Why Women Feel Guilty About Earning More Money

We’ve discussed men who resent women who make more money.

We’ve debated why women need men to make more money than their partners.

We’ve explored whether women look down on men who make less.

Today, we’re going to explore another variation – the pull between women being proud of their career success and feeling guilty about outearning their male partners

From an article on CNBC, “The feedback (women) receive from the culture is clear: Men should be earning more so that they can provide for their families, and if they don’t, it’s symptomatic of a problem. These messages produce an “almost unavoidable emotional and psychological consequence.” Women feel guilty. Men feel emasculated.

It’s a conundrum, that’s for sure.

The more money you make, the less you should care about a partner’s financial situation.

38% of wives earn more than their husbands. This sounds like something to be celebrated, but the second women outearn their partners, they begin to resent them. Even earning $5,000/yr more correlates to a greater risk of divorce.

In short, as the piece, says, “Women would prefer to share the responsibility. As it happens, so would men.” 

It’s hard to unpack the personal, societal, and familial expectations around income. As a coach for women, I’ll retreat to the same refrain:

The value of making your own money is that it frees you from seeking money in another partner. The more money you make, the less you should care about a partner’s financial situation. Presuming it’s not dire – presuming he’s solvent, responsible, and hard working – women would be better off dating like men. Pursue kindness, commitment, attraction, and emotional intelligence. If he brings any money to the table, that’s just a bonus. Same as the way most “breadwinner” husbands look at their wives.

Your thoughts, below, are greatly appreciated.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Regina

    thanks for this! I would’ve missed out on an amazing guy if I hadn’t really examined my subconscious biases on this issue which allowed me to start conversation, communication and team building around money early on. He’s blue collar, I’m upper middle class. He has student loans and makes 1/3 what I make.  But he pulls his weight and is amazing- and after 1.5 years we now live together and have a created a system that feels fair. Communication is key- many men need to swallow their pride but us higher earning women also need to understand that many men need to feel like they are contributing and that their contributions matter. It helps! And talking about money early really helps- sometimes they are hard and uncomfortable conversations at first but they really prevent a lot of future fighting. And really helps foster a team-like healthy environment for a future home. Thanks Evan, your blog really helped me combat this issue with my partner and we are so happy now!!

  2. 2
    Sceptical

    I fully agree with Evan. I earn AUD $85k a year, which puts me in the top 20% or so of earners in my city. I see this as something to celebrate. I have no economic need for a partner. I would happily date someone on AUD $50k a year. Probably not less than that, because I enjoy the lifestyle my disposable income allows for and don’t want to always be bailing someone else out. As long as he’s solvent and has a good work ethic, I really don’t care.

  3. 3
    Yet Another Guy

    I experienced this dynamic in my marriage.  I was the major breadwinner when me married.  We then had to deal with a little hiccup called the dot-com and telecom meltdowns, which sent a non-dot-com hi-tech company at which I was principal engineer in R&D into a death spiral.  I wound up going to work in academia.  I earn a good living for working for an academic institution, but my ex is now killing it. She has worked her way up to a senior management position in a multi-national corporation.  The crazy thing is that success only made her unhappier with our marriage.  We were so comfortable that it was difficult to walk away from the marriage.  I could spend $6K on a guitar without it impacting our savings or our standard of living (we lived well below our means); however, money does not buy happiness.  I am happy to be free from the emasculation that follows when a woman starts to earn that much more than her husband.  It comes from all directions, and it can cause an otherwise successful, well-educated man to start to doubt his own self-worth.  I feel like I have gotten my man card back.  I am back to my old self.  According to my daughters, my ex is more miserable than when we were together.

    1. 3.1
      ScottH

      Just out of curiosity, and I know this is a sensitive topic, but if your ex is killing it more than you are, why are  you paying her child support?  This one has me intrigued.

      1. 3.1.1
        Yet Another Guy

        @ScottH

        That is the way court-ordered child support works in my state.  It does not matter how much a woman earns.  If she has primary physical custody, the man pays child support. Child support is calculated based on the percentage each spouse contributes to the gross combined earnings.  The court could not use state guidelines for our combined earnings because the pre-computed values only cover up of $180K, and our combined earnings dwarfed that amount.  I could have sought and been awarded spousal support (a.k.a. alimony); however, I would rather have my man card back than receive spousal support.  I earn six figures, so it is not like I am poor.  I only have to pay court-ordered child support for one more year.

        What is amazing is that my ex is finally realizing that finding man who earns more she does is not an easy task.  Guys that earn in that income bracket are trading their wives in for young hotties.  Heck, she is discovering how difficult it is to find a man with my attributes who is interested in a woman her age.

        1. ScottH

          That’s messed up.  Here, it’s calculated by % parenting time and how much each one makes, and that’s it.    I pay her because I make more.  If she made more and we had 50/50 custody, she’d be paying me, regardless of having primary physical custody.  I have one more year to go as well.  I can’t wait.  Let’s meet in the Bahamas in a year.

