Women have made great strides in the workplace. Women have empowered themselves with education. They are raising their hands for opportunities, demanding salary increases, and supporting one another in the universal goals of professional advancement and further economic achievement. These fierce females have learned the importance of being authentic, standing confidently in their fabulous shoes, the power behind networking and that fear is just a word. Women realize the value of mentorship, the benefits of hard work, and finding balance in the precarious work and life juggling act.
The attempt for work-life balance has led to changing perceptions and roles surrounding traditional household domestic and family responsibilities. Over the last several decades as women are advancing professionally, husbands have been opting out of their careers to care for the home and children.
According to a study by the Pew Research Center which analyzed the data from the U.S. Census Bureau, a “record 40% of all households with children under the age of 18 include mothers who are either the sole or primary source of income for the family. The share was just 11% in 1960.” Of this 40% of “breadwinning mothers, 37% are married mothers who have a higher income than their husbands.” 1
There are no signs of this trend slowing down. Millennial men are clearly more comfortable with the possible role as a house husband if their wives were able to financially support the family. “A 2015 study of 1,100 Millennial professionals by the Boston College Center for Work and Family found that 51 percent of the men would be comfortable not working if their spouse made enough money.” 2
Corporations are taking notice of this changing trend. Tide launched their “dad mom” commercial to market their tide boost product. The YouTube video explains “a dad mom means that while my wife works, I am home being awesome.” Dove’s 2015 commercial regarding their real strength Dove Men + Care product line brings tears to the eyes and Nyquil’s ad, “Dad’s don’t take sick days,” further hones in on the concept of men being the primary care giver. Even the box office has taken notice with the 2015 movie, The Intern, starring Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway. Hathaway plays the role of CEO and owner of an online fashion site where De Niro interns. In the film, Hathaway’s husband, Matt, (Anders Holm) is a stay at home husband.
This fundamental shift of traditional roles also has a financial impact which is different for every family. One paycheck may be overly comfortable for some couples but may cut the budget a little close for others. It is important that you take the time and have a financial plan, reviewing it annually, to ensure that a spouse at home is the best short and long term economic choice for your family.
- Know your number and stick with it. With a spouse at home, it is imperative that you are both on the same team in regards to the budget. It is crucial to keep track of the cash flow and be mindful of miscellaneous purchases.
- Hubby’s fun money. Ladies, your husband does not want to have to ask you for an allowance or for money to buy you a birthday present. A line item in the budget, even if a small one, should be for him.
- Include your spouse in financial decisions. Just because you are making the dough, doesn’t mean you get to do as you please without consulting your partner. Again, you are a team. Even if your husband voices disinterest, it is crucial for him to have a grasp on the finances.
- Life & disability insurance. As the primary breadwinner, make sure you have reviewed your policies and consult with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner to make sure you are adequately insured. Your family is depending on you.
Good luck ladies in your professional endeavors and congratulations for challenging traditional stereotypical roles. There is a big world full of possibilities awaiting you.
This article was originally published in The Baltimore Business Journal on August 5, 2016
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