A confession about gender and money…

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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.

Examples:

    • 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?

    • CLICK TO TWEET: I wouldn’t care if my partner made more money than me.
    • CLICK TO TWEET: I would care if my partner made more money than me.

Leave a comment here and let’s get the discussion going.

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200 Comments

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  1. Men want to make more money, but are willing to do less work!

  2. You are awesome! Cannot wait to see the material.
    Write a book on the topic. I’d be your first buyer.
    Thanks!

  3. RAMIT–saw your parents in the NY Times today. It was a great article and they’re adorable.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/05/your-money/how-to-raise-a-financial-guru.html?_r=1

  4. Barbara Saunders Link to this comment

    For me the ideal scenario would be Even Steven.

  5. Brave and daring!

    You´ll get more revealing results if you ask for preference though: “would you want your partner to make more money than you do?”. You´ll get a LOT more bullshit from a specific group as well :-)

  6. When both my wife and I were working, she made more money than me. I was quite happy about it. Better one of us made that amount than neither.

  7. As long as the bill is paid, it doesn’t matter to me who makes more. Although how it is spent is a different story.

  8. When I first married my husband (2008) I was making more…It was kind of like a game til I got laid off, it is sometimes hard but nice at the same time to now have him bringing home the bacon. I can’t say I’d be disappointed if I was suddenly bringing in funds that exceeded his income while raising our three kids.

    All jokes aside I’m grateful he makes enough for me to be spending a majority of my time with our kids (which I know will pay off) and helping good causes (pretty sure that’ll pay off)…also he gives me time to focus on our side projects as well which is a blessing that will pay off at some point, hopefully in a financial and not just sanity enhancing way.

  9. I want my male partner to earn more money than me (a female). I guess if I tweeted this the answer is that I do care, but only because i do not want to be the female earning more money than my manly mate.

  10. I’ve taken some low paying jobs and non paying internships in the last few years. I think my husband is DYING for the day that I make more than him and he can relax a bit. We try to split things pretty evenly now (paying for dinner, groceries, etc.) but I think we’d both like more income – although it woudn’t matter who made the extra money.

  11. Well, as a Black woman, learning what Asians do with money has been beneficial to me. So if guys have more advantageous practices, I’m ready to learn. Maybe it will be helpful in future relationships as well.

  12. If your results show that women are worse with money than men, you’ll get a crapstorm of comments from women excoriating you—variations on the above comments, anger and complaints, accusations of sexism, etc.

    If your results show that women are better with money than men, they will be perfectly happy with your post.

    People only have a problem with things showing gender difference when their particular gender is shown in an unfavorable light. When their gender is better at something, they are readily willing to admit that men and women are not equally good at everything.

  13. As a woman who makes significantly more money than her fiancé, no, I don’t care. It honestly doesn’t bother me at all. It bothers him that he doesn’t feel like he is pulling his own weight, as he feels sometimes like he is a burden, so he’d prefer to at least make enough to support himself (which he isn’t right now, I’ve been floating us both), but he’s fine with earning less than me.

  14. Every time you brag about your thousands of data points and fail to show statistics and controls, a small part of me dies.

    I’ve been reading your stuff for years, so this means I’m almost dead. You might lose one whole reader.

    • Ha!

      Me too. It’s this annoying consultant tic that assumes the quantity of the inputs or the struggle at which they were acquired determines the quality of the insight. It’s kind of like when Jim Collins tells us there are 7 million person hours invested in Good to Great and that’s why his insights are so rare and prized. I’m all for hard work and I love me some rigorous statistics and good data analysis, but I think often times it’s more about using the methodology as marketing than anything else. But Ramit has a system and he’s put the work in so he’s certainly entitled to show it off. My sense is that this survey was pretty carefully designed and that as a “post doc” you’re an especially savvy consumer of surveys.

      Can’t wait to hear what Ramit’s got coming for us.

  15. Ramit – My wife and I are going to be celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary later this month. Over those years there have been times when I earned more than she, and there have been times when she earned more than me. The key word is partnership. When you decide to live your life with another, it doesn’t make a difference.

    • I said much the same thing. Coming up on 20 yrs ourselves. Frankly, I wish she still worked full-time and made more than I did again.

      Hey, Ramit… How do kids figure into your equations? :)

    • This is our story, too! All for one and one for all!

  16. I would LOVE IT if my wife made more money than me, but I’d probably just be trading my current worries for brand new ones.

    • Insightful. Go deeper. What might those worries be?

    • I agree Aaron! My wife’s income would have to quadruple (literally) for her to be making more than me. If that happened, I have no idea how I could be bothered by that.
      In terms of worries, then only issue that comes to mind is being the primary bread-winner for my family. But I honestly think that is only an issue, personally and socially, if my wife were to be making money and I was not at all. But I think I earn enough to be happy and fulfilled absolutely, rather than comparatively.

  17. I don’t care if my wife made more than me, though that’s not currently the situation. My ex-wife used to make more than I did, and I was ok with it then too. It’s a good thing either way!

  18. Spouting off about an immensely complicated subject after reading a few books about it is “brave” now?

    Why don’t you give us all a string theory lecture instead? Go ahead, I’ll wait.

    • Amen, Amber. It’s surprising that Ramit would think “reading several books on gender on my recent vacation” qualifies him to talk about how women feel about money. I watched “The Help” and read “The Bluest Eye”… does that mean I should write about the Black female experience? I mean, get real.

      Of course, I’m not “allowed” to say that… because Ramit has already set up an us-vs-them scenario. If a woman says anything to defend herself now, she’s just being “hysterical” or “over-sensitive”. …A not-so-clever but very effective silencing trick that’s been used since the beginning of time.

    • To reply to you and to Joanna, Ramit has done more than “read a few books.” As he said at the beginning of this post, he has read “books and books” of academic studies. He also stated that he has thousands and thousands of data points. And a Psychology degree from Stanford. Plus, he has ~10 years of financial experience to draw upon.

      Joanna, “the Help” and “the Bluest Eye” are hardly academic treatises, and your analogy hardly compares to serious research. If you notice, Ramit has hardly set up an “us-vs-them scenario,” and there is no need for women to “defend” themselves, as they are not being attacked. Ramit has yet to actually say anything about the gender differences he believes to exist; what if he claims that women are in fact far superior to men at money management?

      My point is this: Ramit hasn’t claimed anything yet. All he has said is that differences exist. From my own social psychology experience, I am certainly prepared to entertain such a notion. Perhaps, before becoming defensive, you should hear what he has to say.

    • B, thanks for coming out. Not sure why you’re reacting to my reaction. Not sure why you’re calling me defensive in a comment in which you, point by point, defend.

      I’m not saying Ramit has to avoid the subject of gender. I’m not saying anyone does. I’m just saying to proceed with caution, care and respect. Because violence against women is real, and it is in the subtext of seemingly innocent conversations on “gender and money”. It is in the subtext of your response to me. It is so complex, it insists on careful consideration… not sensationalism. That is all.

    • If you begin a discussion warning people how they need to proceed and questioning my credentials, you’re already creating a self-fulfilling prophecy of being offended. I’d rather you offer a great story, some examples, or even book recommendations. But if you insist on controlling how this series will be run, why not create your own?

    • Ladies,

      I sincerely doubt Ramit is claiming to be a subject-matter expert. He is sharing the statistics of others whom have researched these topics Ad nauseam. I didn’t see you complaining when he was posting his research summaries on checking accounts or statistics on the best credit cards.

      I must tell you, I am a woman who has been in asset management for eight years; women and men handle their assets incredibly differently. Of course, each scenario and statistic doesn’t apply to every male or female but the broad population. If you aren’t open to such dialogue why don’t you opt to auto-delete the emails?

      Thanks,
      Sarah

    • Its a tough subject for sure, what will you tackle next Ramit? Parenting?

      I agree that the greater subtext of gender and power, abuse, self worth, societal expectations and representation in media is going to be in my mind as I read this series and I will be disappointed if its not called out when someone goes too far. It might be a bit early to judge this discussion and it is only as civil as we choose to make it. Minds are rarely changed by the “tit for tat” back and forth that comment sections often degrade to.

      Fight the urge people!!!

  19. I don’t care which of us earns more, as long as I get to be the primary/equal decision-maker. If I were married to someone who thought the person who made more automatically got to make our financial decisions, then I would be more concerned with making as much or more than my partner. (We would probably have some other issues as well, but that’s another story!)

    • The popular obsession with “equality” has always been a pet peeve of mine. We’re not all the same. That doesn’t mean that one person is more or less valuable as a human being than another – just that differences exist. I don’t know how anyone can even argue with that.

      Anyway, it would bother me if my wife earned more than me. Part of my identity as a husband and father is being the provider. If my wife earned more, that would make me more like a “contributor,” and that would be damaging to my ego.

      I’ll admit that it’s also somewhat of a relationship power balance thing. In my experience women who say they want to have equal power in a relationship tend to loose respect for any guy who gives it to them, so I’m not going to apologize for that. Feel free to through stones. ;)

  20. I’m more interested on how you did that twitter link thing. I can see that it would help someone with a blog get more twitter followers. Can you teach me how to do that?

    • Check out the site”clicktotweet”. Insert the quote and it generates the URL to integrate into your blog.

      I’m only an economics undergrad, but I guess in the future I do see myself as being the ‘higher earner’. However, I am not totally sure as to whether this is something I would want/like ideally – although I can’t really claim I have given it all that much thought.

      The topic reminds me of a Chris Rock sketch, where the woman complains no matter the situation. If the guy earns more, his wife complains that he feels like he is controlling her. Then if the guy earns less, she complains at him for never having any money and being broke.

  21. My boyfriend makes more than I do which motivates me to reach for a high paying job. We don’t share money so he definitely has much nicer things than I do. I care because I want to be at his level. It sucks to go to dinner and while 20 dollars doesn’t hurt him, it cuts into my budget.

  22. My fiance makes significantly less than me, and it does bother me, because it means I will have less choices in life (I will not be able to have kids/be a stay-at-home mom or work part time) and I am supporting him more than he is supporting me (I feel the burden/weight of that). It also means that for my foreseeable future, I’m stuck in an office at a computer from 9-6, every Monday-Friday for the rest of my life. Zero flexibility. But this is the sacrifice I’m KNOWINGLY making by marrying for love, not money.

  23. Ramit can’t wait to see what you write about on this topic.

    As for me? If it would bother my partner for me to make more money than him, than he’s probably not the guy for me.

  24. Ramit – maybe you wouldn’t get so many shocked and appalled comments if you treated your readers with more respect instead of pigeonholing them based on gender. If your data supports that women in general have a tendency toward a habit that men do not have, that’s fine: opine on the tendency. But don’t expect us to believe that the difference is universal, or that gender is the ultimate determining factor in behavior (especially since our culture encourages different behaviors based on gender).

    • THANK YOU! I’m surprised someone as smart as Ramit is even exploring this tired old male/female heteronormative approach to selling his books/blog/skills.

    • Did anyone say these differences are universal?

      Or that gender is the “ultimate determining factor in behavior”?

      You’re jumping to conclusions — which I specifically warned about.

      It is very clear that gender has a massive influence on behavior. Decades of research has shown that. And yes, there are patterns that are reproducible across genders.

      Does that mean YOU will have that exact behavior just because men or women, on average do? No, that’s not how averages work.

      But men and women behave differently. It’s absurd to claim they don’t.

    • “But men and women behave differently. It’s absurd to claim they don’t.”
      None are as blind as those who will not see. We don’t have a problem with obvious physical differences between man and woman, so why is it difficult to see that there are also mental differences? Do we watch that much TV?

