Breadwinning Women

Relationships

Let’s get that bread! More women are family breadwinners today than ever before. Women are the sole or primary breadwinner in 40% of households with kids under 18. Two-thirds of those female breadwinners were single moms with a median annual income of $23,000. New data from the American Community Survey suggests that among married, heterosexual couples in the U.S., a quarter of wives, or about 15 million are the primary breadwinner for their family. In 1960, it was about 6%.

People who are socialized as men are told things that make them feel they should be the provider of the family by means of an income. Unfortunately, for many heterosexual couples, this violation of gender norms can bring up issues with how money impacts power dynamics and decision making in the relationship. A non-financial audit of the relationship is a great way to look at what both individuals bring to the relationship.

On the contrary, the gender norm assuming a male is the breadwinner might be holding women back. In our episode with Jennifer Barrett, author of Think like a Breadwinner, Jennifer shares how she is helping women shift their mindsets to take control of their money. It’s about time to dismantles the narrative that women don’t -and shouldn’t- take full financial responsibility to create the lives they want, by revealing not only the importance of women building their own wealth, but also the freedom and power that comes with it. We are ready to reclaim, rejoice in, and aspire to the role of breadwinner like never before.

Wedding Planning

Relationships, Weddings

And just like that… You’re Engaged! Congratulations! As an engagement gift, we’d like to introduce you to our friends Heather Fier, The Wedding Hacker, and Joe Rogers, founder of Contagious Events, who are helping couples get the wedding of their dreams without breaking their budget.

  1. Identify the investors. Who is paying for the day? Are you paying for the entire wedding? Is family contributing? If so, how much? Before you start to create a budget, you need to have the money conversations with any potential ‘investors’ in the day. Also, are there any strings attached to the investments? Does that money go toward something specific? Do they want a say in the day if they are paying? These can be complicated conversations to have with family right but it’s better to have these conversations at the start of the planning process rather than battle it out throughout the planning process.

2. Set expectations: Pinterest is great for getting ideas on trends and themes but it should not be a cut and paste exercise. Beware of trying to exactly replicate what you see on Pinterest. Many wedding photos on Pinterest are sets and photoshoots of models. Set expectations of what you want vs. what is actually achievable.

3. Prioritize: What are the top 3 things that you care about on your wedding day? Is it the food? The music? The people? The dress? The flowers? Now, what are your partner’s top priorities? These priorities are where you will find value in the day. Put your money where your values are. These are the must-haves. Everything else you can cut corners on. When you feel the stress or budget getting you worked up, return to your priorities and remember that these are what you care about.

4. Create a realistic budget: One of the best methods to avoid wedding planning stress is to establish a realistic budget early in the planning process so that you can avoid surprises and anxiety as you get further into the planning process. Joe Rogers and his team created a Wedding Budget Calculator to help get the conversation started around wedding budgets. Note: One of the biggest contributors to the cost are the number of people in the bridal party and attending the event!

5. Negotiate everything: As you begin to work with vendors, remember that the price they offer is just the first offer. Understand the value behind the number and work with them to add value (extra hour of service, free signature cocktail, or hotel room) or decrease the price (20% discount for off-season date or waived ceremony fee)

6. Be thrifty and frugal: The Wedding Hacker has so many ways to be thrifty while planning your wedding. Check out Buy Nothing groups in your local area or Facebook Marketplace for used wedding decor. Poshmark has used dresses or you can rent them on Rent the Runway! You can even DIY flowers from Trader Joes! It comes down to time or money. Make the best choice for you!

Wedding Guest Budgets

Relationships, Weddings

We are so happy to see our friends get engaged and we are honored to be invited to celebrate their special day! It’s even better when we can do so without going into debt to do so. Therefore, we need to get a little more clear one what to budget for.

How much are we talking about?

In 2014, an American Express survey found that the average guest spent approximately $592 per wedding and in 2016, the average increased to $888 per wedding. This is obviously dependent on a number of factors. According to The Knot, guests attending a local wedding spent approximately $185, guests who drove out of town spent approximately $600, and guests who flew to a wedding reported an average spend of $1,440.  The average total spent also varies whether you are in the bridal party! If you are in the wedding, the average is well over $1,000. Now imagine getting invited to 3-5 weddings in one year all across the country…

Wait seriously? Yep, that checked out. In 2018, Katie attended two weddings as a guest. Between bachelorettes, bridal showers, travel, hotels, food, dresses, and gifts, Katie spent $681 and $746 on each wedding. Then in 2021, Katie was a bridesmaid in two weddings which added up to over $1,135 each. But these are just examples.

How can I keep costs down?

  1. Talk to your friends and ask them about their expectations. Do they expect you to travel for every event with a top of the line registry gift? Are they requiring hair and makeup for everyone? Are they flexible with the dress costs? What costs are they paying for?

2. Use travel points, miles and cash back available to you to cover expenses. I love saving my credit card points to get gift cards as wedding gifts for friends. Travel can be something that really gets pricey so if that means not staying in the room block to say a couple hundred dollars, that might be worth it!

