Many news articles, posts, etc., pass themselves as journalism, professing to have excellent financial advice for women.
In reality, most of them are shallow and condescending. They tell women to stop spending money on clothes and make-up and ditch the morning coffee. It’s the latte, not the gender pay gap, that keeps you from achieving your dreams.
It’s telling that the advice assumes only women blow their money on lattes. Clearly, men wouldn’t waste hard-earned cash on tasty drinks.
Examples of Money Articles Geared Towards Women
Numerous publications are guilty of assuming women spend frivolously. This post tells women to save money by avoiding name brands because expensive bags and shoes prevent women from saving money.
Another gem tells women to name their savings accounts. Although a named account can help people track their spending, a lack of names is not a limitation to saving.
Many articles direct women towards clipping coupons, reducing spending, and other money savings tips rather than focusing on investments and overall financial wellness. The assumption is that saving money is for women while investing and building wealth is for men.
Flipping the Script
I thought it would be fun to flip the script in honor of Women’s History Month.
What if men were given the same sexist money advice that women get? What types of things would be on that list, and how does reading it make people feel?
Financial Advice for Men
This satirical Financial Advice for Men is written in the style of financial advice for women, though admittedly includes much more snark.
Skip the Beers and Energy Drinks
A six-pack of even the cheapest beer costs five or six dollars, and an energy drink costs anywhere from three to five dollars. That’s $35 a week down the drain and nearly $1600 per year, assuming you buy once a week.
Instead of blowing that on tasty drinks for yourself, you should save it. Make coffee at home for that energy boost in the morning, and limit your six-packs to once a week. It’s better for your wallet and your health.
Stop Buying Video Games
Come on, guys. We know you aren’t saving as much as you should be because you had to have the latest Dungeon Master video game. That sixty bucks could have gone into your investment or savings account instead of being wasted on something fun for you.
You should look at your entertainment center and see how much money you have in video games. If you have more than one or two games, consider selling them on eBay.
You should focus on more important things.
Do You Really Need a Sports Car?
I get it; you want the latest model of the latest sports car so you can show it off. How would everyone know your status if you didn’t drive a fast car?
But sports cars are a giant waste of money. Instead, buy a used, reliable car such as a Toyota or Hyundai. These cars may not be as glamorous, but they are built to last and will save you tons of money in the long run.
Why do you need to make yourself look presentable? It’s not like society tells you that the clean-shaven look is more desirable and professional.
Razors and other beard-trimming products are expensive. It’s much cheaper to go without shaving. No one will even notice. It’s not like anyone can tell whether someone has shaved their face or not.
Don’t Be Too Confident in Your Investing Skills
Men are renowned for their confidence. But, frequently, they mistake confidence for hubris.
Overconfidence can lead to riskier investment choices and losses in the long term. Do a little research instead of acting like you know all the answers.
Talk to a financial advisor and ensure your investments are solid and stable. You don’t need all the answers, but you do need to know when to ask for help.
Learn More: How to Invest Like a Boss!
How This Advice Relates to Women
Most women reading this will see how much it mirrors the advice we receive daily.
We’re constantly told to skip the latte. The advice is so ubiquitous that it spawned a book, “The Latte Factor,” in which a generous older man guides a naïve young woman and helps her make better financial decisions.
Women are also told not to buy new clothes and name-brand items, which mirrors the sports car example, and to reduce their make-up and grooming costs which are just as ridiculous as telling men not to shave.
Financial advice geared towards men rarely carries the same message. You rarely see an article telling men to skip beer, video games, and grooming products.
The truth is that stereotypical men waste as much money as stereotypical women, but no one bats an eye when men do it.
Spending Vs. Investing
You may have also noticed that most of the advice in this column relates to not spending money. Where’s the piece on building wealth, investing, choosing smart tax strategies, and enhancing your career to make more money?
Most financial advice for women is about not spending money.
Traditionally, money advice for women hasn’t focused on investing or retirement planning. Most of it concerns clipping coupons or limiting our spending on useless junk.
General financial advice and advice geared towards men are usually more well-rounded. There will be solid tips about saving money, but men also get advice on investing, planning for retirement, and making the best use of tax laws.
With women living longer and becoming breadwinners more and more, having that kind of advice is crucial.
It’s Getting Better
The one silver lining to this post is that it’s getting better. Much, much better.
It’s harder to find these silly, stereotypical articles telling women to stop spending money, and we can also find tons of solid financial advice written for women by women.
Look to Tread Lightly, Retire Early’s epic post listing the Women of the Financial Independence Movement for a massive list of women writing about money. It may have started with women discussing financial independence, but it has expanded to include many women discussing various money topics. That post spawned a movement of women coming together and talking about finance in authentic ways that are important to us.
It’s just the start.
When I first published this piece in 2019, the first page of Google was filled with the condescending articles I referenced.
Now, the first page offers realistic financial advice for women. Unfortunately, far too many pieces still skip essential topics, like investing or retirement planning, and lean too heavily on ways to save money.
However, most condescending pieces are gone, which is a significant step forward.
More and more women are taking control of their own finances, getting involved in investments and retirement planning, and becoming the family breadwinners.
The media is slowly but surely following suit. Hopefully, someday soon, posts like this won’t be needed to draw attention to the differences. We’re closer to it now than when this was first published, but we aren’t quite there yet.
How Did This Post Make You Feel?
Ladies, did you recognize the correlations in the advice right away?
Gentleman, were you offended that I assumed you spent money on beers and video games? Or did you think it was ridiculous that I’d claim shaving doesn’t matter?
Who felt it was odd that I excluded any information on investing for the future or building wealth?
Consider your reactions. They may help you understand why examining how we talk about money with different groups is vital, and how changing the conversation can lead to better outcomes for all.
Melanie launched Partners in Fire in 2017 to document her quest for financial independence with a mix of finance, fun, and solving the world’s problems. She’s self educated in personal finance and passionate about fighting systematic problems that prevent others from achieving their own financial goals. She also loves travel, anthropology, gaming and her cats.