In Career, Discussions, Discussions, Money, Women

A man is not a plan. Anything can happen.

Watch this from “Waiting to Exhale”:

Now realize this:

A MAN IS NOT A PLAN.

You are your only plan. Don’t give up everything, and who you are, for someone else. ANYONE else.

Don’t put your money, your dreams on hold, just to support someone else completely, and losing yourself in the process.

You have a right to have a hold on your own career, your own life.

I had a girlfriend who on a date, basically said as much, and the guy was ‘immediately turned off’, and said he was looking for someone to support him at home.

Confused, she said that they could have both – they could hire help, it didn’t have to be one or the other.

He said he wasn’t ‘into that’, and he needed ‘someone who was going to want to raise his kids, cleaned the house herself, and who wanted to raise them and not pass it off to someone else or to a daycare’.

I basically set my glass down and looked at her in disbelief.


HE REALLY SAID THAT?‘, I screeched.

Yep.

He really wanted a babymaking machine who would also clean, cook, provide sex and STFU.

Oh but she still had to be smart (but not too smart, mind you), be fit, stay pretty and continue to be intellectually interesting.

Apparently he isn’t the only one.

LOTS of men feel this way, and I recall reading a business school survey (WISH I COULD FIND THE DANG LINK) where a professor pointed out that the woman sitting next to you in this class, would likely want to have her own career and not want to take a backseat to support you if she made it into this program.

The guys apparently had never thought about that.

They want to marry smart, ambitious women, but then aren’t on board with the ‘consequences’ of dealing with an equal, then and are confused why women are giving them side eyes like — Are you serious?

She was expected to take a backseat. For what reason?

None. She was a woman. That’s why.

For all intents and purposes, her career was as dynamic as his, truly, and yet she was not going to be treated like an equal breadwinner. Ever.

What’s worse, is then having women also turn their noses up at working mothers and saying THE SAME THINGS.

I had my snarky neighbour do this to put me down indirectly during a parent group thing, by saying she didn’t understand HOW mothers could go back to work and abandon their babies. Didn’t they feel guilt?, she mused.

(This was when I was in between contracts with a tiny Baby Bun.)

I looked back at her during one of these self-righteous rants and said: Well I don’t see how FATHERS can do the same.”

If I wanted to be mean, I’d have added: “You know, like your husband who travels 90% of the time.” but I didn’t because I thought it and it was good enough.

DO NOT RELY ON ANYONE ELSE BUT YOURSELF

This is why I am so adamant that women learn about their money, and the people in their lives encourage young girls, women, and have them learn how to be financially successful AND independent.

If my partner told me to stay at home with Little Bun even though I could potentially pull in $250K a year, I’d have given him a tongue lashing.


I have to be the one to personally make that decision, and I have at one point, when I gave up a $250K contract that required too much traveling, to stay at home and wait for something better.

There is also an aftermath to staying at home – consequences men don’t suffer because they don’t stay at home (hello, see date story above!) and continue going out to conquer and shine in an external setting, rather than being internally at home doing invisible work – household chores, childrearing etc.

Do you want to rely on someone else for your secure future? I think not.

A MAN IS NOT A PLAN.

P.S. These are 3 things every woman should have no matter what.


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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

I got out of $60,000 of debt in 18 months using TheBudgetingTool.com. Since then, I have worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K (savings rate = 85%). I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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Posted on February 13, 2012

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9 Comments

  1. s
    steveark

    I totally agree with you and yet my wife chose to be a stereotypical stay at home mom many years ago. We are both early retired now but she left the workforce to focus on the kids and our home life much earlier than me. She’s always been an equal partner in all decisions and I think she is very happy with how her choices turned out for her. So I feel a little bit of cognitive dissonance. It is a bad plan to rely on a partner, it’s so risky, yet my wife did just that and it worked well for her. I feel like she made a good decision but I’d be scared to see my two daughters make the same one. In our case we’ve been married 41 years and are still happily in love but how do you know that will be the case? Both my daughters have good careers and are not depending on a higher earner bread winner in their partners. But their mom did just that. It is kind of confusing, I feel like I should defend my wife’s choice but at the same time it seems like a bad idea now?

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      It worked because you’re a great partner and equal husband. That’s why it worked.

      You treated her as an equal, she had equal say in all decisions I am assuming as well as money, and didn’t just float off into a world of her own without any knowledge of what was going on — THIS IS WHAT IS KEY.

      A lot of what I am referring to, is women who just get married for love, and then .. leave it all up to someone else to manage, with no equal say, or care about their own financial well-being and independence. They may even experience what is called financial abuse where the husband controls every penny and only gives them a set budget for grocery shopping, and cuts them off financially from everything else.

      THAT is what I am concerned about – these extreme cases of women being cut off from any financial means, help, or ways to escape a terrible, unequal relationship.

      This is clearly not what you two have because it was equal — and it is what all relationships should strive for.

      Unfortunately, not all men think this way, and I am especially concerned for young women to fall into the trap to rely on a guy, assuming they are all as good as you are. I see too much of this to not be troubled.

      Interdependence = Great. Dependence = Not.