  25. I think if a man makes less than I do, he must have fallen on very hard times indeed! LOL Bless his heart!

    Having said that, no I wouldn’t mind about how much he makes so much as I would mind how he manages his money. Is he a spendthrift, or a saver? I like savers, although tightwaddery (I made up that word) can be off-putting, because it’s so often used to rationalize controlling behaviors in the relationship: “but sweetie, we’ll save more money if we get rid of your car and bicycle and you have to walk 10 miles to get to the grocery! Or, just wait around until I feel like taking you to the grocery…” Yeah, that kind of thing.

    A spouse is not a captive (to paraphrase a famous rabbi whose name eludes me at the moment).

    The problem with a huge differential in income is that the partner who earns more might feel they get to make all the decisions in the relationship, and the partner who earns less might feel diminished, like they “don’t have a vote” as Dave Ramsey would put it. If you’re in the relationship, you get a vote. You get a vote on how money is spent, how much, how the two of you save and plan for the future.

    I don’t think earning more than your partner should be a problem, as long as the lower-earner doesn’t feel powerless in the relationship as a result, and the higher-earner doesn’t use income as a reason to render their partner a second-class citizen in the relationship.

    • Great point! The greater problem is a spend thrift or someone who doesn’t care to pull their own weight (financially or otherwise). Women making more than men can be an issue but how you manage your money and attitude towards money is a much greater issue to me too.

  26. Ramit, I, for one, can’t wait to read your stories and thoughts on gender and money.
    To answer the question, I do think it would be a little awkward to make more money than my (future) husband. I also think men feel better about making more, just like they prefer to be the driver, even if he’s driving MY car!! It shouldn’t be a big deal, but let’s be honest, men feel more manly if they’re making more than their woman. That’s just reality, at least for the majority.
    And that was how it was in my home growing up. I am 34.

    • Nice comment, Joyce. Do you think most women agree with you? If so, why/why not?

    • That’s really interesting… because not only do I make more money than my fiance, but I also do most of the driving. Primarily because my car is in better shape (his needs some work and is usually messier) AND I don’t mind driving (my fiance isn’t a big fan) AND I’m not a drinker (which means my fiance has a built in designated driver whenever we go to parties). This suits both of us just fine :)

      Some people feel tied to certain gender role norms, others don’t. But it seems like the general trend is moving away from the kinds of gender norms you are describing.

    • Joyce,

      When I met my husband, I made a substantial amount more than he did and I was slightly uncomfortable with that situation. I hated that he still had debt from undergraduate school and was hot-rodding around in a Porsche (on less income than I)

      I went to extents of teaching him business etiquette, basic investment concepts, appropriate business attire, how to advance his career, deferred gratification (trading his Porsche for a Kia optima) and basic opportunity cost concepts. I knew it was important to relay that knowledge to my then-fiancé because we both knew family was most important to us in the long-run and that I was, without doubt, the most appropriate person to devote more time to children – if and when that time arose in the future.

      He is now making more money than I due to a strategic career move I made for more flexibility and stress-reduction (after 2 miscarriages). He has received several promotions and is finishing his MBA. I am also much more fulfilled in this particular career path. And am feeling a lot more comfortable than when we first met about our financial situation. I would never admit that truth here in our home city but it has relieved pressure on the family front.
      I was raised in a first-generation Hispanic family so I am a firm believer that family comes first and that sacrifices have to be made in order to achieve a healthy, well-adjusted family life.

      I know many will disagree with my sentiments but I, too, felt differently about this issue when I was in college and driven to be a CEO of a large company. Time sure has a way of changing things.

      Thanks.

    • Is society better off if the men get to feel manly and the women get to feel protected? Cave men times that was definitely an issue.

      I feel like it is part intentional gravitation of men who like to dominate with women who want to be taken care of, and men who are accepting of equal power roles in the relationship with women who have a drive to earn their own income. The rest of our roles in our own household is up to complete chance of who you fell for.

      Sadly in my opinion these women’s roles in society are predominantly negative stereotypes, the nerdy girl who can’t get a date and the gold digger. Can you even think of positive descriptions, that are not just euphemisms for these?

      Men in the first group are manly and take charge known for being protective, men in the second group are evolved and modern known for splitting child-rearing/housework. They are also called out for negative stereotypes like neanderthal vs lazy, a-hole vs wuss or abusive vs freeloader whenever it suits someone’s purpose.

      http://www.apa.org/pi/families/resources/changing-father.aspx

  27. I also want to note, that, in my experience, men who consider themselves “progressive” in this area are also typically “assholes,” on the lazy and selfish side. They would rather have a woman do the work so they can mess around.

    • In my experience as a man, most of us are on the lazy and selfish side.
      (Who do I mean by ‘us’? Hah!)

    • I can only speak for myself, but when my wife made more than me, I was happy about it because it meant we brought home more money. We both worked full time, so it’s not like I could “work less” just because she was earning more than me.

      Our current situation is me as the money earner, her as the toddler-raiser. I’d be happy to switch, not because her job is easier, but it’s a hell of a lot more fun!

  28. I don’t mind you writing about the topic of money and gender. I DO mind if you make generalizations about socially constructed gender categories that reinforce the gender binary (not to mention stereotypes). Well-done statistics, with a study that doesn’t bias your results? Okay. Misleading statistics, with leading questions? Not cool–and prevalent even in science. Also, remember that asking people about their gender BEFORE you give them a survey has a priming effect for people thinking of themselves stereotypically, as shown in IQ studies.

    • Totally understand, and I wish I could run a multivariate analysis on 50m people. But I can’t. We’ll use anecdotes (think about it, there are a ton of unsaid rules about money and gender that will never make it into a formal study), we’ll use data, we’ll use peer-reviewed studies. But this isn’t Stats 260.

  29. I have always made the most money. Interesting, through two marriages, why do you think I keep picking these guys? Coincidence? Obviously I’m fine with making more. First husband wasn’t fine with it. Second one is…so far.

  30. I think it all comes down to ego and society; and they are related. ‘Society’ tell us from a young age that men are the providers and woman are the caregivers. It’s almost engrained into us. How many people were raised by a stay at home dad? Not too many. So when the little boy grows up and gets married, the societal norm is that he should provide for his wife. And when his wife earns more than him, someone that is influenced by societal norms will feel inadequate. Someone that doesn’t give a f— what society think of him should be ok with it.

    But to answer your question, as a 31 year old single male who earns high 6 figures, I would not be threaten by my partner making more than me. That would mean that she is earning a boatload and as I finance guy, I would be ecstatic to watch out wealth grow, which means more travel and earlier retirement. And when the time came to have kids and we decided to do the stay at home mom/dad thing, I would approach it unbiasedly and decide who stayed home based on who was where in their careers, earning potential, job stress, etc. (Although, secretly, I would be pulling to stay at home with the kids.. )

  31. Who earns it doesn’t seem to be the biggest question for me- it’s who gets to spend it in a marriage? Whoever earns it or earns more often gets more power. Not really surprising, but I think it’s a bad idea that one has more opportunities than the other one. Couples used to be one unit but with higher earnings and things like remarriage, people are more self- centered. Men want independent women and women want to spend more if they earn more. Honestly I think it used to be easier.

    • Yes, it’s not about who earns it as much as the decision-making power that traditionally goes to the main bacon-bringer. If the power dynamic is equal, then it doesn’t matter who brings home the most money. Otherwise, the money is a redherring for some other issue, probably involving ideas about gender roles and the balance of power.

    • Haha, easier for WHO?

  32. dont care, sure i might be a little upset at first but i would then remember IF i can not be happy for this woman should I really be in a relationship with her? Besides money is not set in stone what IF i suddenly make more money and her would i not want her to be happy for me?

  33. As a divorce attorney, I’ve got about 10 years’ worth experience dealing with the difference between genders handling money. This is what I see: women are more likely to allow men to handle all the finances, and are more accepting of being told to “just go shopping and put it on the card”, which doesn’t always mean that either party knows what the actual financial situation is. However, women are more knowledgeable of actual day-to-day cost of living expenses, like groceries. Men use excel spreadsheets, when they note the monthly budget at all; women make lists and follow bank statements.
    Men and women have different priorities and different things they determine as “essential”, and budget accordingly. How many men have a clothing budget?
    Despite what everyone else is going to say, men always have a hard time accepting being financially supported by or dependent upon a woman.

    • In your experience, are differences over finances a common cause of divorces, or is it usually other things?

  34. People are so predictable.They follow what they have been taught,or rebel in predictable fashions.(instead of working in a happy medium between what their taught and what they believe)I’ve seen everything from other women that seem to be bent on staying at home and working purely to raise kids they had with whoever they slept with,to other ends of the spectrum where money (and attaining it)are still used as power plays by whoever is making the most.I’ve seen many guys that find ways to avoid getting some chick financially relying on them,but they pull it off badly by still insisting on being extravagant for their dates.I see patterns of making others financially reliant on the breadwinner,(by starting and feeding addictions of some kind,whether that be new shoes,latest gadgets,ect.)while the breadwinner gains an ever increasing control and wish for power and more control and power…..this is often expressed in very hectic means that often lead to breakups or co-dependencies among other messes…..lets take gender out of the equation and find ways to soften or prevent darker sides of human nature from warping things.

  35. I make more than my wife, but I couldnt care less. We throw all of our money into one checking account and pretty much live how we want. I think it bugs my wife, but she is quitting her job in 2 months anyway when we have our first kid. We have our money nearly automated (thanks to THE book) so I never really think about it.

  36. I WOULD care – I WISH my wife made more than me!

  37. Ramit,

    I am older than your “target demographic” but I very much enjoy reading your column. As I am one generation older, YES, from my viewpoint men and women view/handle/treat money and all the relationships around money very differently. I have noticed men seem to have an attitude of “entitlement” regarding money and achievement, and women spend waaaay too much time acting/feeling like they have to “deserve” money or go after their dreams (career/life, whatever). Most men SAY they want a woman to earn more, but when push comes to shove, they secretly resent it. Women spend way too much time wanting to be liked so they compromise their careers/earning potential/expectations to placate the men in their lives- be it spouses, boyfriends or bosses.

    What do I personally think regarding money? Simple: I deserve to have/do/achieve anything I want and if my partner doesn’t like it, he knows where the door is. No, I am not a ball-buster, although that was my secret fear when I was younger. I simply got fed up with a second-rate life and finally woke up one day and said,”Hey! Why NOT me?” BTW, that was right after I had a boss who refused to give insurance benefits to the women he employed as he thought we were all getting insurance from our spouses (uh- what if we didn’t HAVE a spouse and isn’t that illegal???) AND he refused to sign our licenses (required in my profession) even though we did ALL his work, while at the same time actively supported all the men who also did the same work. Shortly after that discovery, I found another place to work where my abilities were respected regardless of my gender. And yes, this was recent- not 20 years ago. Sheesh.

  38. The only reason I would care how much I made compared to my husband is if money was used as a way to control/exert power over the other person. Growing up, my dad earned a lot, and my mom never finished college and was a stay at home mom. It REALLY bothered me when he would basically hold it over her head that HE earned all the money, in the very archaic “What did you even do all day? Make lunch and play games with the kids? I handled 10 business negotiations” kind of way–uggggh. I got slightly fanatical and thought that if I didn’t earn as much or MORE as my spouse when I grew up, that I’d be in that same position. Fortunately I chose to marry someone who isn’t a jerk about money and gender roles, so it’s not an issue!

