Two of Our Readers’ Letters Appear in USA Today Over Manbashing Financial Advice Column

Utopia, TX–Background: Recently I criticized USA Today financial columnist Sandra Block’s column Husbands should consider delaying Social Security benefits (USA Today, 1/15/08). I wrote:

“[Block] all but comes right out and says that men are selfish for retiring at retirement age. Instead, men should continue to work, work, work while–guess what?–women should retire earlier. According to Block, by working well past retirement age, men can ‘make up for all the times you came home with beer on your breath, left your socks on the bathroom floor or gave your wife a DustBuster for Valentine’s Day.’

“I guess 40 years of working longer hours than your wife at a job more demanding and hazardous than hers–as most men do–isn’t enough…to write a Letter to the Editor of USA Today, email”

Two of our blog readers’ letters were published in USA Today’s January 24 edition–“Husbands don’t ‘owe’ a delayed retirement” by Robert Franklin and “Cease stereotypes” by Tim Murray. The letters appear below–well done gentlemen.

Husbands don’t ‘owe’ a delayed retirement
Robert Franklin – Utopia, Texas

I was extremely disappointed with Sandra Block’s column “Husbands should consider delaying Social Security benefits” (Your Money, Money, Jan. 15).

Block writes: “Here’s some advice for married men who will turn 62 this year: If you want to make up for all the times you came home with beer on your breath, left your socks on the bathroom floor or gave your wife a DustBuster for Valentine’s Day, hold off on filing for your Social Security benefits.”

Why does she not just first make her case, which boils down, in part, to the fact that a spouse can choose the higher of the two spouse’s Social Security payments upon the death of one partner?

Why does she need to throw in the notion that the man owes it to the woman to work more years because he’s deficient?

Isn’t a main concept behind the column that the husband’s payout is probably higher than the wife’s? That means he has probably worked more, earned more and contributed more money to the support of the family. And according to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics survey, on average, men work about an hour more than women per day.

So why the disrespect for the man? Why the misandry?

Cease stereotypes
Tim Murray – Pittsburgh

I suppose Sandra Block thought she was being humorous when she wrote her column “Husbands should consider delaying Social Security benefits.”

If the column is intended to explain an economic issue, why does she go out of her way to lead off with good old-fashioned male-bashing? Husbands don’t “owe” it to their wives to continue working past retirement age to make up for stereotypical male failings. I guess we husbands owe it to our wives to keep working until we drop dead — all to make up for being born male.

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