You were probably exposed to Jordan Peterson the same way I was: a viral YouTube video. Prior to Google determining my unknown interest in such a “Gotcha!” moment I was preaching some of the same material as it pertained to financial matters.
Once a taste was received I was primed for more material. Peterson has an addicting style of speaking and teaching. He thinks before speaking—something an unnamed blogger still needs to work on. The amount of material to watch is extensive. There is less reading material, but Peterson’s work is powerful and has the tendency to consume a day in thought.
Peterson is misunderstood, many times intentionally. YouTube thinks I might like other similar topics regarding identity politics and feminist bashing. I don’t. By the time my research expanded to MGTOWs (men going their own way), incels (involuntary celibates) and other narrowly defined groups, I grew more and more disturbed.
Most disturbing of all was that I agreed on some issues of these narrowly focused groups while categorically disagreeing with their mentality and overall philosophy. From what I gather, they harbor an intense hated or dislike for women. The misogyny takes the breath away. And the movements seem to keep growing. This is a serious societal problem.
It’s also a massive financial minefield. If you don’t think divorce, child support and alimony aren’t serious financial issues you need to review the world around you. Divorce can take half or more of your hard earned net worth. Child support payments are not deductible and divorces finalized after 2018 will find alimony payments non-deductible too. Men pay almost all child support and alimony payments and men also face a greater risk of losing their children in divorce. With these issues I agree. However, the MGTOW solution of a life devoid of intimacy is no solution at all. Treating women like a piece of meat doesn’t deserve any respect. Period.
The problems have grown acute in Western society. The line between intimacy and rape is blurred by the newscasts. (I am against all forms of violence against women. Don’t read this as a reluctance to protect women.) Men risk loss of freedom, property and future income when interpersonal relationships are involved. Roles have been reversed. Until the last 50 years or so, child birth was a serious risk. Women on average lived shorter lives than men due to death during child birth. Modern medicine has reduced this risk to background noise.
At the same time medicine reduced risk to pregnant women another development occurred: birth control. Birth control was sought after for eons. Ancient Romans and Greeks went to great lengths to enjoy sex and avoid pregnancy. By the 1960s medicine provided a reliable and safe way for women to take control of their reproductive choices.
Prior to the 1960s men had less risk. A man could deny involvement or disappear leaving the woman with a serious problem. Society judged women who had children outside marriage. Roles have reversed. DNA testing easily identifies the father of the child and society honors the strength of the single mother. Women have greater control over their reproductive choices and the medical risks of child birth no longer cause serious concerns.
Society has decided to reverse the risks and the consequences are growing. The stable structure of the family and marriage developed over vast periods of human history and worked extraordinarily well is being abandoned. The old system reduced violence (under the one man, one woman policy of marriage, it meant most men had female opportunity thus reducing violent tendencies), fostered community and provided a stable child rearing environment. But all wasn’t well. In many cultures men were deemed to own his wife and children. Women’s rights were muted, to say the least. Something had to change and it did.
Advice for Men, I Mean Women
A year before I ever heard of Jordan Peterson I was in Gainesville, Florida attending a small early retirement conference. I offered consulting sessions with all proceeds going to charity. (The National Special Olympics received the funds.) One of my consulting sessions was with a young female doctor. She amassed a sizable (seven figures) liquid net worth and was considering an interpersonal relationship, i.e. marriage. I quizzed her on her fiancé and quickly realized the advice she needed to hear: get a prenuptial agreement. Shortly afterwards I published on the topic.
She didn’t feel comfortable with my advice, but I convinced her of the importance of a prenuptial agreement in her situation. After her consulting session she joined the group back at the campfire while I started my next session.
The next morning I realized I caused a huge commotion. The lady I consulted took my advice to the group for their opinion. Opinions were strong on both sides, but it was eventually decided I was right. Whew!
I don’t want to make light of this important subject. Men with money are usually aware of gold diggers. Women who accumulate serious net worth aren’t always as cognizant of the male gold-diggers lurking about.
People reading this tend to be from the FIRE community. With a higher savings rate and net worth, these people need to take extra precautions. Not all women are gold diggers, but if you are a man with money, the gold diggers will be attracted to you. The opposite is just as true! Not all men are gold diggers, but women with money will attract the gold diggers.