  39. I think “would(n’t) care” is a misleading statement.

    There’s a big difference between “I care a lot that my partner earn more than I do” and “I care a lot that I earn more money than my partner”. Or “It would bother me a lot if my partner made more than I do.”

    As an older woman, I have the expectation that any man I would get involved with should have greater earning power than I do. I would feel uncomfortable if I earned more money.

  40. Great attention bait but you’re missing a bigger set of trends. In the midwest women are taking over the male role as male dominated careers are rendered obsolete. The disproportionate imprisonment of black males has led to more matriarchs providing the income in their families. The mostly male entrepreneurs (aka time gamblers) will be more inclined to marry women with stable careers to diversify household risk.

    Regardless of your results, they speak to the history of our culture and not the zeitgeist.

  41. I don’t really care who make more money man or woman doesn’t matter as long as they are happy with the job/career they have. Realizing you hate what do, even though it may pay better than your spouse or signifcant other’s job/career is never a good thing. Your health or relationship will probably end up suffering because of the excess stress. Stress sucks, stress kills. Do what you love, even if it doesn’t make the most money.

  42. Thanks for exploring this area Ramit! I’m really excited to read future posts on this topic.

    Please keep an open mind and try not to get your underwear in a bunch people…whether they’re designed for males or females!

  43. I never really trust that a man is going to solve anything for me. But that has it’s own weird pitfalls. Yet, I secretly think I’m still hoping prince charming will come wisk me off to his kingdom. I don’t think I’m making up these two divergent sides of my thinking, and I can’t tell if it’s built into my DNA or habit’s of socialization and early childhood poverty and broken family. I’ll give you this, people are fucked up about money even if the arn’t willing to admit it. It’s that rediculious hidden scripts business again. Thanks for fanning the flamesd of tricky conversation. Looks like a fun on :-)

  44. I tweeted I wouldn’t care if my girlfriend/wife made more than me, I am not bound by arcane gender roles.

  45. In thinking of mine and my various friend’s situations, who makes more and who handles the finances has more to do with who is the “control freak” than gender. I know couples where the man is the control freak and handles the money and vice versa. My former husband made less than me, but it wasn’t the amount of money he made that caused problems, it was his lack of interest in a partnership relating to finances and goals (OR work ethic!!). I would love to have the man in my life make as much or more than me. Or alternatively he could have a retirement income and have dinner waiting for me when I got home from work!

  46. I’d be interested to see how most women think. I know I’m alone for some things like… I DO NOT WANT A BIG RING. To be honest, I don’t even want a diamond. Not because I’m trying to be frugal(although I do think it’s too much money).. but because I think it’s silly it’s become a fake symbol of how much someone loves you. I hear people say if the diamond is small then the guy must not be serious. (Come on!)

    Although I do think there will be similarities in how women(or men) relate to money, I have to say that most of my girl-friends treat money very differently. It’s difficult for me to see similarities even between them.

    One thing I’ve experienced is many guys’ ego trip when it comes to the “idea” of someone they date/marry making more money than them.

    • Same here on the ring. Maybe it is because the happiest couples I know have either simple bands or no rings, they could easily afford huge rocks (both halves high net worth), but they didn’t care about that aspect.

  47. If we were to talk strictly about gender differences, would our bases be the same if we compared how we’d feel about a brother/sister? Because if I think strictly based on my partner, wouldn’t that be more about the relationship we have where we want to be seen a specific way in relation to them as opposed to whether they are “supposed” to be making more because they are a man/woman? I (as a woman) personally wouldn’t care if my male partner made more than I did. He, in turn, has said that he doesn’t care if I make more than he does. I also wouldn’t mind making more than him. However, I think I do feel twinges of jealousy when I hear about my FRIENDS (male OR female) make more than I do, and to me, that’s completely normal. This is because we have more of a competitive relationship by nature, whereas I don’t try to compete with my boyfriend. All in all, it makes me think it’s more of the relationship you have with a specific person (regardless of gender) that affects the way you feel about their money making. I hope that makes sense.

  48. I felt a ton of pressure from my mom to “marry up” which she defines as a) college degree and b) making more. For those of us in our 20s I don’t think it is as big of a deal. What is the point of making a lot of money if I then go on to artificially limit my choices to a small subset of the population?

    I think it also depends on the person and their peers. There are several men in fiance’s work group who’s wives makes more than them. That definaly helps normalize it. He’s always been ok with me making more even before this particular job. When we started dating I was a bit worried about it as I’ve seen many other relationships where it creates tension because what people think they /should/ feel isn’t what they actually feel so they can’t even take the first steps to admit what is going on. That’s where you get all kinds of passive agressive bullshit like snide comments and seemingly bizare fights.

  49. My guess is 80-90% of people care whether the husband makes more than the wife and about 10-20% don’t. I answered that men and women are equally good with money but I was answering for my relevant social circle and whether the capability is inherent. Most of the women in my social circle have PhDs in engineering or MBAs and are Asian immigrants.

    Young single women now make more than young single men in metropolitan areas so IWT’s demographic may need to get used to this.

    “in 147 out of 150 of the biggest cities in the U.S., the median full-time salaries of young women are 8% higher than those of the guys in their peer group. In two cities, Atlanta and Memphis, those women are making about 20% more. This squares with earlier research from Queens College, New York, that had suggested that this was happening in major metropolises. But the new study suggests that the gap is bigger than previously thought, with young women in New York City, Los Angeles and San Diego making 17%, 12% and 15% more than their male peers, respectively. And it also holds true even in reasonably small areas like the Raleigh-Durham region and Charlotte in North Carolina (both 14% more), and Jacksonville, Fla. (6%).”

    http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,2015274,00.html

  50. There was a time I earned more than my other half, now he earns more than I do. While I don’t really care as long as the bills are paid, I do treat earning more as a sort of game. He has a built in clause in his work contract that he get a 2% raise every year. I don’t. In fact my field often has me going from studio to studio every 8 months or so, so getting a significant pay raise is difficult even with proof on my resume and portfolio. Which is why I took the Earn1K course and really buckled down to grow my side income.

    In regards to who does better with money, I think it all comes down to priorities. I knew a woman who thought a pair of $500 boots was more important than being able to eat that month. On the flip side, I knew a man who gambled away the value of his house and buys a new vehicle every other year. I would be far more interested in seeing not only the divide, but where the money actually goes.

  51. The only piece of jewelry I own, besides a couple of cheap $7 earrings from Target, is my engagement ring. My fiance did an amazing job shopping for it all on his own, so I do not know how much it cost. I never cared about a “big ring” (because I think spending gobs of money on any jewelry is utterly ridiculous, it’s a fricken rock, or mineral, or whatever!). I think my ring is very pretty, but it is not huge. I am aghast that a friend of mine picked out her own engagement ring for her fiance to buy ($7000)… meanwhile, she’s filing for bankruptcy! They live together! Talk about screwed up priorities! We are probably going to Target or some other equally cheapo place to get cheapo wedding bands. I guess I don’t “get” jewelry, so I can’t tell how other people can discern if you spent big $$$ or not on a BAND.

    I am marrying a poor musician. I probably sound like the poster child for “marrying for love, not money.” However…. I think that women desiring a man who earns a lot is no different than men desiring an attractive woman. It’s perfectly normal and acceptable, if that is what is important to you. That’s why I bristle whenever I hear the term “golddigger”. Clearly I am not one, but if I wanted children, I probably would be.

    If your dream is to have a family and stay home, then marrying a dude who worked at McDonalds is probably not the best plan. It seems that MOST women want to have children at some point (I say most. I know not all want kids, because I am one of them who does not.) Even if you’re a high earning female, you will need to take SOME time off for kids if you want them, and more if you want to see them more often than 6pm-8pm.

    There’s nothing wrong with a man wanting a woman who will stay home and clean and cook. There is nothing wrong with a woman who wants a man who will provide her with security as she raises children. There is nothing wrong with people deviating from these roles in any way. There are Mr. Moms, there are breadwinning wives, there are traveling hippie couples… there are all sorts of in-betweens.

    People are different (duh). Some are traditionalists, and some are not. When issues of money come up in marriage, it seems like it’s more a communication issue: the couple did not communicate their wants/desires/expectations about money and lifestyle before getting married and now they’re finding out they have different viewpoints, leading to anger, disappointment, etc.

  52. i’m disappointed a ctrl-f of the comments section only finds one entry for “heteronormative,” and no entries for “gay” or “lesbian.” i don’t really mind you talking about the research you’ve done on different behaviors amongst genders, but you seem to assume (in what i’ve read so far, and i’ll admit it isn’t a TON) that everyone who has a partner or is in a relationship is with someone of the opposite gender. slightly disappointing, to say the least, but i suppose it isn’t unexpected. this whole conversation about gender that you’ve mentioned so far seems to revolve around the idea that money and gender and the intimacy of the relationship between the two will automatically be at odds because the people in the relationship will be two different genders.

    honestly, ultimately i don’t really care what you write and it seems you have done your research and that is great. buuuut i guess i feel like why would i read any further when nothing you seem to be writing about will ever apply to me or any of my friends?

    • If it doesn’t apply to you then stop reading this and read something that does apply to you. Or create your own article with a different topic.

    • I have seen some people research the finances of gay and lesbian relationship spending patterns. You can find data on that if you search for it. But it hasn’t ever been carried out at an academic level. Perhaps if it interests you, you could be the one to do a good study on it? It would be interesting to read for many people I think.

      The particular question asked in this entry refers to hetero relationships however that doesn’t mean that everything written will even be related to interpersonal relationships. Differences between single male and single female spending patterns could still be interesting information unless you feel that single gay males and single lesbian females are significantly different from the spending patterns of heteros. Not everyone is in a relationship. Not all spending patterns of an individual vary that much based upon their choice of mate.

  53. I would not care. In fact I wish she made more money than me

  54. Ramit, I’ll be interested to read your article on gender and money because I think you have the brains – and the guts – to do it justice. Even if I don’t like what it says.

    I make more than my husband of 2 years. We’re DINKs, with no children planned. I have always been the more ambitious one; he’s more content. We’re both pretty good with money. He’s naturally better at saving and I’m more knowledgeable about finance in general – investing, retirement funds, decoding the complicated lingo of the personal finance world. We have different priorities in terms of where our money should go first, but we’re about equal in terms of motivation to save/pay down debt/spend responsibly.

    Gender can affect money in a multitude of ways. We’ve all heard the statistics about how women earn less than men, on average, for the same job. It’s a broad stroke and it’s been attributed to lots of factors, from women taking time off work to have kids, to women not negotiating their salaries and having every raise and promotion compounded on that first low salary. (Which, by the way, thank you for your infinite wisdom in the arena of negotiation – I must’ve read every post and watched all your videos three times in the last two weeks, and your advice and the courage it gave me have just landed me a permanent, lucrative spot at the job where I’ve been contracting for five months.)

    I think it’s also important to recognize the gender messaging about money that we internalize from a young age. Like that men should provide, or that women are naturally no good at math. Just like all the other problematic mental blocks that hold us back from looking at our lives and goals objectively, these scripts can keep us trapped in self-defeating behavior that then gets attributed to some kind of innate gender deficiency.

    But then, we already know that my husband makes less that I do – and that he and I are both fine with that – so I may not be the right person to weigh in on He vs. She. We’ve already torn down a good chunk of that wall in our house (and couldn’t be happier.) But just like everything else you preach on your site, it takes a good deal of muscle and grit to dig down and challenge your long-held beliefs – even if they’re no longer useful.

