Financial independence can mean different things for different women. For some of them, being financially independent means paying off their mortgage or paying their bills on time. For others, it could mean always having positive seven figures in their bank account.
There’s a point of overlap in all of those financial endeavors, which is being able to support themselves and those they care about. Living on their own terms, all while saving up for their future. In essence, not needing to fret over money. Ever. Again.
While it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll turn into Oprah, it does mean that their income can take them to greater heights and allow them to live without restrictions. Best of all, they won’t be dependent on their partners for what concerns their own finances.
In honor of women’s month, we’ll shed some light on how financially independent women can achieve their goals and have a voice in their marriages. We’ll also discuss how this can benefit their partners, and how their life partners can help them be the best version of themselves.
The Importance of Financial Independence for Women
1. It Makes Them Feel More Confident and Sexy
Financial independence makes women feel – and therefore look – inevitably sexier and self-confident due to the autonomy it gives them. They have their own job and pay their own bills. No one can take those accomplishments away from them.
What’s more, confidence is a gift that keeps on giving. With increased autonomy comes an improved sense of self-worth, which is key to positive mental health and overall well-being. Women who cultivate high self-worth feel deserving of better things, a better life, and a better life partner. Confidence changes them – and that’s why they’re entitled to it.
“You don’t have to rely on an external source to validate or determine your value. You have solid evidence of who you are and how strong you are,” says Doctor of Psychology, Certified Gottman Therapist, and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) Dr. Dana McNeil about the allure of financially independent women.
2. They Can Work Toward the Bigger Picture While Enjoying Everyday Life
Not living paycheck to paycheck gives women more freedom to focus on their goals. Yet, they can still afford to live intentionally.
They can pay for a gym membership if they want to. They can get their nails done every two weeks and take their partners out to dinner without splitting the bill. Most importantly, they have enough time for their hobbies and the energy to pursue them, simply because they’re not scraping by.
At the same time, they can save up to study abroad. To pay their college tuition. To go on a trip with their family next year. All that without feeling the slightest guilt about spending the money they’ve earned.
Financially independent women will typically invest a healthy chunk of their income stream toward their future. However, they always remember to treat themselves every once in a while, as independence allows them to live a purposeful life in both the short and long-term.
3. They Become Mentally and Physically Healthier
When out of control, money troubles can become a draining source of anxiety that afflicts everyone involved. As a consequence, those worries might give rise to sleep problems, focus issues, and potential arguments between the couple.
To say nothing of how, in case of sickness, a lack of stability may not allow a couple to afford everything they need to get back on their feet. Essential things, like doctors’ appointments, medicine, and healthy food.
On the other hand, financial independence provides women and their partners with opportunities to take better care of their health. When money isn’t short, they can do everything from exercising, following a nutritious diet, and investing in self-care. As a result, they get to spend more quality time together as a family.
Therefore, the more financial freedom a woman has, the happier and healthier she’s likely to be. And that has a direct, positive effect on her marriage.
4. They’re Financially Secure, Whatever Comes Their (or Their Family’s) Way
Financial security and financial independence walk together. If a woman can live within her means while taking care of herself and who she cares about, that’s all that matters to her.
She doesn’t have to pull out her hair in case of an emergency. She could stay out of work for a couple of weeks, and that wouldn’t cause any unforeseen damage to her bank account.
She doesn’t have to be or aspire to be the main provider in her family to achieve that. Still, her financial security empowers her to care for herself, her partner and potential children during unexpected moments. Without unwanted surprises.
5. Most Importantly, They’re Safe
Most of the time, women are forced to enter a marriage or stay in an abusive marriage because of financial dependency. They have to settle for selfish, unhelpful, and dangerous partners who wear them down and hurt them on a daily basis. At least until they find a way to make ends meet.
When a woman is financially secure, that’s unlikely to happen.
“Financial security allows you to state your needs without fear that you won’t be able to pay rent if someone asks you to manage or manipulate your values with the threat of being kicked out with no place to live or finances to protect yourself,” says Dr. McNeil.
