When will men/women be honest about money — or lie?

Ramit Sethi

Some of my favorite studies from psychology are when people will not or cannot tell the truth …and they don’t even know it.

For example, we have countless studies of people eating more because of the size of the dish they were served in — but if you point this out, they will steadfastly deny it. We can’t stomach the idea that our behavior can be profoundly altered by the power of our environment (something any skilled persuader can arrange).

Quiz: What is your earning potential? Choose the answer you agree with the most
View Results

That’s why I’ve put together a survey that is totally anonymous. As you know, I’m going to be writing about money and gender, generally a total minefield.

Before I do, let’s start by gathering the facts.

Here’s a survey about money and gender. It’ll only take a couple minutes. I’ll share the results in a few days.

The survey is ANONYMOUS, so you can be completely honest in your answers. I will never track your answers back to you.

Here’s the survey:

Do you know your actual earning potential?

Get started with the Earning Potential quiz. Get a custom report based on your unique strengths, and discover how to start making extra money — in as little as an hour.

Start The Quiz

Takes 3 min


  1. Brandon Adams

    There’s a lot of distance between “first date” and “several months in.”

    I wonder what Ramit is trying to analyze by forcing the choice.

    • Jon

      I was wondering something similar. I think it has to do with the fact that if we are not honest the first time around (telling our partners what we really want), we usually wont be until several months later after the social mask breaks down anyway when you are more “forced” to be honest

    • Dano

      Yeah, I recognized the same setup.

      My hunch is a lot of people (myself included) were drawn to the idea of being up-front and ambitious in sharing our goals on a first date, but actually do not talk about information we consider “sensitive” or “too personal.”

      Do we like to imagine ourselves as bolder than we really are?

    • Kristal

      I agree. If Ramit really wants honest answers, the choices shouldn’t lead people to give an answer that skews perceptions or isn’t true.

    • kate

      Also what is with the multi-select? the way it’s worded, i wasn’t sure if it meant ongoing discussion or first discussion. Probably his goal, but i think i will skew the results.. maybe?

      i am always floored that people never discuss finances until after they are married and then are surprised when there is a mountain or debt or something crazy going on!

  2. Pasadena

    Answered, but didnt get a confirmation. I hope my entry has been sent. Oh, well.

    Question 8 : the answer is really more “it depends”. But much closer to yes than no 😉

    • Mathias

      I agree. Yes and no is too black and white. I might change if the situation was right. But if my gf wants to move home to Ireland, it will most likely be a no, since I don’t want to live there…

    • Ramit Sethi

      I got ALL the survey responses. Sorry about the 404. We are fixing that, but know that I did receive all the responses. Thanks!

  3. Dizzy

    Yeah I got an error or something on hitting submit also. Wasn’t crazy about question 6 for which my answer would be “when you move in together/or make a large purchase such as a car together” which could be after 2 weeks or 2 years.

    • Marianne

      Agreed – I said “several months in” since that seemed to communicate the appropriate level of ambiguity, but it really does depend on whether you decide to live together, or make joint purchases.

  4. Katie

    Mine was submitted, but that last question threw me. I wouldn’t have changed my career for my SO before the current level of commitment, but now it might be a consideration five years in.

  5. Rebecca

    My husband and I work and go to school..he makes more than me and I’m okay with that. He needs that assurance that he’s keeping us afloat. He is very sweet and works hard while still having time for togetherness. I love him so much.

  6. Kirsten

    Looks like we’re getting randomized surveys… I didn’t get the same questions as you folks!

    • Viv

      I agree – this is a very interesting survey methdology (I do this for a living); splitting sample like this, he’ll end up with fewer ppl at each question. Hmmm…

    • Claudina

      I know! I am not familiar with any of the questions folks are writing about (e.g., what were they asked, that the answer could be ‘several months in’???). Hmmm…. What’s up with varied surveys?

  7. Jackie

    The last question was terrific – came out of nowhere. And yes, the answer is yes.

  8. Michele

    I changed my mind. Can you just teach me to find a great guy instead?

    • Athena

      Yeah, their called dating coaches… David Wygant, Dr. Paul, Christian Carter, Rori Raye, etc.

      Seriously though… Dr. Paul deals brilliantly with the gender/money/psychology stuff in teaching it to women. Google him. He’s brilliant.

  9. Moe

    Yes randomized questions because of the commentary above. Looking forward to reading on what is said, or not said. Sometimes it’s all about reading inbetween the lines too.

  10. Lee

    I agree that question 8 is entirely an ‘it depends’ question. Obviously, since I work, I’m willing to trade my time for money. The answer is therefore, yes. On the other hand, I’m not willing to lose another hour of personal time a day for $10. I might be willing to lose that hour for $100 (probably, even), and I’d definitely agree to trading an extra hour a day for $1000.

    On the other hand, if I was already making 7 figures a year, that threshold would change.

  11. Yessey

    My family reversed the stereotype. I work in the banking industry and my husband is a stay at home father.