  55. ====================================================
    I would care if my wife made more than I.
    Provision is a skill that brings fulfillment to my purpose as a man.
    Seriously.
    ====================================================

    It is entirely justifiable to say that provision is a masculine trait. Biologically throughout history, the majority of men were equipped with a tendency for aggression and possession. Hunting gathering has evolved over centuries into business. making money has been part of “the man’s world” for as long as men posed threats to one another’s livelihood.

    In recent history, women have taken remarkable strides to play in what is historically “the men’s arena.” All genders should recognize that women who want to be effective businesswomen typically adopt many masculine qualities to dominate or compete. If businesspeople do not adopt these tendencies, they’re less likely to be effective in the business space.

    How can you tell if someone is effective in business? Salary and finances are a good measuring stick. So whoever is making more money, it is fair to assume they have the assertive, competitive qualities needed to get that money. And since those qualities are historically and sociologically masculine traits, then if my spouse made more money than me, it would psychologically emasculate me.

  56. I’m a single man and just turned 29. I’m a lawyer and work for the government. A lot of my friends are making 120K a year (or more), but I’m making half that. My job is awesome, so I could see myself staying with it. I want to date someone with a “real” salary (plus or minus 20 percent of mine–someone who isn’t working for tips) who thinks of her job as a career. My best chance at paying off 70K of student loans before I’m 40 is to double up and share a one bedroom apartment with someone.

    I’d feel a little inadequate if I was dating someone that was making twice what I made. But it’s also important to me to date someone who is financially stable. I always pay on the first date and the second one, but then if I pay every time after that I feel used. I also genuinely want to be with someone that is smart, works hard and is ambitious so why shouldn’t money be a by product of that? Maybe I can be the public interest half of a power couple.

    Also, the only time I ever acquired unplanned credit card debt was when I was dating a girl who was raised in a wealthy family. I couldn’t afford to hang with her and her friends, but didn’t want to let it show. She knew, which is why she went out of the way to let me know that money wasn’t important to her (though she had hundreds of shoes). We had a lot of fun, but it didn’t last.

  57. I’m very curious to read what you conclude. The financial breakdown in my marriage is atypical, but it works well for us. I think it is more about personality types than gender.

  58. Ramit – In my gut, I feel we come to our conclusions via conditioning, traditions, media influences, culture, peer groups, work groups and when we get through all those levels we allow our individuality to sort through it – male or female.

    Since you love data – check out Rosemary Altea’s “Soul Signs” and let me know what you think.

  59. The man has to make more than me and significantly more. I’m competitive at work and I don’t need to compete at home with my partner. I’ve been with men that make less and the relationships end quickly- jealousy eventually creeps into the relationship. Lesson learned through experience – I now have a salary minimum, at least, x% more than I make.

  60. I will be honest and though I will sound sexist, I would prefer a man to make about what I make or more. Or at least show that he is in the position of trying to climb the income ladder so to speak… I am really more interested in financial responsibility than earnings. If you make enough, good. If you don’t, then are you trying to earn more? Are you spending money to match your earnings or are you spending money like it’s free and falling from the trees? I suppose they are trying to impress me, but when I see men blowing money on random crap, it’s a turn off.

    Perhaps it is because most of the people I’ve been around make much less than me, and blow through money like it’s nothing when they get a windfall… (Not that I make all that much, I don’t.) That applies to men and women that I know. It is one thing to spend money on things you like and enjoy. It is another to just spend money on whatever random item you see because you have extra money to spend at the moment. I am more worried about partnering with someone who will want to increase their spending to match my earnings. Or else decide that my investments and savings would be fun to blow through in a year on junk that has no real value…

    As far as comparing the two genders spending habits…. I think both are equally likely to blow money in different ways. I think a man is more likely to take bigger risks in business and investments, which can pay off big later. I think that our parents generation was more focused on telling the boys that they need to grow up and make money and less worried about the girls because we’re supposed to marry the men who grew up to make good money…

    But I know a girl who got a big windfall and spent it all buying a house, a car, a truck, and furniture. While this was several years ago, she still has all these items today. You could say there were better things to do with the money, but I think she did ok. I know a guy who got a $100k+ windfall and spent it all impressing his friends for a few months and now has nothing. But this is all anecdotal. I’m sure you can find the similar stories with the genders reversed.

  61. r u kidding? do I CARE if he makes more than me? I can’t WAIT til my husband is making more money than I am!

  62. I agree with the person who said their partner making more money encourages them to do the same. After my wife got her new job and started making twice as much as I did, I used the extra income as an opportunity to go back to school and finish my bachelors. After I get my masters, I should be able to make much much more than I was making before, and even thought it still won’t touch her income, at least I know I have fulfilled my potential and am way happier.

  63. Ramit,

    You are proposing a bigoted viewpoint.

    People are different. While gender and race play a part in creating that difference, they are not the significant factors. Our culture, personal experience and expertise are the significant factors that create categories of behavior.

    To continue to propagate negative stereotypes in 2012 is wrong. These stereotypes are not who we are or who we want to be. Most important, it’s not what we to leave as our legacy. It’s not the kind of future we want for children or grandchildren.

    If this is the kind of “professional insight and advice” that you offer to “get rich”, then leave me out of these discussions and take me off your mailing lists. I am pursuing a more honorable path to getting rich.

    Bob Jones.

    • >While gender and race play a part in creating that difference, they are not the significant factors

      You have been proven wrong by decades of peer-reviewed research and thousands of years of common sense. I removed you from my list.

    • Very theatrical!

      I probably would have just clicked the ‘unsubscribe’ link if my moral viewpoint was stronger than my need for attention…

    • “While gender and race play a part in creating that difference, they are not the significant factors. Our culture, personal experience and expertise are the significant factors that create categories of behavior.”

      Sure. But examining and acknowledging that there may be huge differences in how different genders think about and deal with money is not necessarily saying that gender or genetics are the main deciding factor, just that the reality is that—for whatever reason—there’s a huge difference between the genders on this topic. Your premise—that culture, experience and expertise are far more influential than genes—is not at all compatible with Ramit’s claim that “MEN AND WOMEN ARE DIFFERENT WHEN IT COMES TO MONEY.”

      “To continue to propagate negative stereotypes in 2012 is wrong. These stereotypes are not who we are or who we want to be. Most important, it’s not what we to leave as our legacy. It’s not the kind of future we want for children or grandchildren.

      This is a logical fallacy—Appeal to consequences. The desirability of a consequence does not address the truth value of the premise. Reality is not how we WISH the world were, but rather how it is.

      Plus, you don’t even know if his findings will align with any current “negative stereotypes” at all. You’ve condemned his premise and conclusion before you even know what it is, and have already decided that if it happens to be similar to any “negative stereotypes,” that it can’t possibly be true. Stereotypes (negative or positive) are not inherently true or false—they may or may not align with reality.

  64. I taught my wife how to balance a checkbook and do cash-flow projections. Her credit is in better shape than mine. It’s complicated.

  65. I’m ok with my husband earning more than me in theory. But the reality is that my job is more responsible and exhausting than his (I’m a public sector CFO and he’s a private sector consultant) and it sucks he gets paid more than me! I know it’s mainly due to our respective sectors, but that doesn’t make it less annoying. Because he earns substantially more, we tend to treat his career more seriously, and consequently, I end up a little bitter.

  66. Through most of our working life, my wife’s income was larger then mine. It was never a source of contention with us. We agreed on different financial responsibilities for ourselves that nicely fit our incomes.

  67. I don’t think its as important who makes more as it is to decide how financial responsibilities will be allocated. Are we going to pool our funds, pay bills, and give equal allowances, or are we going to go with a proportional system? Something else? Its important to have that discussion prior to marriage / significant commitment so both parties have consistent expectations. False expectations are were contention comes from.

  68. In my first marriage, after a few years of my making 2/3 what he did, I had to quit my job and take care of a dying relative for a year. Moving in with my relative cut our housing costs to zero, so that cut down on the pain of the loss of income. Eventually my relative died, I went back to work, and we split up.

    Fast forward to my next husband. After a few years of my making 1/2 what he did, he quit to work on his business full-time. During the first three months I found myself making downright nasty comments to him and about him in public. I finally realized I was raised to believe at least one member of a relationship had to have a job outside the home, and that was not optional for the man. Notice my problem wasn’t whether or not he was holding his own financially, but rather about my undistinguished belief about gender roles. (I got over it. His business hasn’t done well and I still make more than he does, well over a decade later.)

    In neither case was I ever particularly distressed about who made more money because I’ve always felt very strongly that in a relationship neither member is entitled to any of the other’s money (probably because my parents both resented that the other ever spent a dime) and that all cases where money is shared it is an active gift which is not to be taken for granted by either party. After 17 years we still make a point of negotiating who pays for what, and making sure we each have money of our own that we do not need to justify to the other. (I have a vivid childhood memory of my mother comforting a friend who was having difficulty justifying the price of feminine products to her husband.)

    The only other couples I’ve met that operate the way we do are either same-sex couples or couples who got together later in life and are consciously aware that both are already somewhat set in their ways and need plenty of financial autonomy within the relationship. Of the younger single women I know well, one is looking for someone to take care of her and the other is looking for someone to take advantage of her. Both of them say the man should at least want to make more money than the woman, whether he’s successful or not. The younger guys I know seem to think the man should make more or he’s a failure as a man.

    Good luck generalizing. I know if nothing else I can at least rely on you to look past the cliche!

  69. Ramit – today it was announced by the AICPA that more than a quarter of couples cite fighting over money as the number 1 reason for marital discord. You can read about this here. http://money.cnn.com/2012/05/04/pf/spouse-money/index.htm

    Essentially, there is a breakdown of communication between men and women over money (and in general). Many relationships fail to have even the most basic skills at quality communication. When the energy of money is added you have fuel on the fire. Men and women have completely different styles of communicating (typically) and this creates a tremendous opportunity.

  70. I think it’s very telling that the ones getting the most offended by the fact Ramit has brought up this topic tend to be women when in fact Ramit hasn’t even said anything on this topic yet.

    I certainly can see why you’ve avoided this topic in the past. You already have female readers threatening to leave.

    Kind of funny how certain women (read: those with an extreme feminist agenda) always find something to feel victimized about. Nothing has even been released yet and they’re already claiming to be the victims of your research and analysis.

    Truth is, whether everybody is willing to admit it or not, women and men are wired differently.. When it comes to everything, not just finances. And along those lines, a relationship between a woman and a man will not stand the test of time if the woman is the one making more. The male ego is too large to withstand being the secondary breadwinner, and the female need to be taken care of is also just as great, over time she will eventually feel burdened and give up. The relationships that have worked out when the woman is the larger breadwinner have done so because both partners knew it was a short-term scenario.

  71. I love your emails and I think what you’re doing is awesome. I don’t know too many Indian people that decide to do something else with their lives besides going into the medical field.

    Gender does affect how you spend you money and what you spend it on. For example, I’ve noticed my dad will buy extra things that we don’t really “need” (according to my mom) if we go to Costco but he won’t spend money on clothes and personal items like I, my mom and sisters do.

  72. Nathanael Ligon Link to this comment

    I’m a man who would prefer to make more money than his female partner. I’m guessing MOST men and women in America would prefer this dynamic: MOST of them would prefer the man to make a higher salary. We’re still programmed to accept this as the ideal way of doing things (along with the three kids, two cars, dog, and house with a nice yard). I’m curious to see if I turn out to be right.

  73. I may be a thawed out cave man, but I would feel lousy if my wife made more than I did. But I’d take it as a good-natured challenge. Of course, I consider all work to be important, even if she makes the equivalent of minimum wage.

    Everybody knows that men and women are different from one another — the genders balance one another the way liberals and conservatives do. It’s just another binary reaction. I for one wouldn’t WANT to be with a particularly masculine woman.

