High finance not worth it for women

Is it just me or is even a job at the best PE funds or HFs just don’t make any sense for women? There are always women who have great family support or husbands that are understanding and encouraging. But generally why does it seem like becoming a senior woman in finance even at the best places is sort of unattractive and significantly increases your odds of “failure” outside of work e.g. divorce,having kids late? Interested for thoughts from both men and women.

 
Controversial

Women biologically have the child bearing role.  You're up against nature when you complain about female participation and opportunity in the workforce.  Combine that with an industry that hews to traditional hierarchical social organization and it's not surprising.  "That's life," as Frank Sinatra once said.

 

I don’t mean any disrespect, but it makes sense that you’d name yourself “p¥ssy galore”. The maturity shows.

 

Pussy galore:

Women biologically have the child bearing role.  You're up against nature when you complain about female participation and opportunity in the workforce.  Combine that with an industry that hews to traditional hierarchical social organization and it's not surprising.  "That's life," as Frank Sinatra once said.

Do you also preach this to your daughter and/or niece?

 

Pussy galore:

Women biologically have the child bearing role.  You're up against nature when you complain about female participation and opportunity in the workforce.  Combine that with an industry that hews to traditional hierarchical social organization and it's not surprising.  "That's life," as Frank Sinatra once said.

Do you also preach this to your daughter and/or niece?

I mean I'm a woman, and nothing he said in that statement was inaccurate. High finance is terrible for women who want families. Most of my female friends have already exited after having kids. Hell, I can't even handle my job's hours without kids which are about 15 hrs lighter than IB/PE

 

Such as “Stay at home mom” long hours, stressful, not appreciated

Tomato monkeys are strange mutations which have recently been spotted in the vast forests of Southeast Asia. It is believed the creatures spawned from a troop of local monkeys fed upon wild tomatoes which had grown in a contaminated area. They have all the usual mating, grooming, and social habits of normal monkeys, but tend to "spoil" as they get older.
 

I respectfully disagree. Your assertion that being in high finance “…significantly increases your odds of “failure” outside of work e.g. divorce,having kids late…” is just as applicable to men as it is to women.

If anything, I’d argue the opposite. Women in high finance are more cognizant of the toll a career can have on the family - they live through it everyday as a mom. And because women are more aware of that reality, they make extra effort to protect their personal life (cut back on unnecessary travel to handle family obligations during the week, doing client lunches instead of dinners so they can be home on time, work from home more than the dads so they can pick up their kids from school, etc.). From my experience, men don’t nearly feel the same degree of obligation/pressure.

And it’s always so amusing to me when people talk about out how a women’s role in society is to bear and take care of children at home: my acquaintances who held the same opinions completely changed their views once they had daughters.

 

Have you started working yet or still a prospect in uni

 
Most Helpful

As a woman in high finance, I think it's totally worth it. Why?

1) In my experience, self-confident men with BDE don't shy away from high-earning women with serious careers

2) If your personal relationships do fail (and let's face it, there's a good chance they will if you are in high finance or not), you'll still have money to live your life and won't be stuck with someone because of financial dependency. 

At the risk of divulging too much, but for the purpose of illustration, when my sh*tbag ex fiancé flaked out on me while I was pregnant with our child, I was able to buy my own house, move out and move on, even during the worst housing market in 30 years in an expensive area. Where did I get the down-payment money? Hedge Fund. How did I single-handedly qualify for the mortgage? Current role in finance. My situation sucked but I think it would have sucked worse had I not had the capital to be able to disentangle our lives and strike out on my own and live comfortably. I've heard horror stories of women stuck with shitty and even abusive men because they can't afford to move on. You don't want to be that person. It's also worth pointing out that while you risk age-related fertility issues by waiting to have a kid, you're more likely to be able to afford fertility treatments if you have made decent money. I'm not saying money solves all problems, but it really helps a lot and can ameliorate negative relationship outcomes; negative relationship outcomes that may be just as likely to occur even if you weren't in a high finance role. 

Also, it's worth noting in my case that my ex's departure had nothing to do with my career. He is just a douche, and douches can happen to anyone. Consider making bank working in high finance as your "douche-insurance" to keep you from being stuck with one long-term. 

nicole
 

Oddly enough, I had a conversation with a close friend about this issue not long ago.  I did mention to her I'd want a wife who is career-driven and possibly in a field like this.  Why?  In case something happens to me I know she can care for herself and the children.  

