#LikeAMother Why are gay guys in so much debt?

Gay men are richer than everyone else, right? After all, they’re men, so they automatically earn more than women, and they are less likely to have kids, which of course are the biggest bucks-suck of all time. Plus, just look at all the gay men you know. So, so fabulous. Right?

Not so fast, says today’s guest.

Ten years ago John Schnieder, 42, and David Auten, 45, found themselves, in many ways, typical of their peers. The Denver financial professionals were gay, young, hot, with solid incomes and a love of partying — and were deeply in debt.

With combined incomes of $70,000, they realized that clubbing, shopping and travel had landed them $51,000 in credit card debt and living in a basement apartment.

The couple realized they had to make a change — and over 2.5 years they not only paid off their debt, but bought a condo and started to build their financial future. They also realized that there was a huge need for financial education and support among their gay peers. The pair launched DebtFreeGuys, and wrote The Four Principles of a Debt Free Life and address the unique pressures and challenges gay men face when it comes to their money, including social isolation (hence, overspending on expensive clubs).

In this episode , John shares their story about his and David’s come-to-Jesus moment, their take on gay men and money, and their plans to be a unique voice in the personal finance space, speaking to their gay peers.



Emma Johnson is a veteran money writer, noted blogger, bestselling author and an host of the award-winning podcast, Like a Mother with Emma Johnson. A former Associated Press Financial Wire reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Glamour, Oprah.com, REAL SIMPLE, Parenting, USA Today and others.

The Kickass Single Mom: Be Financially Independent, Discover Your Sexiest Self, and Raise Fabulous, Happy Children (Penguin, 2017), was a #1 bestseller and was featured in hundreds of media, including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fox & Friends, Oprah.com and the New York Post, which named it to its ‘Must Read” list.

Her popular blog Wealthysinglemommy.com, and podcast Like a Mother, explore issues facing professional single moms: business and career, money, sex, relationships and parenting. Emma regularly comments on these topics for outlets such as CNN, Headline News, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fox & Friends, CNBC, NPR, TIME, MONEY, O, The Oprah Magazine, Woman’s Day, The Doctors, and many more. She was named Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web,” one of “20 Personal Finance Influencers to Follow on Twitter” by AOL DailyFinance, “Top 15 Personal Finance Podcasts” by U.S. News, and “Most Eligible New Yorkers” by New York Observer.

A popular speaker on gender equality, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality.

Emma grew up in Sycamore, Ill., and lives in New York City with her children.

7 thoughts on “#LikeAMother Why are gay guys in so much debt?

  1. I listened to the podcast with David Schneider, and his comments about debt are universal. Debt does not discriminate. John and David’s journey out of debt is remarkable. Too many people live beyond their means on credit. Wake up America! You can live your life more freely without debt. Imagine getting your paycheck and having 60-70% of it to do with what you want instead of paying credit cards and car notes.

    1. So well said, Rhonda … I learned a lot from David and John … I was not aware of the unique pressures faced in the gay community and how those translate to personal finance. They are on to something special with their blog and books.

  2. I happened to stumble upon this great podcast. I have followed the Debt Free Guys for a while now and appreciate their practical practical advice peppered with

    1. I happened to stumble upon this great podcast. I have followed the Debt Free Guys for a while and appreciate their practical advice peppered with exceedingly clever humor. John knocked it out of the park in this interview. His candidness and willingness to open up about a subject that could be consiferrd. taboo is inspiring. The message of trying to validate yourself through material things is absolutely universal. Unfortunately many of us are unable to understand this before it is too late. I hope John and David continue to spread their positive message and are able to help young people identify that money and over spending is not what creates true happiness. Financial security is something that cannot be stressed enough to young people who are experiencing their own inner struggles and look to project a false sense of security by hiding behind debt or poor financial decisions. Thanks David and John for honestly, transparency and willingness to put yourself out there to help others! Looking forward to much more to come from the two of you.
      P.S. I do love me a Subaru!

      1. Thanks Monica! I love these guys too .. their story is indeed universal, and yet specific to the gay community. The combo of which makes for an awesome story, of course :)

  3. Recently listened to your podcast and found it very interesting. I’m not gay but can relate to a lot of the feelings John expressed. In my 30’s I fell victim to the phenomenon of “keeping up with the Joneses”. My husband and I built a new house in a residential subdivision at the urging of other friends who also built there. The house was more than we really needed and ended up draining us. Living in that development caused us to constantly purchase things we couldn’t really afford. It was all just a show. We wanted to feel included. Wanted to be admired by our neighbors. After a time, we realized just about everyone we knew there was struggling. We finally got smart and sold the money sucker. We now live in a significantly smaller house and are much happier. It’s so true that “things” don’t make you happy. It’s the people you surround yourself with and the experiences you share with those people that bring meaning to your life. It’s a shame that often times we do stupid things just to feel like part of the cool group. Oh well…live & learn. Thanks for the great advice and keep up the good job Debt Free Guys and Wealthy Single Mommy. Your personal finance blogs are such a huge help and inspiration.

    1. This is a great example of how powerful social pressure can be — both negative and positive. Thanks for sharing your story, as it helps positively support others to live within their means and build wealth.

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