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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

How to Manage Money When The Wife is the Breadwinner?

 How to Manage Money When The Wife is the Breadwinner?

by Ms. Priya Sunder, PeakAlphaInvestment Services

Women earning more than men is a radical change not just in India but across the world. It would be an anomaly in my mother’s generation and unthinkable in my grandmother’s era.

But are women enjoying their new alpha role in the family? How have husbands adjusted to this new equilibrium?

I run a wealth management company where nearly 40% of my clients are women.
As a feminist and champion of women’s rights, my heart gladdens each time I meet and advise women who bring home the bacon for the family. But I must confess, there are times when I am unsure.

Traditionally, men have been the providers of the family. Women have looked after home and children. Men and women are wired to accept this construct.

As more women enter the workforce and build successful careers, marriages are forced to realign themselves to a new normal.

The husband does not feel threatened by his wife’s rising income and the wife learns to disassociate money with power and still love and respect her husband.
I am a financial planner but sometimes the conversations with my clients go beyond investments and goal planning and I become a marriage counsellor. Take the case of A.

I met her nearly a decade ago, when she worked in one of the leading information technology (IT) companies in Bengaluru. Unmarried and earning well, A spent freely but always put away enough so I never grudged her sporadic splurges.

Over time, A’s career soared, her investment portfolio grew and she found a life companion in B.

He worked in a successful advertising company. All was well in the first few years until B quit work to join a startup.

With no significant income forthcoming in the initial years, the couple’s lifestyle dipped, and their ongoing investments ground to a halt. That’s when the cracks started to appear in their marriage.

A suddenly became the sole income generator, a role that gave her the authority to flex her financial muscles.

Though A transferred money to B’s account every month and didn’t question how he spent it, the chasm between them grew wider. A begrudged B for his dependency on her.

Supporting a penniless man was not what she had bargained for in a marriage. “I had become the man I wanted to marry,” she confessed.

B, in turn, disliked the dominant partner that A had become. Though his startup was growing reasonably well, his income never measured up to A’s. Having sunk most of his savings in the startup, B was financially dependent on A for funding even his most basic requirements.

Being with her made him feel inadequate. B admitted that his inability to generate a steady income deeply affected his self-worth and confidence. This sense of insecurity played out in sinister ways. He spent money recklessly and entered into relationships with other women to prove his virility to himself and A.

Neither of them were comfortable in their new roles. It was a train wreck waiting to happen and neither of them could do anything to stop it. I met A recently and understood she and B had split. The marriage ended because neither of them could adjust to the new power shifts in their relationship.

Money has a strong role to play in matrimony. But many of us don’t like to link marriage with money. Why should we? Marriage is about love, trust, respect, sharing and building a life-long partnership between two people. Where does money figure in this equation?

The story of A and B proves that unless you create a harmonious relationship with money, it will take away all those things that you cherish and hold sacred in a marriage. Money is one of the main reasons why marriages fail.

There is no rule book that tells you how to manage money when the wife is the breadwinner. But here are a few suggestions on how you can slice your roles, so neither of you loses ground.
Ms. Priya Sunder,
Peak Alpha Investment Services

1. Split money management equally..!

 Avoid having one partner call the shots. Let the partner with a better head for numbers make the investment decisions.
The other partner can pull up the budget and check unnecessary expenses. Work as a team and complement each other’s financial skills.

2.Consult a financial adviser..!

Having a neutral person look at your finances will give you the much needed objectivity and direction.

It will also enable you to look a few years ahead and understand that ultimately you are a unit, working towards common goals.

3. Keep the communication channels open..!

 Air out your fears and insecurities. If your partner’s spending pattern is causing conflict, decide on a discretionary amount that neither of you will question. 

Make joint decisions on expenses that go above this limit.

4. Divide & conquer household chores..!

 Women resent being stereotyped into traditional gender roles. Husbands must also do the laundry, put the kids to bed and cook a hot meal. Similarly, women must loosen up with their men.

He may not do household chores as perfectly or look after the kids well, but he will value appreciation and be encouraged to contribute more.

Money is a source of happiness and must be enjoyed together. Make a list of things you enjoy spending on. It can be a dream holiday or a long-pending kitchen remodelling project.

Such spending will not only give you gratification, but also strengthen your marital bond.


About the author..

Ms. Priya Sunder is director, PeakAlpha InvestmentServices Pvt. Ltd



Contact

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Adyar,
Chennai - 600020 

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How to Manage Money When The Wife is the Breadwinner? Reviewed by S. Chitra on August 24, 2016 Rating: 5   How to Manage Money When The Wife is the Breadwinner? by Ms. Priya Sunder, PeakAlphaInvestment Services Women earning more than m...

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