        2. Yet Another Guy

          What kind of bothers me is that like many high-earning couples, we lived on a fraction of what we earned.  We saved and invested a large percentage of what we earned.  The state calculates child support based on the premise that a couple a spends every dime that they earn, which is unfair.  They should base child support on what a couple spends to support their lifestyle.

      2. 3.1.2
        KK

        ScottH,

        Because BOTH parents are responsible for supporting their children financially. Gender is irrelevant. When custody is anything other than 50/50, the non custodial parent has to pay child support. There have been cases where the father makes 6 figures and the mother has been a stay at home mom, where the father was awarded primary custody; therefore he is awarded child support as well. Once she finds employment, she will be required to pay child support regardless of the income disparity.

        1. Bob

          Great sermon followed up by legal research.

          Of course, a few cases are but a drop in the bucket, but… Who cares? It’s more fun to be underhanded in ones reasoning.

          Now the question is IF she gets a job and if it pays significantly. Most women earn less than most men because women work at lower paying jobs and with fewer hours- such jobs and hours that would pay poorly regardless of gender.

  4. 4
    Helene

    I earn a great deal more than my husband – in previous relationships things were more equal. I think we handle it ok – we have  joint accounts and one thing I do is very much allow him to be the man when it comes to money in all other respects ie; when we go out for dinner  I expect him to go to the bar, get the drinks , deal with the bill…. he also deal with all the investments and moving money around between accounts to get good interest rates, deals with the household bills and all day-to-day financial matters – all I do is earn it!

    The part that I find hard is that when a man is a high earner and a breadwinner, in his own eyes that is something he can take satisfaction in – not so for a woman. If you like, a man feels more of a man if he is a high earner/breadwinner, but a woman feels less of a woman  if that’s her situation. A woman feel more of a woman if she doesn’t need to earn any money at all!

    1. 4.1
      Denise

      ” If you like, a man feels more of a man if he is a high earner/breadwinner, but a woman feels less of a woman  if that’s her situation. A woman feel more of a woman if she doesn’t need to earn any money at all!”

      Completely agree.  We can compromise and be open-minded, but that is indeed the rub.

  5. 5
    Eleanor

    That’s a painful topic. I am currently looking for a partner and struggling with this issue. To be perfectly honest yes I do look down at men earning less than me. And it’s not about amount of money. If he makes less than me to me it signals lack of ambition, lack of drive and investment into his career. I do not consider myself anything special. Yes I do earn more than general population but I consider myself an average middle class professional. I just can not accept a partner who put less efforts into his career then I did in mine. And if he did he’d be earning similar level to mine. I don’t think it’s a big ask. However Evan’s advice contradicts that. Same as advice I’m getting from my friends. Forget about career achievements find somebody caring. Well I don’t think I can. I just won’t respect him. I realise that I am reducing my dating pool but some values we want in a future partner are non negotiable. For me they are same level of education and career.

    1. 5.1
      Yet Another Guy

      @Eleanor

      I just can not accept a partner who put less efforts into his career then I did in mine. And if he did he’d be earning similar level to mine.

      That is not always true.   A man can have his career derailed mid-career due to circumstances beyond his control.  I lived a charmed existence for two decades before the gamblers on Wall Street sent my career field into free fall during the dot-com meltdown.  Luck plays a larger role in success than ambition. Success is about being in the right place at the right time with the right skill set and attitude while being fortunate enough to avoid careering ending shifts in the market place.   Everyone who is not financially independent is just one seismic shift in the market place away from falling from his/her perch. Placing too much emphasis on what one or one’s spouse does for a living is a recipe for unhappiness.  It was a lesson that I learned the hard way.

      1. 5.1.1
        Yet Another Guy

        *marketplace (not once, but twice 🙁 )

      2. 5.1.2
        Eleanor

        I understand that life is not without its challenges. And if a man has career derailed shouldn’t he pick himself up and bounce back at least within a couple of years? You see we have different philosophies as I don’t believe in luck. I believe in hard work and making smart choices. And I am just trying to find somebody with a similar mindset that’s all. I am career minded and would like the same in the future partner. I was married twice and the exes were not ambitions.  And it didn’t work out. So looking for somebody with similar mindset will help avoid conflict in the future. That’s my logic anyway.

    2. 5.2
      Evan Marc Katz

      Should your husband not respect you for earning less? That’s what you’re implying: lower earner gets less respect. A bit of a conundrum, dontcha think?

      1. 5.2.1
        Eleanor

        Thanks to you Evan I know that’s not the way men think 😉 so I don’t worry about him not respecting me for making less! 🙂

    3. 5.3
      SparklingEmerald

      Eleanor said “If he makes less than me to me it signals lack of ambition, lack of drive and investment into his career.”

      I disagree, but I care more about what is in someone’s heart, than their wallet.  I wouldn’t want to be with a man who was destitute or financially irresponsible, but I don’t think men who chase after wealth in high powered careers always make the best partners.

      A man can pursue something very passionately, but some fields just aren’t rewarded as highly in our society.