    Why is this gender stuff such a big deal?

  74. As I stated in the survey, my husband & I have both taken turns being the bread winner. We just want the bills paid, health insurance for the kids, & dinner on the table. When we were both working outside the home, housework took a back seat & neither of us felt it was “my” job as the woman to get it done in addition to my paying job. HOWEVER, we both recognized that society would still give me, the woman, the stink-eye for dishes piled in the sink & a filthy carpet badly in need of vacuuming. We decided two things: (1) we can’t both work outside the home & still take care of the house because we are both lazy turds, & (2) whichever of us earns more should bring home the bacon while the other works hard to cook it. So currently, we fall into that stereotypical situation wherein the man supplies the paycheck & the woman cooks, cleans, & takes care of the babies. We’d switch in a heartbeat if I could pull in more pay. HOWEVER, having said that, we still recognize that no matter how many hours I put in outside the home, should I ever so choose, it will still be society’s viewpoint that I am responsible for the state of the house. And truthfully, I can see why: My husband doesn’t clean up nearly as well as I do. I’m more detail oriented. I’m also better at keeping a schedule. And I am better at budgeting & organizing our finances. He is better about driving the kids all over creation & making phone calls to set up appts. & selling our crap on eBay & scooping the litter box. So it’s a great partnership. I don’t claim it’d work for everyone, only that it works for us, in our current lifestyle.

    Andi-Roo /// @theworld4realz
    http://www.theworld4realz.com/
    theworldforrealz@gmail.com

  75. One thing I’ve noticed from the men and women around me, is that men tend to go for the big win and the women are better with day-to-day expenses (eg. groceries, clothes shopping) but tend to micromanage. This may be due to the social conditioning since women are expected since young to know how to do errands like cook and clean and take care of others, and men are told to be the breadwinner of the family.
    Again, I only speak of the people I know. I’m very interested in what you’re going to write on this topic, since I’ve been wondering about it myself.

  76. I wouldn’t be bothered if he made less than me. Now, if he made SIGNIFICANTLY more than me… then that would be bothersome. I do love to shop with money I’ve made on my own and spending it the way I want. I also wouldn’t leave my career to start a family and would prefer financial autonomy in both parties.

  77. Gaviotaroquero Link to this comment

    Hi Ramit,

    When will americans rget a sense a humour? When will americans learn to realise that not everything is about them individually. Keep up the good work and carry on without taking anr prisoners.

  78. Myself, and many of the women I know agonize over our finances (not a generalization, just in my experience). When I spend $60 on a nice dinner with friends, or a pair of jeans, I can justify the purchase in the moment, but later on, I feel guilty over what feels like indulgent spending—even if I have planned for these “big purchases” as you outlined in your book/blog. I’m curious to hear more about your thoughts and insights on the intersection of women, guilt, and money. When your female readers designate a guilt-free category in their budget, do they feel free of guilt while engaging in their allotted spending?

    I recognize that traditional gender role assume men to be the financial provider in heterosexual partnerships—and that experience is still very real for many men—but most women I know don’t walk around wearing that expectation of their potential male partner. To assume a boyfriend or husband will unconditionally be the provider feels very fantasy land-ish, especially with the recession, with capricious job security, with young adults getting married later. Nothing feels certain anymore. For this reason (among many others), I find women placing high expectations on ourselves to get our financial situations sorted out…so we can be self-sufficient amidst the uncertainty of what the future might hold. While owning our finances is undoubtedly important, and an obvious step towards more autonomy for women (financial dependence is a leading reason for why women stay in violent relationships), it certainly heightens this anxiety/guilt factor around money (and how we spend it) that I mentioned earlier.

    Four of my female friends and I tracked our spending daily on a shared google spreadsheet for three months in 2012. We are work in the public and/or non-profit sector, so we each receive modest salaries. The experience allowed us to access underlying shame we felt over how much money we didn’t have, and how we actually spent our money. For example, one of my friends dropped $350 on a pair of boots. In the past, if I had made a hefty purchase like this pair of boots, I probably would have carefully neglected to tell my friends about the price tag. I would not have wanted to deal with the expense right away. Would have pushed it to the back of my head. However, with the spreadsheet system, I forced myself to own up to my expenses, and felt encouraged and affirmed by my friends who were courageously doing the same. Once we unpacked some of our shame around spending, we developed the level of trust needed to help each other make smarter financial choices. There’s a significant difference between what we say we spend our money on, and what we actually spend our money on behind closed doors…and that, I don’t think, is gender-specific.

    • Rupa,

      The accountability spreadsheet is a really interesting thing you’ve done. Well done!

      Dano

  79. WasDaveNowDiane Link to this comment

    Wonder if there is enough data on transgenders in your thousands of data points for that to be a sigificant group(s), or if previous gender had a particular influence on attitudes to money, which then changed?

    Also, not sure how the twitter links will contribute (apart from generating traffic) as the gender of the tweeter or their partner won’t be clear.

    It would be interesting to see if/how gender differences in attitudes to money impact same gender couples.

  80. To me life is about happiness. If my future wife makes more than me I’m sure she deserves it. If I make more than my wife I’m sure I deserve it. That is just how it is. To the fools that left the comments that Ramit decided to highlight in his post…get off your high f’in horse about technicalities. The fact that he hasn’t earned a degree in gender studies or because he is heterosexual doesn’t disqualify him from drawing conclusions from his own surveys about money which he, if you haven’t noticed, has change a lot of people’s lives for the better. I’m excited to see what the population says.

    Personally, and this is just a guess without much research, I think his study will show that males make more money and are less secure about the opposite happening. While females will be paid less and be ok with it. I think that this is the world we still live in but in 10, maybe 5 years, we will see a big shift in this mentality. In the business world money is what talks and really females are just as capable as generating it as males are.

  81. Male superheroes seem to make more money for the movie studios and publishers. Unless there are just so many more of them, but the ladies make more…

    Anyway, it will be interesting to find out what guys and girls did differently through Earn1K and DJ, and how each person overcame their unique circumstances.

  82. Firstly, congrats on this topic! It takes some courage to openly discuss this issue in our oh so politically correct society.
    Most girls/women I know (with our without degrees and good jobs) tend to look for a man with money. Whereas I´m also noticing a trend among the guys with lesser income to check a girl´s financial situation before they go for her.
    As I’ve been burnt in the past, I stay away from guys that earn significantly less than me, because I’ve met far too many male slackers, but that´s just my experience. There are enough female slackers about, too.

  83. I currently earn more than my boyfriend. Which doesn’t worry me at all. I’m happy to support him and our children. What does hurt though is the insinuation that when helping him out financially he can feel like I’m emasculating him. It seems like I can’t win?
    Alternatively, How do you inspire financial and personal success without getting competitive?

  84. It would be interesting to see how couples then deal with the domestic responsibilities of home life in relation to who brings home the larger salary. Most of my femail friends who earn more money than their partners still do the majority share of child care and housework. This underpins most of their desire to have their partners earn more. So in turn they could take less responsibilities on at work and have more time to fit in home life too.

  85. If you have a spouse,
    appreciate your good luck.
    Income matters less.

    I here adopt the Burnside method sidestepping the “sports team fan” aspect of arguing politics. I express my opinion in the form of haiku. A sonnet or sestina would also have been acceptable under Burnside’s method.

  86. I made more money than my bf for a while and neither of us minded. I think it helped that we had open conversations about money along with everything else (debt, aspirations, etc). Now he makes more money than I do. It bothers me a bit but it could partly be because I consider myself the alpha in the relationship and I get competitive. It just helps me push myself to do better so I can bring myself on par again. As healthy as our relationship, he knows I always want to do better for myself. Him making more just translates into another bar for me – so that’s a good thing!

  87. But…. but…. Andrea is right re: assuming all relationships are straight & binary gender… I was happy to see that comment. Why did you highlight it as something hysterical and irrational?

    You are clearly not a psychologist; the least you can do to avoid making people extremely angry is add in a clause that says that men and women are probably NOT different due to genetics or some other crap like that but because of significant environmental pressures from the moment they were born. (Almost all “”””gender differences”””” can be traced to this.)

    • “the least you can do to avoid making people extremely angry is add in a clause that says that men and women are probably NOT different due to genetics or some other crap like that but because of significant environmental pressures from the moment they were born. (Almost all “”””gender differences”””” can be traced to this.)”

      This! I think that the reason so many people are getting angry is because statistical studies showing that men and women treat [topic x] differently tend to make misleading jumps of logic. Many people take these sorts of studies as reinforcement that they were correct to assume the stereotypical gender binary, when the truth is that many of these gender differences have been trained since birth. If you grow up being told that men tend to be the breadwinners, then yes, you’re going to feel uncomfortable if you make less as a man because you feel like you’re failing your responsibility as a man.

      But the fact that something like money should be confluated with “masculinity” at all instead of “confidence” or “cunning” shows, I think, lingering remnants of patriarchal views in our society.

  88. I always half joked about being a house husband when I grew up.

  89. I am very close to earning more than my husband and while it doesn’t bother me I honestly think he doesn’t want it to happen.

  90. I bet both men and women say they wouldn’t mind if their partner earned more. However, money often equals power in a relationship, so I suspect the higher earner often expects to have more power in the relationship. This could lead to rocky results. I believe the reality is that men often do resent having a woman earning more and that women may resent having a man earning more if they are at the same level, doing the same job, for the same company. I know it irked me!

  91. There are differences but they are deeply embedded in our cultural gender role “DNA.” The differences do NOT stem from our literal chromosomal DNA.

  92. I’ll be honest, I want to say it doesn’t matter, but it does. I work and if my husband made a little more money than me, I wouldn’t care. If he made twice than me I’d be very happy for him, but I’d feel like I’m not pulling my weight.

    I also see this to a larger degree in female friends of mine that stay at home, and they feel some sense of extra obligation is there in the back of their minds since they don’t work outside. As if they are worth less because they don’t earn some money. This is a sad reality to me, that society as come to value people based on their incomes, and it seems it’s no longer enough to say we are equals when both sexes are providing for their families whether it’s with income or with time and attention. Money is valued so highly above everything else.

    • I think you are absolutely on-target about stay-at-home moms (I can’t speak for stay-at-home dads). I am an at-home parent because I became disabled and could no longer perform a job outside the home (I’m often bedridden) I’m still squeamish when people ask me what I do for a living. I don’t feel comfortable saying I’m disabled and I’m not comfortable saying I’m a homemaker. I shouldn’t feel squeamish, as I homeschooled one of my children, tutored other kids in physics, comparative religions, philosophy, biology, statistics, probability, and world history (no–real world history–as in there is both an Eastern and a Western hemisphere that have been populated by both men and women of note) raise most of our food, make wine, tap our trees and make maple syrup, work hard to prepare chef-quality meals, and get to be nurse, amateur vet, etc. I put in a tremendous amount of work, but since it is non-paying work, and much of the tutoring has to be done when my illness allows, I feel like I don’t contribute enough.

  93. For me, it isn’t who makes more, but whether the difference in our salaries places us in different income brakets/classes and therefore alters the dynamic in our relationship.

    Him making $100,000 and me making $75,000? Fine. Him making $100,000 and me making $30,000? No. His financial decisions would have a greater impact on our relationship and should he leave, I would suffer greater negative financial consequences. Additionally, on a personal level, I want to be able to cultivate my personal interests and cant do that if I have to rely on him for funds or if I am simply not earning enough to do the things I want to do.

