Women aren’t just entering the workplace at an increasing rate, they’re dominating it. Female breadwinners are becoming more common, accruing greater wealth, and playing a greater role in financial decision making. Studies indicate that 4 out of 10 households are financially led by women. The rise of the woman breadwinner is causing shifts in families, communities, and marketplace.
But the experience of the female breadwinner is vastly different from the out-dated, traditional concept of the male breadwinner. Today, I wanted to talk about some of those challenges that I’ve heard from our women clients and how we can approach financial planning for them.
What Does it Look Like to Be a Female Breadwinner?
Career-driven women face cultural stress and judgment based on ideals and traditional gender roles from decades ago. It’s been an uphill battle for many women who look to be taken seriously as they advance their career and balance relationships or family life if they choose.
Along with these cultural obstacles, it’s important to acknowledge the gender pay gap that can add to the stress of female breadwinners. In 2019, women earned $0.79 for every $1.00 that a man-made. Even if a woman is the top-earner in her household, it will feel as though she is hustling significantly harder than her male colleagues, and the energy advocating for her career and worth can be exhausting.
Because women tend to have longer lifespans than men, planning for retirement and how a woman will be financially supported if she outlives her partner is another critical financial consideration. If the woman is the primary income earner, she may take the lead on funding the savings goals. Whether the woman is the top earner in the household or not, couples should take the time to consider what they will both need in retirement and make a plan.
Set Expectations About the Division of Labor
The rise of social media and the intrinsic views into nearly every aspect of strangers’ or friends’ lives has created some very unrealistic expectations. You can’t expect to crush it at work and keep your home in magazine-worthy condition at all times. When it comes to household chores and childcare, women should sit down with their partners and divide tasks so that one person isn’t taking on the bulk of responsibilities. You can also decide if there are tasks you can outsource, such as housecleaning. Get realistic about what you can take on as the main breadwinner, and don’t feel pressure to overload yourself.
If you’re the top earner in your household, you’re likely to feel like you need to be connected or at least available to your work 24/7. But it’s important to set boundaries with people at work and those in your personal life. This might mean leaving your laptop or cell phone in another room at night so you aren’t tempted to work. Or maybe it’s declining to talk about your financial or career decisions with your extended family. Setting boundaries with yourself and others in your life will help ease your stress and live your best life.
Being a woman breadwinner can be difficult, even if your partner is supportive. But women must acknowledge their unique challenges and create plans that help them make positive financial decisions for now and the future. If you’d like to discuss how we can help secure your financial future, contact us today.