I've met and seen many women (men too) get stuck in situations not favorable due to financial constraints when I worked at the hospital.  

 

women stuck with shitty and even abusive men because they can't afford to move on

what is this? people live on minimum wage. why can't these women? you don't have to work at a hedge fund in order to be able to live without a support of a man. cashiers and janitors survive somehow.

my ex's departure had nothing to do with my career

maybe, maybe not. people sometimes behave douchey when they are not afraid to lose someone. and he could have not cared because you were not giving him what he wanted due to your demanding job.

I still agree with the general message that women should work and rely on themselves financially, but super demanding jobs like IB and PE are not necessarily the best option for everybody. attractive girls can have better life while working less demanding jobs, and they'll still have their financial safety net you're talking about.

 

1) I don't know if you read the news or look at any economic data, but these days you don't have to be stuck in a minimum wage job to be incapable of paying rent in most areas. It's more than just janitors that can't afford to strike out on their own, especially when it comes to security deposits and other up-front moving costs. 

2) Often children are involved and children are expensive. Many women stay because they fear they cannot provide their children a comfortable living situation if they move out of the home they share with their former partner. 

3) Not that it is any of your business, but I later learned from an estranged half-sister that my ex had a history of getting engaged and then bailing when things got serious (ie. engagement, buying a house). So it was, in fact, unrelated to my career. 

4) While I don't appreciate your suggestion that my problem is that I'm simply not "attractive" enough, you nonetheless illustrate a very important point: Men are, for the most part, very shallow. No one is sufficiently attractive enough forever to prevent themselves from being dumped, abandoned or cheated-on. Everyone ages and you can be hit by a bus or suffer some other gross deformity at any time. The fact that men frequently leave their long-wed partners when they face life threatening cancer is a well-documented phenomena in medicine. Consequently, even if you are currently very conventionally attractive, it's still important to build up your professional capital so that you can stand on your own two feet and live comfortably in the absence of a partner. My career won't leave me the moment I develop crows feet or laugh lines. My 401k isn't going to run off and f*ck the nanny. My carried interest doesn't care if I've gained 5 pounds, and my sharpe ratio won't necessarily fall if I have to shave my head to fight breast cancer.  Even the classic "gold diggers" who bone an 85 year old to get first in line for his inheritance often end up in costly legal battles with his biological family. The surest (and most rewarding IMHO) route to financial security for most women is to work hard, and work hard in a field that pays bank. 

nicole
 
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no disrespect - but don’t you think your commitment to your career could have had an impact on your relationship? or even the kind of men you even have the option of dating?

i find my successful female peers either end up completely alone/single or date weird/subservient men that play second fiddle and guys they’re not “really” attracted. or end up with guys not in extremely high paying careers with long/erratic hours. this basically makes you “the man” of the relationship as the breadwinner. so OP could have just said “is it worth it to take on 80hr weeks for an EXTRA $100-300k if you want kids and a traditional/heteronormative/patriarchal relationship+family”

femininity (which is expressed in so many ways) and high pressure wall street jobs typically do not go hand in hand outside of relationship mgmt./sales which seems like the sweet spot honestly. there are always trade offs to everything. very few people can and do have it all


in an indirect way you’re kind of proving OPs point by telling your story. you weren’t able to do both. women who hold down good men WORK FOR IT. i find women with careers/money simply don’t. it’s too hard (and i don’t blame them). but i also see at lot of 35+ single career women grasping for whatever they can get later. so just be careful ladies if you’re reading this thread

i’ve heard this from women MDs/PMs themselves. striking some kind of balance in MOST cases matters and truly most people aren’t built/capable of doing both. safely being a mom or conceiving at all has REAL time constraints. there’s two sides to the conversation.

note: i’m a huge advocate for women and prefer working with and for them in my experience (on average, def a few overworked bad apples lol)

 
Nicole112

As a woman in high finance, I think it's totally worth it. Why?

