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Mansplaining and Consumsplaining

I learned about the term “mansplaining” a few years ago, which best as I can tell means “men explaining things to women in an unsolicited or aggressive or insensitive or condescending or demeaning or ignominious way causing  annoyance or discomfort to the target.

I think the phrase is a little overused.  I spent some time reflecting, and I can think of several experiences in my life that could easily have been perceived as cases of mansplaining on my part.

I was oblivious for two reasons.  First, I think I didn’t understand the difference between men and women (especially when it comes to business opportunities and things like gambling, there are fundamental differences in motivation and desire).  Second, I think even if I did sense the fundamental differences, I was naive enough to think that I was at a “post-gender” stage.  I also used to think that I am “post-racial,” but I learned that whether I am or not, the world is not ready for that.  No matter what Howard Schultz says, I simply refuse to talk about race publicly in any detail, and direct all my unsolicited advice at men and my kids.

So now I’m frequently on the receiving end of “mansplainingesque” feedback, but it specifically relates to financial independence.  Here’s an example:

Hey you know that’s great you’re into financial independence must be nice since you make a lot of money and all, but that doesn’t work for everyone.  It is expensive living in big cities and you don’t understand how expensive stuff is.  My Aunt and Uncle got wiped out in 2008 so they’re going to have to work forever, you don’t understand what it’s like for people like that.  What you’re doing is great I’mabigfan but just remember that kind of stuff isn’t for everyone.

What’s annoying about this, and also annoying about the idea of mansplaining in general probably, is the feeling that someone just plain thinks you’re stupid!  It’s like these people are saying to me, “hey, I know you think you’re an expert on this topic but let me just rattle off a few banal generalities that totally invalidate everything you’ve been working on for all these years.  Glad I could spend 30 seconds doing this, you’re welcome.

Bottom line is this:  ability to achieve financial independence, at an age younger than normal retirement age, is solely dependent upon will.  If you want it, you can do it, and it is not asceticism, it is hedonism.  IF you have the right attitude.

I’ll be happy to mansplain this to you, in more detail, any old time!


{ 1 comment… add one }
  • Robert Turner Rockwell March 31, 2015, 11:51 am

    To be honest, a similar banal generality was my first response to your post about “continuous gratification”, especially after reading the part about investment income.

    But, such attitudes are self defeating, at best.

    So I tried to concentrate on how you principles you espouse work in my own life.
    While some may be focusing on living on 50% income and saving 50% income to achieve the tidy 1 year of retirement earned for each year worked formula,
    Others may have to live on 50%, save 10%, and use 40% toward paying off existing debt as early as is possible.
    At first, you’re living to get out from under the slavery of debt, but, increasingly, as the debt is paid, more and more can be saved.
    The end goal is the same, the process is the same.

    Financial independence is achieved, as you have stated more eloquently, when you find a cost level where your quality of live is both frugal and meaningful, and devote any remaining income to the future.

    My financial independence must certainly look different from yours, and the path we take to achieve that goal will be different as well.

    But the principles that set us down the path are attainable for anyone, young or old, rich or poor, lucky or unlucky.

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