The Traditional “Breadwinner” Role is Changing

A recent study has revealed that a quarter of young women now earn more than their partners, but as a result they feel more under pressure and have been urged to think about insuring their finances.

The study found that one in five women now generate the majority of their household’s income. In women aged under 24, this figure increased to one in four. Being the main breadwinner is placing a heavy burden on women and according to the report, their “increased spending power comes with a feeling of greater responsibility and stress.”

Just 27% of Women Breadwinners have a Financial Backup Plan in place to protect them in the event that they are unable to work due to an accident or illness.

The survey of more than 2,000 people, which was carried out by insurer LV=, revealed that couples over 55 had the lowest number of households in which women were the primary breadwinner. This figure rose to 21% in women aged 35-54 and 25% in women aged 18-24. In addition, just 22% of households comprise of couples who earn equal pay packets. This means that roughly half of households now have men as the main breadwinner.

Feeling the Pressure

Interestingly, 43% of women surveyed said their financial commitments put pressure on them, compared to 34% of men. “Women who earn more than their partners are more likely to say they feel the pressure to maintain a regular income than their male peers. Four in ten say they feel very aware of their financial commitments and how important it is for them to stay in work, compared with just over a third of men,” said the report.

The pressure felt by women to maintain their incomes is likely to be exacerbated by the fact that having a family is ultimately more difficult when the household relies on their income. Returning to work after having a baby is daunting enough, but there’s also the additional cost of childcare to take into account. Despite this being the case, over a third of women said they were proud of their career success – compared to under 25% of men who earn more than their partners.

Younger Generations ‘Bucking the Trend’

Myles Rix, managing director of protection at LV=, said: “With an increasing number of households where the woman earns more than her partner, it’s clear to see that younger generations are bucking the traditional breadwinner trend. While it is great to see that women who earn more than their partners are proud of their career achievements, the flipside of this is that they are feeling stressed about their financial responsibilities.”

Premier Choice advises that Income Protection should be at the top of everyone’s agenda when it comes to considering their protection needs. If your income fails through sickness or accident then everything else you have planned for could be put in jeopardy.


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