Being a Financial Equal of Your Husband
As far as I am concerned, striving for financial independence is critically important, and it is why it is the No. 1 item on My Maximalist.
The other night I caught up with a friend I have known for 35 years. She is a very beautiful and vivacious lady, and that night she looked particularly happy and confident. She told me that she was living 40 to the Max and that life was great.
Why? Because her business of a decade had taken off, and she felt that for the first time since having her children she could truly say that she was a financial equal of her husband. This new reality of bringing home a significant income had given her a major boost of confidence. More importantly, it had given her and her husband a new sense of financial freedom which meant that as a couple and family they could start living life to the max.
My friend’s comments resonated strongly with me. There were a few unpleasant years in my marriage when our babies were small and I was not working, that we regularly would get to the end of the month with only $200 left in our bank account. This highly stressful situation took its toll on our family life and on me personally. I spent each day consumed with guilt that I was letting my husband and my children down because I was not bringing in an income.
The arguments and resentment over who was or who was not bringing in an income became a dark cloud that left me feeling broken and inadequate. I was at home raising three babies but I felt my worth diminish by the day, because I was unable to contribute enough income to feel like an equal. You know the saying, “My time is worth more than this” eg standing in this queue/waiting for a bus/being on hold for one hour to a phone company. Well, I honestly felt that my time no longer had any value attached to it.
So with that turmoil as the backstory, you can imagine my horror at relocating to Singapore on a Dependent Pass, and not being able to open up a bank account without my husband being present. But that’s another story for another time.
Sometimes I watch renovation shows on TV and the wife of the renovating couple introduces herself as CEO of the Household. And I think, “And is anyone paying you $150K and bonuses to do this job?”
Because of this, I have always been a fan of Suze Orman, Oprah’s financial expert. She understands how important financial security and independence is to a woman’s sense of security and self-worth and gives practical advice on how to reduce debt and increase savings in a steady, common-sense and methodical way.
But in those dark days, it was one book, Secrets of a Millionaire Mind that really changed my outlook regarding structuring your family finances. T Harv Eker’s approach to dividing your earnings into spendings, savings and necessary family expenses helped my husband and I take the stress and blame out of the purchases we made. It is a system we continue to follow.
I can fully appreciate and celebrate how my friend’s milestone of reaching personal financial independence is something to be truly proud of. Well done!