So what if you are earning more than your husband?
These days, it is not uncommon to see some women earning a bit or a lot more than their spouses, especially when in their late 20s or early 30s. It is a global trend that is recently occurring in Nigeria too, because more females are getting educated unlike in the past.
In some cases, the men may even be out of jobs temporarily due to seasonal economic recession hitting different industries. You are not the first, you won’t be the last, and you are not alone!
This is a really sensitive topic. I am not a psychologist so I am sharing my perspective on the topic with the aim of getting your own feedback. My perspective is based on interaction with different couples in this situation and existing articles on the topic.
1. Ask yourself the question ‘What if I am earning more as a woman? Will I prefer we both don’t earn as much?’ I think if many women answer the question honestly, the answer will be a capital NO. Whilst the woman may not necessarily want to earn more than her spouse, she will also not like to earn less than she is currently earning! Money is not everything but it does answer a lot! It means the family can get more investment, the children can get better quality, and the house needs are better sorted. In short, more money, more comfort.
2. He is the man! Let him be one! By virtue of their design, men like to be the provider, like to be in charge, and love to protect their ego! I’m talking of an average man! Don’t try to change this. Allow your spouse to play his role. There are a few expenses the men like to be in charge of, such as feeding and rent. Let him pay! He is your man! Let him take care of you except he asks for help. Example: if total feeding allowance for the home is N80,000 and your hubby can afford only N10,000, take it. Don’t say ‘don’t worry, I can handle this’. You can always add your own extra to it but by allowing him play his role, he will feel like the man that he is.
3. Just because you can afford to make some decisions doesn’t mean you should make them alone. Note I said ‘alone’. Here, I am talking about more serious expenses or investments like the children fees e.t.c. A woman who is earning more may want the children to attend a more expensive school that the man can obviously not afford. On this, you need to have the discussion with your man. Make him see reason why this school is better for the children. Trust me, he will see reason because he also loves the children and wants the best for them. Once this discussion is done, agree on how the payment will be made. Example, he can handle one term whilst you handle two terms. With this, he will feel equally responsible and proud of the decision because you made it together. Remember, marriage is a partnership.
4. On joint accounts: Some ask the question- ‘Do I save my money with my husband? Do I give him my salary to show I am humble?’ Sometimes, this causes more stress and tension. Rather, you can both decide to have your personal accounts and a joint account for specific projects. This means you get to keep some part of your money and you jointly manage only the ‘joint project funds’. This way, your joint account is for specific projects and your personal funds are at your discretion.
5. So how do you spend all your personal money? Good question! Indulge yourself woman! Spend on the children, Spend on your hubby too. Buy him those things he cannot afford after he has spent all taking care of you and the children! Invest! Save! Remember, things may not continue as they are today- it may take a turn and your husband starts earning a lot more! Or that both of you are out of job! So save for the rainy day. There are different investment options- fixed savings with banks, treasury bills, property, land, stock, trading or business. You can also make investment in your children’s name with yourself as the signatory.
6. Encourage him and Share! As a woman, you are the man’s help mate, play your part too. Encourage your man; share your resources with him. However, also know when to say No to requests that you don’t like! Don’t feel guilty about your financial status.
7. Golden rule, keep your mouth shut! There are some topics that are personal to your marriage. Whether you earn more or he does, it doesn’t concern anyone else! Period!
8. Lastly and most importantly, remember, at the end of the day, what really matters is the combined income! The power of 2 working as 1. The two of you can conquer the world together! What can he do that you cannot? Maybe he is great at making investment decisions? Maybe at his place of work, he has access to medical benefits for the children and you don’t? Maybe he knows all about house construction and you don’t. Work together and you will be amazed at how far you will go irrespective of who is earning more today.
To conclude, understand that this is not as simple as it may sound here. For this to work, you must have a common vision, goals, love and understanding. Good luck and feel free to share your thoughts on this. Agree? Disagree? Comments? Tips? Please share below!
Mrs CEO Naija is committed to Empowering women for more balanced homes as well as Inspiring and raising financially empowered females for a better community. This is important in this millennial age where many couples work long and inflexible hours to make ends meet, mostly at the expense of the children.