A confession about gender and money…
May 04th, 2012 - 200 Comments
I’ve wanted to write about money and gender for YEARS.
I have the most RIDICULOUS set of stories about friends, marriage, dating, salaries, negotiating, and investing between men and women…plus, books and books of academic studies I’ve read.
- What do women think when they hear a guy wants someone “who can take care of the house”? What do men think when they meet a girl who wants a “big ring”?
- Who handles money better? Under what circumstances?
- What happened when I met my first official gold-digger?
- Who’s better at negotiating — and why?
But I’ve avoided it because I was afraid.
Because whenever you write about money and gender, people lose their damn minds.
They instantly jump to conclusions and bring their gigantic chips on their shoulders to the arguments, demanding that you cover every single aspect of money and gender.
Just look at these comments from a recent blog post:
“Unless Ramit is highly skilled in gender studies, he should be careful about reporting these results. A non-academic study of how African American men manage their finances vs. how Caucasian men do would be frowned upon, and it should be no different in ‘comparing’ genders. What’s to compare?” – Joanna
“You did not allow for nonbinary gender. And if you are assuming all relationships are straight I shall be quite cross.” – Andrea
“IMHO, I don’t think it’s possible to tie financial capability to a gender any more than it’s possible to tie “parenting” or “eating veggies” to a gender. For every man or woman who is good with money, there’s another who is a trainwreck. Tying money to gender is stereotyping, which makes for great sensationalism and lots of eyeballs, but that’s about it.” – Linda
“The title of this post doesn’t make sense.” – Josh
To avoid the predictable furor, I’ve collected thousands and thousands of data points, as well as reading several books on gender on my recent vacation.
But it doesn’t matter!
People are not rational about gender and money. (In fact, people are not “rational” about most things.) But when it comes to gender, they take their own individual experience and extrapolate it to the rest of the world, which makes everyone avoid sharing what they really think.
Well, I don’t want to avoid it any more.
There’s a gigantic gap between what we SAY and what we DO when it comes to gender and money. Why not explore it?
Yes — MEN AND WOMEN ARE DIFFERENT WHEN IT COMES TO MONEY. Read that last sentence again. If you steadfastly cling to the idea that men and women are “equal” (in this case, meaning they behave identically) around money, you are simply asking to be deceived. Let’s explore the similarities and differences instead of deluding ourselves.
For example, would you care if your significant other made more than you?
Recently, I was at a dinner when someone asked me if I would care if my future wife made more money than I did.
After I answered, I went on Twitter and asked two questions:
1. Guys — would you care if you made more than your wife?
2. Ladies — would you care if you made more than your husband?
What do you think the responses were? What do you think the truth is?
Leave a comment here and let’s get the discussion going.
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