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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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201 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.

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