    • Jennifer Mc

      We do this as well. My husband gets nasty comments from other men.

  12. HL

    I agree about not liking the “several months in” answer – it’s what I chose, but my real answer is “when it feels like the relationship is getting serious/going to last for the foreseeable future.” When I was casually dating or in relationships I wasn’t sure would last, I wouldn’t have been comfortable disclosing a lot of info about my finances.

    With respect to career changes, the one time I even vaguely considered it, things ended quite badly (unrelated reasons). Lesson learned with no real damage, fortunately, but it’s not something that has crossed my mind since.

  13. Nichole

    My hubby and I fluctuate as we both freelance. Constantly up and down. As a woman, I just can’t give in and let my hubby handle the finances. It’s not comfortable to me, so I choose to work because I like it. Plus I can do what I want to/need to with the money and don’t have to explain or justify it to anyone. That’s just my opinion though.

    I used to bust-ass at work until the point of complete exhaustion and burnout for the sake of cash MONEY; NOT worth it anymore. As long as the bills are covered and enough is left over for saving/investing/fun, I’m a happy camper. The work never ends. NEVER. Unless you end it every day, go home and do something enjoyable.

    • Beth

      I remember reading an article written by a writer for the Isthmus in Madison, WI, who was married to another writer. They took turns having “responsible health insurance jobs” and writer jobs every few years. I thought it was a very civilized situation and sounds a bit like what you and your husband have. Nice!

  14. Christina @ Northern Cheapskate

    I’m far more interested in whether a person has goals, ambition, and puts that talk into action, than I am in how much money they earn. If I would have judged my husband on his income, I would have never gotten married… he was a poor, 18-year-old college student!

  15. Jay S

    Randomized surveys OR different surveys for men/women in a relationship.

  16. Alan

    There is some very interesting gender information in a series of books written by Alan and Barbara Pease. Definitely worth the read. Easy to find on ebay. They are aimed primarily at people relationships. And making them smother by understanding more about the opposite sex. Seems many things are hard wired instead of being instilled during upbringing. They can add a depth to this project.


  17. Princess

    The answers to these questions are not so simplistic.
    When I first start dating someone, I don’t need to know what their credit scores are. Thru conversations, their behavior, assets they own, activities they do etc. I get a sense of how responsible they maybe and what’s important enough for them to spend money on. If I think there is ‘long term potential’ then factors like – do they have a job, are they cheap about things that are important to me, etc. start to become important.

    My expectation about the first date is based on who asks. If I’m splitting the bill, then I don’t consider it a date. I view that as going out someone. However, I do feel that as a woman I play a balancing act of when to expect or let the man pay and when it wouldn’t be insulting to pick up the tab. I’ve also found that if I offer to buy a guy a drink, he is usually flattered by the gesture and then ends up paying.

    I’ve date men that make considerably less then me. In my experience, that was a turn off for them. Also, I’ve dated men who probably make double my salary. For me, what was important was how they treated me emotionally (not financially). In no case was money the cause of the breakups. It was usually different life goals.

  18. Li

    One change I would make to the survey is the part where it asked whether a person negotiated their salary or not: For government employees, the salary is set (ie. Military pay scale is determined by rank and time of service, civil servant pay scale is determined by GS level such as GS09 or GS14). Maybe insert a follow-up question like “Could you negotiate your salary” or “If you stated ‘No’ in the last question, please explain why”.

  19. JustPeachie

    Wow, these comments are interesting. My questions were so boring compared to the ones described above!

  20. Stacey

    Am I willing to change my career? I went from being a Unix admin to a stay-at-home mom. So, uh, yeah.

  21. Jen

    I would have liked an option in between “First date” and “several months in” as far as discussing money. Goals, yes, that seems fine for the first date, but …

    also, for people who are older (middle aged, & beyond!) there’s a distinction between “assets” and “income” …. you can live pretty well without a huge income if you’ve set yourself up in an affordable lifestyle

  22. Athena

    A dollar has no gender and no sex organs. People, who have brains with opinions and other stuff, like to make up things about sex organs and dollars.

    In the end, a lot of that stuff is just “battle of the sexes” excuse-making. People with brains DON’T LIKE looking at their own lying, justifcations and excuses, especially when those things give them a payoff. Women and men both do it, and it takes a lot of psychology/consciousness work for years to truly get at removing or transforming our own stuff and scraping our excuses off of a dollar bill.

    And that goes for anyone that has a brain and sex organs!

  23. Ryan Chaffin

    As a newly married college student, I am excited to see the results of this survey! I am very curious!

  24. Holly

    The last question wasn’t really clear. I wouldn’t change my career for my partner, because he told me to, but I would change to help us achieve our goals.

  25. Allison

    I don’t like discussing income, but I can’t seem to get guys who hit on me to zip the lip – any tips? I don’t need to know how much you earned last year, and I would love to buy half the first date. To me, it feels more open ended and casual if I’m just trying to get to know you.

