Money, How Much Does it Matter in a Relationship?

How Much Does Money Matter in a Relationship_ing

This week’s Perspective Wednesday piece is all about the money!  Does it matter how much money your significant other makes.  Ladies, does it matter if a man makes significantly less money than you?  Would you date a guy who made less money?  If so would you marry him, all other things considered?  Men, does it matter to you how much money a woman makes?  If a woman made more money than you would that be an issue?   For this weeks article, I invited some readers to send in their anonymous answers.  I’ve also included my response.

THE WOMEN’S RESPONSES on money in relationships

At age 24, a boyfriend said he couldn’t see a future with me because I didn’t make enough money.  I was disappointed in his short sighted-ness and inability to see future earning potential. In his defense, he had grown up in a single parent home where finances were always uncertain.  He wanted to be positive his children wouldn’t suffer the same challenges.  After this relationship, I was self conscious about money for years.  If I dated guys who made significantly more I felt inferior or worried they’d think I was a gold digger.   I may have even dated broke guys on purpose, to prove to myself I was completely the opposite.  I frowned at women who admitted that money mattered to them. Meanwhile, I continued to pick up checks and parking meters on dates.  Now that I’m married, my opinion has shifted.  I think the answer to this question has to do with what you want in life.  My husband and I want three children all within two years of one another. The cost of daycare for three children all under school age is greater than or equal to my current salary.  It’s very expensive!  With that said, when the time comes, it will make more economical sense for me to stay home, and frankly I think I would enjoy being a stay at home mom with a side business.  Unless the side business is booming, our family will need a second income large enough to support 5 people.  And if that income is lucrative, it means we can take family vacations, and save adequately for college.  With that said, it does matter how much my spouse makes.  This is not to say that I couldn’t climb ladders, raise my income by 20-40k, hire a nanny and work full-time.  Plenty of moms do this, and to them I give made respect.  But again, it all comes back to what you want out of life. Ultimately, I think it’s important that both people are capable of leading financially so as circumstances change, financial security stays in tact.
Nora Nur, 32, Philadelphia, PA – Married
Relationship Blogger, Teacher

Money is as much about power and identity as it is about money. Regardless of gender, some people let money go to their head. It changes them. This is reflected in the expectations they have for their partners and the expectations they have for their lives. Certain people aren’t good enough because they don’t make enough. Perhaps it’s not always as outright, it’s more mental and subtle.

Sometimes the difference in dollar amount creates anxiety when dealing with planning/long-term situations & care. It’s less about who has the money, but more about, given our different values, how can we make this work… forever? For example, if you enjoy travel but your spouse can’t afford it, you have to be willing to accept that you will need to pay for the big ticket items.  You may not have a problem with this but if you don’t make enough to cover the travel cost for two, then your traveling opportunities may be more limited.
Long-term if children are in the equation, you have to think about healthcare and expenses. This is not to say that either spouses income won’t increase in the future. Either way, I would be there for my spouse, but in the short term, it would create stress and anxiety.
Female, 34, Houston, TX – In a Relationship
Non-profit worker and author of the blog From Outrage to Reformation

My first reaction to the question was “I’m a modern woman who works hard for financial independence and stability, of course it doesn’t matter.” However, after consideration of what I really want and have in a man, it does. A sound business person considering a 50/50 partnership would balk at the idea of entering into an agreement where the other half doesn’t bring something tangible to the table; in a relationship, it’s the same for me. Not to say that my partner has to be a millionaire or pay for everything but there needs to be an ebb and flow of giving, financially. Money equates freedom to me. Freedom to venture, leisurely travel, give back, invest, build a business together, etc. Throughout my twenties, I was all about being open to a man’s drive even if he wasn’t where he wanted to be financially. Now, in my early thirties, a lack of financial security and independence along with a drive to succeed are deal breakers.
Female, 33 – Chicago, IL – In a Relationship
Interior Designer

