Do you make more than your spouse? How is it going for you??

by J. Money - Published March 21, 2019

like a boss - mug

Was looking over our finances yesterday, and realized that for the first time since knowing my wife she’s actually making more money than me!

Hubba Hubba!

The more she makes, the less I need to! Haha… but also the more household income = the more opportunities for everyone too. So score 1 for the Mrs. ;)

And a pretty neat turn around from just a few years ago when she was at home with the kids and racking up degrees… Now I’m the stay-at-home parent watching as she climbs that corporate ladder! From a $50,000 entry-level job to a middle-tiered $80,000 one – just under three years! Rockin’ it!

So of course I’ve got nothing but love for it :) But I know that’s not always the case in situations like these, so I thought today we’d use this platform to share any experiences/tips/resources we might have for anyone who’s *struggling* with this shifting dynamic.

If you’re a breadwinning spouse, what’s been working well for you over the years?? What are some challenges you had to overcome – or are currently working towards overcoming?

(Feel free to share anonymously btw if it makes you more comfortable! Trying to be 100% productive up in here and not add any unnecessary drama to anyone’s lives :))

I don’t have much expertise or experience in this myself outside the little I just shared, but I do remember this book by Farnoosh Torabi making a splash a few years ago: When She Makes More: 10 Rules for Breadwinning Women

when she makes more book

Here’s a clip off her website:

When she brings home the bigger paycheck the rules are different. Female breadwinners face a much higher risk for burnout, infidelity, and divorce. In When She Makes More I present a bold strategy that not only addresses how income imbalances affect relationships and family dynamics, but also how a woman can best manage (and take advantage of) this unique circumstance—emotionally, socially, and financially.

As a member of this growing community, I wrote this book for myself, as well as for the millions of fellow top-earning women in the U.S. and around the globe. It’s the ultimate guidebook for any modern woman who wants to successfully navigate her money, career, family and relationship in the event that she earns more. And all without guilt, shame or fear.

[Looks like she also came out with a follow up/revised version of it a year later too: When She Makes More: The Truth About Navigating Love and Life for a New Generation of Women]

There’s also a fantastic list of *women bloggers* that was recently put out by WomenWhoMoney.com that might help –> Personal Finance Blogs by Women

Not sure which blogs specifically address being a breadwinner (maybe BitchesGetRiches.com?? Or am I totally making that up because they’re both BOSSES??? Haha…), but you’ll definitely find some great new reads to add to your collection :)

Conversely, being a breadwinning *man* in this society can also cause its own set of problems too… Not in the same ways, of course, but when you’re raised with the notion of having to provide for your family your whole life it’s bound to cause a little stress!

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have freak out sessions every now and then providing for my growing family over the years! Especially when we were popping out kids left and right and living solely off my blog income. Remember that period when we were BLEEDING CASH every single month?! Not pretty! Haha…

So I’d love to hear from both the women and the men out there to hopefully get some well rounded discussions going… Whether you’re on the side that’s making less, or on the one that’s making more in your relationship.

The more you’re comfortable adding the better so anyone who stumbles across this in the future can be helped as well. And remember – totally cool to go anonymously if it allows you to divulge more and/or ask more specific and personal questions!!

I guarantee you’re not the only one going through it!

******
UPDATE: Here’s another great resource from our friend Josh: “Chief Mom Officer blog has a treasure trove of content for Breadwinning, Six-Figure, Millionaire Moms, and she won the Plutus Award for Best Family blog in 2018: https://chiefmomofficer.org/breadwinning-six-figure-millionaire-moms/

{ 90 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Josh March 21, 2019 at 6:06 am

As a Singleton, I’m out of this conversation. But Chief Mom Officer blog has a treasure trove of content for Breadwinning, Six-Figure, Millionaire Moms, and she won the Plutus for Best Family blog in 2018: https://chiefmomofficer.org/breadwinning-six-figure-millionaire-moms/

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2 J. Money March 21, 2019 at 6:21 am

Heyyy very good to know, thanks man!

And congrats on being the breadwinner! ;)

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3 Corinne March 21, 2019 at 6:48 am

As a lady married to another lady, I feel really lucky that we don’t have to deal with any of this gendered nonsense. I’m a software engineer and she’s a social worker, so there’s definitely a big difference in our incomes. We’ve had some feelings about that to work through, but none of it was due to patriarchy, which is great. Call it queer privilege.

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4 tory March 21, 2019 at 6:52 am

Us too Connie – after earning more than my Mrs for the whole time we’ve been together, she officially earnt more than me last month! I am super chuffed & very proud of her. No competition, only teamwork!

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5 J. Money March 21, 2019 at 11:46 am

Amen to all of this

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6 Mike Monfredi March 21, 2019 at 7:09 am

Great post, J Money!

My wife is a dentist and we’ve been through a similar path. Undergrad and grad school she was racking up the degrees and now that she’s been in practice for a few years, things are different money wise (in a better way). There’s a lot of debt that comes with those degrees, but the earning potential can be great as well.

If you’re interested – here’s a post I’ve written about my mindset once my wife started bringing home more bacon than me:

https://www.mikedupblog.com/female-breadwinner/

Have a great day!

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7 J. Money March 21, 2019 at 11:47 am

Thanks for chiming in, man! Bookmarking to read here shortly.

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8 [HCF] March 21, 2019 at 7:48 am

As the breadwinner in a single income family, I earn 100% more than my wife. There is no problem with this on my part and there would be no problem if the situation would be the opposite. We as a family are a team and share the tasks which are required to get things rolling. It just happened that way that the task of bringing home the money fell on me and she is the one who was able to give birth and now she is at home with the kids. These decisions were made by us evaluating our skills, needs and the circumstances. We have a single bank account and both of using the same resources per our needs. There is no “I bring home the money so I will tell how we use it” nonsense. For bigger purchases, both of us have a veto vote and we go for it only if we have an agreement. To be totally honest there were problems with the system. My wife felt that she doesn’t provide enough for the family. I had to convince her that her contribution to the wellbeing of our family is equally valuable, if not more valuable than mine. Earning money is something almost anyone can do but being an awesome stay at home parent is a much bigger task…

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9 J. Money March 21, 2019 at 11:49 am

Hell yes to that last one… And all of this really! Glad you guys found a system that works for the most part – we do the same thing with one main “combined” account that’s used for all things household and otherwise… (we used to have separate “blow money” accounts, but turns out we rarely used it anyways so just simplified it even more haha…)

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10 Holly March 21, 2019 at 8:16 am

When my husband and I dated in college he made way more since he was already in IT and I worked a very part time position. After we graduated and bought our first house at 22, it didn’t take long for me to make more than him. I was able to get into a position and moved up quickly. It was great! We both were thrilled whom ever got more.

He then later changed companies and got a couple promotions. I had our first child and I continued to work full-time and I picked a more family friendly position.

We didn’t think one of us could be stay at home parent. We both loved the idea. In fact he really wanted to be the stay at home Dad. Then I was pregnant with twins and everything changes. He was making more and opportunities at his company were better than mine and I REALLY wanted to stay at home. So ta da! SAHM

I just started doing this financial coaching this past year part time and love helping people.