  26. Mike

    I would wager that he has different versions of the survey, and the point is that people will answer the same question differently (I’m guessing it’s the one about whether men or women manage money better) based on which other questions were in their version of the survey.

  27. Kellyologu

    I would love to see the variety of surveys after you are finished with this experiment.

  28. Joanna

    Reporting on surveys like this is so dangerous. 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?

    The rhetoric of the “battle of the sexes” does nothing to advance our society. What could you possibly conclude? That the presence of a vagina makes one less likely to invest confidently? Come on.

    The better question is WHY we — men *and* women — save, spend, make more, make less, invest, don’t invest, invest poorly, fear investing, pay people to invest for us. The answers lie in our environment (e.g., media messages, cultural norms, parents’ spending habits)… not in our pants.

    • Jon

      Just like there are physiological differences between male and female, there is also fundamental differences in the way that men and women think.

    • Charis

      Joanna, why are you assuming that the results would end up favoring men?

  29. Jeff Smith

    the last question should have an option of maybe, because it’s a question of how much time versus how much money…

  30. DJ

    How many different surveys are out there? Most of the comments don’t align with the survey I took.

  31. Cathie

    The last question could be answered eather way. If one was doing something that had meaning for themselves than having less free time wouldn’t matter as much.

  32. Kalyani

    There seems to be one question only? And one possible answer!

  33. Moo

    When do we lie? When we’re speaking and/or thinking, of course! When does anybody want to hear, think, or even see the truth? Of course, that’s assuming “the truth” can be broken down to one thing or even understood by minds as simple as ours.

    What? The survey? Eh, they’re all the same.

  34. SKG

    I agree with the majority of folks about question #8. I wish I could respond “maybe” and offer examples of when I’d be willing to trade more money for less personal time and when I’d be less likely (or not at all likely) to do so.

  35. Andrea

    You did not allow for nonbinary gender. And if you are assuming all relationships are straight I shall be quite cross.

    • Jen

      Yeah, I was kind of like, “you’re missing a golden opportunity to see how much of the man/woman differences are based on heterosexual relationship expectations!”

  36. Caroline

    Funny that I’ve started trying to think in the mind of Ramit, thinking about how my answers would be interpreted. Especially when answering Q.7 “Who do you think is better at managing money”

  37. Cokie

    If I have a romantic interest in a man, I’m more likely to let him pick up the tab, if he offers. I will always pay for myself if my interest is only platonic. And I think it’s a good idea to split on the first date, no matter what the dynamic is.

  38. Linda Caroll

    Interesting. I saw 2 versions of the quiz by loading different browsers, and there are questions posted in comments that I didn’t see on either. Which means there’s at least 3 versions of the quiz, possibly more.

    Makes me wonder if each version will have the same number of respondants and how that affects the overall “results”…

    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. Sure gets people heated up, though. Perhaps that’s the point. lol.

  39. Alex

    “Would you change your career drastically for your significant other?”

    Honestly I’d say no, but I have done it…. 2 times….

    Right now I’d say no, but when you’re in love… the heart speaks louder than the mind.

    • Ramit Sethi

      Perfect answer showing the difference between what we “say” and what we actually do.

      More commenters could learn from you by analyzing their actual behavior rather than what they “believe.”

    • kate

      haha exactly, the ones i have experienced – i answered as i have done (does money matter? i would have said yes, but umm i am the single provider and my husband stays home with the kids – i did not see that coming at twentysomething!)

  40. Josh

    The title of this post doesn’t make sense.

  41. PB

    Thequestion about the timing of discussing finances should have a response somewhere between first date and several months in.

  42. Diane

    I thought this was a joke. With it being about honesty (or lack of) I submitted answers that were opposite to what I thought.

  43. Delia

    I like that the questions were different for each person. I think Ramit makes an honest point in helping people look at objective data as results to questions asked of both genders. Just like we all say we save more, eat healthy and work out umpteen times a week, the facts don’t lie and people often like to put more euphemisms in their life story than are actually true or possible 🙂 just put your gym bags in your cars, pack and date your bag lunches and automate your finances so you can get out of “believing” you have to work really hard and just let your own psychological hang-ups do the work 🙂 *writes “Thursday” on the chicken salad bag*

  44. sonja

    I know that studies are better when they are short one, but it came to my mind so many different answers and it seemed to me that the questions are not specific.
    For example, the last question: if you earn more money and that’s why have less personal time, would it be worth it?
    It all depends what is one’s priority in life…
    I don’t see it as less personal time, since I would be doing something I love and probably meet other interesting people through it. So, in that way could be more quality time…

  45. Chris

    I’m interested in all the studies you referenced in the post, as well as any other materials you have on environment and persuasion. Please pst or email. Thanks!

  46. Amelia

    I didn’t really know how to answer #4 – household income, as you didn’t specify whether this is per month or per year.

