In a recent article, Newsweek dove into the world of traditional marriages, where women chose to leave their careers to take on more "traditional" roles caring for the home, their spouse, and their children. Newsweek interviewed our founder, Kristyn Carmichael, regarding how more traditional roles can impact women in a relationship, specifically from a financial perspective. Read more HERE.
For many people, a traditional stay-at-home spouse role can have its benefits during marriage. These benefits include being able to run the household, care for the children, and minimize outside care expenses such as child care costs. If the breadwinning spouse is making enough money to care for the household, than it can be a large cost savings for a family unit if one spouse takes on a more traditional role of staying home. For many of my clients, the stay-at-home spouse's income earning capacity is lower than the cost of after school or child care that would be needed if she worked. Ultimately, it is not economical for her to return to work because it would be more costly for the family unit.
On the negative side though, divorce is a very common occurrence and a spouse in a traditional stay-at-home role is putting themselves in a risky position. Statistically, more women end up in poverty post divorce than men, which could directly relate to their dependance on their spouse during their marriage. With the couples with work with, many of the stay-at-home spouses have very little understanding of their finances, very low income earning capacity, and not many skills that can translate into a work environment, compared to their spouse. Additionally, the highest rate of divorce is currently grey divorce, i.e. getting divorced when you are retiring or after retirement. At this age, it can be even more difficult for a stay-at-home spouse to return to work. Many states also do not provide for extensive support, i.e. alimony, after divorce, meaning the stay-at-home spouse now needs to drastically lower their cost of living or find work to supplement the support they receive. They also often cannot qualify for home loans or other liens such as for a vehicle, since they have very little credit or income history. With rising prices for cost of living, a traditional marriage can be very detrimental for the stay-at-home spouse.