He will say it is stressful being the only breadwinner since that puts a lot of stress on him to do well especially in the beginning when we weren’t sure how it was all going to work. We did it amazingly on one income without debt except mortgage and maxed his retirement. It took a lot of disapline and creative ways to save rather than spend.

We support each other %. If I make more some day he would love it! He still wants to be a stay at home Dad. Which is why we want to FIRE.

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11 J. Money March 21, 2019 at 11:53 am

Awww well I hope one day he gets that wish!! But twins would scare the finances out of me too! Haha… So I’m glad things are working out well for you guys on that front until that blessed day FIRE comes :) Or who knows – maybe a different variation of it will be in the cards like when your coaching blows up??! :) I’m currently halfway FIRE’d and halfway working still haha…

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12 Nate March 21, 2019 at 8:18 am

I’ve been basically the sole income for our family for the last 8 years or so. From day one, even when she did work full time, we always considered everything to be fully ours, not mine or hers, other than a little fun money we can each spend however we want without question. She’s living her deepest desire right now, which is being a full time mom for our kids. Me working in a office is mostly good, but not what I’d ideally be doing with my life. The only time I have negative feelings about money is when she’s spending it on things that are not only a pure want item, but a thing that I think we’d actually be better off not having in our home. I try my best to bite my tongue and say nothing the vast majority of the time since her opinions are as valid as mine, but there are moments when I just want to yell “I traded 2 hours of my life for that piece of crap that you’ll forget about within a month!” I view every purchase in terms of how much of my life I am trading for it. With her not working, she doesn’t have any skin in that game and doesn’t view things the same way. Or maybe she wants me to keep working forever and not be home? :)

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13 J. Money March 21, 2019 at 11:59 am

Stop, haha…

But I do like that mentality of viewing every purchase in terms of amount of your life you’re trading for it.. That def. prevents a lot of nonsense spending, at least on your own account! ;)

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14 Adam March 21, 2019 at 8:20 am

Neither of us have jobs related to our degrees, so my wife and I count ourselves lucky that we’ve stumbled into actual careers in the first place. Our salaries played leapfrog from 2006 to 2014; since then, between hard work and competence and a really top-notch employer who recognizes those qualities, she’s pulled to about 35% more than I make.

My mom worked while dad was in grad school and then stopped working once he started his NASA career. Wife’s parents both worked, and in the earlier years I imagine her mom really tilted the balance as her dad was pursuing a PhD. We were fortunate to be raised without particularly gender-specific expectations. As long as we’re happy and we’re maxing out our 401k and HSA plans, I can’t be bothered to figure out why pay discrepancy should matter.

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15 J. Money March 21, 2019 at 12:04 pm

The “jobs relating to degrees” thing is so interesting especially these days… Lots of jobs that could care less about your education (like blogging!), though I still think it’s supremely important to have… And of course allows us to pursue such things knowing we always have that degree if needed to use at any time :) But yeah man – glad things are well for you two on this front!

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16 Ms. Steward March 21, 2019 at 8:24 am

Mr. Steward has always made more money than me, which has always been a point of contention for me. I genuinely think he would not care at all if I made more than him, but as a woman (felt like I needed to prove myself and fight the feminist battle for my pay) with a Master’s degree (when he, at the time, had an Associate’s), I found this deeply, deeply frustrating. It’s not that I begrudged him his pay, it’s that I was frustrated why I wasn’t making something more similar to what he was making giving my additional education.

We now make close to the same. He has more education, and I have lesser job responsibilities, so it feels more “fair.” The years where it felt imbalanced were rough, though.

I wrote more about this a while ago, here: https://howwedomoney.com/2017/12/02/thoughts-on-making-less-than-my-husband/

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17 J. Money March 21, 2019 at 2:24 pm

Thanks for sharing that!! I bet soooo many others feel the same way about that gap. Glad you linked to that post too so others can see – thank you :)

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18 Patrice March 21, 2019 at 8:30 am

I make more than my husband, but not by a lot. We both make nice salaries so I wouldn’t call either of us the “breadwinner”. There’s no issues in our relationship because of it, but what I find interesting is that other people assume our expensive house (that we put 60% down on) is due to him because he is a lawyer. I don’t want to brag to people about how much money I make so I keep quiet because it really doesn’t matter what other people think, but sometimes I want to tell people that my career has been really successful financially too.

I once read that when the woman makes more money than the man, both tend to lie about it. I think many men feel a need to “provide” so women go along with it to not impact their self esteem.

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19 J. Money March 21, 2019 at 2:27 pm

Very interesting!!! And please know you always have a place here to boast about how kick ass you are ;) If you can’t share on $$$ blogs where can you?? (And after checking out your blog real quick just now I find it SO SPOT ON that it’s called “Financial Peacock” hahaha… You strut that stuff!)

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20 Patrice March 22, 2019 at 10:27 am

Haha…what’s funny is that other than my house you’d never know. The house is actually a “fixer” that we haven’t fixed, but sits on an expensive piece of land. I think my car may officially be in “beater” territory. But when friends (and some family) find out how much money I make or our net worth, they can’t believe it…and they tend to get jealous. I urge people to talk about money, but I find that easier to do on the internet where people don’t know me, unfortunately. Emotions are complicated when it comes to money.

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21 J. Money March 22, 2019 at 1:33 pm

yup, totally…

and better to look poor than be poor! which I get a lot myself with the way I dress and look, haha…. Stealth wealth for the win, baby.

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22 Laura March 21, 2019 at 8:43 am

I’ve always made more than my husband (A LOT more when we first met. Less so now, he’s caught up a bit :)). It’s never really been an issue, maybe because that was our dynamic from day one. Also, in both our cases our parents made very similar salaries to each other with our mom’s making slightly more. I guess its the norm in our lives.

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23 J. Money March 21, 2019 at 2:29 pm

Very cool!

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24 Danielle March 21, 2019 at 8:54 am

My husband and I both made a good salary (My FIRE date is actually tomorrow, and he’s been done for a few months), but I generally earned about 20% more than him. When I’ve asked him if it bothered him, he would look at me like I sprouted a 2nd head because he thought that was the most irrelevant thing ever. Why would it matter if I made more? Side note- This attitude has a lot to do with why I married him in the first place.

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25 J. Money March 21, 2019 at 2:30 pm

HEYY!!!! EARLY CONGRATS!!!! What are you going to do to celebrate???!!!! :)

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26 Brooklyn Money March 21, 2019 at 3:44 pm

Congratulations on FIRE!

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27 Christina March 21, 2019 at 9:08 am

I have earned more than my fiance for the last 2 years, and he has always really liked that. I work in education (!!!!) and based on our career trajectories I doubt that I will always be the primary breadwinner. I think it has allowed both of us to put some monetary value behind what I do instead of just the “feel good” value there is when you help people.

If/when we have kids, I think it will be good that we both value my work instead of having to battle the SAHM syndrome I’ve noticed when the wife’s salary is not vital to the couple’s overall budgeting/financial plan. Several friends of mine have stopped working in their mid-twenties in order to “raise their family”. While that’s great if it’s what you want to do it hasn’t been what some of my friends have *wanted* to do, and that makes me sad.