      A man could feel passionately about a career in the arts (music, acting, painting etc), but it takes a very long time, and sometimes the ability to becomes a full time thriving artist or musician NEVER comes to fruition.  (lots of part time, high paying gigs, followed by months of nothing and no benefits).

      Or a man could feel passionately about being a teacher to at risk youth, and could earn a steady paycheck, but not a very big one.

      I admire people (as in men AND women) who are willing to forego wealth to pursue something they are passionate about.

      I would much rather be with a man who teaches at risk youth in the inner city for a steady, but not spectacular paycheck (at least he would have summers free), than to be with a greedy, money grubbing, Wall Street con-man  who’s only passion is money, and screw everything else.   Such greediness results in what YAG described, throwing large segments of the population under the bus financially, for their own greedy purposes.  No thank you.

      1. 5.3.1
        Eleanor

        I disagree, but I care more about what is in someone’s heart, than their wallet.

        Can I ask you why it’s either heart or wallet? Why can’t it be both? Are all high earners ruthless cruel [email protected]? I know many successful men who earn a lot but are also good husbands and fathers.  I am not talking about millionaires bankers as I don’t know that many. Also I know a few wealthy men and they are normal men caring about their families like everybody else really. It looks like there is a stereotype that a guy working for charity will be a better and more caring partner that a guy working for a bank. Respectfully I do not agree with that.

        1. SparklingEmerald

          Eleanor asked “Can I ask you why it’s either heart or wallet? Why can’t it be both?”

          I never said it couldn’t be both.  I was very specifically responding to your assertion “If he makes less than me to me it signals lack of ambition, lack of drive and investment into his career.”

          So why can’t it be both ?  A guy can only have “ambition” if his “ambition” is chasing money ?  If he has a job that his is PASSIONATE about (teaching for example”) is he a slacker ? It takes a lot of passion to go into a job day after day after day, and not be richly awarded for it financially, and especially these days when teachers are held in such low esteem.

          I don’t know how much you make, but I don’t think a lesser amount signals all the negative things you seem to think it is.

          I was responding to your stereotype that guys who make less than an arbitrary income level are slackers.

           

        2. Jeremy

          “So why can’t it be both?”  Because ambition is a heuristic – in and of itself it is not an attractant except as a shortcut to another quality that is the ultimate goal.  The question is, what is the ultimate goal signaled by ambition?  And the answer depends on the woman.

           

          For some women, the ultimate goal is status and income.  They may choose to date a man who makes less as long as he has “ambition” – ie. the potential to improve his status/income in the future.  They don’t want to admit that this is what they mean because they don’t want to be negatively judged, so they use the word “ambition” because it is more acceptable.
          For other women, the ultimate goal is passion, not status.  A man’s passion for his work signals his ability to be passionate toward her and her goals.  Or perhaps his passion in and of itself is simply something to respect, and the respect is necessary for attraction, irrespective of status and income.

           

          So what a woman perceives “ambition” to mean depends on what goal the ambition is supposed to signify about a man – what she needs a man to be in order to respect him.  And if a woman is honest with herself, she will understand what it is about a man’s ambition that makes him attractive to her – and that will answer the question of which balance of heart:wallet ratio works for her.

    4. 5.4
      Malika

      Hi Eleanor:

      Just to get anecdotal here:

      A friend of mine is a nursing assistant and he finds meaning in every single day in his work (if you ask me, that sounds almost unattainably satisfying). Another runs a bar and always has great anecdotes to tell and has more knowledge on what makes people tick than i will after i get my Psychology degree. Yet another is a social worker that specializes in teaching adolescents adult skills which were sorely lacking in their home life.  There is also the ex who has his own shop and passionately believes in the products he sells. Oh yes, there is also the guy that teaches the language of our country to recent immigrants so that they can build a new life here and swiftly become part of the community. The last thing you can accuse them of is laziness and a lack of ambition.

      What do i do? I’m an assistant that fills in reports, books travels, and puts out fires while telling a lot of people over the phone ‘Sorry, he is unavailable right now’. My income far exceeds all the abovementioned dudes, should i therefore look down on them? My mind cannot bend to such contortions.

      Don’t get me wrong. Don’t date a man you can’t respect and if you want to attain or retain a certain lifestyle you should reduce your dating pool to a certain income. But the men who earn less than your dating pool can often have a career that has profound worth. Even if you don’t have any romantic intentions towards them, don’t think they are beneath you, as their influence and life choices shape our society in a very positive way.

       

  6. 6
    ScottH

    If both partners don’t support and celebrate the victories of the other, it’s not a true partnership, assuming both contribute in their own way to the best of their abilities.  If one wins, they both win.  If they don’t see it that way, it’s a conditional partnership and that doesn’t sound good.

    1. 6.1
      KK

      That rings true to me, ScottH.

      Out of curiosity, how did your ex end up with primary custody? Is this the same ex that was abusive to your children?

      1. 6.1.1
        ScottH

        We have joint legal custody and a an agreed upon parenting time schedule.  According to my lawyer, primary custody is pretty meaningless here.  It might even be a detriment as I believe the one with primary custody is responsible for things like car insurance, even though my ex refuses to pay and I have to.  There was no point in fighting over primary custody and so I didn’t.  I just wanted to be free of her.  And yes, she was abusive and it was my plan to stay until the girls were old enough to “handle” her and they were when I bailed.

