I want to preface this post by saying that I seriously doubt that anyone would turn down a million dollars if it were offered to her. Assuming that the money would be obtained legally and ethically, who would say no to a windfall like that?
In other words, I don’t believe that women don’t want to millionaires. But I am starting to believe that women don’t prioritize building a million dollar net worth with the same intensity as men.
In my very unscientific survey of the personal finance blogs that I read regularly (which extends far beyond my blog roll), I have yet to find a female personal finance blogger who has made it her serious, explicit goal to become a millionaire. Perhaps the goal is implied when female bloggers say that their primary goal is “financial freedom” but male personal finance bloggers are much more up-front about their intentions to accumulate millions. For example, Kevin at Thousandaire is in a race to a million with his friend The Hoff and J Money from Budgets are Sexy started his Million Dollar Club, where he created a checklist for himself to follow to reach a million dollar net worth and encouraged others to do the same (awesome idea, right?). Both of these bloggers have stated in no uncertain terms that they hope to be millionaires some day.
But it’s not just in the blogging world that men seem to place a higher value on creating million-dollar portfolios – this trend extends into our wider world, too. In 2010, the vast majority of North American millionaires – 63% – were male. I suppose this shouldn’t be too surprising; in the United States, women still only earn 77 cents for every dollar that men earn, and it certainly follows that earning less puts women at a significant disadvantage when it comes to wealth building. I’m not sure that the gap in earnings completely explains the gap in accumulated wealth, though, especially when you consider that women have been entering high-earning professions at very high rates in the past generation.
So the question is: why the apparent gender divide? Are women secretly trying to become millionaires and for some reason feel uncomfortable verbalizing that goal (or in the case of female PF bloggers, putting it into print)? Or is it just not a priority for the ladies in the same way that it is for the men?
To be honest, becoming a millionaire isn’t a huge priority for me. I want to build wealth, I want to feel financially secure, and I want to have cool experiences…which, of course, require money. But actually seeing a million dollars in my bank account isn’t very important to me. Sure, it would be cool – see preface above – but it’s not a goal, per se.
What do you guys think? Have you noticed the same gender divide between men and women when it comes to million-dollar aspirations? Why do you think women lag behind men when it comes to net worth? Let’s talk about it!