Financial power in households across America is shifting, as the number of women breadwinners is on the rise.
Did you know that as of 2015, more than 40% of women were their family’s sole or primary breadwinner? It’s true. Women are now bringing in at least half, if not more, of their household’s income.
What is responsible for this change? The reasons cited most often include:
- Turnover during the recession of jobs previously held by men
- Increases in the divorce rate
- Women outliving their spouses and returning to the work force
Regardless of the reason, in four of 10 families, women are making the big bucks. The shift in financial power can’t be denied.
With Success Comes Challenge
While women continue to make strides in the financial arena, there are challenges. It’s nothing that can’t be conquered with planning, good communication and a little bit of flexibility.
If you’re among the 40%, there are things you can do to protect you and your family.
- Set realistic expectations. In the past, family roles and responsibilities were clear. Today, the roles are not as easily defined, even more so when the woman is the breadwinner. Be sure to have open and continuous conversations about household duties, childcare, and other responsibilities. The goal is to keep your home functioning well on a daily basis.
- Talk to your children. If some of your roles and responsibilities will be changing, explain it to your children. It can be a confusing time for them when they need to adjust their expectations. If you normally picked them up from school and now can’t because of work, help them understand why.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. When you’re working long days, raising kids, and managing a home, it will be stressful for the both of you. Don’t feel guilty about getting some help for yourself and your spouse. Your kids can help with chores around the house. Friends and relatives can babysit when you need them.
- Save for your retirement years. You may be a spring chicken, but tomorrow will be here before you know it. If your company has a 401(k) plan, you should be investing in it NOW. If not, open an IRA. Either way, you should do it today. The sooner you start; the more money you’ll have to spend while you’re relaxing on the beach.
- Get insurance coverage – for both you and your spouse. Life insurance is an important part of any overall financial strategy. While death is not a pleasant event to have to plan for, it’s a necessity. Without it, your family’s financial health could be at risk. And, honestly, who could rest in peace knowing they left this world without having planned for that a little better?
- Work with a financial professional. A financial professional can help you create a financial plan that works to meet your goals and your family’s needs. Not only will it help you find security today, it will help you worry less about it tomorrow.
Good communication and planning are the keys to overcoming any of these challenges. Times are changing and women are destined to be a big part of the new norm. So take a deep breath and dive right in.