Money issues can be makers or breakers of a relationship. Even the strongest relationships can struggle when under the weight of money problems. And over the years, while my wife and I are usually on the same page when it comes to our views of money, we’ve had our own issues when it comes to our personal finances.
While we’ve managed to work through most of our money issues, there are certain areas in which our finances have left scars on our relationship.
Income divergence: The money power struggle
Substantial differences in income or career success can lead to issues between even the strongest of couples. This was an especially prevalent issue at times in our family once I ventured out into the realm of self-employment. Suddenly I was making substantially less money than my wife when we had previously been on equal income footing. This left me feeling as though I wasn’t pulling my financial weight. And since we were still splitting bills evenly, my reduced income was leading to more arguments about where we were spending and how to cut costs.
To even things out, we decided that since I was also covering the childcare side of things while working from home, my wife would cover the health insurance and transportation sides. Meanwhile we would continue splitting costs like rent/mortgage, utilities, food, entertainment, etc. This left costs better balanced, reduced arguments, and didn’t leave one or the other with too much power when it came to the family checkbook.
Straddled with responsibility: An uneven financial responsibility balance
For a long time, I was handling all our financial responsibilities. And while I enjoy dealing with personal finances, at times it can feel somewhat overwhelming, especially when your partner has little or no interest in them. I was planning, organizing, and handling bill payment, retirement planning, tracking expenses and income, and contacting accounts when there were issues.
Over time though, I realized that not only was I hurting myself by doing all this through the increased stress, but my wife as well, since she wasn’t learning about our personal finances and how to handle them. Therefore, we began splitting up the financial duties based upon our strengths. She began dealing with all the health and medical-related billing (since she’s more familiar with the industry due to her work), and I maintained my duties as bill payer, tracker, organizer, etc.
Fun and free vs. boring and responsible
Sometimes being the financially responsible one in a relationship is a real drag. You feel as though you are the one always shooting down the fun ideas and being the party pooper in an effort to cut costs and save money. I’ve always been the more financially responsible one, while my wife is more of the “throw caution to the wind and have fun” type.
Thankfully, over time, we’ve learned how to better balance fun and responsibility and she’s become more sensible while I’ve become a little looser with my money. In the meantime, we partake in family activities, have picnics, go to the zoo or park, hit area parades, and take part in other fun yet affordable activities that allow us both to look like heroes to our kids while not breaking the bank in the process.
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The author is not a licensed financial or relationship professional. This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute advice of any kind. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader’s discretion.