    • Mathias

      True. I answered in a yearly basis, since this is an American website. In Sweden we always talk monthly income though…

      Also found the one about wether I think it matters what my spouse earn. I answered somewhat, because I would be reluctant to date a student with no income but other than that I really don’t care too much…

  47. Mrten

    If the survey were really anonymous you should’ve taken off the the aweber tracking codes off the links in the mails you sent out.

  48. Suze

    This was a bit tricky to answer as my personal circumstances don’t fit the parameters of the questions. For example, when it asks about household income I struggled; I have recently moved interstate and away from my partner of six years for work and am living in a share house. Is my household income then just my income, the share houses income, or the income of myself and partner (we still make some joint financial decisions, despite living apart)?

    I also think that the ‘When do should you discuss finances etc.’, that the answers would be more meaningful if there were relationship milestones (first date, casual relationship, serious relationship, moving in together, getting married, investing together) rather than simply chronological.

    Anyway, I will be interested to see what comes out of this data.

    • Suze

      *share house’s.

      Another thing I’m not sure about is income between countries. The Australian and US dollars are close to parity these days so that is not a problem. However, Australian wages are higher as is the cost of living, so my income probably appears to be better than it actually isfrom a US perspective.

  49. tim

    Talking finances on a first date = talking finances on a last date.

    • Susan

      Really? I’ve had a number of dates where I’ve discussed investment ideas, stocks, etc, that didn’t go into specifics of personal income or assets. If finance is a subject of mutual interest, why not discuss it? Do you limit women to discussing topics such as the weather? What if you both read “Forbes” or “Wall Street Journal” and she wants to discuss an article?

  50. Helen

    I think that the surveys are just a way for Ramit to get us all personally invested in his gender and money topic, I don’t think that they are useful for data collection at all. Our environment is being altered by a skilled persuader, perhaps?

  51. Rebecca

    I currently make more than six-figures and more than my boyfriend with my full-time salary and side job combined. We talk about money a lot. When I was making less than him, he would pay for more stuff. Now that I’m making more, we split everything down the middle. I’m really interested in this series, Ramit! Can’t wait.

  52. Liz

    I’m in the process of getting divorced, so my relationship status and income are in major flux right now.

    I also had issues with the last question … I would never change my career **for** my partner, but I might change it **for** myself taking his and our situation into account.

    And “who pays for the first date” … to me, the person who asks pays. If the man asks the woman out, he pays. If she asks him, she pays.

  53. Kris

    I found it interesting that my survey asked about in my LAST relationship when did I talk about finances. That was the relationship that didn’t work out. Now married since 1988, we met on the fly and just went with it which resulted in a much different scenario for a “first date”. I don’t remember “talking” about finances on the first date but I believe we did communicate with each other about finances. When one stands at a counter looking at the pizza menu while waiting to order and you both look at each other when the total is called, and you both reach into your pocket to pay the bill – that says something. At the end of the meal when you both look to leave a tip, that says something. When one or the other talks about contribuing toward gas or splitting the cost of a plane ticket to see each other or watching how long we stay on the phone so the long distance charges don’t add up or who is going to call the other the next time so the burden isn’t on one more than the other, or you agree to write more letters vs. use the landline (no cell phones then folks) – you can see these things. Now I agree – there is a whole lot that happens between date one and several months, and that might be helpful to capture in your survey – and is also the big tell tale sign of whether or not you continue in this relationship or not.
    As for question # 8, My spouse was in the military. The decision to hook up with this person was made each time I went on another long distance date which actually means the decision to give up my job to be with this person was made each time I continued on the dating game. I was a thrilling ride, a wonderful opportunity to travel to places I never would have gone, gave me a wider world view than I would have ever experienced without it – but I won’t kid you – the loss of “my place in the world” did affect my self esteem as I found my view of myself was tied into my job, my buying power, my ability to see myself as valued even without a job. It did affect our combined buying power, still to this day I have never owned my own home – but now, 24 years down the road I know it was our only choice to stay together and allowed me the opportunity and the motivation to go back to school, where I changed careers, graduated top of my degree program and now I make more than he does.
    Life is about growth folks and using all your senses to communicate – not just the verbal cues.

  54. Pat

    I agree with Liz and will add that talking about finances on a first date I would think would freak out the person. After all, it’s a first date.

  55. Daria

    The last question is relative: how much more money and how much less personal time are we talking? (I’m a female FYI)

  56. Diane

    Ramit: The last question really isn’t a yes or no. It really does depend on the
    circumstances. I work in a family business with aged parents-I would not
    be comfortable changing jobs but I have changed jobs in the past for others.
    So I anwsered with the current situation-but that does not reflect all situations:)

  57. Ryan A

    I didn’t talk with my wife about finances until after we were engaged. In hindsight I would have done it sooner but it’s not really something you can test out unless you’ve been in a lot of relationships which I haven’t.

    Is past experience the best indicator of future performance? Maybe, but we also learn from our mistakes I hope.

    • Stephen

      While I don’t disagree (much), I thought it might be useful to know that it can be known to talk finances early in a relationship. You just need focus and to know where you’re headed.