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28 J. Money March 21, 2019 at 2:34 pm

That is sad :(

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29 Christine March 21, 2019 at 9:18 am

I just got married (at 41–I feel like age might matter a bit) last year and I earn significantly more and am more “degreed” than my husband. There was probably a time in my life when it would have bothered me—particularly the education part—but I realize what nonsense that is now. It’s like life comes along to educate you on your stupidity in some things!

I earn about $130,000 now and he earns about $52,000. I’m also the more responsible with money and financially literate. He didn’t have a ton of consumer debt or anything but is really bad at on time payments of bills so his credit score is in the toilet. The funniest part about that is that he was CONVINCED it had to be good…until we went for mortgage preapproval. I had asked him “are you sure?” (meaning “I don’t think it is”) Because I knew his tendency to avoid paying bills until the last possible second, and I kind of liked being right, even if it was for a bad reason!

So we bought the house with my credit and savings. His dad contributed to our downpayment which allowed us to have 20% down in the expensive DC area market without using every last dime of my “liquid” nest egg.. I guess people’s family help a lot (I mean that’s how many people get rich, right—that money was an inheritance as it is) but I’ll be honest, it bothered me a bit. His dad has always taken care of the finances for my husband (doing his taxes, helping with bills, telling him where to invest) which in the end stunted his financial growth and responsibility. Ironically, my family was sort of solid blue collar middle class and his I guess is upper middle—his grandfather was a doctor. Mine worked on the railroad. But I was raised to manage my money and be independent. Ain’t nobody going to be giving me anything…better hustle.

We share a checking account. Initially, we were going to share an account for joint finances and have our own for individual spending. It didn’t turn out that way. I had added up what I spend in a year on personal stuff—clothing, entertainment not with him, personal care services, etc—and asked him what he spent. Once I presented that in a budget, he was upset that I got more. This discussion really brought out the feelings. Me feeling like—“Waaaaa, I earn more, so why shouldn’t I be able to spend more. Plus, I need career clothes and all the stuff women are expected to do like hair and beauty…why should I be punished for marrying you” (harsh, I know) and he was feeling like less of a man and like I wanted him to live like a pauper and considered him worth less which wasn’t the case—after all, we were still paying his student loans and other bills. In the end he still would have more. So, that discussion was tabled a bit. We combined checking which in the end has been more educational and has forced the tough discussions. I freak out occasionally and have had to realize I don’t have full control. He gets confused as to why I freak. I’m a hyper vigilant manager. He’s a head in the sand spender. I see expenses down the road and where that takes us. He sees the current healthy balance and thinks—what’s another trip to Whole Foods? I’ve had to check myself—is it really “my” money and “his” money? Why do I freak out about his lunches out but find my own frivolous spending okay. I have had to confront my control freak tendencies head on.

Given all of the above, I think ultimately, for us, it’s about communication…we have to talk about it, but also we have to constantly work to remember net worth isn’t self worth. It takes self-reflection on both of our parts and at least for me, reminding myself of what he brings to the table and why I want him in my life. And I know the gendered expectations bother him…when we first met, he had mentioned a job in another city for much less than I made even at the time, and said I wouldn’t even have to work. I hadn’t shared what I made at that point…but I was sitting there thinking “why wouldn’t I work,” and he might feel differently if he knew what I did make. But again, money isn’t everything, and it’s as easy to lose as it is hard to gain. Ultimately, my company could decide to let me loose tomorrow, and I know he’d be there for me. Either of us could have a medical emergency that takes us away from work. You never know where life will take you, so you decide who you want to take that ride with and who will have your back for better or worse.

Long response but thanks for an outlet to talk about this! :-)

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30 J. Money March 21, 2019 at 2:38 pm

SUCH a great response too – wow! Thanks for pouring you heart out like that and really just for being so REAL about it! You’re like my favorite person today haha… thank you! He married up! ;)

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31 PhilZ March 21, 2019 at 9:33 am

I feel very fortunate. Together 30 years. Money has never been an issue. We have always had one joint bank account. Sometimes I made more. Mostly she made more. We each spend what we want, no questions asked. I now find that there isn’t much that I want or need to spend. My number 1 goal is to pay off the house—3 years, I hope. We have one vehicle with no payments. Our luxury item is 3 dogs. They are expensive. I’d like for my wife to be able to retire in 2022 at age of 55, but the looming question of healthcare is an unknown and quite scary. I think we will have our answers, for better or worse, after the next election.

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32 J. Money March 21, 2019 at 2:41 pm

That freedom to spend as you wish without either party worrying is priceless on its own. And means you guys are obviously on the same page! I’d love an email the second you pay off that house btw… I’ll need all the motivation I can get as we start from the beginning of that process :)

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33 Ms. Q March 21, 2019 at 9:37 am

I’m taking you up on the (mostly) anonymous offer haha. I made more than my husband, from the day we started dating until now. Initially, he thought it was dope…sexy, even. I have a Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in my field and he has an unrelated Associate’s degree, so it wasn’t too surprising I made more than double he did the entire time.

Somewhere after getting married, he started resenting me and my personal finance savvy, all things he used to love. So I agreed to continue working my soulless corporate job longer than planned to get his business off the ground with the agreement that I could launch my own business after his stabilized. My reward? He was unfaithful the entire relationship/marriage, had a whole girlfriend on the side, and would stop talking to me for hours, then days, and finally weeks at a time whenever something went wrong in his life. So I left, and next month I can file for divorce after less than 2 years of marriage and almost 5 years together (no kiddos).

I still make more than him because his business failed. He blames me for it. And I’m left to pay off almost all of the debt that business accumulated because the majority of it went on my credit cards and he’s not going to help with paying it off (the rest I co-signed for, but it’s a secured loan), so I guess I’m fortunate I make more because my credit card minimums are double my former mortgage (sold my house after marrying him, now I’m a renter with insanely low rent!).

I’m not at all jaded about making more than my spouse, but if I ever get married again (I’m 30) I will insist on separate finances for my peace of mind. And I used to say I’d only co-sign for my spouse, but I think those days are over for good.

Thank goodness I never let him touch my retirement accounts to fund his business like he used to “joke” about. It was a difficult lesson to learn, but I’m a better person for it. I continue to watch my parents have a great marriage and my Mom makes about 5x as much as my Dad :)

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34 J. Money March 21, 2019 at 2:44 pm

DAMNNNNN!! What a joker! Guys are so stupid sometimes, ugh… Good for you for taking control and leaving that situation – i’m sure it wasn’t easy.

And your mom deserves an award :)

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35 Sherri March 21, 2019 at 9:42 am

I married later in life as well (at 40) to a man who had been married twice before. So there was baggage before we even got started. Plaintiff #1 (as he refers to her) was all about the money and their divorce was very contentious. Plaintiff #2 emptied all the banking accounts as well as his retirement before skipping town. This basically turned him into a hoarder of things.

I am a saver and he is a spender. I make about $20k more per year than he does but it doesn’t seem to bother him. How we spend money (or not) is more of a sticking point. I’ve tried sharing the budget with him monthly but he’s not really interested as long as the bills get paid. So when I try to figure out how to bring down our debt load, I feel kind of lonely. When I try to declutter, he all but hyperventilates because what if he needs all of those white pullovers some day. It’s a struggle. He’s a good man but sometimes I overthink.