3. Be thrifty! Don’t be afraid to shop used dresses or re-sell your dress on Poshmark or any other resale market.

4. Start a sinking fund! Set a budget and start planning for it early. If you know that the wedding next year is going to cost you $1,100, start putting $100 away each month now.

5. Be honest with yourself and your friends! Don’t lie to yourself. You might not be able to fit 5 weddings into your budget. So be honest with yourself and your friends about what you can and can not commit to. Maybe you can only really commit to the wedding day but will not be able to travel for the engagement party, bachelorette and shower.

5. Say ‘No.’ This is the hardest of them all but it’s okay to say no to a wedding invitation or any other event. Don’t go broke trying to keep up with someone else. Send a nice gift to the bachelorette if you can’t attend or ask to contribute in other ways to the wedding or shower. A nice gesture will save face and money in your bank. If they are a real friend, they will understand. Some times this is a secret blessing to the bride and groom who are trying to keep their own costs down.

Managing Money & Grief

Relationships

Not all money conversations are romantic. “How do you want to die?” is one of the most important and costly conversations Americans aren’t having. Don’t wait to ask the tough questions until the end! It can be hard to talk about death with a loved one but we need to be talking about how to prepare for death before it happens.

Where do we even start? Don’t just bring it up out of the blue. Make sure they know it’s coming so they can come to the table prepared. “When you have time, I’d like to seriously discuss our end-of-life options.”

Start with your feelings and why this is an important conversation. There is no right way to feel so they won’t feel defensive if you come at the conversation from the heart. “I worry about not being prepared in case of the unexpected and I want to ensure we respect your wishes.”

Ask questions and listen to learn! Don’t tell them their plan or offer solutions at the start. Be curious about their plan and then ask if you can create a plan together.

  1. What kind of end of life care do you want?
  2. Do you want a funeral?
  3. Do you have life insurance?
  4. Should we sell the house?
  5. Where is your will?
  6. What accounts do you have and where?
  7. Have you updated your beneficiaries?

These are incredibly tough questions but these are the questions we need to be thinking about for ourselves and asking our loved ones. These answers have big financial implications and the earlier you talk about it, the better you can prepare for a more sustainable grief process. Don’t let your grief process be compounded by debt and financial loss. The more we talk about difficult things, the more you can honor your loved one’s wishes and make unexpected circumstances easier to manage.

Check out our episode with Lisa Keefauver, in which she shared how she managed the unexpected loss of the love of her life and how we can make these conversations less taboo.

Money Dates

Relationships

Pour the wine, light the fire, get the dessert… it’s time for a money date! For a lot of couples, money isn’t exactly romantic. For many, it’s uncomfortable. Even scary. But money dates are important for couples to align their values and goals.

When should you start talking money? Is it the first date? When you move in together? Once you’re engaged? Married? There is no right answer.

Even before you start really talking about money your date is showing you their values (where the money goes). Do they take you out to fancy dinners with champagne and candlelight? Do they order the steak or just eat the tableside bread? Or maybe you get takeout and watch a movie at home? Do they splurge on a sushi spread and rent the newest release? Or do you split a cheese pizza and watch a movie on his sister’s Netflix account? On your next date, see how your date shows their values. What are they telling you without telling you? How are you talking money without talking about money?

Where do we start? Starting with “does going out to dinner work with our budget? can lead to “should we start saving for that dream vacation?” which can lead to conversations like investing for a future together – a wedding, a home, a family, retirement, etc.

Here are some conversation starts that you can use on any date to get the money talk flowing:

  1. If you won $1 million dollars, what would you do with it?
  2. Are you a spender or a saver?
  3. Do you like to spend money on experiences or things?
  4. What are you saving for right now?
  5. What are our financial goals? (How can we reach them together?)
  6. Did your family talk about money growing up?
  7. What are our priorities?
  8. If you are comfortable, what is your salary?
  9. Are there any big purchases you/we have coming up?
  10. Do you invest?
  11. How do you picture your retirement?

Practice makes perfect… Habits! Now that you both are talking money, let’s make this a regular thing! Deciding how to manage your finances will be one of the first and most important decisions about your financial future as a couple. And the way in which you talk about money may evolve over time. There is no “one size fits all” approach here. Find the cadence and style that works best for you and your partner.

Money dates shouldn’t be a shame or stress inducing evening. So make your money date something that you both look forward to. Check out our episode with Aditi Shekar, founder of Zeta, to learn about how to talk money with your partner on your next money date!

Yours, Mine & Ours?

Relationships

We’ve interviewed many experts who agree that it’s important to talk money with your partner. One of the top sources of stress in a marriage is money so taking the time to focus on this before marriage can strengthen your financial partnership with your spouse. Getting married means sharing your money with your spouse. And when you’re used to managing your own money, even the thought of sharing it with someone else can be confusing, stressful — even scary. Banking with your spouse doesn’t have to mean entering into a world of conflict. Power couples bank together in a way that allows them independence while operating as a team. 

Before you start combining money, it’s lay all your cards on the table. Shannon McLay, founder of The Financial Gym, calls this “getting financially naked” with one another. Talking money is personal and getting to this level with a partner is intimate. Everyone is bringing baggage to the table. It can be stressful and uncomfortable but ultimately helps better align your goals as a couple. What do you want to save for? Where do we see this money going in our future?