  94. I think age is a factor in this too. When I had a girlfriend who was 8 years my senior she made more money than me but I didn’t care because she had a masters and I was still in college. Now I have a girlfriend who is younger than me and we make similar amounts. It may bother me if she made more than me.

  95. Right now my wife makes more than me. I have no problem with it. She worked hard for her degrees and deserves every penny and more that she makes.

    Truth is, I’m the one who stays home and watched the kids. Since she was making more than me we took the chance to switch roles when our littlest was born. Here’s a little info on our experience switching roles:

    http://freefrombroke.com/the-new-american-family-flexibility-and-unconventional-lifestyles-to-make-ends-meet/

  96. I don’t care if my partner makes more than me — I just want to ensure I maintain my financial independence. Honestly, he will probably always make more money than me based on our professions (lawyer vs. archivist). We keep our finances separate and don’t plan on having children, so it’s not too complicated for us.

  97. Diana Elisheva Link to this comment

    I think the repeated arguments against this kind of discussion is similar to those who say that advertising, media, or other general culture don’t affect their somehow neutral perspective (as if a neutral perspective actually exists). Most people would agree that the media treats the genders, and archetypes within a gender, differently — the idea that these messages wouldn’t colour how we do things is absurd. If we don’t acknowledge and discuss it, then we can’t make any changes to it.

    (but then, I trained as a sociologist with a focus on portrayals of groups in media, so my view is likely biased on this…)

  98. I would not care of my spouse made more than me.

  99. WOW, just typed that last comment way too fast. *if*

  100. You should definitely publish all your results about this research. Sex matters; i.e. men and women behave differently and inherently feel different about providing vs contributing.

  101. Okay, so I’m a 22 years old woman.

    Honestly, it’s really weird that people get so defensive about the topic of gender and money, especially considering that Ramit didn’t really say anything yet.

    Refusing to accept the fact that men and women behave differently when it comes to money (..and many other things..) seems plain silly to me. We get totally different messages from society which then influence our behavior. Turn on MTV and you’ll see that. I mean, really, how can someone even argue that?

    I think people who get very defensive about the topic concerning gender and money miss the point.

    Let’s say someone makes a statement backed up with statistics that women are more likely to let their husbands control their family’s finances completely and then get hurt because of that in case of a divorce (I just made up an example inspired by someone’s comment).

    Would it make more sense for me as a woman:

    a ) Argue with the person saying it, accuse him/her of sexism, declare that it’s all a non-sense and then throw some rocks at him/her.

    b) Pay attention to it, analyze the reasons why women do that and draw my own conclusions that would help me to avoid possible disasters ( in this case, conclusion would be to not to become totally financially dependent from my future husband no matter how well things are going at the moment).

    I’m probably going to get married one day. I can automatically assume that women who get into problems like that are stupid and that won’t happen to me, but.. The truth is that none of those women thought “Oh, I’m gonna get married, then let my husband control our finances, then get divorced and end up without anything” when they were 22, but for some reason, they ended up in a situation like this (..and they’re probably at least of average intelligence, so “stupid” is not the answer..).. It would make sense to understand the reasons, so I wouldn’t get into the same predictable problems myself, wouldn’t it?

    However, some comments gave me an impression that (following my previous example) quite a few people would interpret it in a completely different way.

    It seems that while reading:

    ” Women are more likely to let their husbands control their family’s finances completely and then get hurt because of that in case of a divorce.”

    ..some people would interpret it like this:

    “Hey, you have a vagina, so you’ll definitely become totally dependent on your husband, then he’ll leave you for some blond bimbo, then you won’t have any money and live in a tent in the park and that’s how things are supposed to be..”

    ..then feel insulted, become defensive and argue with their own interpretation (as opposed to what the person was actually saying).

    That doesn’t make much sense, does it?

    HINT: At least from my experience, major misinterpretations like this actually point to some limiting beliefs about the issue that are buried so deep that you might not even know ( or dare to admit ) they exist. I’ve noticed that when we get really defensive and attack other people, it’s not others we are really fighting with: it’s our own limiting beliefs that have been said out loud (or at least it seemed so to us) by another person.

    DISCLAIMER: Expressions “quite a few people” and “some people” does not mean that everyone or even majority of people would interpret it like that. I simply saw several comments following this line of thinking and wanted to point it out. Just trying to avoid people throwing rocks at me :D

  102. I grew up under the expectation that a man in a relationship should provide for his family. This mean a wife would be able to stay home with our children. I feel a parent that stays home and raises (not just stays home with) children usually does more to contribute to society than a parent in the work force. Between me and my wife i’d bet most of you would agree that she makes the better person and is who you’d want making more impact on society. We’ve decided we want us (not a daycare) raising our children.

    The reason this is relevant to the question is that i’d feel myself a failure if my wife was making more than me. It means that i am not doing my part to provide for our family financially. Being the breadwinner is one of those invisible scripts i’ve placed on myself. If i can’t do that i am failing. But this is a scipt i’m ok living with.

    • I’m going to stick my neck out and risk being called a misogynist, women-hating, patriarchal female-oppressor, and just say that the west has become stupid. It seems most humans now actually believe this nonsense that men and women are exactly the same, have the same intelligence, motives, strength, and skills. 10,000+ years of civilisation-scaffolding pulled-down in the name of kumba-ya, hand-holding, one-ness.

      Like it or not, the west was built on a family providing for and nurturing itself. The man using his more inherent focus, ambition, risk-taking nature to go out and create/build/produce, whilst the more risk-averse, sweet, social, females brought up the children and took care of the home. It worked. You can’t deny that a family raised by itself is stronger than a family raised by outsiders.

      What we have today is not progress. What we have today is the government intercepting every area of our lives, and essentially doing the job that a father/husband would have done. Don’t underestimate the disastrous effect this is having on our society.

      It really is sad to hear males in this thread and elsewhere say things like, “I love it that my wife earns more than me!” or “I can’t WAIT for my girlfriend to earn more than me so I can relax more!”, etc., etc. Believe me, our species would never have achieved what we have if men had had the same thoughts 5-10,000 years ago. We would have perished. Men like this, you are pitiful.

      Men on this this thread who agree with me – I salute you.

  103. I’d be interested to see how many people have actually dated someone who makes significantly more or less than they do. I’m not talking a thousand or two either way, I’m talking about a big enough difference where it starts to affect things like where you want to go to dinner, or how much to spend on gifts.

    People forget that income tends to be indicative of other things, like amount of education or type of job that they work or where they live. Most people meet people in their circle–whether it’s at work, or they gym, or a local hangout. Even when online dating, people tend to look for people like themselves. That greatly reduces the chances you’ll meet someone with a significantly different income than you have.

    I’ve only dated one guy where there was a big income disparity. He was a senior in college looking to go to grad school. I was 2 years older and making 60K/year. Other than the first date (he asked he buys :-)), I wanted to pay for our dates. I misread the situation because to me, it was just a rational decision, I make more, I should pay more. I didn’t want our relationship to be a financial hardship for him. He didn’t see it that way–in fact, he went out of his way to tell that he had a job and a big scholarship with a stipend, and that he was more than capable of paying his own way.

    • Kat:

      “He didn’t see it that way–in fact, he went out of his way to tell that he had a job and a big scholarship with a stipend, and that he was more than capable of paying his own way.”

      You don’t understand this, because you’re been programmed to believe that men and women are the same/equal. No such thing. Being a man, he is wired to provide, and his actions were a result of this. He felt he had nothing to offer you. And being a man, he wanted to take care of himself. Unlike women, independence for men is a natural trait, and not something we have to be told to learn by the government or Beyonce.

    • @George,

      As a woman who never had to be programmed to want independence (and in fact, have always been rather naturally desiring of independence), there’s a lot to take offense with in your comment. Am I unnatural? Or do you think I’m just lying to myself and what I really want deep down is to stay home and be taken care of?

  104. I have no preference about who makes more as long as we make “enough” combined. That being said, I make $1.38/hour more than my husband and have always (except for a 4 month stint) made more than him, but I bring home significantly less becuase I carry all of our benefits. Everything goes into the same kettle anyhow. I think at some level he would like to make more than me and maybe even enough for me to stay home or only work part time.

  105. I dated an older woman who made more than me…I dated a younger woman who made…nothing (hard times, family things, etc.). The older woman and I split things (meals out, etc.). I paid for most of the things for the younger woman when we went out.

    As far as I can tell, money hasn’t been an issue in all of my relationships…I talked about it with both older and younger, and we were all on the same page…as far as I could tell, at least. The older woman was a bit more generous than me, though.

    Now, what’s been the major problem (and ultimate reason for relationship failure) is my lack of time due to my job and other competing priorities (and…unfortunately I can’t give them up yet for a girl =/ )

    I really want to hear the story on meeting your first real gold-digger..(she took mah money…)

  106. Some philosophical points to ponder.. I’m not trying to take any sides, just state things as I’m seeing them unfold :-)

    Stereotypes exist because they have some truth in them. They’re true enough that we can recognise and relate to them. And be uncomfortable with them because we wish they weren’t true. (No-one would get irate if there wasn’t at least a grain of truth.) Intriguing enough, that many commenters here are itching to hear more.

    However, within any category being stereotyped, there can be sufficient deviation and variation, that a number of those within the category are misrepresented by the stereotype. Everyone likes to think this is the real, justified reason for their wrath. (And at certain times and places, they could be morally right if someone is personally and slanderously maligning their good name, irrespective of their personal competencies or abilities.) Otherwise known as righteous indignation.

    I doubt Ramit is going to do this… he at least maintains anonymity when quoting a source in unfavourable light, thereby avoiding whatever could be derogatory to an individual if their name were known. The most likely source of any such personal attacks is in the comments – so, type wisely, my friends!

    Regarding stereotypes:
    For example, I’m a female software engineer who has relocated countries, how many of them do you all know personally? (Data point: I’m in a crowd of 1, per my own experience!) Certain statements sometimes made regarding logical skills of my gender do not always apply to me, as I empirically solve maths problems / algorithms to a high degree of competence, among or beyond male peers. That doesn’t make the stereotype less true – it just means I don’t fit the stereotype. I know this as much because I don’t fit in with my peers all the time, as because of the “proof” of college exam results.

    One further challenging question to chew on: how do you know when something is only a half-truth. It is possible for a half-truth to be potentially more deceitful than the whole truth, and in this way, it is possible for even a stereotype to be defaming. Ahem, women drivers… what do the actuaries actually say!? (Explicit note: no, I’m not asking for any comments whatsoever on women drivers… I’d rather Ramit light his own fires!)

  107. My partner and I are both women but I am masculine-identified and she is more femme. I handle the finances in our relationship, but the income is fairly even, She makes more than I do hourly at our full-time jobs. I make a higher hourly wage at my part-time job, but its part-time and so it brings in about the same weekly as my full-time job.

    In terms of spending money, we throw all our money in to one pot, take out an equal “allowance” each per week of money we can spend however, and the rest pays for our lifestyle. I don’t think we’ve ever had a fight about money.

  108. I do feel better knowing i take home more money in the family. My contribution is taking care of family. Can it be the thought of going out to forage for food? Yes it is. I would want to have the people in my life succeed with what i provide. It makes me successful making the people i love successful. I believe in acting morally, fiscally, and emotionally so that my children can learn to act the same.