        1. Yet Another Guy

          I have joint legal custody as well.  There have been times where I have been notified after the fact about a decision that should been made jointly, but she is a good mom, so I cut her slack.  For me, it is about minimizing drama.

  7. 7
    Stacy2

    Yeah seeing a topic of money and relationship on my twitter feed will make me come “out of retirement” for just this one. Lot’s of bad assumptions and false dichotomies embedded in the advice given, that is for women to “date like men”. Lack of context is also rendering this advice not super helpful. It would take me a day to unpack all of that and I can’t be bothered, but i will point out the most obvious flaws:

    1. The presumption is that you can have either character or the money. That’s bullshit, you can have both in one person (Evan is the case in point)

    2. Another presumption is that a woman who can’t secure a partner among her economic peers will have a line of “lesser earning” men willing to date her. This is simply not the case and runs contrary to the very advice given. If men, as we’re lead to believe, prioritize a bunch of “soft” qualities over earning potential, it follows that a woman who’s being rejected by her peers is being rejected based on lack of those attractive to men soft qualities. Lesser earning men will reject her for the same reason just the same. The only ones who won’t would be the ones who are, naturally after her money only.

    3. The advice does not specify “how low should we go”. Are we talking a percentage or a multiple? I.e. is it his 175K to her 250K or his 25K to her 250K? These are two very drastically different scenarios.

    4. lack of context: is here any specific age this advice is aimed at? Should we assume that a woman in her early 30-ies who wants to have kids and a woman in her 50-ies who is nearing retirement and just wants to have fun should equally disregard their prospective mates earnings potential? Does that seem fair that a younger woman would bear the brunt of childbirth and rearing AND being solely responsible for the family’s lifestyle? Evan’s wife was supported by her husband though their fertility struggles, but his clients don’t deserve the same? Makes no sense.

    In reality, we all understand how the math works. 250k x 2 buys a much better lifestyle and more financial security than 250K + 25K. Any woman who is able to pair up with her economic equal will obviously do so and never look back. We all exercise the best option available to us.

    It’s the ones who for some reason are being rejected by their peers who this advice is really for. Most likely, dating down is really not the answer for these women. The whole argument about a “smaller dating pool” is frankly bogus. Top 10% of men in the U.S. is mathematically 15m people. If you can’t find a suitable mate among 15 million men, the lack of men is not really the issue. Whatever the issue is will still be there if you start to date janitors.

    And, of course, economic and personal finance implications of marrying (way) down, to a point where your husband is considered your dependent, are very serious and can not be taken lightly. Any woman who is contemplating such arrangement should consult a lawyer and a financial planner/accountant if necessary. What we don’t know will hurt us. Don’t gamble with your financial future for a guy, that’s all I am saying.

     

     

    1. 7.1
      Jeremy

      Valid points all, Stacy.  I’ve missed your POV here 🙂

       

      One argument, though, against your notion that women who are not attractive to high-earning men will still be unattractive to lower-earning men….High earning men are, IMHO, more likely to view high income as a masculine quality (which is why they invested so much effort into it themselves).   Therefore, a high-earning woman who has the soft qualities that men find attractive may be overlooked by such men because they find her to be too masculine due to her income or work schedule.  Whereas a woman who has soft qualities and also happens to be a high earner would be found attractive by men who do not view income as a masculine quality, and there are bound to be more of such men in the pool of lower earners, simply because there are so many more lower earners.

      But your point about how women still need the soft qualities to be found attractive by men in general is very valid IMHO.

    2. 7.2
      Yet Another Guy

      You do know that earning between $125K and $150K places a man in the top 10% of earners in most of the cities in the United States?  Anyone who is not financially independent is subject to having his/her career derailed to the point where he/she has no choice other than to take several steps backwards.  There are no guarantees; therefore, any man or women who marries someone based on current earnings expecting those earnings to remain the same or increase over time is a fool.

      Finally, let’s address the 10,000 pound gorilla in the closet.  Men routinely date and marry down; therefore, the surplus of single high-income earning women will continue to increase if women continue to hold onto the antiquated notion that a man should earn equal to or more than woman.  Equality is a double-edged sword that cuts in both directions.

      1. 7.2.1
        GoWiththeFlow

        YAG,

        “Men routinely date and marry down; therefore, the surplus of single high-income earning women will continue to increase if women continue to hold onto the antiquated notion that a man should earn equal to or more than woman.”

        Your statement is based on some false underlying assumptions.  Maybe the majority of men have historically married down because women, while they have made gains, make less money than men in our society.  Also, there isn’t a “surplus” of single high earning women.  College educated women are more likely to get and stay married than their less educated sisters.

        Lastly, on an emotional and psychological level this phenomenon is also the result of men’s negative or ambivalent feelings about being with a woman who earns more than them.  It’s not just up to women to “fix” the problem.  At any rate, the number of households where wives out earn their husbands has been increasing exponentially and is up to 38%.  So it looks like people are adjusting to the economic reality that is.