1) In my experience, self-confident men with BDE don't shy away from high-earning women with serious careers

2) If your personal relationships do fail (and let's face it, there's a good chance they will if you are in high finance or not), you'll still have money to live your life and won't be stuck with someone because of financial dependency. 

At the risk of divulging too much, but for the purpose of illustration, when my sh*tbag ex fiancé flaked out on me while I was pregnant with our child, I was able to buy my own house, move out and move on, even during the worst housing market in 30 years in an expensive area. Where did I get the down-payment money? Hedge Fund. How did I single-handedly qualify for the mortgage? Current role in finance. My situation sucked but I think it would have sucked worse had I not had the capital to be able to disentangle our lives and strike out on my own and live comfortably. I've heard horror stories of women stuck with shitty and even abusive men because they can't afford to move on. You don't want to be that person. It's also worth pointing out that while you risk age-related fertility issues by waiting to have a kid, you're more likely to be able to afford fertility treatments if you have made decent money. I'm not saying money solves all problems, but it really helps a lot and can ameliorate negative relationship outcomes; negative relationship outcomes that may be just as likely to occur even if you weren't in a high finance role. 

Also, it's worth noting in my case that my ex's departure had nothing to do with my career. He is just a douche, and douches can happen to anyone. Consider making bank working in high finance as your "douche-insurance" to keep you from being stuck with one long-term. 

Now how much time did you spend with your child each week? The only people who will remember the amount of effort and hours you worked on your job will be your kids, and not in a favorable way. I would have just taken an easier role in Product Marketing or Corporate development so I could have more time with the kids. If you move to a LCOL it's completely doable.

 

Fellow woman in high finance here. Awesome response and totally true. Men who are losers and insecure about having a high achieving partner always show their true colors. Not only are you better off without them but thanks to sticking to your own guns you're financially fine without them too. Money doesn't solve everything but at least it helps prevent you from being tied to some asshole. Independence is power. 

 
Nicole112

As a woman in high finance, I think it's totally worth it. Why?

1) In my experience, self-confident men with BDE don't shy away from high-earning women with serious careers

2) If your personal relationships do fail (and let's face it, there's a good chance they will if you are in high finance or not), you'll still have money to live your life and won't be stuck with someone because of financial dependency. 

At the risk of divulging too much, but for the purpose of illustration, when my sh*tbag ex fiancé flaked out on me while I was pregnant with our child, I was able to buy my own house, move out and move on, even during the worst housing market in 30 years in an expensive area. Where did I get the down-payment money? Hedge Fund. How did I single-handedly qualify for the mortgage? Current role in finance. My situation sucked but I think it would have sucked worse had I not had the capital to be able to disentangle our lives and strike out on my own and live comfortably. I've heard horror stories of women stuck with shitty and even abusive men because they can't afford to move on. You don't want to be that person. It's also worth pointing out that while you risk age-related fertility issues by waiting to have a kid, you're more likely to be able to afford fertility treatments if you have made decent money. I'm not saying money solves all problems, but it really helps a lot and can ameliorate negative relationship outcomes; negative relationship outcomes that may be just as likely to occur even if you weren't in a high finance role. 

Also, it's worth noting in my case that my ex's departure had nothing to do with my career. He is just a douche, and douches can happen to anyone. Consider making bank working in high finance as your "douche-insurance" to keep you from being stuck with one long-term. 

A couple of things that will wake you up. 


A). You have no idea how men think. Zero. No "BDE" men are looking to marry a "High Finance" hyper-masculine female. You only bring problems to a relationship: arguments, combativeness, not being feminine, etc. No, thank you, guy! I want a woman, not a guy who makes good money. lol
B). You act as if "High Finance" (you sound lame) will buy you a family down the road on your timetable. Ummmm, can you please stop misleading younger women? It's incredibly high risk at 35 years old. My wife is an OBGYN....you have no idea how many older women have miscarriages. And burn money like crazy to get pregnant.
C). We are getting one side of your relationship failure. You call him names, but it's not actually what YOU did. I doubt you were a saint. Also, this is what happens when you choose the wrong guys to have sex with! You should've been married before having that child (it seems as if many single mothers are such screw-ups and cause a lot of terrible things to happen to their kids). 


