David Krueger MD
Men and women both share a desire for autonomy and effectiveness, as well as for connection and emotional caring. Yet the unconscious whispers of “you have evidence of worth by doing these things” differ considerably for each:
- For men, the early models and reinforcements probably had more to do with being strong, unemotional, doing more, and making more money.
- For women, the model more likely leaned toward being perfect, pretty, thin, quiet, loving, and giving to others.
These gender-specific expressions of attempts to live into an ideal – and thereby counter shame – can hitchhike on money as an emblem of care, worth, power, or any meaning assigned; money is a Rorschach of our own individual strivings.
Three considerations of gendered money psychology and investing lessons from women:
1. Self-awareness is an important characteristic among elite investors. Self-awareness fosters both objectivity and balance in decision-making. Women tend to be more empathic with others, and thereby more empathic with themselves. Women tend to share emotions, regard of friendships, discussion of relationships, and collaboration of feelings more than men.
2. Unlike men, women are less likely to let their narcissism and pride get in the way of decision-making processes. It’s the same reason that men are significantly less likely to ask for directions, viewing it as a weakness. (Not me – I asked once back in February, 1993).
3. When men have disagreements, they tend to act on their feelings. Typically, they revert to physical activity, or some form of action. Women more likely create a contemplative pause to reflect and plan, and engage more mentally. This means that men get on “tilt” more often. Poker players use this term for the emotion following a significant loss or significant success, causing them to respond emotionally to subsequent hands.
Being ungendered, money can convey any message, and represent any message—the one true metaphor that can represent anything. It’s a stand-in for what we idealize and desire, yet fear and lack; for what we covet, crave, spurn, chase, or follow.
Money is a simple unit of value. It can’t speak, promise, regret, or forecast. Money doesn’t even know who owns it, any more than the war bonds knew about the war. So it can’t possibly create fiction. Yet the owner can, and the money stories that we consciously and unconsciously write become powerful influences in our lives.