I would say that how much a man makes doesn’t matter if we can figure out how to make the math work for how we want live. I wouldn’t seek a partner based on how much money he had but moving forward it would have to be a discussion purely from a sustainability perspective. Plus, I don’t think marrying based on income is sustainable anyway. What if he lost his job? You have to know how to work together through good times and bad and you can’t do that with someone if your relationship is based on superficial things.
Female, 35– Annapolis, MD – Married
Author of the Blog Food Love Me/Food Hate Me

THE MEN’S RESPONSES on money in relationships

Speaking from a cooperative/economic perspective, financial stability within a long-term relationship (or marriage) is one of many mutual goals in a thriving relationship. Generally, the most important aspects of a relationship should focus around the union in love, fulfillment, ascension and good conscious experiences. The title of breadwinner is irrelevant unless the man in the relationship is weak or mentally enslaved by outdated ideas.
Male, 29 – Indianapolis, IN – In a Relationship
Business Analyst

 In my opinion it ultimately depends on the lifestyle that two people want.  If the lifestyle she wants with me exceeds my disposable income then it matters.  However, if the woman has enough disposable income to offset my disposable income, then it is not a problem.  It is not a problem to me if a woman makes more money than I do.  However, she needs to be cognizant of the limitations of my disposable  income.
Male, 32, Washington D.C. – Single
Electrical Engineer

To me it doesn’t matter how much a woman makes (of course the more the better who doesn’t love money right?!), my girlfriend currently makes about 5-6x more than me – I’m currently a starving entrepreneur so I don’t make a lot right now anyways – but I am nothing but incredibly proud of her. She works so hard and is always serving as an inspiration for me to work harder. I do plan on making more than her in the future because 1) I’m super competitive 2) I’ve always wanted to be a millionaire since I was a kid so I’m still pushing to reach that goal, and once I do I’ll be making considerably more than her and 3) I want to buy her things and treat her to wonderful experiences like she’s been doing for me over the years. So in the end it doesn’t matter to me that she currently makes more than me, because I plan on making more anyways in the future and paying her back for all the times she’s paid for me when I couldn’t afford to myself.

Male, 32 – Chicago, IL -In a Relationship
Entrepreneur & Creator of the Youtube Channel, Road to the 2 Comma Club

Does it matter how much a woman makes? Absolutely.  Prior to having children and growing responsibilities, I believed in the mantra, “if we just pool our salaries and work together, we can solve ANYTHING!”  However, it has been increasingly difficult to manage multiple children’s education, quality of life for all and extracurricular activities. Not to mention, shelter, food and clothing, which are included within the 1st and 2nd tiers of safety and security that a parent seeks to provide for their offspring.  It bothers me to even say this, but money and access to it, has definitely become the final say in all decisions that we make. Public education or private? Family trip or staycation? Dining out or frozen cuisine?  The lack of it takes a toll on your mental health as well, because there is always a questions of “can we afford this? Which leads to the ultimate question of, “am I providing the best for my child”. You’re constantly asking yourself “what do we have to sacrifice later to make this purchase now”.  These are the questions that you ask, that stem from two individuals working full-time, 5 days a week, which you would think would be enough to support a household and isn’t.  Obviously, this is dependent upon the quality of life that you want your family to lead and how the two adults work together to achieve it.
Male, 38 – Chicago, IL – In a Relationship
Business Developer

Thanks so much to all of this weeks contributors.  To my readers, I can’t wait to read your comments and opinions! Feel free to include your age, city and relationship status in your response to give us a bit of context on your perspective.

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One thought on “Money, How Much Does it Matter in a Relationship?

  1. Wytina Elder says:

    I love reading everyone’s comments on the question. Coming from a blue collar family living in northwest Ohio, it’s always been a rule that everyone pull there own weight in the household and contribute in some way. However, when my mom would have to stay home without pay due to health issues, the pockets around the home became extra shallow and arguing would take place. It’s always nice to have someone making more money than the other. The extra money being brought in could help with emergencies, home repair’s, savings and any other unforeseen expenses.

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