Monday, May 4, 2015

Reason to Lean In: A Man is Not a Financial Plan

My heart goes out to a young widow, two fatherless children and a man who died in his prime.  

For those that don't know who Sheryl Sandberg is, she is 2nd in command to Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook. She is Harvard educated and wrote the best seller "Lean In" 

On top of that, Sheryl is self-made having accumulated a net worth of over a billion dollars.  This is very rare since the majority of women who are billionaires become so through inheritance.

And get this: she made more money than her husband...but that wasn't an issue for him; a life with the woman he loved was far more important to him than how much either one was making.

Sheryl is my working mother hero.  Many women have criticized her decision to continue working while raising a family because she and her husband could have afforded a SAHM arrangement on her husband's income alone. Her husband, Dave Goldberg was the CEO for another Internet company.

The question I've been pondering after hearing the news about his death and want to discuss with my readers is this: Where would she and her children be today had she decided to Lean Back and be a Harvard housewife instead?

A man is not a financial plan.  Your husband can divorce, die, or get disabled without notice.

Sheryl had gone through one divorce (no children in first marriage) and now she is a widow with two children still in elementary school. But because Sheryl has been working full-time outside the home since graduating college, she does not have to worry about big financial issues that many widows/divorcees face such as having her house going into foreclosure, declaring bankruptcy or losing health insurance benefits.  Nor will she have difficulty finding employment that can earn her a living wage due to a 5, 10, 15 year employment gap.  Many women in this predicament do not have savings or money for retirement either.

Sheryl at the moment probably feels like she's lost everything because losing a spouse is a significant loss.  I bet she's trying to figure out how she will keep going through life without her companion.  But I know she will eventually figure out a way to keep going.  She can and will continue to take great care of and provide for her two children.

Mr. Goldberg chose wisely in having a smart, accomplished wife, rather than retreat from or try to dominate her.

If any of you are on the fence about continuing your career with kids, you can think about it this way:

Being a working mother is not something selfish that you do for yourself and to the detriment of your children. 

You are insurance for your family if something were to happen.