Hey guys! Welcome to another One-On-One where I interview some of the coolest people I know :) If you missed any of our last ones on Rob Wilson (Aka Hip-Hop’s Financial Advisor) or Extreme Couponer’s Chrystie Vachon, be sure to check them out when you get a chance. Awesome people doing even awesomer things!
And now up, my good friend, and published author, Farnoosh Torabi!
A little about Farnoosh…
Before we get started, let me share a few things about Farnoosh in case you don’t recognize the name (which would be hard to do since it’s so unique :)). In a nutshell, she’s a personal finance expert, author, speaker and coach.
But you may also remember her as the host of The Bank of Mom and Dad – one of my favorite financial shows back in the day! – or even the host of the Webby-nominated Financially Fit on Yahoo Finance – ranked the #1 personal finance series online. She also used to be a reporter for Money Magazine, as well as helped launch TheStreet.com TV with Jim Cramer.
In other words, she’s a financial bad ass. And currently at the top of the next generation of “experts,” if you’re asking my opinion. Why else would she be on Budgets Are Sexy right now? ;)
Here are some of her most recent books:
- You’re So Money (2008) – A book on having it all… just not all at once.
- Psych Yourself Rich (2010) – A book about giving you the mindset, discipline, and spirit for building a strong financial foundation.
- When She Makes More (May, 2014) – A book on the 10 rules for breadwinning women.
It’s this last book we’ll be concentrating on today, so get ready to take notes!
You’ve written a handful of (awesome) books about money so far, and now your latest one, When She Makes More, centers around the rules for breadwinning women. If I may be so bold to ask, do you make more money than YOUR husband? :)
Ask away! You know I’m not shy, J! That’s a great question and the answer is yes. I make more than my husband, Tim. It was actually what triggered my curiosity and fascination with this topic.
While my husband is super supportive and we don’t bicker often over money, I’ll be the first to say that we weren’t totally ready for this financial dynamic and, as a result, we faced some perplexing issues (which you can read all about in the book!). And, while I’ve spent more than 10 years helping individuals and families with their finances and consider myself a pretty solid money manager, this was the first time I felt a bit lost at sea. There was no established guide or recipe on how to make your partnership succeed when she is the breadwinner. Emotionally and psychologically, this is heavy stuff. There was no roadmap! So I decided to research and discover the secrets, myself.
What are some of the reasons us men have such a hard time with women making more than us?
I think part of the reason is that men face a set of unfair societal expectations about what it means to be a man and a “provider.” Researchers at Pew, in fact, found that 67 percent of Americans still believed it was “very important” that a man be ready to support a family before getting married, while only 33 percent believed the same about women. And many men still personally believe that it’s important for them to make more than their wives. It’s a powerful social and psychological norm that’s here to stay for now. So when it’s violated, it can make men feel emasculated.
At the same time, I also want to point out that it’s not necessarily just men who have a problem with their wives making more. Sometimes it’s that she has issues with it because, perhaps, she has more traditional expectations of what it means to be husband and wife, as well. At the end of the day, some women still want to feel like they’re being ‘taken care of’ by their partners in some capacity. There are a lot of ways to feel ‘taken care of’ that have nothing to do with money, of course. But if her definition of being ‘taken care of’ involves feeling financially protected, then she may be in for a rude awakening as the breadwinner.
I’d like to think I’d have no qualms with my wife bringing in more than me if/when that occurs, so assuming that’s accurate, what % of the male species would this put me in?
You’re not a rare species for thinking that way! But it is not how the majority of men feel deep down. I think that in theory many men would say that they’d have no problem if their girlfriend or wife made more and I have thrown this hypothetical out at many a dinner parties and work events, but in practice, studies – and my own interviews – discover a totally different emotional scenario.
You say that for the top-earning woman, the rules are “different.” What are a few of these different rules exactly?
The rules are different in many ways – and often stem from a need to address his or her emotional challenges.
For example, in marriages where the wife brings home a bigger paycheck, she is twice as likely as her husband to make all the financial decisions, and while on the surface this may seem like a positive thing (since we always want to encourage women to be more engaged in the family’s financial planning), this could – and does – emotionally backfire at times. She may begin to feel stressed and resentful that she’s taking on so much responsibility. And he may begin to feel slighted, as so much of his ego and dignity may be tied to feeling financially significant in the relationship. So, partners need to, as I say in the book, find a way to ‘level the financial playing field.’ This is a consideration that couples with equal incomes or a male breadwinner don’t have to consider as much.
