Study Shows Shift in Financial Power of Women

The increasing financial power of women is something we are well aware of. As an estate planner I can see the tsunami about to come – the double inheritor baby boomer woman who will receive an inheritance twice –once from her parents and once from her spouse is about to women and wealthland.

The May 30th New York Times includes an article highlighting the rise of US women as the family breadwinner. As the article points out, women are not only more likely to be the primary caregivers in the family they are also increasingly the primary breadwinners.

I found this article to be very interesting because it not only discusses the financial consequences and posts some of the reasons why this is happening (more single women raising children on their own, recession forcing women back into the workforce, women not employed in industries like construction that were hard it), it also raises questions about what this will mean to families going forward on a social level (quoting recent paper by economists at University of Chicago Booth School of Business and National University of Singapore that found looking at distribution of married couples by income of husband vs. wife, there is a sharp drop off in the number of couples in which the wife earns more than half of the household income, suggesting that random woman and random men are much less likely to pair off if her income exceeds his.

The economists also found wives with a better education and stronger earning potential than their husbands are less likely to work.  In other words, women are more likely to stay out of the workforce if there is a big risk they will earn more than their husbands.

The study also found that couples in which the wife earns more report less satisfaction with their marriage and higher rates of divorce. This is an evolutionary topic and it will be quite interesting to see how this evolves as younger women today marry and enter the workforce.


Patricia Annino is a sought after speaker and nationally recognized authority on women and estate planning.  She educates and empowers women to value themselves and their contributions in order to ACCOMPLISH GREAT THINGS in the world – and in so doing PROTECT THEMSELVES, those they love, and the organizations they care about.  Annino recently released an updated version of her successful book, Women and Money: A Practical Guide to Estate Planning to include recent changes in the laws that govern how we protect our assets during and beyond our lifetime.  To download Annino’s FREE eBook, Estate Planning 101 visit,

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