As a couple, take a look at the way you manage your money. Do you have a true financial partnership?
One of the most difficult aspects of committing your life to another person is figuring out the financial partnership. It can be especially difficult to figure out how to proceed if one of you makes more money than the other.
However, in these situations it's vital that you consider your partnership about more than just the money. Too often we focus on dollars and cents, and don't look to at the whole picture of the financial partnership — and the?life?partnership.
More Than Just Finances
Unfortunately, I have seen a lot of relationships in which the person who makes the most money thinks that he or she (and let's be honest: in our society it's usually a he, since men are still most often the breadwinners) has more “right” to say how it is spent. For some reason, the idea is that a bigger paycheck = a bigger vote in household finances.
To a certain extent, I can see the reasoning. I'm the primary breadwinner in my family, and there have been times when it's been difficult for me to spend money on things that aren't priorities for me. I've wanted to say, “It's?my money. We're not spending it on?that!” Happily, I've refrained. That's not how things work in a financial partnership with the love of your life.
Instead, you have to look beyond the money. Chances are, the relationship partner who isn't there earning the money is doing something just as (or even more) valuable — even if society doesn't reward the stay at home partner with a regular paycheck. Think of all the things the stay at home partner does?without receiving monetary compensation.
And, even though I'm the stay at home partner, as well as the primary breadwinner, I know that my husband's contributions are important. The money he makes as an adjunct professor pays for a lot of the fun “extra” things we get to do. He does a lot around the house. And he contributes to the overall emotional wellbeing and functioning of our family as a unit.
Making Money Doesn't Exempt You From “Housework”
I also find it amusing that many of those in my neighborhood (again, sheer numbers means it's mostly men in my locality, although I think women can be prone to this, too) believe that since they earn the money and are at all work?all day, they shouldn't have to help out around the house.
While you've been at work for eight hours, what do you think your stay at home partner has been doing for eight hours? S/he has been “at work”, too. Again, just because society doesn't offer a monetary reward for that eight hours of actual work doesn't mean that it's been an easy day. The time you are together at the end of the work day should be time when you?share the responsibilities.
And that includes making money decisions.
Your stay at home partner deserves full consideration in your financial partnership. In fact, there's a good chance that your stay at home partner is leaving hundreds of thousands of dollars on the table?over the course of a lifetime in terms of salary that?could have been earned, retirement savings that?could have been amassed, and?career?opportunities that?could have been seized.