If you had gotten married, your ex couldn't just bail on you. You do realize the divorce laws in this country are so tilted in the woman's favor, you could've had his balls on a plate for years to come. Nope, a dumb choice on your part. How do you work long hours with a kid in "high finance"?
You also sound young. Your mindset will flip in a few years, and you will want to get out of your "high finance" role. You'll want to be a mother, not a PowerPoint builder.

I'm sorry, but you were told to go into finance, but the men you want ain't bringing you home to mom. That guy wants peace and quiet, too. 

 
John Stone
Nicole112

As a woman in high finance, I think it's totally worth it. Why?

1) In my experience, self-confident men with BDE don't shy away from high-earning women with serious careers

2) If your personal relationships do fail (and let's face it, there's a good chance they will if you are in high finance or not), you'll still have money to live your life and won't be stuck with someone because of financial dependency. 

At the risk of divulging too much, but for the purpose of illustration, when my sh*tbag ex fiancé flaked out on me while I was pregnant with our child, I was able to buy my own house, move out and move on, even during the worst housing market in 30 years in an expensive area. Where did I get the down-payment money? Hedge Fund. How did I single-handedly qualify for the mortgage? Current role in finance. My situation sucked but I think it would have sucked worse had I not had the capital to be able to disentangle our lives and strike out on my own and live comfortably. I've heard horror stories of women stuck with shitty and even abusive men because they can't afford to move on. You don't want to be that person. It's also worth pointing out that while you risk age-related fertility issues by waiting to have a kid, you're more likely to be able to afford fertility treatments if you have made decent money. I'm not saying money solves all problems, but it really helps a lot and can ameliorate negative relationship outcomes; negative relationship outcomes that may be just as likely to occur even if you weren't in a high finance role. 

Also, it's worth noting in my case that my ex's departure had nothing to do with my career. He is just a douche, and douches can happen to anyone. Consider making bank working in high finance as your "douche-insurance" to keep you from being stuck with one long-term. 

A couple of things that will wake you up. 


A). You have no idea how men think. Zero. No "BDE" men are looking to marry a "High Finance" hyper-masculine female. You only bring problems to a relationship: arguments, combativeness, not being feminine, etc. No, thank you, guy! I want a woman, not a guy who makes good money. lol
B). You act as if "High Finance" (you sound lame) will buy you a family down the road on your timetable. Ummmm, can you please stop misleading younger women? It's incredibly high risk at 35 years old. My wife is an OBGYN....you have no idea how many older women have miscarriages. And burn money like crazy to get pregnant.
C). We are getting one side of your relationship failure. You call him names, but it's not actually what YOU did. I doubt you were a saint. Also, this is what happens when you choose the wrong guys to have sex with! You should've been married before having that child (it seems as if many single mothers are such screw-ups and cause a lot of terrible things to happen to their kids). 


If you had gotten married, your ex couldn't just bail on you. You do realize the divorce laws in this country are so tilted in the woman's favor, you could've had his balls on a plate for years to come. Nope, a dumb choice on your part. How do you work long hours with a kid in "high finance"?
You also sound young. Your mindset will flip in a few years, and you will want to get out of your "high finance" role. You'll want to be a mother, not a PowerPoint builder.

I'm sorry, but you were told to go into finance, but the men you want ain't bringing you home to mom. That guy wants peace and quiet, too. 

Well put

 

>. You have no idea how men think. Zero. No "BDE" men are looking to marry a "High Finance" hyper-masculine female. You only bring problems to a relationship: arguments, combativeness, not being feminine, etc. No, thank you, guy! I want a woman, not a guy who makes good money. lol

Sounds like you are the one bringing problems to relationships! 

 
Nicole112

As a woman in high finance, I think it's totally worth it. Why?

1) In my experience, self-confident men with BDE don't shy away from high-earning women with serious careers

2) If your personal relationships do fail (and let's face it, there's a good chance they will if you are in high finance or not), you'll still have money to live your life and won't be stuck with someone because of financial dependency. 

