The breadwinning wife (Photo: iStock)

Stella Mumo, 31, is a Mathematics and Chemistry teacher working with a private school in Nairobi City. Her monthly net salary is Sh120,000.

The married mother of three says her husband earns less than she does and thus she covers most of the family’s basic financial needs.

This, she says is not an unusual thing in modern-day families where women are breadwinners and where they don’t feel bothered having a husband who can even be a stay-at-home dad.

To enhance the family finances, Stella has invested in a poultry farming business that the husband manages. She has also invested in a chama and has enrolled in a Sacco. This is how she makes her savings. From the two, she can get short and long-term loans mostly for investment projects.

“I don’t have a problem with my husband not having a salaried job. After all, when we met, he was making more money than me and that was before he lost his well-paying job. It is not like he is a lazy man. He is an ICT professional and can take up jobs here and there, some of which do not require him to have an office setting. That way, he helps a lot in the house and can manage the poultry business,” says Stella.

She adds, “Sometimes my friends make fun of me, that I am the man in the house. It doesn’t bother me. Besides, I believe times have changed. It is not the dispensation when we would depend on a man for everything. We too should carry responsibilities. Whatever a man can do, a woman can do.”   


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Women have always had the desire to be keen on finances. This is especially so in the family space.

They have a certain fear of not being in control when it comes to catering to needs both as individuals and as a couple. There is so much that comes with that because it also reflects so much on what they invest in, and in as much as most times investments is a risk they learn to navigate the risks easily.

Women go big in savings because they feel like they are making the lives of everyone else easy, including their own. Indeed, they do more savings than investing since the risk levels are lower in the former than in the latter. They work in low-risk areas compared to men.

Catherine Wachira has been in formal employment for the past six years. However, she has a different approach for her family in terms of savings. With her husband they split roles on investments, but they invest in major assets as a family.

“If I had more money, however, I would invest in farming, I am so passionate about it. If I had more money, I would take higher risks.”

She invests in the money market and Saccos and a little in a savings account.

According to Eunice Bakari, a manager in a Sacco, women need to be educated more on saving and investing money.

“We have not educated women enough on savings and investments. There is more that could be done on the same. Unemployed women save more than the salaried. There is a need to educate and train women on entrepreneurship and how to start up their side hustles, which can by far improve their financial state.”

Eunice does not shy away from saying that women save more than men according to the report from her Savings and Credit Co-operative (Sacco).

In addition, in a recent study done by a Sacco, many men do not have much when retiring so they depend on their retirement money.

Today, there are many professions dominated by women at senior levels. This not only works as an example of women’s empowerment but also comes with better payment, thus improving women’s investment and savings. 

This has led women to get into higher-risk investments. More women are getting into real estate, which requires more capital but has good returns.

“Most CSR are dominated by women and if I had more money I could invest in a hospital and start a children’s home. I would love to help out. I save my money in a sacco and I am optimistic that one day it will be enough to start a hospital. Also, I am in charge of money in my house so I am careful about how I spend and save,” says Lilian Odour, a mum of two who believes in budgeting.

Joe Magu a banker and financial investment trainer believes that more women are embracing self-employment.

“I have seen women even getting extra jobs to increase their income, but they are always scared of investing in risky ventures,” says Joe.

He adds, “Workshops and training are what we should embark more on, and any government should try to make that happen if we are to have a lot of women investing their money, or making more money through investments because there will be more of a difference in their work and lives.” 

Carol Wanjiku says she hated taking risks until she was advised by a financial adviser, who most people are not willing to consult.

She has since invested in stocks and equity funds. She wanted her money to work for her with the minimum risk and that was the best decision she ever made because she now has a passive income.

“Money makes you happy no matter where you are in life and if you dare to invest in more risks you will make more. Do it because not everyone has the privilege to have financial freedom or something of their own. As I worked harder and made more money and saved enough for emergency and security the more I got the courage to take risks,” says Carol.

Today, there are many households headed by women. Whether by design or by accident, in such settings, women have risen above board to take financial roles as heads of the family.

“I am a mother of two, a 10-year-old and a four-year-old and I can provide for the family. I separated from the father of my children and I don’t plan to get married. I don’t think it is a big deal anymore that women take up financial roles as family heads,” says Sarah Muthoni, 35.   

Regina Mutitu is a beautician who would wish to expand her beauty business if only her chama could give her money to invest.

She consults her sister who is an investment expert and her husband who is better at saving than herself.

She however plans to invest in her children’s education rather than have an education plan. Her love for investing is evident.

To most women, it is their instinct to multiply rather than to create that rules them - they are still soft investors but for good reasons.

More women feel that, unless they have enough money or at least enough to last them at least six months they are not in a position to invest but, in the real sense, even the slightest amount of money on a good risk can give you a lot. 

There is also fear which makes a majority of women fear investing. Not saying how much money you have is easy, and it makes it hard for anyone to judge you based on what you have.

Women invest differently based on where they are in life. The more responsibilities you have the more you will stay away from investment risk, which is not a bad thing.

Often, women are responsible for family finances and that is why women with children or families take fewer investment risks.