Farnoosh Torabi is a financial expert, speaker and TV personality who takes a personal approach in her latest book, When She Makes More: 10 Rules for Breadwinning Women (Hudson Street Press, 2014). Besides loving the title, I also think this book is well written, witty and thought provoking, making it a must read for anyone working with executive women.
Reading it makes you think more deeply about gender roles and how individually and culturally we are in a time of great change. The book also offers practical strategies for navigating this often unchartered territory for couples, many based on the author’s experience as the primary breadwinner. Many of these concepts and observations resonate with me based on my work with affluent executive women and my own experience making more. However, I am left with the question of whether the changes in financial behavior and the dynamics in these relationships are a direct result of the women earning more or is it more indicative of the personality type of career-driven women and the men they attract. My guess is it’s both.
There are many statistics in the book that are useful and especially eye-opening if you have not seen them before. The primary research in the book seems thin. I respect Brad Klontz, the author of the primary research, which makes me wonder if it’s just the reporting of the data that left me flat. As a writer who uses case studies and extensive interviews, I did enjoy the real life scenarios sprinkled throughout the book that helped the author’s 10 Rules come alive.
My favorite part of the book was the focus on encouraging more money conversations between partners as well as with parents. While I wish there was more of an emotional element to these sections, it is a great start to helping clients and couples engage in money talk that is open and honest. And this is never a bad thing.
As with any work on gender roles, there are generalizations, and I believe it really boils down to how each partner thinks and feels about money and the relationship as a whole. One area that surprised me was the theme of the male self-esteem being bruised by the female partner bringing home more bacon. I do understand that some men might feel this way, but in my experience, it is not as widespread as the author implies. Or maybe I don’t want to believe it is as widespread, as my own experience is very different. My husband always seems happy to support my success and jokes about wanting to stay home with the cat. However, by reading this book, it opened my eyes to the fact that we may be the exception to the rule. Reading When She Makes More prompted me to ask more thought-provoking questions and to not assume I know how my husband actually feels about our financial roles and responsibilities. Now when in doubt, I ask. This alone make this book worth the investment.