At the risk of divulging too much, but for the purpose of illustration, when my sh*tbag ex fiancé flaked out on me while I was pregnant with our child, I was able to buy my own house, move out and move on, even during the worst housing market in 30 years in an expensive area. Where did I get the down-payment money? Hedge Fund. How did I single-handedly qualify for the mortgage? Current role in finance. My situation sucked but I think it would have sucked worse had I not had the capital to be able to disentangle our lives and strike out on my own and live comfortably. I've heard horror stories of women stuck with shitty and even abusive men because they can't afford to move on. You don't want to be that person. It's also worth pointing out that while you risk age-related fertility issues by waiting to have a kid, you're more likely to be able to afford fertility treatments if you have made decent money. I'm not saying money solves all problems, but it really helps a lot and can ameliorate negative relationship outcomes; negative relationship outcomes that may be just as likely to occur even if you weren't in a high finance role. 

Also, it's worth noting in my case that my ex's departure had nothing to do with my career. He is just a douche, and douches can happen to anyone. Consider making bank working in high finance as your "douche-insurance" to keep you from being stuck with one long-term. 

Another thing: no self-respecting man is going to want to raise your child as their own if it's not their offspring. It's all downside for the step dad.

 
Nicole112

As a woman in high finance, I think it's totally worth it. Why?

1) In my experience, self-confident men with BDE don't shy away from high-earning women with serious careers

2) If your personal relationships do fail (and let's face it, there's a good chance they will if you are in high finance or not), you'll still have money to live your life and won't be stuck with someone because of financial dependency. 

At the risk of divulging too much, but for the purpose of illustration, when my sh*tbag ex fiancé flaked out on me while I was pregnant with our child, I was able to buy my own house, move out and move on, even during the worst housing market in 30 years in an expensive area. Where did I get the down-payment money? Hedge Fund. How did I single-handedly qualify for the mortgage? Current role in finance. My situation sucked but I think it would have sucked worse had I not had the capital to be able to disentangle our lives and strike out on my own and live comfortably. I've heard horror stories of women stuck with shitty and even abusive men because they can't afford to move on. You don't want to be that person. It's also worth pointing out that while you risk age-related fertility issues by waiting to have a kid, you're more likely to be able to afford fertility treatments if you have made decent money. I'm not saying money solves all problems, but it really helps a lot and can ameliorate negative relationship outcomes; negative relationship outcomes that may be just as likely to occur even if you weren't in a high finance role. 

Also, it's worth noting in my case that my ex's departure had nothing to do with my career. He is just a douche, and douches can happen to anyone. Consider making bank working in high finance as your "douche-insurance" to keep you from being stuck with one long-term. 

Everything stated above is exactly why DEI is dying off rather quickly. Thank god.

How many more diversity hires do we have to stand by and watch blow up a classic american company???

 
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I don't think there is more relationship "failure" (as you define it, because for me having kids "late" is totally fine - I say this as a first time mom at 33 and now pregnant with the second at 35) in our firm vs. what is normal. Where does your data, or even anecdata, come from? Yes it's a high intensity job but let me tell you, things change as relationships progress, and you find yourself at cruising altitude that requires less effort if you invest the time upfront.  

For instance, I love my husband but I don't want to spend 24/7 snogging anymore, we're passed that. We're happy having a bit of time with each other watching a movie, going on a date, etc. It doesn't require intense serenading day in and day out. I'd find that exhausting at this age tbh... Let me read my memos in peace!

Same with the kid - we put him in nursery half the day not for anything else than getting him socialized / less feral with other kids. This means our nanny stays 1.5-2h extra giving me and my husband some time back. He also needs less of the constant insane levels of attention as he did when he was a few months old. But don't worry, he's cuddled plenty... 

Truth is that 1. I love what I do and 2. I've set up other parts of my life to work with this. As cliche as it sounds, Sheryl Sandberg is right: your biggest career choice is your choice of spouse. They either get the fact that you love this job and you guys as a team need to make it work, or it's not a LT thing. 

 

I dont believe for a second a toddler can be spending a significant amount of time with his/her parents if both parents are working high finance (or equivalent hours) jobs. That isn't to say what is right/wrong/best/worst, but it is the reality and must be acknowledged. Much, if not most, of the upbringing for these kids will be done by people that aren't their parents because there is no other way to math out the hours in a day.

 

Husband has a classic 9 to 5 job and spends more time with the kid during the week. He was the one who wanted kids desperately, while I was OK with or without. We always do bath time ourselves. We basically let the toddler run our weekend. 

