Money Problems: When One of You Makes More Money
In most marriages, one person makes more than the other. However, most people still don’t know how to handle this common scenario.
A difference in income is a leading cause of marriage and money problems. It’s is still very a touchy subject, especially for men who are brought up to be the bread winners.
As of 2014, 37% of married women were making money than their husbands. This includes household where he husband is unemployed and earns no income.
Guilt and Resentment
It’s very common for the spouse who makes less to feel both guilty and powerless when it comes to the household finances. They feel guilty spending money that they did not earn or feel like they have to be extra frugal to prove that they do not take the money for granted.
The “breadwinner” on the other hand may feel resentment towards the spouse who earns less. They feel taken advantage of when the other spouse spends money on things that are not considered “essential.”
The best way to resolve this issue is to have a team mentality about money. In a healthy relationship, there is no “mine” or “yours”, it’s all “ours.”
All married couples should consider having a joint account in place of or in addition to their separate accounts. The money in the joint account goes towards paying bills and saving for joint goals.
If possible, the spouse who makes less should manage the joint account. This takes care of the powerlessness they might feel from making less money and gives them as much of a say in the households finances as the breadwinner.
In addition to the joint account, each spouse should get a personal allowance for their hobbies and interests. They can spend this money freely without guilt.
As for the resentment, it is important for the spouse who makes more money to recognize what the spouse who earns less brings to the table. Are they earning less because they’re doing most of the child care duties? Would you really rather be spending more on child care just so your spouse can work as much as you do?
Open Lines of Communication and a Budget
Most of the marriage and money problems that come from a difference in come can be resolved with open communication and a budget. If you feel guilty for spending money because you make less, talk to your spouse about having some guilt-free spending money every month. If you resent your spouse for spending too much, talk about creating a household budget that ensures all your bills are taken care of and you each have a set amount of spending money every month.
In a loving, non-accusatory manner, talk about how both of you can make more. Keep in mind that you’re a team and the goal shouldn’t be for the person who makes less to make more but to bring in more money for the family. If it’s easier and more realistic for the person who already makes more to make even more, that’s what your efforts as a family should go towards.
This marriage advice may not take care of all your money problems, but it can point you in the right direction.