        1. Yet Another Guy

          @GWTF

          College educated women are more likely to get and stay married than their less educated sisters.

          The same holds true for college-educated men, but you and I are living proof that even advanced degree holders divorce.

          With respect to negative feelings about a woman earning more than her mate, we have already had two women state that they would not marry, nor could they respect a man who earned less than they earn. How many men have stated that they would not marry a woman who has a larger compensation package?   The dating sites are littered with successful women in their forties and fifties who refuse to date a man who earns less and/or has not reached the same educational attainment level.  Many of these women have never been married.  To be completely honest, I was actually quite shocked to discover how many successful women age 40+ have never been married when I re-entered the dating pool.

        2. GoWiththeFlow

          YAG,

          “How many men have stated that they would not marry a woman who has a larger compensation package?”

          Oh some male commenters have done much worse.  Look back on other blog posts covering this topic and you will see comments that boil down to “Career women are ugly ball-busters who deserve to die alone!”

          You yourself state above that you did not like it when your wife made more than you.

    3. 7.3
      Susan

      Very successful men do not seek very successful women … they seek beautiful women.   Therefore, if you are a very successful women with only average looks, you may find your “equals” will not be looking at you.   That said dating and marrying down a little must be considered but if you plan on doing this to the extreme, you’d better get a prenup.

      1. 7.3.1
        Chris

        Oops, my post should read “But a 35 year old wealthy professional man, not female, will normally not marry an 18 year old”

    4. 7.4
      Chris

      The 250k earning woman marrying a 25k earning man is hyperbolic. But what if he’s earning 175k or 125k? That’s still well above median. Or would she find the thought of marrying a man who earns less than her simply intolerable, even if he still earns a very good wage in a professional position? These men would still be her peers.

      As, has been pointed out before, men and women prize different values when seeking partners. Men prize youth and beauty, women status – and in America income and education are the primary indicators of status. But a 35 year old wealthy professional female will normally not marry an 18 year old, instead he will often compromise and marry say a 25 year old who is closer to his own age and background. Perhaps the equivalent female professional can compromise and seek out a partner who earns less but is still in her peer group?

    5. 7.5
      Malika

      Stacy2, don’t be a stranger! I don’t always agree with you but your pithy take on dating life is something i sorely miss on here.

      Character and money don’t exclude each other and finances do play a role in dating after college age (college is for dating the penniless artists et al). The latter isn’t important to me personally, as i have that area sorted out for myself, but i would certainly not date an otherwise attractive man who is fiscally irresponsible or reckless with money. That’s just asking for misery. Some would say that you shouldn’t look at financial stability, but i have learnt my lesson from dating financial (and otherwise) freeloaders and n e v e r again! If FWB make me feel like an unpaid escort, the freeloaders one upped that feeling to walking atm machine.

      If people of either gender want to keep up an affluent lifestyle they will have to restrict themselves to a certain dating pool. They do need to take a long hard look at themselves and ascertain whether they have got what it takes to succeed within that dating pool. And that’s where the difficult part comes in.

      1. 7.5.1
        Yet Another Guy

        @Malika

        I can assure you that most men with functioning gray matter are not interested in women who are financial train wrecks as well.  I got that out of my system in my twenties.  No woman is hot enough to offset a lack of financial sense.  I believe that all solvent men adopt a solvency test for women sooner or later.

    6. 7.6
      Stacy2

      W/o responding to anyone in particular, as not looking to debate this… Want to point out a couple of questionable assumptions and false premises:

      1. “Higher earning men look for hotties”/”upgrade their wives”.

      Uhm, yeah, sure, if you base you opinion on the likes of Mick Jaggers of the world, or 0.01%. But normal real life affluent men in prime marrying age, 29-40, are doing neither of those things. Who are these people? They are mid-level lawyers (associate starting salary is now $170K in NYC before bonus), doctors, mid-level financiers etc. They are not high rollers jet-setting around the country on a private jet and partying on yachts that your imagination may conjure up. They live affluent and largely “normal” lifestyle, and they marry women close to their age and from their own social circle. A couple where one is a doctor and another is an HR executive, or one is a banker and another is an accountant, or one is a hedge fund manager and another a management consultant are common. And this makes sense. These people go to the same schools, live in the same zip codes, go to the same clubs and bars and have the same circle, as in “i met my wife because she was a friend of my sister-in-law’s cousin at the Superbowl party…” kind of thing.

      And, if they divorce, they are usually not in any position to live extravagantly and acquire arm candy. Divorces are costly and child support. They remarry within the similar strata. If anything, they’re focused on the wife’s #2 income even more because of their pre-existing financial obligations.

      2. “There’s going to be a surplus of high earning women because men marry down. Therefore women will also have to marry down”

      First, no men don’t marry down. Not that much down (see above). Second, even if we assume that there’s a surplus of high earning woman, the assumption is that they have to pair up, or that it is the best option that they have. This is incorrect. They’re better off being long-term single enjoying serial monogamies for fun and not taking on dependent spouse.

