Nearly 30% of married women in the U.S. now earn more than their husbands. This reversal of the traditional norm of male breadwinners can lead to conflict, depression, and downright awkwardness, as both The New York Times and The Huffington Post examined this month in worthwhile articles. But the reality is any substantial income disparity within couples — regardless of gender — invites friction. Here’s how couples with an income disparity can develop a more unified front for their finances:
Money touches all aspects of our lives. It has the power to bring us great joy as well as ruin. The topic of money implicates the full spectrum of emotion, so it’s no wonder money causes more marital conflict than perhaps anything else. Learning to wisely manage money with a partner is something not taught to most of us, let alone modeled for us in a healthy way.
Quick: what’s the number one thing you’ll spend money on, no questions asked? When discussing spending habits with clients, I often hear “Oh, that’s my thing.” That’s code for: “That’s an untouchable expense. Don’t ask me to change.” Be wary of building a sacred fence around a particular area of spending, which can lead to debt or conflict with one’s partner over expenses.
As one’s parents get older, they’ll inevitably begin to face a variety of end-of-life issues: estate planning, living arrangements, whether skilled nursing is appropriate, when to give up driving, and others. Click here for some proactive steps to take to assist one’s parents as they age and begin to face these issues.
How do you go about making spending cuts as a family? I address this question often with clients who are parents. When little lives are in the mix, the challenge of reigning in spending is often amplified. I’ve created a brief guideline for how to talk to you kids about spending cuts.