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Female Breadwinners: Removing Stress From The Daily Grind

Posted by Lyn Dippel, JD, CFP® on June 17, 2021
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Female Breadwinners: Removing Stress From The Daily Grind

Women have been achieving higher levels of success in the workplace and starting their own businesses in greater numbers over the past few years. Nowadays, female breadwinners are the primary earners in 40% of American households, with 37% of those women earning a higher salary than their partners and the other 63% being single mothers, according to a study by Refinery29 and Chase.

However, as women become increasingly active and at more senior levels in their careers, they still have significant responsibilities at home. Burning the candle at both ends has led to widespread female breadwinner stress. For example, female physicians are 60% more likely to report experiencing burnout than their male counterparts. In addition, 24% of female attorneys report considering leaving their jobs due to stress, burnout, and mental health issues, compared to 17% of male attorneys.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss eight ways that female breadwinners can manage stress—and how working with a financial advisor can help take some of the burden off your plate.

Are you looking for help managing your finances? Schedule a call with Bay Point Wealth today, and find out how we can take this task off your to-do list.

8 Ways To Manage Female Breadwinner Stress

1. Know the signs of burnout.

Being able to recognize if you’re experiencing burnout is the first step to addressing this condition. While burnout isn’t an official disorder, 70% of women in the U.S. report suffering from it, up from 68% prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Herbert Freudenberger, who coined the term, describes burnout as “a reaction to prolonged or chronic job stress characterized by three main dimensions: exhaustion, cynicism (less identification with the job), and feelings of reduced professional ability,” according to this article by Verywell Mind. Check in with yourself regularly to see if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms. If ignored, burnout can manifest in the form of physical ailments.

2. Set clear boundaries.

One of the best ways to manage female breadwinner stress and ward off burnout is to establish boundaries with yourself and others. In the former case, this could look like shutting off the TV at night to ensure you’re well-rested for the next day’s morning meeting. In the latter case, it could look like saying no to requests from colleagues or friends when your plate is already full.

If you struggle with setting boundaries, keep in mind that you can only be at your best for others when you first prioritize yourself, your peace of mind, and your health.

3. Make time for rest.

Speaking of sleep, American women aged 30 to 60 sleep an average of six hours and 41 minutes on weeknights when they should be dozing for seven to nine hours. By watching for signs of burnout and setting boundaries in your work and social life, you can start taking more time to rest and recharge.

However, getting enough sleep isn’t the only type of rest you need. Going for lunch breaks, leaving your desk to walk around or stretch, and taking your eyes off your computer screen are all part of a healthy workday. The 20/20/20 rule underscores this fact, suggesting that for every 20 minutes you spend looking at a screen, you should look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This is intended to help prevent headaches and eye strain.

4. Reduce your workload.

Being the female breadwinner in your household, you may find you’ve simply taken on too much to get the proper amount of rest and avoid burnout. If this is the case, consider making some changes in your personal life, your professional life, or both.

These changes could include cutting back on volunteer commitments, delegating tasks at work to your team or an assistant, or changing jobs altogether. Speaking with a financial advisor can help you understand how much you really need to work to support your lifestyle. You may also decide to ask your spouse and/or children to pitch in more around the house. Whether at home or work, asking for help is an excellent way to mitigate female breadwinner stress.

5. Outsource tasks.

Hiring extra help at work or outsourcing household chores like cleaning or grocery shopping may seem extravagant when you first consider the idea. However, these decisions often make good financial sense when you think about what your time is worth. As a female breadwinner, if your salary is higher than the amount you’d pay someone per hour to clean your house, you’d be better off hiring help while you’re at work and spending your precious off-the-clock hours with family or friends.

If you’re still not convinced of the value of outsourcing, keep in mind that if your stress turns into burnout, you may be forced to take time off work at that point anyway. You could end up losing a paycheck—or worse—if the burnout results in long-term effects on your health.

6. Find a financial advisor.

Managing your finances, investments, taxes, and insurance can be a lot of work, even if you’re financially savvy. Finding a trusted financial advisor to take on this responsibility for you is a wise delegation tactic that can save both time and energy.

When looking for a wealth management firm, we recommend choosing a fiduciary, fee-only firm where the advisors are legally obligated to act in your best interest and don’t take commissions. You also want to seek out an advisor who will look at your entire financial picture to create a plan that aligns with your goals and conduct proactive tax planning as part of managing your assets.

7. Communicate openly with your partner.

Being the female breadwinner in your household may sometimes cause friction between you and your partner, but honest, open communication can help resolve these issues. You can be proud of your accomplishments while maintaining a relationship based on mutual respect and teamwork. Consulting with your partner on financial decisions is one way to help foster this dynamic.

If your role as a female breadwinner is causing friction between you and your partner, and you’re unsure how to move forward, speaking with a professional may provide objective insight.

8. Make time for fun.

You’ve worked hard to get to where you are today. You may not always be able to stave off female breadwinner stress completely, but by making time for activities you enjoy—whether a quiet afternoon indoors reading a good book or an off-the-beaten-path adventure—you’ll be able to reconnect with yourself and your loved ones and limit burnout.

Personalized Financial Guidance For Female Breadwinners

Finding the right person to manage your money and assist with navigating financial decisions is an important milestone that can help move you closer to your goals. At Bay Point Wealth, our team understands that every woman’s financial situation is unique—and so are your objectives. That’s why we always start every new client relationship by sitting down with you to listen and gather as much information as we can to craft your personalized financial plan.

Schedule a call with us today to learn more about how we can support you as a financial advocate and sounding board.

Aging Gracefully

Topics: Financial Planning