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36 J. Money March 21, 2019 at 2:51 pm

That’s tough :( Especially since most people need to have their own “aha” moment until they’re ready to change.. But def. keep on working on him!

I’ve been trying a new trick myself over here with the hoarding of toys that my kids have… I snuck out something I suspected they never play with three weeks ago, and then yesterday asked them if they knew what was missing ;) After 100 guesses (and failing) I finally told them what it was and they died laughing… So now onto round two and we’ll see if they finally catch on to exactly *what* the point is, haha…

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37 Paul March 21, 2019 at 9:44 am

Interesting article. I could write a novel on this subject. In fact I’ve had to cut out paragraphs from my reply already. Early in our careers, when we were just starting out of college, my wife made significantly more than I did, like 15K a year more. It led to some issues on both of our ends, but you know, love and eventually maturity prevailed (we were only 25 and 24 respectively). I think when you look at it as a team and realize everyone is doing their best to get to this goal of what we perceived the dream to be, it really helps squash and inadequacies or resentful feelings on both ends.

Fast forward to today 13 years later (and 4 kids over the course of 8 years) my wife rejected her career after our first was born because of a strong desire to be a SAHM. Its been 10 years since my wife made any meaningful income, My salary has continued to rise but our available income to spend on doing things that are beyond bare necessity has only shrunk. Its not from a lack of control, but its from the fact that as kids get older they need things and its expensive. Part of me feels like we threw away an opportunity to be financially free so she could stay at home, but at the same time we probably wouldn’t have 4 kids if she didn’t, so I guess you could say I would make the same choice again. Now that our youngest is almost 3 though, I really would appreciate her making a financial contribution to our household by at least the time our youngest goes to Kindergarten. Its tough carrying the financial weight of 6 people all by myself and honestly I just need a small reprieve, even if she made just $30k a year it would mean the difference between going on vacation or not, fixing up the house how she wants it, or dealing with old outdated stuff… Also, I need to know If I lose my job we will still be able to get by for a time. I do appreciate everything she does for our family but we are at a point where the financial side has gotten too stressful for me do to alone.

Anyway, parity to me isn’t about the amount you make vs your spouse. Its about both people trying their hardest to make each others life better. The dollar amount is less significant than the effort. I know my wife does a lot as a SAHM, and in reality I do believe she is doing what she thinks our family most needs, but at the same time, after a decade of carrying this weight I need some help. Its too stressful to do alone and I would gladly pick up more household responsibility as a trade off. In short, if you are the higher earner don’t resent your spouse as long as they are trying, its a very bad thing to allow into your relationship. If you are the lower earning spouse, I’m telling you that as long as you are trying you shouldn’t feel inadequate, effort matters more than outcome in this case. I should also state in fear of my post being misinterpreted, I do not resent my spouse at all, I’m glad for her time at home with our kids. I’ve just gotten to the point after a decade where the stress of carrying the financial load is too great for me psychologically to handle.

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38 J. Money March 21, 2019 at 2:59 pm

Does she know you’re carrying all this weight?? I remember what helped get me through those hard financial/emotional times was at least knowing the long term plan of her finishing up school and then eventually going back into the workforce again (since she realized early on she wasn’t cut out for being a SAHM). It was still tough as hell carrying the weight sometimes, but man that light at the end of the tunnel helped! No matter how far away it was! I wonder if you can at least get a game plan going with her in some fashion or another?!

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39 Brian March 21, 2019 at 9:46 am

I make almost 3 times what my wife does but she is also part time now. Once I landed a more lucrative job we discussed her going part time and it has been great. She can put the kids on the bus, be home to get them off the bus and has one day off a week to be able to catch up on the cleaning we had both been neglecting when we were both full time. We still split the cooking (well i do a little more because i enjoy cooking). But the arrangement has worked out great.

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40 J. Money March 21, 2019 at 3:01 pm

I need to man up on my cooking because currently I only do 1x a week, if that, and once my wife starts commuting longer i’ll be in charge of at least having to feed my kids almost ever night of the week! Got any easy recipes you can end over??? Haha…

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41 Brian March 22, 2019 at 11:34 am

I am loaded with fairly easy things. The air-fryer and the crockpot are two of the best purchases we have ever made for easy dinners

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42 Rho | Their Money Goals March 21, 2019 at 9:51 am

My husband and I got engaged during my last semester of law school. He was at the end of his third year of med school at the time. When we got married, he was in his final year of med school, and I was in my first year of practice.

I made six figures straight out of school, and even though he wasn’t bringing in anything at the time, it was never an issue for us. We have handled our finances together from the beginning, so it’s always been our money (and our debt—law school and med school are expensive lol). Once he graduated, he started his residency training and was making a fraction of what I made for that three years. He completed his residency last year and now as an attending makes more than me, but we make about the same amount with only a couple thousand dollars difference.

I’m thankful that no issues have ever come up regarding who makes more, but that’s just not how we are. Part of it may be that we’ve been together from the beginning when neither of us had anything. We met as freshmen in college, so we’ve been broke together for years lol. Part of it may also be that we both were going into high-income professions.

I don’t believe we would have had any issues, even if our circumstances were different, but obviously I have no way of knowing that now. :)

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43 J. Money March 21, 2019 at 3:05 pm

I think it does help being so equal on all the levels (ages, career paths, debts haha, etc). You guys are powerhouses over there! :)

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44 Joe March 21, 2019 at 10:25 am

My wife makes more than I do. But I still made more over the course of our working life. She still has a few years left to catch up. ;)
We don’t have any problem with it. It works out well for our family. We work as a team so we don’t really care who makes more. I don’t see why it’s a big deal to some people. Ego?
https://retireby40.org/what-happens-when-your-wife-earns-more/

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45 J. Money March 21, 2019 at 3:06 pm

Heyyy that stat on the opening line of your post is pretty interesting! Had no idea 4 out of 10 wives earn more than their husbands either! I bet it’s only climbing too.

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46 PFI March 21, 2019 at 10:47 am

For the first seven years of our marriage, TFI made more than I did. We taught in the same district, both had master’s degrees, and she’d started two years earlier – the salary schedule dictated that she’d always make more than I did! It was never an issue for me.

Perhaps it was being raised by a single mom, but I’ve never fully understood the ego piece around this for some men.

TFI stayed in teaching, while I pursued leadership work. I now make more than she does by a fair margin. It still doesn’t matter. We’ve always pooled all our money (including our debt) once we moved in together – even prior to actual marriage. Our calculations are all joint, our goals are joint, and our money is inextricably linked. That may seem foolish early on, but after 20 years of marriage it works, and is a huge benefit to our financial progress. We try to approach everything as a true partnership, and then it doesn’t matter who makes more. It works for us.

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47 J. Money March 21, 2019 at 3:10 pm

20 years – what a testament of finding the right partner! Love it!

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48 Nita March 21, 2019 at 11:30 am

My partner and I are millenials. “Who makes more” has never been a topic in itself. However, a few years ago, we ran into an issue that is, IMO, definitely a related gender problem related to women working.

