Rise of the Female Breadwinners: Burgundy Woods 

click to enlarge PHOTO BY SARAH BROOKE LYONS
  • Photo by Sarah Brooke Lyons

Burgundy Woods

32; serious relationship
Job Title: Account executive*
Estimated household income: $50,000-$75,000 (2012)
Education: B.A., graduate degree in fashion design and trend research

How did you become the primary breadwinner?

I didn’t plan it—it just fell on my lap. After living in Los Angeles since 2004, when I came home in 2012 I realized my mother needed help. I’m glad I came home because my mother needs me not only emotionally but also financially. My boyfriend, who worked at a major record label, sacrificed his whole life in L.A. to come be with me. But in SA there are no [major] record labels so he had to start all over again and I’m supporting him as well.

Is your job now the career you always though you’d had?

No. My dream job, I had it in L.A. as a fashion designer. Before that, I started in the music business, where I met my boyfriend, but as labels began to die I got a fashion degree and moved into that field.

What’s the most rewarding aspect of your job?

As a fashion designer, well, everything. But now, even though I never planned to be a saleswoman, I do have a pop culture background and when I came back home I realized how much I had missed San Antonio... I’m so excited about the city’s growth. Since I left, the city has grown tremendously and it is so much fun. The most rewarding thing about my job at the Current is meeting all these movers and shakers, being a part of all that. In L.A., like in Austin, things are done already. But San Antonio is growing and so many new things are happening. It’s so much fun to be inside of it all. SA is young and budding. And at the Current we get to talk to all those business people that are contributing to that growth. I love, love, love SA more than I ever loved it.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Gosh… I have no idea. I just want my mom to be happy and healthy. That’s my primary goal right now.  It’s all about her.

At what age do you expect to retire?

[Loud laugh] When I was in the fashion industry I always told everyone I’d never retire. Now, I don’t know. Hopefully I’ll be doing something I love so much I’ll never want to retire.

What’s your biggest financial worry?

Paying off my student loans and making sure my mother doesn’t need anything, making sure her house and car are paid and her health is OK. I want her to not have to worry about anything.

Are you able to save money on your present salary?

No. It’s not easy.

Has being the primary breadwinner altered your personal life? Is it hard for your boyfriend to accept the fact that you’re the main earner in the house?

Not really. My boyfriend’s my best friend. We’ve been through it all together: great financial stability and very poor finances. He’s great.

Did your mother work when you were growing up?

Yes, she was the main breadwinner. She did everything for me, and she was amazing. That’s why I think it is now my turn to help her.

Are you planning to always be the primary breadwinner?

I’m not planning, but if it happens, it happens. (smiles)

How do you think society views female breadwinners?

For me it’s so normal, maybe because I lived in L.A. and it is so common there. I think it is really weird some people think female breadwinners are “the destruction of society” or things like that. This is 2013, and so many family-related things have changed. I don’t think it should even be an issue.

What does “having it all” means to you? Do you think you “have it all”?

No, I don’t have it all. Having it all means to be able to provide a quality of life for the people you love. Right now, I’m doing my best but I took a huge pay cut to come to SA, yet SA is cheaper [than L.A.], so I’m hanging in there. I’m not just paying for me now, but for three. So no, I don’t have it all yet. Having it all for me would be to pay for everyone’s bills and being able to take them out for a nice dinner on the weekends and not having to worry about gas or anything else.

*Full disclosure: Woods works at the Current.

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