On Sunday, a writer for the New York Times, Wednesday Martin, opened a can of worms. 

Martin’s piece highlights the lives of married women in Manhattan, whose daily activities include gym sessions, mothering and managing the multiple properties her husband may own. 

Over coffee dates in the Upper East Side, Martin became aware of a trend, wives ‘waiting’ until the end of the year to shop for clothes or buy a piece of furniture at a charity event. 

Martin was told that these wives were give ‘wife bonuses’, annually. “A wife bonus, might be hammered out in a pre-nup or post-nup, and distributed on the basis of not only how well her husband’s fund had done but her own performance — how well she managed the home budget, whether the kids got into a “good” school — the same way their husbands were rewarded at investment banks. In turn these bonuses were a ticket to a modicum of financial independence and participation in a social sphere where you don’t just go to lunch, you buy a $10,000 table at the benefit luncheon a friend is hosting.”

While there is much speculation about whether this ‘Wife Bonus’ exists beyond the Manhattan, even some of New York’s top divorce lawyers have said that Martin’s piece do resonate closely with the marriage economics of Manhattan’s elite. 

However even further speculation suggests that in reality, this ‘Wife Bonus’ actually already exists.. mostly in those marriages with a single income earner. In essence. the breadwinner is paying their partner for raising the kids through paying all the bills. In fact, ‘home wealth’ is definitely recognised. Additionally, the stay at home parent may be ‘rewarded’ with a new car, a family holiday or a fancy dinner date.

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