  109. Ha! Can’t wait to see the results.
    In terms of income:
    I make more than my husband, more than twice actually. Sometimes I wish it were the other way around, most times I don’t give a shit. I’m not one of those that put a lot of importance on who brings in how much. I knew what I got into when I got married, and love our life.
    HOWEVER… apparently, my body makes babies. Which means that when I make a baby (like I did 1.5 year ago), I can’t work, which means less income. Because I’m the major earner, we feel the change in revenue big time. Also, if I were to lose my job tomorrow, we’d be f***ed. That’s quite some pressure, lol.
    In terms of who manages money the best, I believe the answer is a COMBINATION of three factors, some weighing more than others:
    1) the person: personality, education, upbringing (which will often determine how risk-averse a person is for example),
    2) cultural background (geographic, religion): I’ve lived around the world (Middle East, Africa, Europe and North America), and believe me, money and particularly debt are not perceived and managed the same way!
    3) and finally the gender (which in my humble, not based on any research opinion, comes after the two other factors): I don’t believe in that “men and women are the same” BS, and I know that, talking to a looooottt of my friends, the one thing that my female friends talk a lot about, and that comes back every single time, is “financial security”, which I’ve rarely heard from my male friends.
    Wow, just writing this comment got me all fired up. Can’t wait to read your work!
    Thanks, Ramit.

    • Khairy,

      Really interesting thoughts! I agree on points one and two; yet gender crosses cultures and personalities, so I disagree that it plays second fiddle to the other two.

      On your point to why men don’t talk about financial security (at least with you):

      Women are more open to talking about a LOT of things than men (and arguably to their benefit!). A sensitive topic like financial stability is not something men would bring up with one another, much less with a woman, close friend or otherwise.

      Money is a sensitive topic, since it is closely tied to livelihood as the most concrete measurement of success.

  110. I would LOVE it if my wife made more than me. Agree entirely with Khairy above – lots of pressure when you are the majority breadwinner.

    • Larry, you, like other men that say things like, “I would LOVE it if my wife made more than me…. …lots of pressure when you are the majority breadwinner”, are a disgrace to men. The human race would have got nowhere if men had that attitude 5-10,000 years ago. As a man, you must accept that you are built to take more pressure/risk than the female. Letting your wife take all that extra pressure is not very manly at all.

    • @George

      Actually, George, I’m pretty sure it is you who is a disgrace to men. It is a HUMAN trait, not a masculine one, to want to better your own situation. As you are doing nothing to better your own ignorant and bigoted viewpoint, I find you to be far more disgraceful.

  111. I’m really looking forward to this topic.

    I grew up in a fairly traditional household. My mother got married young, had went for a year of college then stayed home and raised the kids. My father a business man, traveled a lot, came home, bitched about how much she spent at the grocery store, on clothing, and stuff for us kids. At the very same time he expected her to cook gourmet meals, keep the house nice and herself looking great. He got angry/jealous when she did anything to improve herself.

    My husband and I both have degrees. I hate that he earns more than me even though I work just as hard as he does. Though some men may feel they are being a provider, I feel inadequate.
    I think the spouse who makes more money usually has more power, whether spoken or not.

  112. I make a lot more than my husband, and I HATE it! I am old fashioned. I think men should make more, BECAUSE women work outside the home just as much as men now, but are still expected to do most of the work in the home still. How is that fair? I would rather do the home stuff, and just work a little outside of the home, instead of having our income depend on how much I work.

    • It took YEARS for me to get my husband to help with chores! When we first moved in together, his grandmother threw a fit when she found out I wanted him to help out around the house. His family and mine thought I should work full time, cook, and clean and that he should only work. we make the same at the the time. It was about 10 years before he started doing half the chores and that’s only because he was staying at home with our daughter.

  113. My husband LOVES that I make more than twice what he makes. Oh, I wanted to add that I manage the finances, but only because my husband won’t. One time he tried for a week and then said it was too stressful. What was it someone said in another post about men naturally being more independent than women? That was worth a good laugh for me.

    • Mary! this made me laugh – we did the same thing only it lasted a couple of months (i didnt want to manage the money either!) until i could not longer handle the debt he was creating. we are all much happier with me making and managing the money!!

  114. Ok last post! I am shocked and amazed at how many women out there feel like they are contributing less if they earn less. It sounds like they have really bought into the BS idea that you are only worth the money you make. I work my A$$ off at work, but it does not compare to how hard working at home and raising children are.

  115. I don’t see a very wide range of views here, and it confirms what I have thought for some time: gender just isn’t the point. Instead, it’s social class. People don’t usually date or marry outside their own social class. ‘Middle class’ is a broad category in the USA, but it still means that you usually are matching yourself up with someone in the same general income level — and with the same general goals for how to use that income (owning a house, saving for retirement, buying certain kinds of consumer goods, etc.). I really doubt a very wealthy person would marry someone from a much lower class — and I know the experts say that class mixing in marriages is pretty rare. Even the discussions people have about gender differences are often themselves the result of their social class, too: we middle class folks always debate these issues endlessly. Class, not gender, is the definitive difference.

  116. I make twice what my girlfriend makes, but because she still lives at home, she has managed to out-save me by almost twice the amount of cash. Well that, and I have some pretty expensive hobbies :)

  117. Ramit,
    Men and women ARE different when it comes to money – at least stereotypically. Of course there are always exceptions to the rules. And the rules, as I have learned & observed:
    - Men’s ego’s are tied to their incomes and what that income buys (fast cars, rolex watches, big houses, trophy wives)
    - Men are more interested in making more money, rather than spending their current incomes wisely, which is probably where women concentrate their attention.
    - Women concentrate more on how to save money, especially around the house (bicarb soda & vinegar anyone?)
    - Women are more responsible with money when they have children to provide for (Microfinance businesses in third world countries recognise this and prefer to lend to women (who pay back loans and spend profits on educating and providing for their children than men (who are more likely to squander these loans or business profits, whether or not they have children))
    - When it comes to negotiating, women are between a rock and a hard place. Even today employers tend to perceive themselves as doing you a favour by giving you a job if you are a woman, therefore you have less negotiating power than a man in the same position.
    - Women have to work harder and achieve more for an equivalent amount of recognition
    - Women have to work harder for employers for equivalent recognition, while also managing more responsibilities outside of work (childminding, housekeeping, volunteer work)
    - Women tend to spend their money on trinkets (clothes, makeup, haircuts, homewares) whereas men tend to spend their money on items with higher resale values (collectors items, cars).

    I have made more money than my husband for a few short months, now I’m a stay-at-home mum who handles the finances. My husband makes the money, I spend it responsibly. It works for us at the moment.

  118. I’m still a student and don’t earn money, but I think my parents’ situation is interesting: dad’s a civil engineer turned entrepeneur and my mom’s a lawyer with a private practice, and they started out with my dad earning more simply because he is six years older and was working while my mom was studying, back in Brazil.

    They both moved to Portugal after getting married, and my dad was still earning more because my mom was just starting her career. Since they are both in high-paying professions, there were never any problems with power dynamics as I was growing up.

    A couple years ago, with the economic crisis, my dad started started getting fewer and fewer opportunities here in Portugal (also because when you create a technology to solve a problem, when you solve it and there’s no longer need for your company), my dad has been going back and forth between Portugal and Brazil to try and take his product there. At the same time, my mom landed some big clients (partly because in a crisis everybody wants to sue everybody), and she’s now earning substantially more than my dad.

    Again, they both worked full-time (self-employed though) and split household duties as we grew up; my dad usually takes care of budget and taxes simply because he’s a math nerd like me, and evidently my mom takes care of bureocratic and legal stuff.

    Thought it might be interesting to get my story out, to give an example of a pretty traditional heterosexual relationship that managed not to opress the woman.

  119. I’ve never had a problem with my spouse making more money than I.
    However,I know that a lot of guys my age don’t share the same viewpoint.
    In fact; I would prefer it for the simple reason that it would allow me to concentrate on other aspects of positive importance in the relationship a lot better. If a woman really wants you for you as much as you want her then it shouldn’t make that much difference to either one of you who earns more or less. I come from a two parent home where my mom and dad stayed together for fifty years. My dad was a pullman porter on the railroad for 45 of those years and helped finance my mothers dream of opening her own beauty salon after graduating from beauty college. They had three priorities every payday for either one of them: Work on maintaining the home,Work on maintaining the kids and work on maintaining themselves that served to empower them to do the latter two. There was never a question as to who should earn more or less.
    Whatever works use it!

  120. For nearly my entire 12 year marriage, I have made more than my husband. We have both done well financially, but my track has always been a little faster. It never bothered my husband. When he left his high paying job to start his own business, we knew I’d be the financial support for those start up years and it put incredible strain on us to be honest and I know it was hard on him for those first couple of years to be making hardly anything and me having to support us and the kids, bill paying time was pretty much the worst time of the month — I was angry that he wasn’t making more money and at the same time I wanted to support his start-up. I recently left my job which I’d had our entire marriage last year to start my own company and the tables were finally turned and he was making more than me. I loved it while it lasted, to let go of the pressures from the career and just let my husband support us. However it didn’t last, I am now making plenty of $$ again and so glad that we are both bringing home plenty of bacon and my husband will be happy when I surpass his income again!

  121. “…highly skilled in gender studies…”

    Hilarious.

  122. I dated a few men in my past who had non-traditional aspirations (i.e. becoming the next Brad Pitt or a world famous soccer player) and after a few go-arounds of being the partner who made more money, I was frankly tired of feeling like the ‘man’ in the relationship. I felt a lot of pressure to help out these guys who I felt were making bad choices with how they were spending their time. Part of that judgement stems from my cultural background, and part of it was due to the fact that I simply did not view them as masculine when I felt like I was footing the bill most of the time. Yes, they helped out around the apartment and did plenty of sweet and loving things for me, but after time, the attraction to that wore off. I didn’t want a house husband, and I was looking for someone whose income could provide us with a better life, not just free care around the house. Also, I was super organized and good at keeping my home (thanks for the training Mom!) so I wasn’t too impressed with their cooking, cleaning, sewing, furniture polishing skills because whatever they could do, I did better and in half the time. Mostly, I was waiting for a guy to whisk me away for a fabulous, all expenses paid weekend instead of going to free concerts in the park with a reasonably priced bottle of wine from Trader Joe’s. And guys who earned less than me were sweet, but because they didn’t have many professional ambitions, they hadn’t invested much in themselves (think education, reading), so eventually, they just bored me to death.

    I have dated men in the past who made less, but insisted on paying if we went out. Honestly, I loved that about those guys. They weren’t cheap and they made me feel taken care of even though I made more money. And there was a balance between the house care, bill paying, and I realized I was way more happy in a situation in which even if I was one making more money, the romance stayed alive because my partner took me on dates (and not extravagant ones, mind you) where he paid for me. I just realized that if me and my man are going to free events where I’m springing for the wine, then something is very, very wrong. I’d rather go out to dinner once a month where he pays and takes care of it all then head out each weekend to the movies where I pay for him. Don’t like that at all.

  123. I think the majority of both men and women would be pissed off if their significant other, girlfriend,boyfriend or room mate made more than they did. Don’t kid yourself.

    They’re thinking, I’m smarter than they are, why am i not making more than they are. Doesn’t friggin’ matter. So get up off your ass and make more.

  124. I would be bothered if I made more than my husband, just like he would be bothered if he were doing more of the things I do (cooking, managing the money, paying bills, running errands, laundry, etc.) There is more to a marriage ‘partnership’ than income alone.

    • Funny that – I am in exactly the opposite situation.

      I have always made more money than my husband except when I gave up work for 8 months when our son was born. I love him for his personality, sense of humour and strength – physical and mental – and money don’t matter.

      Conversely, he comes from a mom who is super house proud and so he is too – he basically does all the laundry, ironing etc in addition to the yard chores. He does all the morning tasks to get our son to school, and I am the evening caregiver who picks him up and manages dinner and bedtime.