I started a new job in 2015 after 18 months of my (male) partner being the sole breadwinner (except for pennies I made here and there). Long story short, I was, due to the draining nature of the job, much less emotionally available for him than the year before. He was annoyed, it led to crisis after crisis and we broke up.

We’d been through the exact opposite situation about five years prior, with much different results. So my conclusion was: as the female, I was expected to cater to the emotional needs of my male partner at home, while he wasn’t expected to cater to mine the previous time.

I’ve come to learn it’s quite a common gender construction, one that essentially acts as a glass ceiling for many women – you can expect that as a group, they’re less likely to take the high-stress high-paying jobs, and to “make more”, if they’re already bearing the emotional load of the family.
I remember a statistic showing that in heterosexual couples, when the woman is facing a difficult situation (disease, depression), she’s 12 times more likely to be broken up with than the man in this situation.

We’d both fallen into that construction. Despite our relatively young age and our modern opinions. I wonder how common this is now, especially among people who believe they’re above all kinds of gendered constructions.

There’s a saying : behind every great man is a great woman.
It doesn’t ring the same to me any longer.

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49 J. Money March 21, 2019 at 3:12 pm

dangggg sorry to hear all that :( hadn’t heard that stat before but it’s pretty staggering!

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50 Jeff March 21, 2019 at 11:32 am

Over the past 28 years there have been times when I made more money than my wife and there have been times when she made more than me. But it has never been an issue because we have one bank account and one budget. We are a team/partnership and our budget is all that counts. It is all about total numbers, not who put how much into it each month. I’ve never understood couples who have separate accounts and keep track of who made how much more and the whole ego thing. Either you are a married couple who work together on your future for your children and yourselves or your not.

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51 J. Money March 21, 2019 at 3:12 pm

You and PFI up there need to be besties :)

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52 San March 21, 2019 at 11:39 am

I am the breadwinner, my husband can’t work right now, and it’s not a problem at all. We see all our income as one. I struggle more with the part that the responsibility to bring in income lies on my shoulders (and there isn’t much “growth potential” in my government job).

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53 J. Money March 21, 2019 at 3:56 pm

Do you think he’ll be able to work later or not really a possibility? Def. makes things tough either way – especially if he WANTS to work!

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54 Becky March 21, 2019 at 11:46 am

I have made more money than my husband for as long as we’ve been married. We got married in college, and I went to work while he finished his degree. I got an entry-level job at an insurance company, so we weren’t rolling in money, but I made 100% of the income at that time.

Eventually, before he graduated, we needed more income, so he got a part-time job at Wal-Mart. After he graduated, he remained at Wal-Mart for a few years and then moved from job to job trying to find the right fit. I have remained at the same entry-level job for the past 11.5 years and have gotten small raises along the way.

Currently, he is probably making as close to my income as he ever has, but together, we still don’t make an extravagant amount of money. We have a daughter now, and I would love to be a stay-at-home mom, but we just can’t afford it. We are working on paying down debts, and I’m hoping once we become debt-free, it will be more attainable for me to stay at home, like perhaps have a side-hustle/freelance to bring in some money while at home with our daughter and hopefully more children in the future.

Even though I would rather stay at home/work from home, it’s never been an issue that I make more than my husband. Once in a while, in front of his friends, he will mention that I’m the sugar mama of the relationship, which makes me wonder if it secretly bothers him, but whenever I bring it up, he says he doesn’t care. Maybe he just thinks it’s funny to say “sugar mama.” But all of our money goes into the same bank account and is treated as “our money,” not “his money” and “my money.” We have the viewpoint that whatever we earn is for the family(bills and expenses, mostly), and if either of us wants something that costs more than $50, we discuss it and decide whether we can afford it or how we will save up for it or whatever.

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55 J. Money March 21, 2019 at 3:58 pm

He probably just likes saying “sugar mama” as now I am going to do the same because it’s fun, haha… But I do hope you get your dream of being able to stay at home with your wee one one day!! That’s def. what managing all this $$$ is for when it comes down to it – to have *options* to do as we please with our lives!! And paying off debts is well on your way! :)

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56 Lisa March 21, 2019 at 12:26 pm

For us it has flipped around many times since we married. I was a SAHM for a while. I never did bring in money some how though, either babysitting, running errands for people or whatever. My hubby worked construction so there were bouts of no work here and there. I went back to work, back to school, and started making more money than him. He was stoked!

Hubby decided construction was too sporadic and went rouge – he’s now a Building Official and makes more than me again, but we both have careers we love with companies that will give us retirements with health insurance in a few years.

All this to say, we’ve always pooled all our money, all our debt and have never cared who made more. Actually, he bragged when I “brought home the bacon”

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57 J. Money March 21, 2019 at 4:00 pm

Love to hear that :)

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58 Julie Grandstaff March 21, 2019 at 12:47 pm

For most of my career, I made more money than my husband. At first, it seemed like a competition to see whose job was more important. When our daughter was one, my husband took a job in another state. He would fly out early on Monday morning and fly home late Thursday evening. It got so our daughter didn’t want anything to do with him on Friday, and then cried when he left again on Monday. Meanwhile, I’m running an investment department for an insurance company and doing everything at home too. Finally we made the conscious decision that he would take a more laid back approach to his career, because mine had more financial opportunity. He took a job where he could be home with our daughter most afternoons after school. He did most of the cooking, and we did all the other stuff together. It made a huge difference for us. On the financial side, my income allowed us to save all of his income, and we were able to retire. Him at 55 and me at 51. Our daughter was in high school still, and horrified that we would both be home. Early retirement and messin’ with your teenagers. What could be better.

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59 J. Money March 21, 2019 at 4:03 pm

Hahaha… I’m glad it had a happy ending as I got a bit ol’ pit in my stomach at the part he was leaving all week long for work! I just couldn’t do it! I can’t even barely leave for a few days every year to go out to FinCon without missing them/feeling bad haha… But perhaps that changes as they get older and not so cute and little?! :)

Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing btw!

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60 Eric @ Flip n Finances March 21, 2019 at 2:05 pm

My wife definitely makes more than me (since she graduated 3 years ago and I’m still in college – similar to a few others here). My wife comes from a family where her Mom and sister both make more than their husbands. And it’s the same for us haha. All us guys are in what’s called the “Go Get-Her Club” for this very reason. We’ll need to make club T-shirts soon or something…

I won’t be in this club forever though, just for the next 5 years or so haha. Or until my wife wants to work part-time. It’s a symbiotic relationship where both help each other throughout the years. In my opinion, it shouldn’t matter how much you or the other makes. If you have your priorities in the right places, the difference in incomes will never result in bad feelings over the long-run.

Awesome post, and I hope that your house hunting is going okay! I remember we had to make an offer on 7 places before we even got one accepted! Insane right?!

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61 J. Money March 21, 2019 at 4:17 pm

OMG I would lose it if we have to do that haha… Once I really want something bad, I am not good at losing it and trying over :) And really have to make sure my emotions don’t get too tied into it for just that reason!!! But glad you guys finally landed your house! And shoot me over one of those T’s when you make them! ;)

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62 Samantha March 21, 2019 at 2:26 pm

I surprisingly made more than my partner for the past 3 or so years, but thankfully we never butted heads about it.

