Woman holding mug that reads "Like a Boss"

Is it unfeminine to care about money? In the 2004 book whose title inspired this post, author Lois Frankel wrote, “Money is power, and power is something women misinterpret and avoid. Ask a woman if she’s powerful and she’ll give you five reasons why she’s not. This translates into feeling uncomfortable with the subject of money and thinking she actually deserves less than she’s due. Or worse yet, she doesn’t give money a second thought except in terms of needing enough to pay the bills.”

Frankel, a successful executive coach, had all sorts of tips to help women advance their careers ranging from how to speak decisively to how to accessorize, to how body language can reveal your lack of confidence.

Dr. Deborah Tannen, a respected linguistics expert from Georgetown University, has written several books over the last 30 years on the different conversational habits of men and women, arguing that these differences could already be seen amongst children on the playground. In a section of her book Talking from 9 to 5 she wrote about work interactions: “The very language spoken is often based on metaphors from sports or from the military, terms that are just idioms to many women, not references to worlds they have either inhabited or observed with much alacrity. Such expressions as “stick to your guns,” “under the gun,” “calling the shots,” “an uphill battle,” “a level playing field,” “a judgement call”….(etc) are part of our everyday vocabulary.” These differences have the effect of both encouraging a woman to adopt men’s way of speaking in the workplace, while also making her seem less “feminine” if she does.

Are we like this about money too? A recent retirement study by the non-profit Transamerica Group found that only 17% of women discuss saving and investing with family and friends. A 2020 Bloomberg Wealth survey of affluent households found that only 41% of women were working with a financial advisor, compared to 54% of men, and only 71% of women felt confident about maximizing the investing and savings tools at their disposal, vs 89% of men.

I get it. I hate dealing with “guy stuff” like servicing my car and using power tools and figuring out why the tv isn’t working. So I usually hire someone to figure those things out for me and that can of course be the solution for your finances. But we are doing ourselves a real disservice if we ignore the role of prudent financial management in our long-term well being. Apart from the confidence and peace of mind we get from knowing we are being smart and careful and well-organized, it also gives us increasingly critical advantages in the current economic and political environment, and, more joyfully, it helps us build the life we want.

Obviously there have been plenty of take-no-prisoners female icons like Rihanna, Beyonce, Oprah, Martha Stewart, Arianna Huffington, Diane von Furstenberg and the like, who have been tremendously financially savvy: exponentially growing their businesses, personal brands, and generational wealth. These examples should not be the exception rather than the norm. In 2017, rapper Cardi B went platinum with a song called Bodak Yellow, in which she sang about making money moves. Lizzo’s song “Like a Girl” has her “feelin bossy in my city cuz I run it like a girl”. But even in the music stratosphere there are disparities. According to Rolling Stone, 9 out of the top 10 highest earners in 2021 were white men (the exception was Taylor Swift), and all but three made their fortunes that year by selling their music catalogues. The only women I can think of in the last couple of years with highly publicized catalogue sales are Shakira and Stevie Nicks. The list of high profile men who have benefitted from the investor demand for and favorable tax treatment of these incredibly valuable assets is long and includes such powerhouses as Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, Motley Crew, John Legend, and most recently Justin Timberlake.

Anyway, this wasn’t meant to be a rant about the gender income gap and all that. My point is, I sympathize if you find your finances boring or intimidating, I really do. But even if the topic genuinely doesn’t interest you, it’s important to know how much your lifestyle costs and how that compares to your cashflow. It’s important to plan for taxes and understand the power of compounding, and to have a plan for what happens to you if you become incapacitated. It’s important to be consistent with your investments and to treat your portfolio like an important resource for your future self (or your heirs). And if you know you don’t want to have to think about it that much, hire someone you trust to help ensure you are making good money moves like a boss.

Woman holding mug that reads "Like a Boss"


  • Alina Fisch, CFA


    Contessa Capital Advisors, LLC

    Alina Fisch, the founder of Contessa Capital Advisors, has worked in financial services for more than 25 years. She founded Contessa to help single and divorced women and solo moms manage their finances with intention. She is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA Charterholder), registered Investment Advisor, and member of the XY Planning Network and the Financial Planning Association. Sign up to receive Alina's weekly blog, The Contessa Counts, here.