Men posters outnumber women posters by a 10 to 1 ratio at the raddr-pages.com discussion board on early retirement topics. Is the financial freedom quest “a guy thing”?
I say “no.” My experience with my book has been that women respond to it more strongly than men. My sense is that women and men respond to different aspects of the financial freedom question.
Ask a man if it is a good idea to pay off the mortgage and he is likely to start performing calculations to determine whether he can earn a high-enough return through investing to counter the interest charge imposed for borrowing the mortgage money. Woman tend to look at paying off the mortgage more favorably because they like the idea of having that payment taken care of for life and knowing that they can always remain in the home they now live in no matter what happens with their investments or with their jobs.
These are generalizations, of course. There are some women who get into the competitive calculations thing and there are some men who focus on the soft-side issues of personal finance (I’m one of those, of course). So long as we keep it in mind that we are generalizing, though, I think it can be useful to explore the differences between how men and women look at financial freedom questions.
It was the mortgage pay-off question that got my wife enthusiastic about our Passion Saving plan. All of our early savings went to paying down the mortgage. When we got to the point where we didn’t need to make a mortgage payment anymore, she was amazed. From that day forward, she was a believer. She responded to the concrete reality of not having to send in a mortgage payment each month in a way that she never did to the playing-with-the-numbers exercises I had tried to use to get her excited about the financial freedom quest at earlier times.
The Raddr-pages.com board is a numbers-oriented board. It is an investing-oriented board. And it is a theory-oriented board. All of that stuff has value. But I think that as a generalization women participate more frequently in discussions of emotions rather than of numbers, in discussions of saving rather than of investing, and in discussions of the practical rather than of the theoretical. The way to get more women participating at our boards is to provide them the sorts of discussions in which they are most interested.