      And stay at home parents are working too – they work in the invisible sphere of the home but their work isn’t any less valued, and SHOULD be compensated in the sense that they are not given a cheque each time they make a meal, but obviously that they have equal financial means, access and control over the family money pot.

      Just make sure your daughters know they can rely on themselves if need be, and things will be fine.

      Reply
    2. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Follow-up: Example of what I am sure you did not do.

      “My best friend in the other hand is on the verge of divorce because of this. He husband is heavily machismo influenced because of his traditional Mexican upbringing. She’s a teacher and he wants her to work full time to help out with finances. He has his own business and expects hers to do all the bookkeeping/taxes etc of the business. Everyday he has to have a different home cooked meal (he won’t eat leftovers or the same thing twice in a week) and she has to clean everyday or he’ll come through the door complaining about the house being a mess (it’s not, I go over there) he also doesn’t like her to go to the gym. And by the way she has 2-yo twins whom he didn’t help out with.”

      This for me, is the situation I do not want to be in or any woman to be in — a man is not a plan is my way of saying – rely on yourself to be self-sufficient because no one ever needs to put up with this. Even if she didn’t work, he is asking a lot of her, not seeing all the work that goes into managing and running a home, with kids – it is more than a full-time job.

      Your wife had a choice, a true choice. She wasn’t forced into it.

      Reply
    3. C
      Catherine

      @steveark

      Thank you for your insightful comment – I think it takes a lot of empathy to realize that even though something worked for you, it may not work for your daughters – or other women. I think it’s because your intentions come from a good place – having a true partnership with your wife and wanting the same for your daughters – knowing there are risks out there if they took a similar path as your wife.

      I grew up in a household where my dad was the main breadwinner for many years, and my mom worked in the home. But even when my mom went back to work (outside of the home), she was still “responsible” for all of the cooking, cleaning/homecare. It was something that struck me as odd/unfair.

      Now that I’m grown up, my dad – who always encouraged me to strive to excel in school, was telling me to “slow down” and not have to always push for my promotion or more responsibility. Why? Because he didn’t want me to “suffer” too much burden at home if I have too many responsibilities at work. That’s still his mindset – he wanted me to be successful enough to have a “back-up” plan if anything happened, I can take care of myself. However, he had a hard time wrapping his head around me being successful in my career – and automatically equating it with a partner who supported that.

      I understand where my dad came from – it was what he knew. But I also know that he raised me to make good decisions for myself – even if they are decisions that my mom might not have had. And I try to always focus on that positivity and explain to him how he doesn’t need to worry about me because I am able to take care of myself and my husband and I take care of each other (not just me taking care of him!)

      Reply
  2. S
    Sense

    Ugh my last real relationship came to a screeching halt when we had this convo. He *insisted* that I would be the one to stay at home and give up my career once we had kids. With a sinking feeling, I pushed back hard and kept asking questions to find the boundaries of what he ‘accepted.’ Turns out he felt that way because (at 29), I made a few thou per year less than he did (at 32) and ‘it just made financial sense.’ Also, I he would not really be OK with us *ever* getting a babysitter because “if you have kids, you should be around to raise them.” And if an emergency happened, only his sister/aunts would be acceptable babysitters–we would have to move halfway across the country to be near his family to make this happen. My mom and relatives were not acceptable. He wouldn’t even be OK with me working part-time when the kids went to school.

    It was a PREPOSTEROUS conversation in which he revealed all his misogyny in one go. I knew it was over right then.

    Eleven years later, he works and has two kids with a wife who is very much a full time, working post doc student, living very far away from either of their families. Guess the joke is on him! 😉

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Hmm. I guess he insisted on all of this but in the end, you could have just done what you wanted.

      I wouldn’t have stayed with him either, hearing that crap.

      Reply
  3. SP

    I agree, but I also struggle with this sentiment. Having a stay at home parent works well for a lot of families. It is a risk to the SAHP, but that can be somewhat mitigated. Not fully, but somewhat.

    “DO NOT RELY ON ANYONE ELSE BUT YOURSELF” is a bit further than I’d take it. I am looking out for myself, but I also do rely on my partner, and vice versa, and that is OK, as long either of us can have a path to independence if we needed it for some reason. Marriage as a mini socialism.

    I do think it is gross that men expect to find a partner that wants to stay home. To me, you find a partner you love and together you decide how to shape your life/family, and protect both partners.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      You are not dependent on him. You are interdependent.

      There is a difference between relying on someone 100%, with no means, no savings, no plan, versus what we do – which is to rely on each other interdependently. You CHOOSE it, but you aren’t out of options.

      Stay at home parents can still be independent. You split the household income fairly, and say — this is the income. This is the common amount for the home. Out of that, you get X amount, and I get X amount (equal) to spend, seeing as I do the work in the home, and you do the work outside of the home as it best suits our abilities and talents/aspirations, etc.

      The common household amounts, can include savings. 50% goes into your retirement fund, the other 50% goes into the others’. Or you can do a joint retirement fund so that if you ever split, you each get half.

      It just has to be equal.

      I am not saying a person needs to work outside of the home to be independent, but you better not be reliant on someone else to take care of you, no matter how in love you are. Practicality and divorce rates say otherwise.

      Reply

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