Bank Accounts with Benefits? Don’t be afraid to start small! Some couples who are living together, engaged or married consider setting up an “ours” bucket for finances. This could be a shared account or shared credit card. Determine how much each is contributing and set up a monthly transfer to the account.

This works really well when the individuals want to maintain independence while still easily managing shared expenses. It helps the couple to manage the shared budget for things like rent, household items, eating out together, etc. And most importantly, it keeps pre-marital money separate for things like student debt, if one partner isn’t prepared to take that on just yet.

We love talking about money and relationships! Check out our episodes on aligning financial goals with Lindsay Bryan Podvin and talking money like a power couple with Casey Rose Shevin.

Playing Fair

Relationships

Economic inequality is out of control. We live in a world where the most essential work in the household and family is unpaid and underpaid work done primarily by women and girls. The annual monetary value of unpaid care work for women aged 15 and over globally is $10.8 trillion.

Eve Rodsky’s book Fair Play encourages shared responsibility of the invisible work at home. Feel free to check out our episode with Eve to learn more about how Fair Play can rebalancing the emotional workload and create a more equitable balance of care with your partner.

There are NO studies supporting the notion that women are inherently better multi-taskers or have better executive brain function, and yet this message is pervasive among women. We all have 24 hours in a day and my time is equal to yours. In Fair Play, Eve Rodsky devotes an entire chapter to unpacking “toxic time messages” and gives suggestions for reframing these messages. It’s time to invite men to the table in a collaborative way into a system with context and clearly defined expectations.

Fair is not necessarily equal. The emphasis on “50/50” can lead to  resentment and disappointment when things are not “equal.” Fair Play is focused on fairness — not tit-for-tat scorekeeping. Most couples care far less whether tasks are split 50/50 in the household, and far more on whether their partner performs full Conception, Planning, and Execution of those responsibilities that they hold with competence and care.

Conception: “You notice that you’re low on mustard, and in your mind you know that your partner really loves mustard on a hot dog.”

Planning: “Then, because you notice that the mustard is low, you pick up a pen, and place mustard on your grocery list.” 

Execution: “Then, someone has to get their ass to the grocery store and pick up the mustard.”

Don’t hesitate to take on a new responsibility! Hand over the Dishes card and take on the role as Money Manager! There are so many resources available for women to learn what they need to take on this role in their relationship. The Money Manager card tends to be the one that men take and it tends to have a lot of control and power associated with it. Switch it up ladies! More and more studies have shown that millennial women still defer to their partner to own the money management in the relationship. However it is critical for women empowerment to have women actively participate in the economic markets. You can do more than manage the household budget and pay the bills. Talk to your financial advisor. Learn about investing. Prepare yourself for retirement. We challenge you to take on the Money Manager role in your relationship. 

Finally, we must reclaim our time. It may seem like a fairy tale to carve out time for your passions. Whether that’s getting back to playing piano again or researching the business idea that you’ve back-burnered, EVERYONE has permission to be interesting and interested! Be more than the role of parent, spouse and worker. Many women feel like they don’t have time to go to the dentist, let alone find time for self care… BUT you can. Eve Rodsky calls this “Unicorn Space” and through her research, she found over and over again that women and men were reporting true joy when they claimed their Unicorn Space without guilt and shame. And it is not reserved for the rich.

Check out our episode with Eve Rodsky to learn more about her book Fair Play and how to start reclaiming your time.

Prenup?

Relationships

If you’re in a serious relationship and thinking about marriage, or you might already be engaged, take some time before you get married to talk money. You might find out that a prenup is right for you!

We will admit that the word “prenup” is very taboo word especially when it comes to love and marriage. As such, we wrongly assumed prenups are just for Kardashians or the Real Housewives. In our episode with Casey Rose Shevin, she explained why some couples opt for a prenuptial agreement.

88% percent of Americans think it’s important to have financial conversations before saying “I do”, yet only 51% actually discuss how to handle finances as a team before getting married. Even more shocking, only 41% of married couples disclosed their annual salaries before getting married and only 36% disclosed their debt! The millennial generation is taking their turn getting hitched and, like so many other things, upending the status quo by opting for premarital financial disclosures. Holla we want PRENUPS!


A prenuptial agreement, or a prenup, is a legally binding contract you sign before you get married. If you get divorced, your prenup outlines how you’ll divide assets and debts. You can sign a prenup that is pretty much all encompassing, leaving little to be negotiated at the time of divorce, or you can limit the prenup to address only a single asset or circumstance. For example, if one partner is coming into the marriage with a significant amount of student loans, a prenup can outline that in the event of a divorce, that debt remains 100% with the partner that took out the debt.

Marriage can be the biggest legal binding contract that people enter into. Prenups are created during a time of love, with a focus on the future. A prenup can actually prevent a contentious split because it forces you to think ahead about one of the top sources of stress in a marriage – money. Financial conflict is the leading cause of divorce, and taking the time to focus on this before marriage can strengthen your financial partnership with your spouse. 

For more information, check out our episode with Casey Rose Shevin, a family law attorney and mediator.