      If you know your dating goal is to find your “other half”, then you focus on making the best communicative relationship possible. And so you talk about everything and/or anything on the first date (time and fun permitting).

      But yes Ryan, the important item is that you’re learning and changing. Possibly the only thing that depends on past performance is trust in current performance.

      Note: What remains is a digression about relationship and not finances. Although it is very tangential, I wrote it (and am not deleting it) since it is essentially the same principles as Ramit’s applied to relationships: know your goals and optimise…

      I dated once, engaged once, married once (as a virgin) and have a killer marriage. It’s hard and requires thought and discipline, but it’s possible.

      NB BTW: I mention virginity not as a boast, but as the statement of possibility, and that I only found out how amazingly beneficial and important it was until after the fact (just like pretty much all stands of character applied to life, business and relationships).
      For example, consider how much differently you’d worry about affairs if you knew your partner had only ever slept with their spouse. (You wouldn’t)

  58. Kate

    Thanks for the post Ramit! There must be a lot of survey versions out there, I didn’t see many discussion points from above.

    • MW

      Agreed. The link in my email was a different survey than the one listed above and even still there are things people are referencing that did not show up on either of those surveys for me.

  59. Bronwyn

    I was surprised to answer that more money doesn’t sound so great if I have to work longer hours. My free time is limited enough that money won’t entice me to give up long-term free time. I might work more now and then, but to take on 10 or 15 more hours a week, I would have to be desperate for cash.

  60. Stephen

    I found it interesting that “when should/did you task about finances” questions were different answer types. For Should, I checked everything except “never”. And I Did everything except never.

    I was able to answer “the first date” since I knew my now-wife beforehand. I date with a view to engage, and then marry; otherwise, what’s the point? (There’s plenty of bars and night clubs if you want something else).
    And if that’s the point, then why wouldn’t you go for success in the basic areas? If being open is going to be a problem, then there’s problems ahead.

    BTW, I don’t regard “hanging out” as dating; it’s a strictly romantic affair for me. The were walks and food with groups and singles before dating. (To call these dates, you’d have to question my sexual identity first 🙂 ).

    • Stehpen

      “And I Did everything except never” should also have “, but I was only able to select one :(.”

  61. Stephen

    While I don’t disagree (much), I thought it might be useful to know that it can be known to talk finances early in a relationship. You just need focus and to know where you’re headed.

    If you know your dating goal is to find your “other half”, then you focus on making the best communicative relationship possible. And so you talk about everything and/or anything on the first date (time and fun permitting).

    But yes Ryan, the important item is that you’re learning and changing. Possibly the only thing that depends on past performance is trust in current performance.

    Note: What remains is a digression about relationship and not finances. Although it is very tangential, I wrote it (and am not deleting it) since it is essentially the same principles as Ramit’s applied to relationships: know your goals and optimise…

    I dated once, engaged once, married once (as a virgin) and have a killer marriage. It’s hard and requires thought and discipline, but it’s possible.

    NB BTW: I mention virginity not as a boast, but as the statement of possibility, and that I only found out how amazingly beneficial and important it was until after the fact (just like pretty much all stands of character applied to life, business and relationships).
    For example, consider how much differently you’d worry about affairs if you knew your partner had only ever slept with their spouse. (You wouldn’t)

    • Stephen

      This was meant to be a reply to “Ryan A” 4 posts up, but something went wrong ;(

    • Stephen

      Ramit, can you delete this comment and replies? I’ve placed it where it should have gone…

  62. kate

    i’m surprised there is not an age question – i would be interested to see how some of these answers differ between twenties and forties and up (not that you would get many 80 year olds responding, but you never know!)

  63. Lindsay

    Who should pay for the first date? -> The one who did the asking out should pay.

    Would you change your career drastically for your significant other? -> I wouldn’t change my career per se but I would move to a different part of the country.

    When to discuss finances? I would prefer to talk about it immediately to avoid spending too much time on someone financially irresponsible but bringing it up on a first date could make the other person very uncomfortable or make them think I’m a “gold digger”. ( Actually I’ve had lots of experience with boyfriends causing a huge drain on my bank account, not the other way around. )

    Side note in response to this from Stephen:
    “For example, consider how much differently you’d worry about affairs if you knew your partner had only ever slept with their spouse. (You wouldn’t)”

    I would worry about affairs because your partner could very easily be wondering what type of variety is out there and want to experience something else.

  64. Rich

    For some reason, the link took me to a completely different survey. I started reading people’s posts here and thought, “What are you talking about? Those weren’t the questions on the survey?”

    I don’t know how it happened, but I was answering questions about what I’d do if I inherited $25,000, whether men or women manage money better, etc.

    I clicked the link again, and now it’s taking me to the same one everyone else here seems to be discussing.

  65. Abigail

    Were there different surveys? My survey didn’t say anything about first dates and when money came up….??

