Throughout my relationship with my husband, I’ve always earned more money. Will I always be the breadwinner of the family? Honestly, I don’t really care if I continue to outearn him (and neither does he!) because we are not about to succumb to traditional gender roles. Doing things differently has helped us get ahead financially.
Traditional gender roles and stereotypes are sometimes unavoidable, but when it comes your relationship and your finances, you have the power to set your own expectations with each other and choose to do whatever works for you.
After we got married, paying off debt was a huge goal for us, and we managed to knock out $4,000-plus in debt and add $3,000 to our emergency fund in just three months after our nuptials. Why? We worked together.
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Defy Money Stereotypes as a Female Breadwinner
There is absolutely nothing wrong with having a single-income household if you can afford it, but for us, a dual-income makes more sense. Though I'm generally the main breadwinner, we put everything together and see one number at the end of the month.
I’ll never forget the time when a friend of mine told me she was happy she earned less than her boyfriend.
She was convinced that it avoided money tension, as men are supposed to earn more.
I didn’t get that at all. Maybe this was true decades ago, but nowadays, women are getting educated and having successful careers alongside men. Sometimes we’re even more successful and have begun to outearn our spouses. In fact, some studies show that men live happier lives with female breadwinners in their households!
I have always wanted to be a very independent person. I didn’t want anyone or anything holding me back in terms of how much I could earn in my career. And yet, being able to split bills and rent with my husband has provided me with some financial relief.
We even started living off my income alone – opting to save his and put it toward debt payoff – during the first few months after our marriage.
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Both Partners Need to Step It Up
On the flip side of the “men should always earn more” stereotype is the notion that women should be the full-time caregivers in their families. No one can replace me as a mother in my son’s eyes, but I don't believe it is solely my responsibility to cook, clean, schedule doctor’s appointments, and manage the house all on my own and just let my husband empty the garbage, take care of car maintenance, and kill every spider I see.
My husband rocks because he was willing to learn. I started by teaching my husband how to do certain things for my son when I wasn’t around. When I was side hustling a lot, my schedule was super busy, and my husband often got home from work before I did.
It made no sense for my husband and our son to starve until I got home or get tempted to waste money on takeout, so I taught him how to cook our favorite meals just the way I prepare him so that he could cook meals himself. He also stepped up and took control of other tasks and responsibilities like alternating laundry duties with me, scheduling doctor’s appointments, and paying for school fees.
That way, one person wasn’t super stressed out with their workload so we could continue to focus on our goal of getting ahead financially together.
Working full-time can be tiring for any parent, and throwing my side hustle into the mix (not to mention my husband starting a new job) added some extra pressure here and there.
When I couldn’t do something around the house because I was too tired, I asked my husband to take care of it. And when his schedule changed because he got a new job, I took on the tasks he couldn’t handle. We both are open to helping each other.
Traditional roles be damned. When we were trying to make ends meet, build our emergency fund, and pay off our debt, we did whatever we needed to do. If you and your partner want to reach financial success together, I advise you to ignore gender roles, as well – they can hold you back. Instead, just focus on working together and supporting each other.
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