It's All About The Money: Successful Women Facing Divorce
Story courtesy of The Survivors Club
Recently, two more hugely famous females announced they were facing divorce. Pop star and actress Christina Aguilera and TV star Courteney Cox joined the ranks of so many famous women who can claim successful careers, but not successful marriage.
Cox's best pal Jennifer Aniston was famously divorced from Brad Pitt years ago, followed by Madonna's divorce from Guy Ritchie and Sandra Bullock's famous split from Jesse James just weeks after her Oscar win.
In most, if not all, of these cases, the female half of the power couple was making more money than her then-husband, and at a career high when the marriage falls apart. And while it's our tendency to say "the man couldn't handle her success," Certified Financial Planner Lauren Lyons Cole has a different take. Maybe with all of their success and independence, these women simply didn't need to stay in a marriage that wasn't working?
We spoke with Lyons Cole, and she gave some insight on this topic, as well as how real-life women can use her financial advice to survive in their own relationships.
Why is it that super successful women like Courteney Cox, Jennifer Aniston and Madonna didn't have a successful marriage?
As a financial planner, I find it interesting that marriage has evolved into a partnership that primarily exists to fulfill emotional needs, rather than economic ones. Successful women have worked incredibly hard to build careers and financial independence.
Because of this, there is less incentive to stay in a relationship that isn't satisfying emotionally. I think anyone who is or has been married can attest to the fact that having a successful marriage is very difficult--possibly more difficult that building a successful career. Jennifer Anniston, Courteney Cox and Madonna are not unique in their relationship challenges, but perhaps we are more likely to notice and critique their shortcomings because of their incredibly successful careers.
Is it a given that earning a ton of money will intimidate a man?
I work with many couples where the women is the higher earner. I think it's important for couples to be mindful of their various industries, rather than differences in salary. If one partner is a lawyer and the other is a teacher, it doesn't matter who does what--the lawyer is going to earn more.
Many men these days are happy to find a spouse who is a higher-earner. Marriage is about teamwork and finances are joint. If both partners are happy in their respective careers, the breakdown of total income shouldn't be an issue. Of course, that's easier said then done. Working with an objective party, like a financial planner or marriage counselor, can help a couple navigate the challenges that arise in any relationship.
It's important to remember that money is a tough subject for all couples. Money is a very emotional topic regardless of a person's level of wealth. I've seen people who are incredibly wealthy to very much in debt, and they all struggle with emotional ties to money. It only becomes more complicated when you have two people involved.
What kind of man should successful women look for? What qualities in a man make him comfortable with a high-earning partner?
I am a strong believer in the virtue of financial communication. Couples who manage to speak openly about money have stronger relationships overall. Given the fact that modern marriages tend to be based on emotional connections, and with money being one of the most emotional topics out there, having honest conversations about feelings and money is essential.
If a couple can neutralize the topic of differences in income they can begin to focus on the important things, like supporting each other in their career ambitions, spending leisure time together and financial planning for joint life goals.
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