Last Updated 4 months by Emily Standley-Allard

The concepts of ‘kept’ wives and ‘trad’ wives have gained massive attention recently in social media posts and videos, often sparking heated debates about gender roles, financial independence, and personal autonomy. While these lifestyles may appeal to some for their traditional values or perceived stability, they carry significant implications for women’s financial well-being and autonomy. Understanding these roles and their potential drawbacks is crucial for fostering informed discussions about personal finance, gender equality, and the choices women make or are sometimes compelled to make due to societal pressures.

Article originally published on MSN.



Understanding Trad Wives and Kept Wives

‘Kept’ Wives

The term ‘kept’ wife refers to a woman who is financially supported solely by her spouse, with little to no income of her own.

Historically, this arrangement was commonplace, reflecting societal norms that prioritized men as breadwinners while women were expected to manage the home and care for children.

In contemporary settings, while some women may choose this arrangement, it often raises serious concerns about financial dependence and future vulnerability.

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‘Trad’ Wives

‘Trad’ wives, short for traditional wives, embrace a lifestyle and marital dynamic that emphasizes traditional gender roles — with a focus on homemaking, child-rearing, and deferring to the husband as the primary provider and decision-maker.

This lifestyle choice is often idealized on social media for its nostalgic return to mid-20th-century domestic norms, but like ‘kept wives’ it similarly underscores the issues of financial dependence.

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The Financial Implications

The financial ramifications of being a ‘kept’ or ‘trad’ wife are profound, affecting not just the individual woman but also broader societal views on gender and economic participation.

Here are some of the key concerns and downright dangers:

1. Limited Financial Independence

Women in these roles often have limited access to their own financial resources, making them dependent on their spouses for all of their economic security.

This dependence can be disempowering, limiting their ability to be aware of important financial matters, educate and invest for themselves and making important independent financial decisions.

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2. Vulnerability in Case of Divorce or Widowhood

Without a personal income, investing knowledge or career progression, ‘kept’ and ‘trad’ wives are likely to find themselves financially vulnerable in the event of divorce or the death of their spouse.

The lack of workforce participation and experience can make it challenging to find gainful employment, especially well-paying positions that can sustain the standard of living they were perhaps accustomed to.

Divorce is very common in the United States and has been since their idealized 1950s. An estimated 43% of first marriages end in divorce. The likelihood of divorce is even higher in subsequent marriages, according to data from the CDC.

3. Reduced Retirement Savings

Being out of the workforce means missing out on opportunities to contribute to retirement accounts, such as 401(k)s or IRAs as well as investment accounts.

This situation can lead to financial insecurity and loss in later years, relying heavily on a spouse’s retirement savings or social security benefits, which may not suffice for both.

4. Impact on Personal Identity and Self-worth

Everyone feels good earning a paycheck or making money on their own. Financial dependence severely affects a woman’s self-perception and sense of autonomy.

Earning an income and contributing financially to the home or to her or her children’s future provides a sense of competence, achievement and independence, which is often compromised in ‘kept’ or ‘trad’ arrangements.

5. Societal and Economic Impacts

On a broader scale, the trend of ‘kept’ or ‘trad’ wives contributes to the gender wage gap and reinforce stereotypes that women are less capable or interested in contributing to the workforce.

This perception can hinder progress towards gender equality in professional and personal finance realms.

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Other Darker Dangers of The “Kept’ and ‘Tradwife” Movement

Beyond the individual harms that the kept and Trad wife movement poses, the movement has also been shown to be fueled by alt-right ideologies.

The alt-right refers to a right-wing movement that rejects mainstream politics and utilizes online platforms to share provocative content, often expressing opposition to racial, religious or gender equality.

study published in Media and Communication delves into the ways kept and tradwife vloggers’ videos stylistically thread alt-right anti-feminism into the broader online influencer culture.

By repeatedly displaying aesthetic content associated with feminine identity, home and family, these influencers create a powerful visual narrative that resonates with a wide audience. “I just want to stay home and bake bread all day…”

This mode of veridiction serves as a potent tool for spreading anti-feminist sentiment—in a dangerously digestible and aesthetically pleasing way—within and beyond online communities.

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Navigating Challenges

For women navigating these dynamics, seeking crucial financial education (why this isn’t taught in school is beyond me), and establishing some form of financial independence is critical, even within the constraints of their chosen lifestyle.

Strategies should include:

– Educational Pursuits: Engaging in online courses or certification programs that can provide skills for remote or flexible work opportunities.

– Financial Literacy: Gaining a comprehensive understanding of personal finance, including budgeting, investing, and retirement planning.

– Personal Savings: Establishing personal savings, emergency and investment accounts to build a financial safety net.



While the concepts of ‘kept’ and ‘trad’ wives may resonate with certain conditioned values or fantasy- type lifestyle choices, it’s essential to critically assess the long-term financial and personal implications of these roles. Building financial independence, educating, and planning empowers women to make informed choices about their lives (the lives of their children) and futures, regardless of their marital or domestic arrangements. As society continues to evolve, so too should our understanding and support of diverse paths to financial and personal fulfillment.

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