There are also unique challenges for top-earning women and their partners when it comes to raising a family. You must take extra precautions in terms of work/life balance. I discuss in the book that it helps to think in terms of “making it all work,” rather than the stereotypical “having it all.” And no, it’s not always a smart decision for him to become the primary caregiver just because he makes less. There are some serious trade-offs to consider when designating a stay-at-home parent, especially if it’s dad.
Without giving the book away, what are a couple of tips breadwinning women can start enacting now while waiting for it to be released? (It comes out May 1st fyi, and you can preorder it here for a chance to win some cool gifts and to hang out with Farnoosh at The Today Show!)
#1) Stop asking for ‘help’ and establish more ‘accountability.’
Identify the most significant way(s) your partner can support you – and ask him to provide that. And rather than ask for his ‘help’ here and there, find out what major area or domain he can completely take charge of. Perhaps it’s managing the big-picture finances like retirement and college savings (with your periodic review and consent, of course) and/or perhaps it’s taking over all-things food-related in your home which includes not just preparing the kids’ lunches when you’re in a bind, but planning dinners, food shopping and stocking the pantry. For other couples it may mean having him adjust his work hours to be primary caretaker when the kids home arrive from school. Bottom line: If your man isn’t the breadwinner, then it’s important for him to feel like he’s still providing in a major, major way, otherwise he can begin to question his purpose in the relationship – and she can start to wonder, ‘what do I need you for?’
#2) Think of and plan for ways you can ‘invest’ in his ambitions so that he can better provide financially for the family in the future.
I look forward to my husband taking over as the breadwinner some day – even if just temporarily. As much as I feel empowered at times as the top earner in our relationship, it carries a good bit of stress, as well. I encourage higher earning women to invest in their men’s goals, especially if pursuing those goals can mean more money and flexibility in your lives. With your financial support he could pursue a graduate degree, change careers, or start a business in pursuit of more happiness and income. It’s the kind of investment that can pay off for everyone in the family, especially if kids are in the picture now or down the road. Should you want to off-ramp momentarily and be a stay-at-home mom, he can better provide for the family’s needs in the interim. Or, if you need more money to support costs like day care or college savings, investing in your guy’s earnings potential today can reap benefits in the future.
I’ve always liked the question you ask on your main website about being ready to live a “richer and happier life.” What’s something you’ve found that really works for you in achieving this?
When I got married, we started working with a financial advisor, which has really helped us feel more financially empowered and prepared for life’s unexpected twists and turns. Part of what feeds my happiness is having a support system in my life and access to resources that can help me make healthier choices. I certainly don’t pretend to know everything and I’ve gotten really good at asking questions. And that has served me – and my family – in living a richer, happier life.
As a fellow hustler and finance blogger, the biggest challenge I’ve found is managing my time efficiently. With being an author, expert, and freelance writer (and let’s not forget kick-ass TV host from The Bank of Mom & Dad!), how do you get it all done? And so well?
Well thanks for saying that! I certainly don’t feel very efficient at times. I am just as much a procrastinator as the next person, but it’s true that I jam pack a lot of responsibilities in my work life and somehow the work gets done. In my younger years it was thanks partly to not needing a lot of sleep! I could work until 3am and pull all-nighters. I don’t have that kind of stamina anymore – especially now as I write this 7.5 months pregnant!
But with experience comes knowledge of what you have to do versus what can wait. I prioritize my work checklist now by placing income-generating tasks at the tip-top. I also outsource a few things. I use an online transcription service. I have a copy editor assisting me with my newsletter and I have an awesome web support team that makes sure my site looks beautiful and runs smoothly. And over the years, having gotten a lot more comfortable on camera, I’ve managed to eliminate the nerves and just concentrate on giving sound advice. And let me tell you, not being nervous has chopped down my need to prepare for media hits significantly!
Want a copy of her new book, “When She Makes More”?
Like what Farnoosh is about? Want a copy of her new book, When She Makes More – either for yourself, or for a friend? Answer this question below and you’ll be entered to win one of the TWO COPIES we’re giving away today. It doesn’t come out until May 1st so you get a sneak peak! :)
“Do you make more money than your man? If so, how do you feel about that?”
Leave your answers in the comments below by Sunday night @ Midnight, April 20th, and we’ll pick the winners using Random.org shortly after. And yes, that is Easter :)
Good luck friends! If you don’t win one of ’em, I urge you to pre-order a copy so you can also be entered to win some of those cool prizes she’ll be giving away… Just try and be luckier on that ;)
Thanks again Farnoosh! I hope to one day give this book to my wife!
Giveaway open to anyone 18+, living in any country. Farnoosh don’t play around!
***GIVEAWAY OVER*** The two lucky winners are…. dum dum dum… Sarah Harper and Savvy Financial Latina!
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