We have a pretty unique set up though, I’ll admit. Firstly, we maintained our separate bank accounts. We have 3 joint savings accounts for goals we have (House improvement/repair, Travel, and Big Purchases) Also, we know that we each are funding our life in different ways – He pays for the “present” (mortgage, some utility bills -like his beloved cable that I could care less about) and I save for the future, maxing my 401k (he can only contribute a small amount every year, I don’t know the exact name of the reason, but anyone who contributes more than the median amount that the whole of the company’s employees ends up getting a refund check for the amount over) and rothIRAs. I also pay for the groceries since I do most of the cooking, and we have a system on date nights with the rule of whomever wanted to go out to eat pays for both parties…unfortunately I end up paying for most of our dates…darn my weak willpower for sushi!

I think one of the reasons we don’t argue too much (though he does make a joke every once in a while) is because our pay difference was only about 10k, so it’s not a giant gap like some other couples. Also, he recently was promoted which puts his salary for 2019 about 5k under mine, but with an additional “car/transportation bonus” every month of $400, which in the end makes our pay almost equal. And that’s not including the offered stock in the company (10%).

Us being DINKs help too!

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63 J. Money March 21, 2019 at 4:21 pm

Definitely sounds like you guys have a good system down :) And enjoy being DINKS and having all of that freedom (and money)!!! My wallet misses it! Haha… If only I appreciated it back in the day..

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64 Tony March 21, 2019 at 2:51 pm

I’m the breadwinner in my marriage. My wife and I have been married for almost 6 months, so I don’t have extensive experience. We combined our finances from Day 1 of marriage, going forward. What has been key for us is that we’ve never seen it as me being the breadwinner (don’t get me wrong, we both understand that my income supports us). I bring home approximately 2.5 times what she does, but we both contribute at the same level; while I go to work full time, she works part-time (approximately 20-25 hours/week) and takes on a bigger share of the housework. This has worked wonderfully for us, and I see what she does as equal to what I do, because we both contribute equally to our family (just she and I right now); one being a corporate job, one doing more laundry, both very important.

Now, she’s probably going to go back to school soon, and finish a degree in nursing. We expect that she’ll come out making about as much as I do, and hopefully more if she feels like working overtime. I think it’s fantastic, and love the idea that she’d earn more than me. That just means that at the end of the day, more dollars in the account, which means less time that we have to work for somebody else!

If I had to say what is key, I’d say that acknowledging what matters is equal contribution. When one person is working 40 hours/week, and the other does nothing, it creates problems. When both work the same amount of time, but one person makes more than the other and considers themselves superior, it creates problems. The key is that both people agree and value what the other person brings to the table, and in our case “what’s mine is yours, and what’s yours is mine”. Seems to work well for us.

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65 J. Money March 21, 2019 at 6:10 pm

“The key is that both people agree and value what the other person brings to the table” – Bingo… And sounds like you guys are off to an excellent marriage :)

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66 Robie March 21, 2019 at 4:32 pm

For years my wife made more than me. I was in grad school for 4 years which is basically like being an educated hobo and even after that I was a teacher. My wife worked for the state and always made more than me. She made so much more than me that after our second child we took a look at the cost of daycare and what we made and it was a no brained – one of us needed to stay home! And since I was on the low end of the pay scale it made sense for me to do that, which I know is a decision you recently made.

The positives:
1. Raising kids is the hardest job in the world not to mention dealing with a child that wouldn’t sleep for the first 18 months. But it allowed me to bond with both my kids and made me realize how much I missed out on while our first daughter was in daycare. Someone else getting to watch her walk for the first time?!
2. On the financial side… I was able to take a couple part time jobs and do some tutoring in the evenings and weekends. Between that and what we saved on daycare we basically broke even but…
3. We actually increased our savings! That’s right even though we had another mouth to feed and I was technically making less, I stopped eating out and going to coffee shops every day. We also realized how much we spent on frivolous things in order to save time. Now that I was home and could cook 3 meals a day, take care of housework, etc. In a little under 2 years we took our savings for about $5k to $24k!

The negatives
1. Mr Mom stereotypes. The constant looks and unwanted pity. Too may think the “man” had to be the bread winner and if he’s not there must be something wrong with him.

Yep, only one negative.

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67 J. Money March 21, 2019 at 6:07 pm

Hah! I get the opposite responses of taking the kids everywhere – “Awww what a great parent you are!! I wish my husband spent time with the kids like that!” I feel bad taking the cred because it’s not like I’m doing anything different than all the women there are, but I’ll admit I do like it ;)

And I hear you on that daycare! It’s more expensive than mortgages and sometimes all monthly debts combined! So glad we’re straying away from that…

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68 SG March 21, 2019 at 5:00 pm

My salary was almost double my husband’s when we got married. Then years later when we had our children, his salary caught up to mine. After a few years with his current employer, he started to receive substantial raises and he makes a little more than double my current salary. Yay!!! I really didn’t like being the breadwinner as it was too much pressure since I handled all of the household responsibilities as well. My employer pays for my family’s benefits, and I’ll be getting a sizable pension (plus a few other perks) so to me that makes up for the large salary difference :)

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69 J. Money March 21, 2019 at 6:08 pm

That’s a lot of doubling back and forth!! Hard to hate that! :)

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70 Liz March 21, 2019 at 6:25 pm

I always made more than my ex-husband. We got married young, were never on the same page about anything financial. His employment was sporadic and I was not happy about it. I wanted vacations, a nice car, eating out, etc so I worked a lot of overtime to pay for all these nice things. I always felt like i was dragging him along. He resented it and ended up going out drinking and eventually cheating. After our divorce I read Suze Orman and Dave Ramsey books and got myself on a solid financial track. Decided never to get married again!

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71 J. Money March 22, 2019 at 1:39 pm

Oh dang – good job getting your mind/finances right! Though I was about to tell you good job for going out and making all your desires happen too before I read that 2nd part, haha… Nothing wrong with nice stuff unless it’s getting in the way of other priorities of life :)

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72 Ngneer March 21, 2019 at 9:48 pm

I’ve been the breadwinner for all but the first year of our 10 year marriage so far. As a woman in a primarily male technical field, I’m used to defying the social norms. I’ve climbed the corporate ladder and my salary has had significant and steady increases. My husband has also advanced in his career, but the dynamic isn’t always easy.

There have been accusations of me not doing a fair share of the housework and other comments about how I care more about career than family. I have taken 4 month maternity leaves with both kids and have worked full time while caring for one of them while my husband had a job that required 25% travel. I have continually had to defend myself and stand my ground. I had to actively endure the feelings that I wasn’t a good mom or a good wife. We’ve gotten to a point where this is less of a problem now.

I think we’ve matured and understand the need to support one another. He has been taking on more household and child pick up/drop off duties. We both have time committed to our hobbies and we’re happier.

I appreciate the others who expressed the crappy parts of unbalanced earnings between spouses. It’s not all rainbows and unicorns.