      3. “The 250k earning woman marrying a 25k earning man is hyperbolic”

      Yes it is. But that is what the original advice implied. If I was giving advice on assessing income and potential mate I would formulate it as follows:

      Think about the lifestyle that you envision for you as a couple/family. Factor in how many kids you’ll have, where you want to live, do you want private schools or private, etc. Calculate the cost of this lifestyle. Will you be providing 50% or more of the cost of this lifestyle if you were to merge your lives? If yes, abort the mission. If no, proceed. 

       

       

      1. 7.6.1
        Stacy2

        I will even illustrate the point I am making above with numbers. Say the lifestyle you want is as follows:

        – Living in a 2Br luxury-type apartment in the city in a good neighborhood [$6,000 in mo rent or cost of ownership. right now renting is cheaper here]

        (see example: https://www.1510lex.com/?gclid=CILY0oCgkdUCFRCHswod0NsJ_w)

        – A country/vacation house/condo that net of rental income will cost $2000/month [typical carrying cost of a $1m beach house in my state assuming rented for 2 months out of the year]

        – One child that for the first few years of his life will cost $3,000/month [typical cost of infant/childcare in my city]

        – Catch-all other monthly expenses for the family including vacations and travel $5,000/month [won’t break it down but for the family of 3 this is not much around here]

        The above lifestyle will set you back $16K per month or $192K per year of after-tax money, or in a couple $96K per person. Grossing up 96K for taxes at 35% effective rate this is $147K, and further grossing it up for savings [lets say each spouse saves at a minimum 20% of their b/t income], this is $184K. So there you have it – if you want this life, each spouse should be making at the minimum $184K. If the other is making less, you either won’t afford it, or you will be forced to save less [not a good idea].

        On the other hand, let’s say you decided to downshift a bit. May be you’re buying an average house in an average, not great, suburb for $500K [this is a starter home here]. Something like this: https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/28-S-Kensington-Ave-Rockville-Centre-NY-11570/31246013_zpid/

        Nothing fancy, no pool or much of a yard, built in 1939, 30 min outside of city, schools not great but doable with some additional homeschooling (6 and 9).

        This will set you back about $2,000 in cost of ownership and additional $500 at least in home carrying expenses. You will need 2 cars, so add $700/month all in for mid-range cars. No vacation houses here, use your backyard. And lets reduce all other monthly expenses to $3000. Chances are you’re not going for fine dining in this suburb. So your new annual total is  about 74K, or $37K per person. Grossing it up as before you’ll get to 71K [37 / 0.65 / 0.8]. That is the minimum each spouse would make to afford this. Or, conversely, the maximum lifestyle you can prudently afford on that amount of money.

        ===

        This is how women should think about these issues. The wealth gap between men and women is serious, and too often women are not encouraged to think financially, rather than emotionally. This is when we as women find our downfall.

      2. 7.6.2
        Mrs Happy

        Stacy2,

        please stay. Lots of us like reading your comments. Your point of view is sharp, and I literally laugh at your comments sometimes (in a good, that’s funny and so right, way).  You’re an important counterpoint to many posters.  You’re educating the many, many women reading this blog.

        You also seem very similar to me 10 years ago, before marriage and children mellowed me so.

        Stay.

  8. 8
    N

    Here’s my take on this..  my beau and I first met at Starbucks for a morning coffee. It was a casual meet up. According to my SO who’s been online dating since puberty (he jokes) he knew within 5 seconds he’s attracted to me physically. The next 3 hours he wanted to know if we can have an easy conversation. I believe this is where the soft qualities i.e. authentic warmth, friendliness, humor, touch of sarcasm, playfulness, etc. come into play.

    At this point, I know my SO is an ER Physician (I found out later he’s also the EVP of large teaching hospital) but didn’t know the extent of his position. In the same token, I told him I manage people (I’m a C-Level Executive in a large corporation) but I didn’t tell him the extent of my position. In retrospect, we left those details because we don’t want our job titles/income to influence what we had going.

    We have mutual attraction from the get go. My SO is hot, has full head of hair (important to me!), brilliant, compassionate, easy going, stand-up guy who calls and make plans. Two months in he opened a conversation he’s only looking for a long term relationship that will lead to marriage and if that’s not what I’m looking for I better tell him. All these qualities are what’s important to me as a woman. His job title/income/education is secondary. If he is not a stand up guy his looks and earning power mean nothing to me. As for my beau, physical attraction is instantaneous. He said, it must be there or no go. The rest follows.

  9. 9
    Noquay

    Like I’ve stated earlier here, I outearn local men by a factor of 5-10 as this is mainly a low income, low educational level region of the state. Yet I lifted myself out of poverty to get there so I have a different level of understanding and nope, I don’t feel a shred of guilt about it. I’ve dated the highest income and most attractive man in the town yet eventually rejected him because of poor character and really inappropriate public behavior.