      I’m crap at household chores, coming from a family that ‘managed’ household staff rather than did a lot of chores ourselves. I’m a great cook and Mom though, and we share the vaccuming and cleaning.

      I am also going to say that him seeing me grow on my career path has been inspiration for him to grow his own career, so that has been a good thing.

      I’m also fairly frugal and am more of a financial planner than he is, while he is more implusive and creative. We’ve both learnt from each other – he is now more aware about where the money is going and I don’t beat myself up for every nice impluse buy I make.

      We do have a real partnership going on, and money and gender sterotypes are no limitation :)

  125. Every relationship needs balance. and Second, there are certain things every home needs in order for the members of the family to thrive. As long as the couple finds a balance between the 2 of them that gets the needs provided for, then the individuals will thrive and there will be unity in the home.

    Every family interprets the roles in their own way, but every culture has its norms on who provides for which needs.

  126. I’d have to factor in who’s managing the money too. (Woman here.)

    My grandmother made less than my grandfather, but my grandmother managed the money. She saved like the Depression baby she is and paid off their mortgage early. Grandpa has the pension, but grandma’s always been in charge.

    If my partner made more than I did and I managed the money, I’d feel good about it. If he made more and he managed the money too, I’d feel useless.

    There’s pride in how much money you make, and there’s pride in how well you handle money. Give me one.

  127. Truthfully, I would prefer if my mate made more money. Although I would like to think of myself as independent and self-sufficient, I still want my husband to be able to take care of me. “The Man of the House” if you wil, otherwise I start to feel like the “man” in the relationship.

  128. It’s true that men and women learn different things about money from childhood from what their parents believe about money and how they act around money. Psychologically on a subconscious level, men and women will approach the subject of money and money management differently. Women are not generally taught much about money other than to save or spend wisely. It is not about stereotypes but more what each gender is taught to believe and how they interpreted what they saw when each parent acted around the subject of money. If one parent was stressed about money, that would definitely affect the emotions and belief about money on the children and then as adults, it would show up in their confidence and ability to negotiate, or acquire money. I for one can attest to the fact that in my family we were taught not to ask questions about money it was seen as impolite. That is just one example. So again, it is about belief and emotions and how each gender tackles it.

  129. I think that regardless of who made more money, the gesture of the man paying for dates is important and keeps the passion. If he doesn’t have money but does things for me that is also important. I find that it’s their actions that tell me they value being with me and that’s what makes the partnership interesting. I think of it as a dance. The man leads and the women is the centre of the show.

    • haha this is kind of true, we have a joint checking account so that even though i make the money – when we go out my husband can pay. He doesn’t seem to care, but *I* like it when he pays. Is that gender or society?

  130. When I was in grad school for my PhD at a prestigious med school, my husband was a lab manager in a lab at the same school. Obviously he made more money than me at that time. What’s funny is that my supposed advisor was “so pleased” when my husband decided to go to med school because, “In the future, it would be weird if my husband was a worker in a lab while I ran a lab at the same school.” My supposed advisor did not realize is that when you have two high time demand careers in one marriage, one career is eventually going to have to take a back seat to kids and he was actually celebrating the end of my financial need to pursue my career ruthlessly. Needless to say, being a real doctor pays more than being a PhD, not a tough decision to put the PhD career second. Even if you don’t have particular money/gender roles as hard and fast in your generation, the older generations still make their opinions known, you can’t escape the old roles.

  131. My boyfriend and I have swapped positions on who makes more a few times. The key is respect in the relationship. We both work in the same field (with animals) and instead of being bitchy /competitive about who might know more, we both rely on each other to cover our weak spots. If one or the other in the relationship is jealous about money, there is a deeper resentment and problems than just who makes more.

  132. I am the breadwinner and, for now, my husband stays home with the kids and makes money ‘on the side’ as a freelance graphic artist/designer/illustrator. When we started talking about moving to a lower cost of living area and him getting a job while I concentrate on the business and work part-time, we discovered he had gotten used to his role and the idea of suddenly being financially responsible for the family was a bit overwhelming. It’s a lot of pressure – and he is really uncomfortable putting the control of our finances into someone else’s hands (i.e. a company/boss that could let him go on a whim – he has had some terrible managers that tend to overshadow the good ones). He is figuring it out and we will all adjust to whatever works out. Changing our expectations sometimes requires ‘re-framing’ as Ramit said in someone’s post – and in our case, my husband provides for the family in a lot of different ways, just not as a primary earner.

    We have been married 11 years and have 2 kids. I have always made more and been the breadwinner. However, as someone else pointed out, he almost always drives ;)

    I am very curious to see the results to see if we are completely out of the norm!

  133. I’d love to be a kept wife…but I’m talking about serious wealth. I have been “kept” before but it was too basic an existence. I was told that I was wrong to want to improve my lot. Money should be in the hands of the partner who understands the power of it – the good it brings and the damage it does. I like money to get good experiences and better people into my life.

  134. I don’t see why anyone would be averse to what Ramit has to say about gender and money. I’ve been reading great content from IWT for years. I’m excited for Ramit’s essays on the topic—hell, I’d be excited if he was going to tell me why people who don’t like PB&H (peanut butter & honey…yeah that’s how I get down) manage money differently then I do.

  135. Honestly, I won’t have a problem with these data points unless you try to explain them with “Men are from Mars, women are from Venus, and it can all be explained by evolutionary psychology. That’s why men are day traders and women are coupon clippers.”

    I don’t have a partner right now. But right now if I had one (I’m assuming a guy who is older to no less than 5 years younger) I’d be worried if the guy made less than I did because I am not making enough money.
    Interestingly enough, my first serious boyfriend told me outright that he would have a problem if I made more than he did when I went to the take the LSATs.
    I’m serially dating, and to a man, everyone of these guys leads with “I am a ____” and just stops there.

    I’m guessing your research will run along the lines of:
    o “Take care of the house” = full time maid/personal assistant. The man is a traditionalist who does not expect to deal with niggling personal shit and/or works so much he cannot deal with it.
    o “big ring” = Gold digger. Status obsessed. “High maintenance.” Wants big showy gestures of affection. Also somewhat traditionalist.
    o Who handles money better? Under what circumstances?
    o Who’s better at negotiating — and why?
    Women handle money better when it comes to minutiae of saving on everyday stuff and line items. but are worse at raising their salaries and compensation. Men handle money better when it comes to planning for retirement and other big picture stuff, but are more apt to blow their money on dumb bets (big bet the farm bets, however you define it.) Women are better at negotiating when it’s for the benefit of someone else (purchasing things) or lowering the price on services (patience, less likely to get angry.) Men negotiate better when it’s for their benefit (salaries) or big ticket items (like a car.)

    I’m always ready to be surprised, though. :p

  136. What’s fascinating (and hilarious) is Ramit asked a simple question and has sparked such polarizing comments, proving his statement to be a fact. The truth is there is always psychology involved when talking about money, just like dating, and it does differ between men and women.

    That statement doesn’t include ALL MEN and ALL WOMEN but data exists that will back it up and I’m sure Ramit will cover it all.

    If we weren’t different and we all thought the same way then this site wouldn’t exist. The natural beauty of human behavior. I can’t wait for this.

  137. I have learned to not care if my partner makes more than me. Especially since he is in a field which will nearly always pay vasts amounts more then I ever can. I judged my financial acumen and first ring of success based on passing my parent’s salaries, which I did with my first paying job. We are both males, and I do think he would care if he made less than me. He definitely has the mentality that he wants to be the one “taking” care of us by making more.

  138. Rusty Shackleford Link to this comment

    Ramit has been reading Roissy/Heartiste recently, I’m guessing.

  139. If I made $20,000 a year and my partner $30,000 I would be unhappy, because we wouldn’t be building wealth (as much as I think we could.) If one of us makes $60,000/year and the other 80,000, I don’t care who makes what, I would be happy we could stop worrying about salary as much as think about our growing IRAs.

    I think as long as both boats are being raised (and both partners are focused on raising) it doesn’t matter to me.

  140. Beth and I always treated the income, assets and expenses as “ours”. Not hers and his. Still, we treat money differently:
    - I budget to the nearest $100. She budgets to the penny.
    - I won’t hestitate to spend $20, she frets over a $2 difference between towels
    - I forced us to look at over 100 houses before buying, she was ready to buy the second, and third house we visited, but she fret over $2 on a towel…
    - I can’t use all my fishing lures, she can’t wear all of her shoes…
    - I want to payoff the $2,000 credit card (at 14% interest), she wants to pay extra principal on the mortagage (at 5% interest and tax dedcutible).

    There are certainly differences, I just don’t know which to attribute to gender…

  141. Personally, I don’t think I would mind if my wife made more than I did. We share a bank account for 95% of our expenses.

  142. I’m single, but if I were to get married, I think I would love for my wife to make more money than myself. I only have direct control over my earnings, so logically, I would want our combined earnings to be as high as possible. I feel like I’m comfortable enough with who I am as a person and my gender identity that it wouldn’t bother me . Now, am I actually going to feel that way? I would hope so, but since I’ve never been in that situation, I wouldn’t assume anything.

  143. I’ve been a bit surprised by the comments. Quite a few women (myself included) admit that they’d be a bit uncomfortable if they made more than their man, but the vast majority of the male commentors don’t seem to have a problem with it. Maybe our male population is more evolved :)

    I’m originally from the South and, while the idea of making more money than my partner doesn’t bug me, the day to day realities have been rough in the past. Honestly, I get a bit of a chip on my shoulder, which is terrible to say, as I feel like I’d be offended by a guy who said the same thing. Double standards…

    P.S. Ramit: I’ve really liked your past few articles this week and am kind of excited for this set. My prediction (based entirely on anecdote and no data whatsoever): women are better, in general, at the saving side and men are better, in general, at the earning more side. Thus, while more men probably invest and negotiate salaries, women are probably better at keeping budgets and buying on sale. Just my 2 cents!

  144. Ramit,

    are you looking for the mainstream here or outliers, or both? how often do you dig into the outliers?

    curios,

    q

  145. When we first got married my wife was working I was still in school working part time. It was kind of nice she made all the money and I managed it. Then one I went full time I felt like there was more pressure on me, that this was the time to step up and take care of my wife, I should be earning to provide for her although we roughly made the same amount..

    Now we have a baby and it is me making the money. Although if my wife went to work full time again she has potential to earn more. I like the fact that she CAN but makes me feel like less of a man.

  146. Vive la différence! Bring it on, Ramit.

    Quite a lively thread. Thank you very much.

    Awareness is key to creating the type of relationships with self, money and our life partners.

    In my life experiences I have learned:

    1. That it’s not easy being the man – they put a lot of pressure on themselves
    2. As a woman I feel like I have more choices – less societal scorn if I were to drop out of the workplace for a while if I wanted to find a “better” job (have not pulled the trigger, but it is powerful to know I could)
    3. A lot of the assumptions about men & women & money are subtle but real

    An example of number 3 is on multiple occasions male colleagues who have stay at home spouses have commented to me that it must be nice for my husband to have a partner who has a good paying job.

    I anxiously look forward to more on this topic.

    One more comment: Ladies, statistically men own (way) more assets than women. In the long-run assets and net worth will determine the quality of life for us and our families.

  147. I’m Chinese, male, 20-something, recent engineering grad, never dated or had any form of romantic relationship.

    I would be very uncomfortable if my future wife made more money than me. I would feel like my wife’s inferior, would not feel like a respectable man, and would feel like I (or my side of the extended family) should capitulate to my wife (or her side of the extended family) in any major decision involving the family.