Marriage is a legal contract between two people. You even go to the court house to get your document. There is nothing unromantic or disturbing about getting a marriage license so why are people so afraid, so offended by the requirement of a prenuptial agreement? Marriage is a wonderful institution. There should be societal and personal rules involved preserving the contract between the two parties.
Men avoid marriage today like the plague. The reasons are clear. Marriage is expensive and the “wife’s” day. Men come along for the ride. (This isn’t completely true, but women generally dictate how the wedding will be conducted.) This is NOT a bad thing! Historically marriage symbolized a bonding with intentions of bringing children into the world and as we’ve noted earlier, this was a risky proposition for the female. Also, marriage was the moment when the woman left her family to live with her husband. It was a major life event for the bride. Things have changed in recent times. Cohabiting prior to marriage is common. Child bearing has fewer medical risks.
Men view marriage differently. They now have an obligation. They have a wife to support. Oh, wait. That was historically. Today women freely enter the work force (a good thing) and have a large range of opportunities (another good thing). In the past the man provided shelter and food for the family. A man knew his worth. He provided and found satisfaction in knowing he was a good head of the household. Today men don’t find that satisfaction as much. The wife can earn and support herself just fine with or without him. It’s no longer a need, but a convenience to keep the man around.
This sounds horrible when I say it the way I did. MGTOWs make great fanfare over this. “Women,” they say, “no longer respect a man’s role. Women take advantage of men and use men.” I think this is a massive oversimplification of the facts.
I’ve been married for over 30 years (to the same woman). While Mrs. Accountant could find a job and support herself, there is something more satisfying to all parties involved to work as equals. Mrs. A doesn’t have to worry about the breadwinner getting sick or dying; serious issues in times past. She can enter into contracts should I become incapacitated or unavailable. I don’t own her! We are a team!
The rules have changed, no doubt. Identity politics have taken over. We can get mad, pointing to people with different political views. That doesn’t help. It’s not their fault; yours either. Society has changed radically and we are still searching for our sea legs. Birth control gave women control of their reproduction. This is arguably one of the most, if not the most, radical event in human history. It upset several hundred thousand years of human societal evolution.
All is not lost; at least I don’t believe it is. My relationship with my wife is powerful and growing. I can’t imagine life without her. She is not one of the rare unicorns MGTOWs talk about. She is a normal woman who had the great misfortune of being noticed by a crazy accountant. Our secret is we talk, respect each other’s opinions and space, communicate constantly our thoughts and share quality intimate time together. In short, we are growing old together, experiencing all the joys of life with our best friend, each other. There is no room for politics of any kind and certainly no room for hating women for whatever imagined reason.
Still, the problems remain. Child support and alimony hit men disproportionately hard. Divorce is a financial body blow sure to wound the strongest of us. Women file for around 70% of divorces. Men are disproportionately separated from their children. The new world order makes this possible and seems to many men punitive for the crime of loving a woman.
It doesn’t have to be this way. We can wait for society to change—don’t hold your breath—or you can take positive steps to create equality in the relationship where all parties win, especially the children.
Romance is alive and well!
Solutions to the Intractable Problems
Jordan Peterson tells us about what makes us tick; what men women are attracted to. He rarely talks about the financial issues involved.
MGTOWs and similar designations men use to identify themselves are not helping. Quitting society is an unworkable solution. Men, as much as women, need intimacy. In some ways I’m more passionate than Mrs. Accountant. She has the romance parts locked, but I love snuggling in. Yes, guys need (NEED!) touch, too. This is more than sex. Sex is a fun guttural act designed by nature to be really fun so little humans can be produced. Nature also created us to respond positively to closeness and touch; something that can be engaged in for much longer periods of times. A hug should never be a crime because it is such a basic need of humanity. That is why you must hug your significant other and kids every day. It’s the most powerful act I can think of. I personally give my parents (yes, even Dad Accountant) a hug every time I see them. The day will come soon when that opportunity will be lost forever. I’m not wasting a single opportunity.
Men must stop hating women! Misogyny is a vulgar display. Women are different from us, guys. I know. Different is good. (Actually, really, really good.) Women have a different worldview and biological history. The birth control pill doesn’t change millennia of evolution. It also takes time for society to adjust.
We can’t force society to change any faster. We can’t stop the craziness we see in the newsfeeds. The courts will continue to express bias against the men in child support and divorce proceedings.