    Why, not if, someone is lower earning is huge: is it a result of downsizing or deliberate lack of ambition. Character: Involved in community or selfish ski bum? Sober or drug/alcohol abuser? Lower income because of retirement vs being anti education. Does he pull his weight vs expecting your lifestyle without any contribution on his part? Slob vs neat, organized?  Can he demonstrate good social skills, kindness, responsibility, dignity, maturity, pride, good self care, intellectual curiosity? None of these things demand a degree or cost anything; a matter of character, observation, insight, inner strength. Lifestyle issues: Do you read or veg in front of TV? Are you interested in the outdoors or do you veg out at trashy bars? These kinds of things are what I look at. One important factor independent of basic character is health care, especially now. If he is lower earning and gets sick/hurt, it may be on your nickel and your nickel alone. Can you afford this, despite your higher income? If he’s made poor yet avoidable or was in a poverty-related  lifestyle (smoking, obesity, poor self care, poor diet etc) and suffers from it, you will be footing the bill, perhaps to the tune of tens of thousands, plus a serious investment of your work time as well. Learned the hard way taking care of my low earning, poor lifestyle, late father.

    1. 9.1
      Yet Another Guy

      Income and healthy lifestyle are not mutually inclusive when it comes to men.  I would argue that most gainfully-employed blue-collar men are probably in better cardiovascular shape than most white-collar men.  Failure to see a physician on a regular basis is not a just a poor man’s problem.  Unlike women who at least see an OBGYN on a regular basis, most men do not practice preventative healthcare.  The only time that the average man sees a doctor is when he is too sick to work or his wife nags him to point where he gives up and complies.  Forward-facing professions place more pressure on men to maintain a higher level of fitness on average, but I have seen my fair share of obese male physicians and lawyers.

      Now, let’s flip the obesity problem around.  The average American woman is now in the size 16 to 18 range (yes guys, the big women on dating sites who claim to be average are in fact average 🙂 ).  The average American woman is 5’3.7″ tall (https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/body-measurements.htm).  That is not just a few extra pounds.  That is obese.   Anyone who believes that the average American man has anything on the average American woman when it comes to obesity is living in a bubble.

      1. 9.1.1
        GoWiththeFlow

        YAG,

        Look a little further into that CDC site.  There’s an inverse correlation between increasing income and and weight.  Poverty and obesity go hand in hand.  Another factor:  White collar men are more likely to have health insurance than blue collar men.  A man with a higher income also has more money to spend on medical costs.  Blue collar men are also way more likely to get hurt on the job than white collar men.

        It’s interesting you have brought up the “Egads the average woman wears a size 16-18!” subject twice in the last few days with a disapproving tone.  Your girl Ashley Graham is a size 16 😉

        1. Yet Another Guy

          How many fifty-year-old blue-collar men do you know who have had a heart attack that are not heavy smokers or drinkers?  None of the blue-collar members of my extended family have had a heart attack.  It is only the white-collar workers that have had heart attacks.  I have lost count of the guys I know in engineering that are my age or a little older who have already had a stent or two inserted of have undergone coronary artery bypass graft surgery.  White-collar work is stress without the physical release that a man gets in a blue-collar trade. Most white-collar professionals that I know work in excess of 50 hours a week doing exacting jobs or leading people doing exacting jobs.  I used to work 80 hours a week on a regular basis when I worked in R&D.  All of that stress adds up over time.  Indian (South Asian) engineers drop dead in their fifties because they are so driven to succeed when they come to this country.

          Ashley Graham is 5’9″.   A size 16 on a woman who is 5’9″ is quite  different than a size 16 on a woman who is not quite 5’4″.  A woman who is 5’9″ usually has a significantly larger skeleton.   A women who is 5’9″ is the female equivalent of a 6’2″ man, as the average man is 5″ taller than the average woman.   A woman who 5’3.7″ is considered to be petite.   A size 16 on a petite height woman gives a whole new meaning to the word petite.  That is way beyond curves extra weight.  I have read comments to blog entry after blog entry on EMK where women were complaining about men being more obese than women, but it is difficult to argue with facts.

        2. GoWiththeFlow

          YAG,

          So you’re saying blue collar men have easier stress free lives than white collar men do?  My BIL, who drives a cement truck, and my ex who is a machinist at a heavy equipment manufacturing company ,are both extremely overweight and on multiple medications for hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and diabetes.  A blue collar job may be physically taxing, but that doesn’t mean it is the equivalent of a workout at the gym.

          As far as women’s clothing sizes goes, a size 16 is a size 16.  You put an awful lot of your argument that it’s not the same in the fact that Ashley Graham is SO MUCH TALLER than the average woman.  What you fail to mention is that she weighs more too.  At 5’9″ and 201 lbs (from her agency’s website) she has a BMI of 29.8.  The average woman, from your reference site, 5’4″ and 168 lbs has a bmi of 28.7.   They’re taking up a similar amount of space.  I’m 5’3″ and wear a size 4.  Noquay at 5’7″ wears the same size.  I can promise you that I could raid her closet and fit into a lot of her clothes, and she would be able to fit into a lot of mine.

