What’s it really like to make more money than your husband? It’s great — and it’s complicated. Any time you flip gender roles on their head, people will give you side eye and wonder what’s really going on. I may not be the norm, but like me, more and more Canadian women are out-earning their partners, and navigating what it’s like to bring home the bacon.
Even in the best relationships, money can be awkward and emotional. Deciding who pays for what, how much you save, where to go on vacation is underlined with what you can afford and who is paying for it. I’ve had to check my privilege and have difficult convos (OK, fights) about money more than a few times. Here’s what I’ve learned along the way as the female breadwinner.
We’re honest about how much we make (and our debt)
This moment made me realize that we needed to start talking honestly about our finances and to put it all on the table. It was hard, but it helped us come up with a budget and worked towards shared financial goals.
Splitting things down the middle didn’t work
The game-changer was dividing our expenses by the percentages of our total income. He made 1/3 of what I did, he paid 1/3 of rent, utilities, internet bill, etc. while I picked up the rest. This felt a little more balanced and allowed us to pay bills and both have some pocket change.
Money does give me more options
I’m kind of bossy about money
We’ve learned to plan together
I’m always afraid of losing my job
We still split the housework
Money doesn’t equal value
It’s not really about money — but power
But I’m still not ready to combine our money
Even though we’ve been together since college and married for more than two years, we still have separate bank accounts. I’m an open book when it comes to budgeting, debt and savings. We regularly show each other our bank accounts and I do our taxes but we still don’t have a joint chequing account. The thing is, our system works. We trust each other to spend wisely and stick by our goals for savings. If we had shared accounts I think it would drive me crazy to see every transaction, and frankly, I don’t want to micromanage our finances. If we are on the same page and hitting our financial goals as a couple, it works.