    • Ramit Sethi

      Yes, I randomly sent people to different surveys.

  66. Rich

    Correction: the link still doesn’t take me to the survey everyone else is discussing. This one was “Money and Gender 2” and asked if I’d be comfortable if my partner made more than I did, if it would be worth it to earn more money if it meant less personal time, etc. Nothing about first dates, etc.

    Are you doing this on purpose? Or is something goofed up on the back end?

  67. Nebula "Grow Weed" Haze

    Would I mind if my significant other made more than me? Well, that’s a tough question. I currently make more, which seems fine to me. If the roles were reversed, I’m not really sure how I would feel. As a girl, it seems like it’d be easier for me to deal. I know that for the guy I am with, that me making more money seems to have spurred/inspired him into making dramatic increases in his own earnings I guess I’ll find out soon what it’s like to make less money.

  68. Beth

    I like the idea that the person doing the asking does the paying on a first date. In my dating experience, I never assume anybody is going to pay a check for me:

    But, after experimenting a bit, I’ve found
    -splitting checks = sign there will be no second date.
    -man paying = sexy and awesome, when it is done with sincerity and good will and asking if it is okay. Man equivalent wearing a push-up bra, perhaps? And I love, love, love when I get add to the pile of relationship goodwill by offering to pay for the next date
    -man paying, by racing the hand over the card = not sexy. In fact, this usually makes me feel a little like prostitute. Was my time just bought?
    -For some reason, I remember being on a date that I was asked on, paying the check, and it was one of the least sexy things I’ve ever done. Maybe because my date wasn’t offering any planning energy, conversational energy, or other energy to the dating space?

    • Ramit Sethi

      Lots of uncomfortable truths in this comment. Thanks, Beth.

  69. Amber

    Love to see how people answered these at different ages and genders. I would have answered this survey COMPLETLY different 10 years ago. I’m sure in 10 years, I’m going to answer it differently again.

    • Ramit Sethi

      Good point

  70. Vanessa

    The last question was the one that shocked me most. It was the hardest to be honest about because there wasn’t a middle of the road answer. I was more inclined to say “yes” because I want more money, but I answered “no” because if it meant losing a *significant* amount of personal time, I would have to sacrifice the moments I have with my husband and my baby…not to mention my own personal time, and that is hard to recover from.
    On the other hand, if sacrificing a little personal time, would buy me enough money to then take a break and do awesome things with my family, that may be worth it. That is, if by then they still like me and remember who I am. 🙂

    • DS

      I actually answered Yes because I already feel I am sacrificing a lot of my personal time for the career and income that I have. I am not blind to the fact that my industry expects 24×7 access to my time. To answer No just because I was not willing to go even further would not have been honest, and that was the point right?

      This is so very very subjective, someone working 25% less hours than me might feel they are already sacrificing enough too, and the guy down the hall working 25% more than I do might be getting leaps and bounds better on raises and promotions.

      Sometimes you can sacrifice TOO Much pay and not get the quality personal time and freedom that you thought you would have. Part time minimum wage jobs are physically and emotionally draining, and don’t generally pay enough to be worth the effort and screwy retail hours of early morning stocking, late night closing, off hours re-stocking and receiving etc. I feel this strongly when stopping by the “big box” retail book store that was my transition job post College and seeing the same people there 9 years later.

  71. Helga Tomala

    I am delighted that you are writing about this. It is never mentioned!
    I have observed married couples shop clandestinely. It’s insane. I was one of them myself, but never again. I am in charge of what I make and how I spend it.
    There are a lot of double standards in this area, which may already contribute to this problem.

    Regrettably a lot of couples marry without ever discussing this. This is a very touchy and important topic that should be discussed, but rarely ever is.
    I am pleased that you opened this can of worms.

  72. jess roxx

    it’s one thing to talk about goals on a first date… but what kind of braggadocio talks about income on a first date?

    • Ramit Sethi

      Agreed. But you would be surprised!!

  73. Akruti Patel

    I think now days, in my opinion, it depends on the person and their relationship. Some people, however, still think they the man should carry all the weight of finance, which I disagree. It should be equally split in the sense that both partners are working.

  74. Diane

    After filling that out and being in the “top” income bracket, I feel like crap. We have so much “stupid” debt that we are trying to get out from under. With the large boost in salary we just got (as of this Monday!!) here to getting our crap together and making a HUGE imporvement in our Net Worth.

  75. Stephanie

    I hate that multiple choice limits your answers so much. Though I suspect the purpose was to spark conversation rather than get statistically significant results.

    You talk about money in small socially acceptable ways on the first date (“I’m saving up for a car because mine will only last another 2 or 3 years.”), in slightly more detail after a few dates (“I really hate being in debt, that is why I paid off my college loans in 4 years instead of 10”), and in greater detail as the relationship progresses. There is no one time when you have an isolated “money talk.”

