Income gaps cause major strains on relationships. Making significantly more or less money than your partner causes polarizing feelings about money. This leaves one partner under pressure to support the family, and the other partner feeling left out of financial decisions.
Real Life Example:
A recent story published by LearnVest, put a magnifying glass on what having an income gap in a relationship is really like. Ali Green* and her husband, Craig, each had well-paying jobs. As time went on, Ali slowly starting climbing the ladder in her business and making significantly more than her husband.
At first, it wasn’t a big deal. In fact, it was pretty nice having a partner who was the breadwinner in the relationship.
But after awhile, things started to shift. “He’d always been excited whenever I got a salary boost, but now I noticed there was an edge to his comments,” Ali says. “Once, he mentioned that if we weren’t together, he’d have to live with four people in a studio. He said it jokingly, but there was tension.”
Most couples deal with some level of income gap in their relationship. Whether the gap is small or large, there are a few ways to push through this as a couple.
How to overcome this:
The best way to overcome this issue is to find a system that works for your relationship. A common option is to open a joint account. This allows both incomes to come together as one and make finances a joint effort. This method will treat your income gap as if it doesn’t exist by making your partners money your money and visa versa. It will simply be a combined account where you can share all of your earnings.
Another option is the separate but equal approach. This method entails that both partners pay equally for household expenses regardless of salary. However, their personal spendings are separate from each others. Many like this approach because it allows them to be on equal playing fields while also keeping certain finances separate.
Many couples prefer to take an approach that is more proportional in their eyes like the percentage approach. This entails that whatever percentage of the income you are making is what you are paying. If one partner is making 30% of the income then they only have to contribute to 30% of the expense. For many couples, this is a fair way to go about finances and solve the income gap issues.
The most important part of the income gap battle is a mindset change. Accept and appreciate your financial role in the relationship and be willing to discuss any concerns you have with your partner. Every partnership is different and you have to find the best method that works for you.
Do you have an income gap in your relationship? Tell us your story and how you work through it on social media!
*Names were changed.