          “Anyone who believes that the average American man has anything on the average American woman when it comes to obesity is living in a bubble.”

          I suspect the issue here is that you want to believe that when it comes to weight and fitness, that American men are SOOOOO much better than American women on this.  And you want to shame women for it.  So it’s a direct hit to your argument when it’s pointed out that someone you find attractive is the same size as the women you want to shame.

          In reality overweight and obesity is a problem that is shared by both men and women in this society at around the same rate (https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-statistics/overweight-obesity).

          And while it’s entirely valid to say you are not attracted to an overweight or obese woman (just like many women are not attracted to obese men) ridiculing and shaming them is another matter.  Considering that AG is a very vocal advocate for body positivity, I’m sure she wouldn’t take kindly to your judgmental attitude, nor your attempt to frame obesity as only a women’s issue.

           

      2. 9.1.2
        AllHeart81

        Both men and women deal with obesity. Infact, men are statistically more obese than women. I understand that obese women is a greater concern to you then obese men because you feel entitled to a certain body type, but regardless of this…obesity is a problem for both genders. And I assure you, blue collar men have as many health failings as white collar men. The men in your family are no more indicative of the world then the blue collar men in my family who have suffered heart attacks, heart disease and stroke.

  10. 10
    Noquay

    YAG

    As a 5’7″ size 4-6 ultra-marathoner,I agree with the obesity stats. As someone who teaches future nurses and doctors, it is going to be THE major healthcare issue in this country. Have no clue why a lot of this male contingent constantly hits on me IRL and on line though, our lifestyles being polar opposites. They’d be a lot happier with those women you described.

    Yep, lots of  high income men fail to practice self care. However, these folk have good health insurance, savings, and can pay for their own problems unlike my poor dad. Whether a blue collar dude is in better shape depends on what his job was. Anything repetitive or dangerous and it’s the parade of the halt and the lame. Ex miners, construction guys, ski area workers here suffered horribly from workplace injury and it shows.

  11. 11
    John

    Hi Noquay

    You said:

    Have no clue why a lot of this male contingent constantly hits on me IRL and on line though, our lifestyles being polar opposites. They’d be a lot happier with those women you described.

    Guys love women who are slim and sexy,  which sounds like you. We men are visual creatures to an extreme and we tend to not have a clue whether a woman is in our “league” or not.

    When I was 18 years old an old man told me that very beautiful women don’t get asked out properly much. Usually guys stare or catcall them. So I tested his theory and asked model type women out in a polite way. They said yes. I dated very beautiful models for a couple of years. It taught me a valuable lesson. The lesson was to approach any woman I felt like approaching without fear. Hell, I even would approach groups of beautiful women who looked like they were not interested in talking to anyone.

    Men are usually the pursuers and so we try to get the best women we can get. With that said, women can get the best man who approaches her.

    By the way you describe yourself, I would probably try to pick you up if I saw you😉

     

  12. 12
    AllHeart81

    on a sociological level, I see very little incentive for women to change their biological desire for a man who is a good provider with good money since most men see very little incentive to change their biological desire for younger, attractive women. Why shouldn’t Women pick men who make more money? There is literally no good reason not to on a pure socialogical level. I also don’t see a man who chooses to be with a woman who earns less (or vice versa – a woman who chooses to be with a man who earns less) as “lowering” themselves or any nonsense like that. But if men and women want each other to evolve as human beings and not value money or looks, and find a partner of the same mentality, then they need to live the example they wish to see. Meaning, if a man doesn’t want to be valued for his money, he can not turn around and value women for their looks and expect to find a partner that likes him for him while he likes her for how hot she is….and naturally…that works vice versa. You get what you give. Many people don’t find what they want because they think relationships are all about “me, me, me.” And how the other person should be a set trait of standards that best benefits themselves.

  13. 13
    Denise

    In the abstract, I always assumed that I needed to be with a man who was at least as formally educated as I am and ideally making more than I do, or at least having the potential and drive to do so.  Some of that was a desire for a certain lifestyle.  But also, I thought most men (save grifters) would be uncomfortable with me making more and besides, I had always idealized staying at home with my future children, meaning whomever I married would need to be able to carry all of us financially on his own.

    And then I met my guy, and I realized much of what Evan has advised here.  I realized that I liked him for how I felt being with him, for the connection we had, his personality, our shared spirituality, our ability to enjoy one’s another’s company whether we’re doing nothing or anything at all, etc.  And though not rich by any means I was making more as a single woman than most households are raising families on.  I didn’t need him to have money.  And he has insisted that what I make doesn’t bother him.  His passion and focus is in an area that enables him to work independently, so he’s even said he should be the one to stay at home and look after any children we may have, which was a bit of a relief because when I am honest with myself, I still have a lot of professional goals that I’d like to reach and him staying at home would be really helpful to me in pursuing them.  I’ve worked through a lot of internal resistance due to my own constructed blueprint of how things are “supposed” to be; but when I just relax, I realize that, though this dynamic is not perfect, it can work.  Results are pending, but I would say to others to keep an open mind.

     

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