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73 J. Money March 22, 2019 at 1:48 pm

Was loving that first part of the comment!!! Killin’ it!! But not so much the rest – that sounds so horrible, I’m sorry :( Thank you for being so open and real about it though for anyone else who stops by and reads this. Super glad there was a semi-happy ending so far too – with hopefully more of that to come! :)

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74 Sydneysider March 21, 2019 at 11:14 pm

JMoney. I’m a hardcore lurker. I have been reading your blog for 5+ years along with a bunch of others on my RSS feed. My closest friends never hear the end of me talking about FIRE if I get a chance. I love your perspective. Im currently on my first two week holiday in two years and still not missing a post and your post moved me that much to get active. Not only did I click thru to read the comments, this is my first comment!

Mate. What you bring up here is the concept of privilege and money in a relationship. Something everyone has an opinion about. I’m a bisexual woman in a relationship with a male POC. I too have an opinion. The comments section and your replies are great at opening this topic up but you know what would be even greater? More of this in the main article section. Look. I know you’re likely an Anglo cis hetero bloke so you may not feel like this is your place but I APPLAUD you for starting the conversation. You have a fabulous platform and a unique tone that invites open constructive conversation in a light hearted way. That is unique even in this rad FIRE community. Keep the door open to this. Do some guest series/interview posts. Queer people. Women who earn more. People of colour. People living in other countries. Migrants. Singles. Older people (though they are fairly well represented in this community). It doesn’t just have to be about privilege, but wide experiences – all while still acknowledging the common goals and values we are sure to hold.

I’d be more than happy to be the first you interview. I have no blog and don’t do social media so don’t worry you’ll be getting fresh content! I’m sure Gaby Dunn would be keen too. She’d be interesting as a bit of a cynic publishing in this space too. Think about it. You have my email :)

all the way from the balcony of a hotel in Wanaka, New Zeland, your biggest sydneysider fan.

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75 J. Money March 22, 2019 at 1:57 pm

Heyyyy – thank you for this!! haha.. So glad we finally pulled you out of the shadows! :)

We do have series where we share all kinds of differing finances on the site – actually hitting most, if not all? those people you just mentioned, but I agree we rarely *deep dive* into it all. Mainly due to not being super knowledgeable about it myself and not wanting to accidentally upset people when my only intentions here is to make peoples’ lives better :) Or at least have some fun along it, haha…

But yes – making a note about this and saving your email in my “ideas” list and will most certainly reach out if I figure out a good way to do it :)

In the meantime, please check out these “snapshots” we’ve featured as I think you’ll like them!

https://www.budgetsaresexy.com/look-at-other-peoples-money-iii/
https://www.budgetsaresexy.com/are-you-down-with-opp-other-peoples-money/

And then here’s some snippets from $$$ around the world too:

https://www.budgetsaresexy.com/money-debt-around-the-world/
https://www.budgetsaresexy.com/personal-finance-around-the-world/

Thanks for taking the time to drop by today!

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76 Anonymous March 22, 2019 at 1:54 am

I am the breadwinner in my home, as the lady. My salary is 33% higher but with bonuses and stock, I’m at about 2-3x more total $$ than my guys total $$ in any given year.

The big things I have noticed that create crazy dynamics:

1. Netflix’s “Explained” episode on the women’s pay gap, where it delineates that there is a mother’s pay gap, not a women’s pay gap, is real. I was out for four months with our (first and only) child, and since going back, he’s gotten 3 promotions in four years and I’m working on my first one this year. If I had not left, I think it’d be at, at least one by now, and working on second. That obviously comes with more money. And because I was out, i Lost that whole year. but then, you return and have less time… Which leads me to (2.)…

2. the “Explained” show on Netflix regarding women’s pay gap also talks about the “mom tax” of not only working, but of continuing mom duties, AND being the unofficial domestic project managers is real. Scheduling wellness visit, planning birthday parties, sending Xmas cards, scheduling carpet cleaning… Anything that keeps home operations running. And that means you leave work to take sick kids to doc appts, or multitask on the phone with the dry cleaners on missing items, while doing your job at work. We came to a breaking point where I sayid to my guy, ” we need you to take a vested interest in home operations, in the same way I have taken a vested interest in working.” Men need to take ownership of half (if not more) of the duties at home and related to kids..or at least proportionally to their work commitments as compared to their wife… It’s not possible to be a working mom and stay at home mom at the same time… Unless you want to lose your wife… Which leads me to (3.)

3. The type of home you were raised in has a huge impact. My guy grew up in a traditional Christian home where the husband worked and made sure the was a roof over his family’s head (paid mortgage) and the wife took care of the home ( utilities, groceries, etc). Dad would do trash and Mom would cook. I grew up in a very nontraditional home where my mother the breadwinner as an MD. but she also raised three kids, cooked, cleaned and did everything at home. My dad worked and kept finances. It was not sustainable by the standards of 30 years ago, and not even possible today. We have had several conversations on household style, because the dynamics of traditional households just don’t vibe well when wife has a budding and lucrative career. And it’s super frustrating to get off a plane from stressful work travel and come home to a weeks worth of “home work” left not done. Where is the ownership at home?

The reality is, if I’m stuck in a meeting with a VP, it’s only logical that the husband start dinner. But how people view roles and responsibilities really has to be openly discussed. I had to be clear that I wanted to be in a functional structure…. Where everyone provides their expertise and proportional time, as related to work in any given day. If I’m stuck in meetings my expectation is you get dinner or vice versa. If I’m better at keeping our calendar and you’re better at home maintenance, then you own that workstream and I’ll own mine; we both contribute. I think traditional households kinda clash with two income family dynamics… At least ones that are healthy for the woman. I know WAY to many moms at our kids daycare who are juggling lucrative careers and taking care of their household and kids almost exclusively with little to no support from their husband.

4. It’s not the guy, it’s guys friends that are the problem. In our home, he’s generally ok with the idea of me making more but it always becomes a joke at some point, usually initiated by one of his douchy friends that implies I, the woman, control the money (implying I wear the pants). (I actually am our family financier too…I keep the books, pay bills, invest, etc) I’m proud that he generally responds with a “but we aren’t in debt, and you are, so…✌️” But I can’t imagine that there isn’t a piece of his pride that is a touch hurt. This idea that one person exclusively controls the family and all decisions in it, is IMO silly and shortsighted, in today’s society. If people want to operate that way, that’s on them, but I think it’s in everyones best interest for both parents to bring their skills to the table and work as a team to divide and conquer situations and be practical about who owns what.

I’ve spoken to a few women in my company who are married with kids and in senior positions above me about this and they have the identical issues.

Anyway… Hope this is useful perspective!

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77 J. Money March 25, 2019 at 2:16 pm

Daaaaamn this was great!!

SUCH awesome info here and thoughts – thank you!

YES to that communication and background stuff, wow… I’m seeing it more and more in my own household too now that I’m at home more and seeing my wife still do things like laundry and cook and kid stuff on top of working, etc while a lot of it I obviously can do and *have* started doing now… (for example I’m now The Laundry Person during the week and my wife LOVES it! Even though I feel like it’s such a minor thing?!)

I’m still working on the cooking department and have contributed a little, but def. need to up my game there. And while I don’t *make* the appointments for the kids, I am the one that now takes them everywhere most times so I know that at least helps out…

Still, I come from the exact same background as your husband does so I know it’s about breaking old views and making new habits… Which thankfully I’m always up to just being a curious person in general :) Not that I always *enjoy* it, haha, but at least I’m game to it!

