This is the first of the 5 roles I discussed in a previous post that every Dad has to provide for his family. In most families today, both partners will most likely have a job and earn an income. But in those families there often is a lack of effective budgeting and there is a reliance on both incomes to survive. If you are not fulfilling this role, there may be a number consequences that you can expect including the following: financial instability in times of medical issues, inability to invest or plan for the future, increased stress and arguing about bills, lack of respect and lack of sexual intimacy.
Understanding the Role:
The provider of the household is not just paying the bills, although that is a big part of it. It's earning enough to cover the bills plus medical expenses, home repairs, and emergencies such as vehicle breakdowns or other issues. Many providers have more than one job to accomplish this or one job that demands a lot of hours. Taking this huge responsibility is a burden most Father's happily accept and embrace and in turn should be respected for doing.
In addition to earning the main income of the household, you should set up automatic billing to your main bank account (you should have atleast 3 or 4). Those normal bills, such as mortgage/rent, utilities, television/internet and phone should all be automatic. The only bills that should require intent would be additional mortgage payments, groceries or basic needs shopping for the family. By setting up all automatic payments, this will prevent missing payments and getting behind which may rack up penalties as well as a steep bill. It also helps to build credit with US credit bureaus.
One more important factor as the role of provider comes with big buying decisions such as a family vehicle, furniture or a home. All decisions should be made as a couple and if possible, make a plan for a future purchase. Such a plan might include making a new savings account with a nickname of the item you will purchase. Then set up a small piece of the budget to deposit there automatically at the interval you choose. After some time has passed, you will have a lump of cash that can be used to purchase the item outright saving thousands on interest you don't have to pay or assist as the down payment on your first property.
Spouse working and Managing the extra income:
Your spouse will have a lot of other responsibilities in the household especially if your main job requires a lot of your time. Someone needs to keep consistency in the home. Children who grow in such a family dynamic are far less likely to end up in jail or abusing substances and far more likely to finish higher education which will lead to a productive life. Fathers are crucial to the income portion of that dynamic but the Mother is crucial to the health and well-being part. She will need to maintain the household schedule, children's needs and often times also control the budget including grocery shopping. If your partner chooses to also work, that is great and should be encouraged. But that income is extra to the budget and should always be considered an add-on. For example, her income could really speed up your savings for those large purchases. The new car fund could be where 80% of her salary goes and the other 20% is for luxury things like hair, nails and so on. She can feel great and also be a major contributor to your livelihood.
Building Your Family Business
One of my absolute favorite things about this dynamic is that it allows your family to pursue additional goals. If your partner is not working full-time, she can pursue higher education, or possibly start a family business. Here are a few ideas of a home-based business that anyone can do:
Print On-Demand through Etsy
Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA)
Affiliate Marketing through Pinterest
In each of these examples, you provide a product or service through a website without needing to stock up items in your home. With a bit of research on YouTube, you can get started immediately and start earning an income at home.
Investing in your future
The goal of every family and every provider should be to invest in your future, together. It takes about 15 to 20 years for investments to hit maturity on average and working together as a team can ensure you reach that goal. For example, if your first home purchase is a duplex. You and your family live in half of it, while your tenant lives in the other half paying rent. If your budget is fixed at the entire mortgage amount, then the rent collected may equate to an additional 9 or 10 mortgage payments per year. That schedule could pay off a home in 10 years instead of the full 30 years and save thousands of dollars in interest to the bank. Once the home is paid off, the rent collected is cash flow that you may enjoy without working or it can be re-invested into other things.
In another example, you could set up a bank account that creates cash flow based on the account balance (dividends) such an ETF like the S&P500. If you talk this over with your bank, they can set up a ROTH IRA account, with an auto-deposit amount that you determine monthly. The beauty of these accounts, is that the money saved in them is tax deductible on your yearly taxes up to a limit which as of 2023 is $6,500 per earning adult (when filing jointly). The intriguing part about that $13,000 per year is that it also earns a yearly cash flow of around 7-10% annually. Over the 20 years, that amount compounds with your contribution and the cashflow that adds onto it. If your spouse is working, she can also decide to add onto it from her salary a bit of extra, when possible, like one paycheck a year for example.
All of these topics have referenced an amount of financial discipline that can be very difficult. One thing I want you to understand is that no one is kicking you for not knowing this stuff before. But things don't change until you decide to make today the day when things start working differently. Discuss this with your spouse and put in place a few rules, boundaries and tools to reach the success you both want to achieve. What does success look like? Not having to work anymore but getting a check from your investments? A fully paid off home for your family? Discuss it. Then agree to the rules and tools you will use. Here are a few that helped me:
Google Sheets. Free budget visibility. Build a simple spreadsheet that shows what bills you have and how much is going into them.
Your Bank App. Nickname all of your Accounts and add extra savings accounts. Then set up automatic deposits to go into each (Main Bill account, His Free spending account, Her Free spending account, Emergency Saving Account, Roth IRA Retirement Account, and Big Purchase (new car) Savings Account).
Financial Advisor. When your ability to save has surpassed all of these savings accounts, then you need to invest the rest wisely. A financial advisor will help with that. DISCLAIMER: Only take this step once the emergency savings is stacked several months up to a year of your monthly wage, the Roth IRA is already on pace to be fully met and your large future purchase accounts are full. Here is a link to a forbes article that can assist with choosing an advisor.
Mentorship. Seek help with a mentor to discuss your specific life situation and get advice on how to steer the ship back in the right direction. If you would like me to assist as a mentor, please reach me by email at email@example.com or via any of my social media links on MarcLeMere.com.
The long-term health of your relationship will greatly depend on how you both work as a team. By taking on roles, it helps to manage expectations and reach mutual goals through mutual effort. This will lower stress and increase a bonding feeling, which may also assist physical intimacy. Other areas of your romantic relationship can be greatly assisted when your spouse feels she has a real partner, who contributes what he can and doesn't leave everything on her shoulders. Financial successes are both of yours. Accomplishments with business or assets should be celebrated together. You and your spouse are 1. Embracing roles is all about accepting responsibilities and tasks that meet the strengths of the individual, to the betterment of the couple.
If you enjoyed this post, here is a link to Dad Role 2: The Protector.