The truth about financial dependence 💁💝💳

It looks like we’re on a roll with awkward, touchy topics this week. Next up: the double-edged-sword that is being financially dependent on your spouse. Whatever your reasons - and I’m sure you have plenty - it’s important to know how to protect yourself in case things aren’t as smooth-sailing as you’d hope.

There’s no way to say this nicely, so we’re going to hand it to you shaken, not stirred: leaving the workforce to be a stay-at-home wife or mum is a huge risk. While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying this role, it’s important you are fully aware of the gamble you take on as a dependent spouse. We don’t want to be all doom and gloom here, but your marriage could collapse, your spouse could be made redundant and you both could land tonne of debt as a result. Add kids to the picture, and you’re facing very bitter and painful conundrum. So, while these are worst-case scenarios, it’s vital you remain clear-eyed and protect yourself against any downfalls. Here’s our top tips:

  • Give freelancing or flexible work a try. Women often leave their jobs to take care of the kids - and as the cost of childcare continues to soar, it’s hardly a surprise that so many choose this route. If you’re a stay at home mum, perhaps it’s time to think outside the box. Look for ways to make a little extra money on the side, when the kids are at nursery or school (or napping). There’s plenty of options, from freelance consultancy, to writing to photography and even starting your own business. If you have income that is yours and yours only, you’ll feel less burdened if things between you and your spouse go south.
  • Keep your skills up-to-date. Take an online course. Learn a new language. Heck, do another Master’s degree - keeping your skills up-to-date will not only be an enriching experience for you on a personal level, but it’ll serve as an invaluable back-up should you need to go back to the workforce.
  • Have a prenup. Even if you’re a die-hard romantic, you can’t deny the importance of a prenup agreement. If worse comes to worst, and you decide to go your separate ways, a prenup will help ease what will surely already be a painful and complicated time.
  • Know your rights. Knowledge is power, especially when you’re a financially dependent spouse. It isn’t unromantic or cynical to think about what would happen if things don’t work out - it’s smart. Imagine: you spend fifteen years raising three children, supporting your partner through and through in their career, only to have them turn their back on you. Cue heartbreak, stress, devastation and chaos. Who gets the kids? What about the money? Do they really get to keep the house? Consulting a lawyer even before you’re officially married can be the smartest investment you make, so don’t shy away from professional advice.

Credit photo: Giphy.