water.
- The new method can pull oxygen and hydrogen for breathing and fuel from Martian brine.