Living with credit, Research, regulation, industry reports Guys have few credit cards, little debt

Jeremy Simon

A recent poll found that the typical modern man has few credit cards and even less debt, with the cash saved on interest charges apparently going toward his goal of $1 million in retirement savings.’s 2008 Edition of the Great Male Survey considered the various stereotypical male personas (including player, family man, workaholic and dandy, according to the site) and wondered if they were supported by any data. “As the No. 1 men’s lifestyle site on the Web, we knew that it was up to us at to deliver the numbers,” the Web site said.

So it did. “Our 2008 Great Male Survey, launched in conjunction with Yahoo! Shine’s Great Female Survey, was a big success, drawing over 75,000 participants who generated a combined total of more than 10 million answers,” said. But success is relative: Those self-reported responses came from a self-selected audience and should be treated with a healthy bit of skepticism. Plus, consumers have a tough time honesty owning up to something as taboo as credit card debt.

For its survey section on power and money, posed 29 questions, a few of which looked at debt and savings. Asked about the number of credit cards they own, a plurality of guys (30 percent) said they hold just one credit card, which could stem from the site’s relatively young readership. The next most-popular responses were no credit cards (25 percent) and two credit cards (23 percent). Only 5 percent of guys say they have five or more credit cards.

According to data from the Experian national score index study listed by, approximately 51 percent of the U.S. population has at least two credit cards. Does that mean that the (approximate) female half of the U.S. carries a disproportionate amount of plastic? If it was up to AskMen and Shine, we’d never know: the 2008 edition of the Great Female Survey had just two categories — women’s sexuality and dating trends — with power and money not considered.

The AskMen survey results also suggest that guys are paying off their credit cards. Questioned as to whether they have debt, 36 percent say they do not have any (I’ll bet). Few men polled admitted shouldering credit card debt (13 percent), while even less (9 percent) said they have some combination of student debt, mortgage and credit card debt.

Perhaps because most don’t have any debt, men are just fine with the amount of plastic they carry. The vast majority of respondents (82 percent) said the number of credit cards they have is a “reasonable amount.” A minority of men believe they need to get rid of some plastic (10 percent). Even fewer males (8 percent) say actually they need more credit cards than they currently have.

Maybe some of those guys believe getting a certain credit card will give them added prestige: 2 percent of guys polled said the ultimate status symbol was not in fact a beautiful home, female companion or car (as numerous other respondents did), but rather a “high-status” credit card, such as the American Express black card or a Visa Infinity.

Meanwhile, guys realize they aren’t getting any younger. AskMen found that a little less than half (46 percent) of men say they have a plan for retirement and are putting money toward it. That’s good, since the vast majority of males (91 percent) say they need a lump sum of $1 million or more to “retire comfortably” and spend their golden years swimming in gold (OK, they didn’t actually get that explicit with their Scrooge McDuck fantasies).

Now for my version of the poll: Guys — do you have credit cards? Do you have credit card debt?

See related: Poll: Credit card debt the new taboo topic, Credit card industry facts, debt statistics 2006-2008

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