Anyways, awesome awesome stuff, thank you for taking the time to write this. Especially knowing now everything else you’re doing for your family!! Super Mom over there!

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78 Jamie March 22, 2019 at 2:05 am

My husband has held a part time airline position our entire marriage, and after nearly six years with the company and as a trainer, he makes a dollar more than minimum wage. As a seasonal nurse it’s nothing for me to make 10x what he does in two weeks. But his schedule is incredibly flexible so he can work the days I do, and take off to travel with me when I don’t. I always say “He brings home the flight benefits, I bring home the bacon.” Since he works fewer hours a day, he does almost all the cooking, cleaning, and laundry. We share all money, aside from the $50/each we get in our monthly allowances, and although I keep him very informed he’s happy to let me manage all the money because I love it. Our first babe is due next month and we just decided we’ll both take ‘-aternity’ leave until October, then he’ll be stay at home papa for a couple of years while I rake in the seasonal nursing dough. Then he’ll go back to the airline part time for ten years so he can retire with flight benefits. There are times I feel a teeny bit guilty about bringing in so much more than him, and there are times he doesn’t feel like he’s bringing in enough. But… we’ve created a life we love, and we get to travel all over the world, and we both really like our jobs, and we never fight about money so it definitely works out. We’ll see how things change when I become an actual sugar mama.

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79 J. Money March 22, 2019 at 2:03 pm

YESS!! This sounds like such a great life together!! And an adventurous one at that!! As a previous airline worker myself I remember how incredible those benefits were :) Your growing family is going to have so much fun!! Congrats on the new baby!! And designing a lifestyle that FITS you guys, which is not very easy to do.

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80 Mary Ann Marriott March 22, 2019 at 9:25 am

I don’t just make more than hubby, I am the only income earner. It started when we decided it would make sense for one of us to stay home with the kids versus dishing out a thousand dollars a month on daycare during the summer months. Given that I was the “career-minded person, it made sense that I work”. The kids are now 15 and 17 and hubby has little interest in returning to a “job” and is struggling to start something on his own. Soooo….there have been challenges!

I think the hardest part is when he wants spending money. We are on a tight budget and I don’t necessarily agree with his spending habits. There is little room for “mad money” and he doesn’t like asking me for money, nor do I like feeling like I am “giving him an allowance”. We haven’t completely resolved this, but the closest we have come is to have a set amount of mad money we each get without accounting for where we spend it, and more recently discussing a strategy for him to generate his own spending money.

Still a work in progress!

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81 J. Money March 22, 2019 at 2:08 pm

Yes, I would imagine it would be hard to go back to a 9-5 after so much time off, haha… Have you sent him any of our Side Hustle posts before?? Maybe something there will excite him? :)

https://www.budgetsaresexy.com/ways-to-make-money/

Totally understand the “weird” factor with asking for money/giving allowances though, and was about to suggest just that – having “mad money” to spend each! Hopefully he’ll get a nice side gig going though to pump it up to his liking :) I imagine it’s been pretty hard on you bearing all that weight on the income side as well – even though it as a mutual decision. Very interesting to see so many different paths and dynamics here on this post over the days… Thanks for adding to it :)

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82 Samantha March 22, 2019 at 12:24 pm

I am 26 and my boyfriend is 32. I just broke the $70,000 income threshold this past year; he makes significantly less. My career is just getting started, and my salary is guaranteed to keep going up. He has stagnated. My net worth hit six figures last year; his is nowhere close.

He is a sweet, kind man. We get along really well. He appreciates, even adores, my eccentricities. But I feel stressed when I imagine that I must support him and myself for the rest of our lives.

I have worked so hard the past decade to get to the point where I am now-doing every extracurricular activity and AP class in high school, working a job throughout undergrad, then working two jobs, and then getting my masters while working a full-time corporate job. I was absolutely determined to be a fully self-sufficient female. But now I resent that his drive does not match my own. Which makes me feel like a bad person.

Being the breadwinner is not all it’s cracked up to be. I feel for all the breadwinners out there, male or female, and the burdens they must bear.

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83 J. Money March 22, 2019 at 2:14 pm

I’m sorry it’s so hard at times :( But I do hope you know that you’re not a bad person deep down!! “Drive” can be an incredibly powerful factor!! Maybe he – or anyone else you end up meeting/coupling with later – will find their drive in other areas of life vs career? Like maybe in passions or philanthropy or something? I’m totally with you though on wanting to be with a like-minded/driven person. It saddens me when people are just “there” and not adding value to other people or places/things/etc… Hopefully they *are* happy though even if we don’t understand it! ;)

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84 Tre March 24, 2019 at 7:41 am

I think other people’s assumptions can be the most challenging. For example, one year my company sponosored the military ball and I had to host a table with several high ranking officers. Mr. Tre came as my +1 and wore his uniform. He spent the entire evening hearing “Sgt. are you sitting at the correct table?” It was a little awkward, but he laughs about it now.

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85 J. Money March 25, 2019 at 2:07 pm

I used to LOVE watching my parents get dressed for military balls growing up :) Always sounded so romantic!

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86 Claire WantLess March 24, 2019 at 1:28 pm

We’re a two-woman household, so I guess that has a benefit in that neither of us is socially expected to make more money than the other :-) I’ve just started earning more than my wife for the first time (about a third more) and it does mean we’ll have to make some adjustments – both practically and mentally. We’ve always split everything 50-50 but I’m conscious that she now struggles to do this. We’re still figuring things out, but one solution I’m toying with is using my extra income to ‘even out’ times in the past when she was doing well and I was in a pile of debt. For instance, she put down the deposit on our house, when we bought this place. Perhaps I can save up the same amount and pay a chunk off the mortgage now?!

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87 J. Money March 25, 2019 at 2:08 pm

That’s a good idea :) Or really *any* idea you come up with as it shows you’re conscious about things and only want whats best for you guys! Which is the key to relationships! I’m sure she’s so proud of you for ramping it up too – well done :)

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88 Christine March 25, 2019 at 1:39 am

Its a different topic to talk about relationship then talk about money but when you are already married there’s no escaping and these two will be a huge part of your relationship. Me and my husband doesn’t have issues with this, we just share and make sure that we get to keep both our combined finances on track.

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89 Beau Humphreys March 26, 2019 at 7:20 am

My wife is a pharmacist so basically a year after we met, when she was done her residency and started making real pharmacist money, she was making more than I was at my job in the music business in tour finance. And I’m 5 years older than she is.

And now she’s in medical school and is going to be a doctor so it makes sense that I’m the one that will be the stay-at-home dad (like yourself), when she goes back to med school in the fall. Right now we’re enjoying both being at home with our new baby, Henry, born February 1.

I’ve never had any issue with this. I honestly do not understand the patriarchy at all and especially the archaic idea that one person should make more than the other. Let’s just make what we make and enjoy our lives without getting caught up in ridiculous ideas of what gender should do what.

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90 J. Money March 26, 2019 at 5:41 pm

Amen, brother!

And congrats on little Henry!! What an old-school but beautiful name!

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