Yes, I could probably spend more time with him if I had a less demand job, but he'd be spending time with a miserable mom. I'd rather have quality time vs. quantity time, esp. when we've set it up such that he's surrounded by good, nice, quality people whenever we're not around. 

 

first post I made on this website (lol):

Late Night Love Affair: An Unexpected Romance In The World Of High Finance (Fell In Love With A Male Analyst As A Recently Divorced, Lonely, Female MD)

As a female managing director at an investment bank, I was used to long hours and high stakes. But since my divorce from my private equity husband, the long days at the office felt even longer. I was lonely, but that all changed when a new analyst joined our team.

He was young, only 24, but his intelligence and drive impressed me from the moment I met him. We started working late nights together, and he always treated me with kindness and respect. He made me feel seen and appreciated in a way that I hadn't felt in a long time.

I couldn't help but feel drawn to him, despite the age difference and professional boundaries. Our conversations were filled with clever banter and a spark of chemistry that left me wanting more.

I tried to push my feelings aside, knowing that a relationship with him was out of the question. But as the days went by, I found myself thinking about him more and more. I found myself counting down the minutes until our next late night meeting, just so I could bask in his presence for a little while longer.

One night, as we were wrapping up a long project, I finally mustered up the courage to ask him out for a drink. I was nervous, but his smile was worth it when he said yes.

That drink turned into dinner, which turned into a whirlwind romance that defied all expectations. We were both surprised by how easy it was to be together, how natural our connection felt.

I knew that our relationship was unconventional and that people might judge us, but I didn't care. He made me feel alive and happy in a way that I hadn't felt in a long time. I was falling for him, and I couldn't help but bask in the joy of it all.

As our relationship progressed, I found myself struggling with the reality of our age difference. I was a seasoned professional, with years of experience under my belt, and he was just starting out in his career. But whenever I brought up my concerns, he would brush them off with a clever quip and a kiss on the cheek.

"Age is just a number," he would say. "What matters is that we make each other happy."

And he was right. We were happy, and that was all that mattered.

But our happiness was not meant to last. One day, he came to me with news that he had accepted a job offer at another investment bank, one that was located on the other side of the country. I was heartbroken at the thought of losing him, but I knew that I couldn't hold him back from pursuing his dreams.

We made a plan to keep our long distance relationship going, but as the weeks went by, it became harder and harder to maintain. The distance between us grew, both physically and emotionally.

Eventually, we both came to the realization that our relationship was not meant to be. We said goodbye with tears in our eyes and heavy hearts, but I was grateful for the time that we had spent together.

Looking back, I realize that my relationship with that young analyst was brief but intense. It was a reminder that love can come from the most unexpected places, and that sometimes the things we hold onto the most are the things that slip away the fastest. But I wouldn't trade the memories we made for anything. They were worth every moment of heartache, every clever line, and every stolen kiss.

 

So many reasons:

1) Women in boring Type A roles (finance, law, etc etc) are less physically attractive on average because noticeably attractive women tend to select into other paths. This is just on average, don’t get angry w/ me.

2) Men don’t assign much attractiveness to the fact that a woman has career success. It can help a little, but we don’t care much.

3) Men get insecure when a woman is more successful than them, and often won’t date women who are on a higher rung career wise.

4) Similarly, some women don’t want to be with a man less successful than them.  

5) Busy careers degrade social networks. But women can less afford to let those degrade because biological clock. Men can make money first and rediscover their youth later (ie midlife crisis). 

All of these things make women in finance less likely to find and keep dude. I know OP’s post was broader than just finding a dude (“failure  outside of work”) but let’s be real, this is largely about that.

 

Maybe, just maybe, women don't take all their decisions based on what is attractive to some men? And maybe successful women don't find insecure men attractive in the first place, so it doesn't matter what they think? I have multiple colleagues in my PE firm and friend circle where the woman makes more than the man (men are high school teachers, hotel managers, one is in tech vs women in MBB consluting on partner track, MF PE) and they are all in happy marriages. Nobody cares what the "average male" thinks because there are plent out there who find driven and sucessful women attractive. Relationships fail for all sorts of reasons (for both women and men) - doesn't mean you can draw such overly generalized conclusions out of them.