The fear is real, guys. I understand. I’ve consulted with more clients on this than I care to count. If a guy cheats on his wife he ends up in divorce court and gets what he deserves. If the wife cheats, the guy ends up in divorce court and pays his wife (rewarding her) for her infidelity. Yes, I hear it all the time, but it doesn’t have to be this way. There is a better option.
I alluded to the solution about. Deciding to have children is different today. I hope we can agree on that much by now. Women (and men) have great control over reproductive choices which removes a lot of uncertainty in interpersonal relationships. This is a good thing. And as long as children can now be planned, doesn’t it make sense to lay down ground rules in advance? Deciding to have children is something men and women can both enjoy. Children are hard to raise while still such a joy to have. They are an endless blessing. If a prenuptial agreement can solve many problems before they occur, a child agreement—a legal and binding document—can protect both parents. Men (and women) no longer need to fear disenfranchisement from his children unless he poses harm to them.
A prenup might sound unromantic, but an agreement for having a child shouldn’t carry such weight. The act of creating the agreement will expose differences in child rearing ideology. Best to iron out those differences before a child is involved. Some of this can be handled in a prenuptial agreement. Each state is different so consult an attorney experienced in such matters.
Marriage is a contract and always has been. There is nothing wrong—and a lot right—with planning your marriage more than you plan the wedding. Remember, the wedding is a day; the marriage is a lifetime. A prenuptial agreement solves a lot of the problems MGTOWs complain about. A child agreement solves issues surrounding kids you have. No more blaming and hating women! My wife and daughters are awesome people. Never forget that.
Guys, women love a man with a plan. Coming to a relationship with an action plan is powerful. Women are still biologically wired to want a man who will support them. They tend to marry up. This is natural and normal due to historical standards. A plan can make you more desirable to women. And you have to put aside shyness and ask. If you see a woman you are interested in, ask her if she would like to join you for a cup of coffee. If she responds poorly you didn’t want to spend time with her anyway. There are lots of really good ladies out there. Really! Check out a Peterson video if you want to know and learn more of what women want.
Men, you should feel less stress about relationships! Not so long ago you carried a heavy burden. You worked the fields and mines (dangerous jobs) and if you got hurt or died your wife and children suffered horribly. Instead of the responsibility of carrying all the weight of supporting your family, you now have an equal, a partner. It’s better that way. Honest.
Note: If you haven’t read Jordan Peterson’s latest book you need to fix that ASAP. Normally I would say check it out at the library, but that isn’t good enough this time. Your copy of 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos will be more worn than an evangelical’s Bible. You’ll refer to it that much.
Note: I understand this is a difficult and contentious topic. These are serious money issues people need to consider. Some of my personal opinions and biases developed over my lifetime I’m sure slipped in even though I tried hard to keep opinion out. Please use this as a starting point to think about the subject matter. I empathize with men dealing with the host of issues; I also empathize with women trying to make their way in this world. Both genders are working hard to figure it out. No vicious attacks in the comments. You can disagree with me, but treat other commentators with respect. Thank you.
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Wednesday 29th of August 2018
You're right that we are in a weird point in history where everyone is trying to find their roles. Consider this anecdote: I'm a woman and the sole breadwinner, and hold all the wealth in our marriage. My husband does not work (aside from some homemaker tasks). I pay his child support payments. He bristles at that men are screwed over by the courts in these situations, and he's not wrong... yet here I am paying.
Sunday 22nd of July 2018
Was in near continuous long term relationships with women for the first 25 years of my adulthood and have been single for the past 9. I haven't dated nor had a single relationship with a woman in 9 years (not even one nighters). It took me a long time to figure out I was many times happier being single than in relationships. I've discovered that no one really 'needs' intimate touching and I've been perfectly fine living without it for nearly a decade. With a woman in my life I experience far more grief and regret and always end up with far more responsibility and accountability for women's actions, feelings and preferences. The single life is a breeze in comparison to relationships. I've read the MGTOW mindset extensively and agree with them that modern intimate relationships just aren't worth the trouble and expense. I personally intend to remain single for life. Had I learned these facts sooner, my life would have been far, far easier and I'd be much better off financially as well. That isn't hate. That's my personal cost-benefit analysis and a growing trend among men.
