| NEW YORK
NEW YORK May 9 Some women will be eating bacon
at Mother's Day brunches this Sunday. Others may be celebrating
the fact that they are bringing it home.
Some 24 percent of married women earn more than their
spouses, up from 6 percent in 1960s. Overall, 40 percent of
breadwinners in American households with children under the age
18 are women, according to the Pew Research Center, a
nonpartisan fact tank. (That figure was 11 percent in 1960.)
The trend of woman-as-breadwinner is the subject of the new
book "When She Makes More" by personal finance expert Farnoosh
Torabi. Reuters spoke with Torabi about income inequality on the
home front along with her tips for making a relationship work
when women out earn men.
Q. What's the best way to navigate the financial and
emotional impact when a woman is the breadwinner?
A. When she makes more, she's more likely to take on
day-to-day and long-term financial decision making. The study we
did in conjunction with the book found that 62 percent of women
who out earn their partner or spouse pay the bills; 56 percent
of them monitor household spending and 59 percent oversee
budgeting as well as saving.
One of the challenges is that he can feel left out. She may
start to associate making more money with being the more
powerful decision maker.
As the female breadwinner, you may have a hard time letting
go of the money sometimes, especially if you've been single for
a long time.
Among couples who experience financial friction, it's often
because there is one bank account. The first thing to do is to
set up three bank accounts: mine, his and ours. 'Mine' is the
money you set aside for yourself (a slush fund for manicures and
pedicures). 'His' is his domain and 'Ours' can be used to pay
household bills or for the things that come up in a marriage or
Q. There has been backlash about your book. What's behind
A. There's a division within the female community over this
topic. Women in relationships who are making more than their
husbands are latching onto the message and appreciate that there
is a conversation out in the public.
But then there are women who think identifying this as an
issue is not a win for women. Americans at large believe it is a
man's responsibility to provide for his family. And some men and
women have antiquated views about what it means to be in a
Q. What are the biggest challenges for women who out earn
A. It's unfair to assume everything is hunky dory 'when she
makes more.' For one thing, money doesn't equal power.
Institutions and companies don't provide enough support for
the modern couple who may need something like paid leave to help
a family member or to handle childcare. On the flip side, people
assume that the man who isn't climbing the corporate ladder as
aggressively as his wife lacks ambition. That's not a fair
Q. What's the best way to level the playing field between
men and women?
A. Communication is a loaded word, but you really do have to
communicate with your partner. The younger generation has a
better time with this than older generations because Millennials
are being raised with a different set of family dynamics. Their
expectation is not necessarily that the man will be the
provider. They have more realistic expectations of what it means
to be in a relationship.
The couples that are most successful don't stay rigid in
terms of what their roles are when they got married. They go
with the flow if someone gets laid off or has not found a job
yet. They understand what it means to get over the hump.
(Reporting By Lauren Young. Editing by Beth Pinsker and Andre