Who does the driving, the guy or the girl? Financially speaking, that is.
I thought of this concept of a “financial driver” when I stepped off the train this past week. As I walked off the platform, and to the parking lot for the commuter train I took, I noticed that a wife came to pick up her husband from the station. He had his work bag with him, and seemed like he was coming back from a long day at work. She was cheerful as she drove up the curb to pick him up.
As she temporarily parked the car and he approached on foot, she opened the driver’s side door and got out. She left the door open as she walked around to the other side of the car. She opened the passenger door, got in and sat down. Meanwhile, he got into the car and took the newly vacated driver’s seat. Then, they drove off for the evening.
It got me thinking: why did she have to move to the passenger side? She was already driving, so why couldn’t he get into the car and sit in the passenger seat? Wouldn’t that have been easier?
I don’t know the people, but it seemed like there were clear gender roles at play there. She drove when he wasn’t around, but once the man was present, she let him take command of the vehicle and put her fate in his hands. She let him take care of her when he arrived, while she was taking care of herself at first before he got there.
Being someone financially oriented, and an experienced personal finance blogger, I of course thought of a money angle to this. Basically, it seemed like a visual metaphor for how some folks tend to view money and relationships. For whatever reason, the guy is often expected to take the lead – whether it’s his own expectations or his wife’s. It seems natural and ingrained in many relationships.
I like to drive. I don’t know why this is the case, but it just seems more natural when I drive and not her. But is this necessary or even valid? In driving, and more to the point – in terms of money?
It makes me wonder sometimes, when I see this. Being a parent of a daughter, I guess it’s natural to think that you want your own to be treated well when older. Even taken care of, perhaps? But I want her to grow up being self-sufficient, thinking that she doesn’t need to depend on someone to provide for her. If it happens, great. Regardless, she should be able to take care of herself.
Relating this back to driving, isn’t it often said that women are actually safer drivers than men according to statistics? Why should there be different perceptions when it comes to money and independence?
Who is the financial driver in your life?