Women who have their finances straight don’t have to deal with men that won’t help around the house or who turn into monsters when they’re drunk. Their savings are under control, so they aren’t afraid to leave if the circumstances call for it.
Do Some Men Fear Financially Independent Women?
In heterosexual relationships, there’s enough stigma around women earning more than their partners, or around a woman who is financially independent. This is why this misconception often arise: are these financially independent women feared by men?
The short answer: absolutely not. Even though certain men can somehow get intimidated by independent women due to many factors, men with the right upbringing, values, and smarts will be happy to have a woman like this in their lives.
In fact, financial independence can massively benefit a relationship or marriage. It helps couples either split costs or take turns supporting each other without struggling.
Some men in a heterosexual relationship may feel threatened by their woman’s financial stability for more reasons than one – all of which can be rooted in sexist social norms. If their spouse is making more money than them, they might jump to the conclusion that they’re in a “lower position.” This stems from the belief that a man should always be the breadwinner of the family.
A similar reason would be men “not being attracted” to women who refuse to be fully responsible for other things like housework and other tasks that were once traditionally linked to women. This may originate from certain issues as an individual, and maybe from values brought by an unhealthy traditional upbringing. A relationship, aside from love, should also be built in the same amount of trust and respect, regardless of gender.
If a man, or a partner, is threatened by their partner’s financial independence and earning potential, then they’re not simply not worth their time. It’s important that people should find themselves partners who can handle their independence and personality.
Ways to Help Your Wife Become Financially Independent in Your Marriage
In marriage, consider that financial literacy is an important step in being financially independent. Sadly, not everyone has access to it. The good news is, as her partner, you can do plenty of things to help your wife learn the ropes of financial literacy and help her become financially independent. Here are ways you can do this:
Have Separate Bank Accounts
As a rule of thumb, you should avoid keeping all of your or her money in one shared account.
In the words of Farnoosh Torabi, author of When She Makes More: 10 Rules for Breadwinning Women, “the couple should establish three separate bank accounts: Yours, mine and ours.”
If there’s one thing your partner wants, that’s making purchases of her own (however silly they might be) without feeling like someone’s spying on her spendings at all times. And vice-versa! Keeping separate bank accounts will give both of you more autonomy when making individual purchases.
On a safety note, you should also keep an individual savings account. Just in case any of you needs to hurriedly, yet safely, leave in case of emotional or physical abuse.
Do Your Part
Want her to become financially independent? Help her out. Become her safe place throughout her journey toward financial independence. Let her know you’ll be there for her during her ups and downs. Take care of her. Listen to her. Comfort her. She’ll need it.
Above all, be as responsible with your own finances as she is with hers. If you keep spending your money on unnecessary things while she’s striving to make, save, and invest her money, that might lead to problems between the both of you.
Motivate Her to Enjoy Her Wins
Being married to an independent (or almost independent) woman means you’re likely living with a self-motivated person who’s always driven to maximize her earnings. Especially if she’s deep into her savings journey, she might get burned out and forget about the small wins along the way. So remind her of them!
Make sure she won’t miss out on valuable time and experiences while she’s working toward her goals. Let her know that she’s more than entitled to enjoy the sweet spot between the climb and the summit.
You’ll be her second biggest cheerleader. Her first one, as you know, will always be herself.
A financially independent woman needs an equally financially smart and secure partner. If she’s still starting her journey to financial independence, support should always be given. To be able to give her the right support, you must be secure yourself.
To some people, a partner making more money than them can be an issue. This problem stems from an individual’s lack of security within himself or herself. If someone is insecure, it’s normally easy to keep comparing themselves to others, especially to their partners.
Think of it this way: If you have a boss woman by your side, she’ll have your back, no matter what happens. She’ll be able to provide for your family if you’re ever out of work. So revel in this realization, and appreciate your financially independent partner.