Thursday 19th of July 2018
I’ve been noticing all the Jordan Peterson quotes. I was hoping you would write a whole post about him. I enjoy watching his videos and want to read the book soon. It seems like he has thought about a lot of issues and can discuss his views without being hateful of different viewpoints. Something we need a lot more of! I think prenuptials might signal a lack of commitment to your marriage. I come from the Amish/Mennonite culture and generally divorce is pretty much unheard of. I know there are some marriages in our culture that are far less then great but they stick it out because divorce isn’t an option. That might be a bad thing in some cases especially where one partner is abusive but for the most part it has been a positive thing . Having the mindset that marriage is for life will make you try a lot harder to make things work.
Thursday 19th of July 2018
VT, Jordan Peterson is a very intelligent man. I'm concerned if I do an entire post on him some people will focus on the controversial issues. But you never know. I'm impressed with his work and a full post would be fun to research and write.
Female at Work
Monday 16th of July 2018
Also - and sorry to comment twice - what % of your clientele are men vs women? Is it possible your opinions have been formed through a bias in the types of stories you hear? I understand the law might be skewed, but your indignation in the law could be driven partially by the bubble (no disparagement- we all move in bubbles, myself included) in which you move.
Monday 16th of July 2018
Between 55 and 60 percent of my clients are female. My employees are all female at this time, though I've had male employees, some very long term ones.
We all have biases and I'm not exempt. I'm a product of the world I live in. In your previous comment you mention men talking about massages. I can tell you as an employer of many women, the ladies can get verbally just as rough. (My office manager doesn't realize when she cusses in Spanish I can understand it.) Some of the things they've said cannot be repeated and I never heard it come out of a man's mouth. But I don't consider female employees bad people. Actually, they are normal people like anyone else, regardless of gender. They say and do things I sometimes feel uncomfortable with. As long as it doesn't cross the line of sexual harassment (a difficult task since everyone views SH at different levels) I walk the other way. I let people be people unless it causes harm. Women talking smack never hurt me so I only warn to keep it civil and not in front of clients to avoid offending and possibly losing a client.
I try to avoid righteous indignation because it ranks right up there with conceit. It's difficult determining the correct level to allow. If two employees are friends and talk privately about a deep personal matter as they do book work, who am I to judge? You have to do something while doing mind numbing tasks. Sometimes when I'm walking through I smile and say, "I'll pretend I didn't hear that." I'd rather have a close team willing and able to engage in deep conversation without offense. When they do they are a formidable force.
Female and Working
Monday 16th of July 2018
I understand what you're saying, but I have a real difficulty in finding empathy for men. The deck has been so stacked against women, and remains that way today, that I'm just not ready to rush to men's defense over the one or two short straws they may pick. I think it's a considerable adjustment going from a paternal society to something different, and most people don't like change - and therein lies much wailing and nashing of teeth. I will try to stretch myself to empathy, but the thought is not taking root tonight.
Last week I was at a business dinner and had to sit through an extended discussion on Thai massage parlors. I might be a bit hard tonight.
Also, you may want to check your medical risk on pregnancy. Although not at nineteenth century levels, fatalaties due to pregnancy / deliveries are rising in the US due to crumbling small town health support.
Wednesday 30th of June 2021
I realize that I am responding to posts which are 3 years old, but I still know that what I have seen as a court stenographer conflicts with what is being stated here on so many levels. Top among them is the presumption that those lacking financial assets lack have no worth.
I saw the legal fallout of prenuptial "agreements". They are more often than not persecutor/victim agreements. Fairness is rarely the issue. The fiancee without the bucks is presumed to have a net worth of zero. Considering that when the rich "marry down" that it's almost always for looks, the non-wealthy fiancees' youth and good lucks are their assets. What makes marrying for money evil while marrying for lust isn't?
Prenups disinherit widows who have already been on the receiving end of harsh judgement for marrying someone with money in the first place and now are entitled to nothing. Yet woe to the young man or woman who bails on the "in sickness and in health" part of marital vows to someone who made a mockery of the "for richer for poorer" part. Witnessing so many double standards in family law and estate law cases made me believe that marrying the wealthy was for suckers.
Monday 16th of July 2018
You are right that maternal deaths are increasing from a record low historical level. There is no doubt women face risk when having children. The death rate of women giving birth has been lower than the annual rate of work-related deaths of farmers. (And farming is safer than it has ever been, too.) While the death rates of both groups move each year, a woman giving birth has the same approximate chance of dying as a farmer over the course of a year.
You hit the nail square when you say the U.S. health care system is in disarray. I absolutely agree. Smaller communities have it even worse.