SALARIES / SEP. 30, 2015
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Why You Shouldn't Feel Bad About Earning More Than Your Husband

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For years, men worked and women stayed home, caring for the kids and taking on domestic roles. In more recent years, there has been a clear shift in that women are more career-driven than ever before. Some husbands are staying home with the kids while their wives work to provide for their family financially.

See AlsoThe Number of Stay-at-Home Dads Are on the Rise

Although this seems like an ideal situation for many, old stereotypes and bruised egos tend to interfere. Men who do not make us much as their wives can feel inferior which may cause issues within a marriage. While focusing on the numbers, the United States Department of Labor reported that when both a husband and wife are actively working, 17.8 percent of wives made more than their husbands in 1987. Now, fast forward to 2013, where 29.3 percent of wives made more in comparison to their male spouse.

So, what’s the issue here? How does financial inequality affect marriages? You would think that the more one individual makes, the better off the couple is as a unit. Unfortunately, when one spouse makes $25,000 a year and the other makes $65,000, feelings of resentment can surface.

Here Are Three Key Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Feel Guilty About Earning More

There are plenty of females out there who are the sole breadwinners or make more money than their husbands. It’s important to note that not all marriages display signs of conflict over financial inequality. Many men are happy to stay home with their children as their wives provide sole financial support. In fact, since 1989, the number of stay-at-home fathers has doubled, now making up 16 percent of the parents who remain at home.

With that being said, many are feeling that their relationship is strained based on the wife’s earnings. This is mainly due to social norms which are outdated and do not reflect the ambitious women of today. Times have changed and women have more opportunities than ever before. Ladies, if this sounds like you, here are three reasons why you shouldn’t feel bad for making more than your husband.

You Should Feel Proud, Not Guilty

There’s a reason that you’re making such a pretty penny and that reason is hard work. The fact that you’re the breadwinner in your family simply means that you have achieved some remarkable milestones in your career and that you have worked towards your goals. When you think of the work you have put into building your career, how can you feel anything but pride?

Many women, who are thriving in their careers now, were not raised with the mentality that they need a man to provide for them, they do not need someone who earns more. Once again, you should be proud of your achievements. Don’t downplay your contributions to your family and don’t ever feel ashamed or guilty about your success.

It’s been found in multiple studies, including a study published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, that women tend to undervalue themselves while working alongside successful men. This mentality could explain some of the gender gaps we still experience today. This is believed to be based on gender stereotypes and if your husband is making you believe that these stereotypes are valid, you may be bringing that mentality to work without even acknowledging it.

Many Females Have the Education to Back Up Their Income

Based on a longitudinal study published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it’s been found that American women who were born in the early 80s, have a 33 percent greater chance of earning a college degree by the age of 27, in comparison to their male counterparts.

While focusing on the level of education, 32 percent of females earned a bachelor’s degree, in comparison to 24 percent of males. As we all know, the greater education level you have, the more doors you open for yourself once you enter the workforce.

In fact, a report released from the College Board verified that those who achieved a higher level of education, not only increased monetary benefits but also appeared to benefit from a healthier lifestyle. Based on this report, on average, a four-year college degree offers a return investment of a salary that is 15.2 percent per year.

While looking at a bachelor’s degree in comparison to a high school diploma, it was found that the gap between these levels of education, meant a salary increase up to 54 percent for individuals between the ages of 25 and 29. These benefits continue to grow as you gain more experience, as those who completed their bachelor’s degree, experienced a salary that was 86 percent higher between the ages of 45 and 49 years old.

So ladies, if you went to school and graduated with a degree, but your husband did not, do not feel bad about reaching your goals and creating better opportunities for yourself and your family.

Gender Inequality Still Exists in the Workforce

If your partner is upset that you make more than them, bring to their attention that men who are performing the exact same roles and tasks that you are, often make more. Now that is unfair. As mentioned above, women are more likely to complete college and attend graduate school, yet there is still a significant pay gap between men and women.

A report released from the White House Council of Economic Advisers clearly shows that although women have higher levels of education and actually make up a large chunk of the workforce, they earn less. This is seen even when both men and women hold the exact same level of education. Women face their own barriers in the workforce. If anything, they should be gaining their partner’s support.

Now, the gender gap in terms of income has narrowed in more recent years, but women who currently work full-time, make an average of 78 percent of what their male counterparts do. Shockingly, this gap increases slightly if you’re a female of color. It’s absurd and this should be brought to the attention of your partner. Perhaps they will see how unfair this is and want you to earn what you deserve.

See AlsoSigns That You’re Jealous of Your Spouse’s Career

If you are currently in this position, experiencing strain in your marriage based on your earnings, you can take a couple steps. First, don’t ever apologize for making more than your husband. Apologies are when you have done something wrong. If you are throwing it in your husband’s face and belittling him, then that is a different story. Be conscious of his feelings, but don’t ever be sorry that you have worked hard to get to where you are.

At the end of the day, nothing is better than open and honest communication. Sit down and discuss both sides of the coin, clarifying your expectations of one another. Perhaps you are feeling frustrated because you husband has lacked the motivation to improve his personal career-based circumstances. This can help break the tension that has been felt for far too long. You both need to focus on supporting one another, not resenting each other based on your personal accomplishments. 

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