When She Makes More | Farnoosh Torabi

Summary of: When She Makes More: 10 Rules for Breadwinning Women
By: Farnoosh Torabi


In the book ‘When She Makes More: 10 Rules for Breadwinning Women,’ Farnoosh Torabi discusses the challenges faced by women who earn more than their partners. The book addresses the impact of traditional gender roles on marriage, divorce, and work-life, and highlights 10 rules women can follow to achieve balance in their lives. These discussions delve into real-life case studies and offer practical advice on managing finances, maintaining relationships, redefining gender roles, and avoiding emotional pitfalls. Torabi’s analysis presents an eye-opening opportunity for readers to understand this increasingly relevant topic as they navigate their own professional and personal lives, touching on themes such as ambition, respect, and work-life balance.

Women Earning More: Relationship Challenges and Solutions

Women who out-earn their partners often face relationship problems due to traditional gender roles that influence marriage, divorce, and work hours. Such couples may be less likely to marry, less happy, and more prone to infidelity. However, to achieve a successful balance, there are ten essential rules couples should follow.

Breadwinning Women and Marriage

The book explores the psychology of being a single-income household and highlights the effects on marriage when women outearn their partners. Men who depend on their female partners’ salaries are five times more likely to cheat. The longer a woman has to support her lackadaisical husband, the quicker her feelings of frustration turn into resentment. The book also emphasizes the importance of ambition, drive, motivation, respect, and integrity in a marriage with income disparities.

The book delves into the issues that arise when a woman earns more than her partner. Women who earn median incomes higher than men in nearly every major city in the United States face these issues. Such women are more likely to remain single or experience a rocky marriage. The book also highlights that such marriages are at risk of infidelity on both sides, men who depend on their female partners’ salaries being five times more likely to cheat than those who earn equivalent salaries.

The book presents two women, Carmen and Michelle, who both outearned their husbands. Carmen was contemplating divorce, while Michelle was not. Alison Armstrong, a relationship expert warns about the “unconscious” and “lethal” thinking that breadwinner women often have. These case histories also illustrate how ambition, drive, motivation, respect, and integrity affect a marriage with income disparities.

Furthermore, the book emphasizes the psychological implications of being a single-income household. Young parents often feel that one of them must stay home to take care of their kids, leading to both spouses leading separate lives and undermining their relationship. However, when both spouses work outside the home, they have more in common. The book underlines the message, “You’re worth it. And your relationships are worth it, too” and points out the bitter zone, which sets in when women have to support their lackadaisical partners for a more extended period.

In conclusion, the book highlights the challenges that breadwinning women face while emphasizing the importance of ambition, drive, motivation, respect, and integrity in a marriage with income disparities.

Rethinking Gender Roles

Balancing work and family is challenging for both men and women, especially when traditional gender roles are overturned. In this book, the story of a female breadwinner is explored and the need to create a scenario that works for individual situations is emphasized. The book challenges the rescued-by-the-prince tale and highlights the importance of valuing contributions from both partners and striving for work-life balance. Gender identities and guilt associated with earning sizeable paychecks are also discussed, and it is stressed that work-life balance is not just a women’s issue.

Money & Dignity

Women who earn more than their partners are more likely to manage their family’s finances, but it’s essential to maintain an even playing field and ensure that both partners have a say in financial decisions. Setting long and short-term goals and deciding who pays what is crucial. Keeping accounts online and accessible to both parties, along with making financial decisions together, creating his and her budgets, and avoiding possessiveness about money, can lead to a healthy relationship. Couples should use separate accounts for personal expenses and a shared account for family purchases and retirement. Women should reserve 20% of their income for unexpected expenses, considering they live longer. Men need to feel that their financial contributions matter and have control over family finances to maintain their dignity. By following these policies, couples can have a balanced financial relationship without sacrificing dignity and self-worth.

A Practical Guide to Navigating Divorce

Divorce attorney Lee S. Rosen advises high-earning women to consider prenuptial agreements as 56% of divorce lawyers have seen increases in mothers paying child support and 47% in women paying alimony. Women initiate divorce proceedings for reasons such as favorable custody laws and men’s problematic behavior and infidelity. To handle unexpected crises, compartmentalize life by drawing lines between work and home, like men.

Acknowledging Contributions

The book highlights the need for female breadwinners to value their partners’ non-financial contributions. The author uses the example of Julia and Ryan; Julia is a pension actuary making $92,000 annually, while Ryan earns around $11,000 as a bus driver. Ryan previously held a higher-paying job but stayed home to raise their children when they had kids eight years into their marriage. Despite this income disparity, they don’t fight about finances because they combine their incomes, and Ryan manages the money. According to relationship coach Alison Armstrong, women should treat men as providers and value their contributions without “financial mommying.” In short, female breadwinners must develop sensitivity about the male ego and avoid overdoing it. The role of a breadwinner is not a fixed position and can change as salaries fluctuate over time. Overall, the book emphasizes the importance of acknowledging and valuing non-financial contributions in a relationship.

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