    Also? The person who asks pays for the first date regardless of gender. After that you work it out between the two of you. I tend to go with “you bought our tickets, I’ll get dinner” type splitting. It also depends on the situation. If I am gainfully employed making decent money and my date is a grad student working 80+ hours a week for $20K/year? I pay. My (employed and well off) date wants to go to a fancy schmancy event, say opening night at the ballet or opera or whatever (basically something I’d choose not to do on my own because of the expense)? He pays.

  76. Mary

    There can be a huge difference between “married” and “in a relationship”. In my case “in a relationship” means living together since 1997. For someone else it might be just a couple of months.

    Also talking about money can vary along the relationship. We talked about money in the beginning of our relationship when we were both equally poor. Now that I’m making all the money and my “boyfriend” is jealous of that and always making unpleasant comments on it, I’ve ended up hiding all my savings from him. I’ never meantioned to him that I’m actually saving for a flat / retirement, I only tell him how much money we have to be spent each month after those savings & bills.

  77. Arnica

    I think that the last question is difficult to answer – “changing one’s career drastically for your significant other” can mean a lot of very different things.

  78. Nancy

    One of the reason’s I think it’s important to discuss money fairly early in a “relationship” (i.e. before one year), is that I want to be aligned with someone who shares the same financial goals as I do. It’s not so much about how much money someone makes it’s about how they manage their finances and if they are open about their spending.

    Although couples can learn about managing money together, if someone is hiding a lot about the debt they have or other critical financial information, to me that is a great big red flag suggesting that that part of the relationship is going to require a great deal of energy. If I’m going to choose to develop the relationship, I at least want to do that with my eyes open. Hiding financial information also suggests they would hide other things.

    Having said that, I also would not date smokers;) Call me picky.

  79. Stephanie

    I think it would have been interesting to understand how much men and women care about their partner’s income is correlated to their own income. Presumably, someone making $30k cares more than someone making $200k.

    Also, it would have been interesting to understand if men and women care about their partner making more money is correlated to income level as well.

  80. Quercki

    We’re celebrating our 31st wedding anniversary today, so the answer to “When did you start talking about money?” is “I can’t remember.”

    I’m a huge fan of “The person who asks the other one out pays, unless other arrangements are discussed.”

  81. Lisa

    I am confused or frustrated with my husbands financials. He owns a small business and is a contractor so his income fluctuates. We are paying off debt right now and that is frustrating as w still have car repairs on older (paid off) vehicles and hard to pay off debt and take care of today’s obligations and not shop. I hate articles that tell me to not go out to lunch, buy lattes etc as I don’t do that much anyway. It’s just paying off the cards from real estate investing and a pay cut for 9 months that has us behind. Slow progress, emphasize SLOW

  82. Deacon

    I just want you to know I was 100% honest about my answers on the survey 🙂

  83. Erin

    Ramit, I’m curious how you’ll analyze these data.

    To me, this methodology seems a bit shoddy. You say that identities will remain anonymous, but people know what you’re trying to evaluate (honesty), they know their answers will represent their sex, they know their answers will be compared against those of the opposite sex. They know who will be looking at their (anonymous) answers (i.e. you). All this knowledge is likely to influence how people answer their questions, and make the data and conclusions questionable. (This is aside from the fact that I wouldn’t have formulated possible answers to some questions the way you did.)

    It also seems to me like you can evaluate gender differences in beliefs, or self-reported behavior with these data…but “honesty” is quite another thing. None of this information can be validated, so it seems like a claim of evaluating “honesty” is a stretch here. The best you can do is compare these data to known metrics from other datasets.

    There are definitely solid ways of getting at your questions, Ramit. But these results I suspect I’ll take with a grain of salt.

  84. K

    Firefox & Chrome survey (the same survey):
    Did you negotiate your salary, comfortable if you partner makes more than you, and would you trade time for money.

    IE 9 survey
    Your emotional feeling about financial matters, and personal financial topics that you would like to see covered.

    Try a few more browsers, see a few more surveys. Sorry Ramit I’m a bit of a hack.

    • Claire

      Just use incognito mode in Chrome.

  85. Renee

    I had this Ah-Ha moment this morning when I realized I had grown up around people who said, “when I’m damn good-n-ready” [Not a moment sooner] was the unsaid rest of the story.

    I’ve been reading books about money management and entrepreneurship for forever. I’ve attempted to launch and failed at a business that I put tons of time and money into. I was able to identify so many of my mistakes which are pretty common according to what I’ve read from Ramit about money and psychology. Which made me feel a little better, like not such a schlub.

    The thing is….based on what I’ve read from variety of resources. Men and women do approach money management differently. I find it fascinating in my own life and I am really excited to be a part of this unfolding.

    It will be interesting to see how Ramit approaches this….”minefield” as he calls it. I agree and I think it will be really challenging, as he seems to approach the topic from a stoic position and “doesn’t feel” according to him. All of these ideas are generally associated with the male logical approach to the world. I’ve been waiting to see him attempt to navigates the feminine psyche. Although if the video segment he did in the American Girl store talking about product diversification; I think he will be fine.

    • Renee

      Oh to finish my original thought.

      Not until I’m damn good’n’ready, the idea has been playing on me for a long time. I’ve decided that we rarely think we are ready and waiting for someone else to launch our rocket is a stupidly long wait. We are ready when we wake up in the morning and decide we are going to step out the door into our new life. Today. I wasn’t ready…and I stepped out anyway. So far, so good 🙂

  86. Kathy

    I absolutely hate that I depend on the husband for so much. And that he earns more than me. Because I hate budgeting. I hate being a Scrooge. The only way out is for me to work a full time job and go back to school. Teachers make a designated income. No one wants to pay for a hs chemistry tutor. I also have dogs, kids and a house to take care of. A year off of work to Heal from a surgery makes it that much worse. I should be grateful but I just feel frustrated and angry that we take care of In laws and outlaws and can’t get anywhere ourselves. Seems like we make a lot but when it gets doled out to everyone else nothing is left. It just really pisses me off. Whaaaah

    • Ramit Sethi

      How do you know no one wants to pay for a chemistry tutor? Have you tested that assumption?

  87. M

    When we first start talking about money:
    explicitly, within the first month.
    but the subject is opened and information gleaned within the first date.
    Yeah, whether my partner can support him/herself matters.

    Who should pay for the first date:
    whoever asked for the first date.

  88. m

    hmm your questions are pretty limiting. For instance deciding to date someone based on their income – if their income is low and they have no aspirations and a deadend job and they are 27 or older then no, i wouldn’t. if their income is low as they are working towards something better- in graduate school, starting a business then yes. Seems like your questions will give you generic data that doesn’t add anything new. I’ll be interested to follow where this will go.

  89. Amy

    I found the options about when to discuss your personal finances rather arbitrary. Rather than a specified time, I Prefer to think in terms of the close was of the relationship and where I anticipate it going. A casual relationship doesn’t need to get much beyond who pays for what and how much we can afford when we go out together. If it looks like a relationship is serious or might get serious, I would want to talk about our financial positions and long-term financial goals.

  90. Robert

    I got quite a brief survey, none of the detailed questions described above, which is good. Guess we’ll see how it comes out 🙂

  91. Michaela

    Interesting survey. Can’t wait to see the results. Am curious as to what the survey says about us, collectively.

  92. Rich

    So you randomly sent us to different surveys… and then directed us all here to discuss them? Seems like a recipe for confusion and frustration. At least, those are the emotions I felt.

    If you’d not asked us to discuss it, we would never have known (until you revealed it with the results). If you’d told us up front that we’d be sent to different surveys, we’d have been eagerly waiting to see what surveys others received.

    As it is… confusing and frustrating.

    • Ramit Sethi

      Come on man. If 7-8 survey questions left you “confused” and “frustrated” when thousands of others were able to successfully answer them without complaint, this site may not be right for you. Please step away from the computer. This is a survey, not childbirth.

  93. Cherleen @ Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance

    Done with the survey. As both freelancers, my husband and I do not have a fixed income but we do have a target amount for each month so that we can cope up with our savings and expenses.

  94. Neska

    What about LGBT couples dating? the question of who should pay leaves us out

  95. Janine

    your most interesting post to date! Can’t wait to see the results =o

  96. Christian Martinez

    For me I would depend on how much money she´s making (I think i will comfortable with 20-60% more, but more than 2 times my salary i wouldnt feel so comfortable, and also its important in how much work time she´s making that, if its 2 times my salary in less than 50% of the time I think everyone would feel a bit uncomfortable at least.

    • DS

      Conflicts arise also when a person is required to work more, and the significant other in their life is not supportive and understanding of their need to do so. Its not always the salary that causes marital strife but the necessary hours devoted to it.

      Its more socially acceptable for a man to work long hours and the woman pick up the slack with the kids and the home than the other way around. I am lucky enough to have experienced both sides of this coin. When my husband was in grad school I had to support, host study groups, handle dinner and do with less one on one time with him. When my new job required long and weird hours he filled in the gap with our daughter and the housework. I like to think we both passed with flying colors.

      Now that our demands and pay are relatively equal, we each get time away from the home, time with our daughter one on one and time together as a family. Its not a cake walk but it is nice to know we can both handle that support role.

  97. DS

    Bah, why does the “partner earns more” question get a text box for explanation but the “would you sacrifice personal time to earn more” does not?

    I am very interested to see where this goes. I see some stereotypes in how my husband and I handle money, however it doesn’t tend to be on what most people say is the gender lines, more along lines of who is the spender, who is the saver, who is the long term planner, and who is the “big ideas” person.

    I hope you realize addressing finances and gender opens up side issues like division of labor in the home and decisions on how much household money is devoted to paying hired help (cleaning, babysitting, lawn care). Let the minefield be set!

  98. John @

    I agree with Cherleen, we also do have a target amount for each month. We always do try to reach it so that we know that we’ll never be short of finances.