All Articles Tagged "money and marriage"

Til Income Disparity Do Us Part? It’s Really Okay To Marry A Guy Who Makes Less Money Than You

November 20th, 2012 - By Alissa Henry
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Almost as popular as the confusing yet oft-repeated “marry someone who loves you more than you love him” advice that is stuffed down single women’s throats is the newer piece of advice: “Marry someone who makes more money than you”.

I’ve read this a lot lately on the Internet and in glossy magazines geared toward women. Article after article suggests women who make more than their husbands are doomed to an unhappy marriage and may as well begin drawing up the divorce papers.

When I read these stories, I can’t help but think: Is that where we’re at now?

It may not be intentional, but it seems that this advice aims to stoke fears in the hearts of ambitious, financially successful women. The underlying message is a baseless warning that “Happily Ever After” is only for those whose paychecks are noticeably smaller than their husband’s.

How ridiculous.

I was raised in a two-parent household where my father made so much more money than my mother that her income was deemed irrelevant. She stayed at home to homeschool my sister and I while my father worked 50-plus hours a week providing financially for our family. It was very Leave It to Beaver…until it wasn’t and, eventually, my parents divorced.

Considering the divorce rate, I highly doubt that my parents’ marriage was the only union that didn’t survive despite the man being the breadwinner. We know that there are several factors that can contribute to the success or failure of a marriage, so why are we pretending a woman making less money than her husband is the key to a fairytale ending?

Finances are important, but you’ve got to either be really selfish or without a single clue when it comes to marriage to believe that it’s all about who makes the most money. Marriage is a partnership, not a competition. Even a couple who maintains separate accounts after tying the knot would admit it’s not her money and his money, it’s their money anyway. In fact, as soon as a couple starts thinking in terms of “my money”, they’re going to have problems no matter who is contributing the most.

What makes this advice to seek out a higher-earning man the most confusing is the fact that making more money and having more money are two different things. A man who is raking in $80,000 a year yet is saddled by twice that amount in student loans certainly has less money than a woman who is pulling in $30,000 a year and is debt free. Just because a man is making more money than his woman doesn’t mean he has more money than she does. So what’s more important in that instance? Making money or having it?

Further, there is making more money than your spouse and there is making way more money than him. In a recent Atlantic Magazine article titled “The Weaker Sex” the author talks about her friend who brings in $670,000 per year at her high-powered non-profit and is married to a writer who decided to stay home for a few years upon the birth of their twins. The author talks about this couple’s problems, chalking it up to the income disparity yet all I can think about is what a mismatch they are and probably were before they got married. What does a woman whose character, education, upbringing and personal values led to her making nearly one million dollars a year at a non-profit have in common with a man who is willing to stay home to take care of children? Their problems aren’t the result of the fact that the woman out-earns her husband, she’s unhappy because she married someone who is clearly so different than herself and whom she obviously does not respect.

Marrying someone who makes more money is great if that’s important to you, but I’d think it’s even more important to marry someone who thinks about money the way you do. Instead of looking at someone’s pay stub to determine if he is eligible for your lifetime commitment, it’s better to look at those things about him that won’t change should his company fire him tomorrow.

For example, a type-A workaholic may enjoy dating a man with a laissez-faire attitude toward finances because he’s spontaneous and fun, but after you’re married, that carefree approach looks a lot less like fun and a lot more like spendthrift and needlessly blowing money. On the flipside, dating a man who is serious about putting away the bulk of his lucrative paycheck can lead you to believe you’ll get a piece of his deep dish pie after marriage only to realize later on that he doesn’t believe sharing is caring. Clearly, the way you think about money is more important to the success of your relationship than the money itself.

Though people mean well when they advise you to marry up financially, deciding to marry someone because of something as prone to change as income is basing a lifetime decision on a temporary circumstance. It’s absolutely important to know what financial situation you’re marrying into, but also remember that fortunes can change in an instant for better or worse.

While you’re comparing paystubs, you may want to take other notes as well. Is he selfish? Is he secretive about his money? Is he intent on keeping up with appearances? Does he have money put away for the future? Does he pay attention to his finances? Are you going to have to hide purchases from him? Will he hide purchases from you? Is he mired in debt? Is he on a career path? Is he committed to his job? Does he respect your work? How does he feel about unemployment (his or yours)? Do you have similar financial goals?

The answers to these questions and more are all things that are way more important to know than simply: Does he make more money than you?

What do you think? Would you marry someone who makes less money than you do?

Follow Alissa on Twitter @AlissaInPink or check out her blog This Cannot Be My Life 

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Life’s Curveballs: Can Your Relationship Handle Them?

September 25th, 2012 - By Julia Austin
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There’s a reason you’re cautioned to wait to move in together, marry and even have children and that is this: no matter how perfect of a match you and a man may seem, there’s no telling how he or you will react when life throws you a curveball.

Who Said Love Don’t Cost A Thing? How To Handle Money & Your Marriage

July 7th, 2012 - By Julia Austin
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You bond with your partner over drinks, over a weekend getaway, over buying a home together, and all of these things require money. In some sense, money can buy you love because it can buy you the stability and the opportunities under which you can get to know each other and become closer. Having enough money also fends off many fights. But, the reality is, money comes and goes, and you don’t want your relationship to go with it. So, think and talk about these things, before you hit tough times.

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What’s Ours Is Ours: Why a Joint Account Is One Of My Favorite Things About Marriage

June 28th, 2012 - By Alissa Henry
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When I was in high school, I knew a married couple who shared everything. They had one car, one office (they both worked at her father’s church), and – although they each had a cell phone – her voice was on both voicemails. They were super close and I thought that was so cool. I couldn’t wait to be married one day and share everything with my husband.

Now, that I’m older and married myself, I realize that while I like to share a one person chair with my new husband when we watch sitcoms or a basketball game, we both need our own space – and definitely our own cars. But one thing my husband and I did decide to share after we got married was our bank accounts. I always thought a joint-checking account was a very “married” thing to have, so I was excited to open one almost immediately after we returned from the honeymoon.

Finance experts don’t agree on whether sharing a checking and savings account is a good idea. Dave Ramsey says do it. In his book, Total Money Makeover, he says “When you get married, you become one. Money is a key area that helps bring unity. When you handle your money together, you are agreeing on your hopes, dreams and goals.” Suze Orman says don’t do it. She told Ms. Magazine, “Having a shared pot of money can cause a lot of unnecessary strife and haggling over expenses.” Jean Chatzky stays kind of in the middle. She wrote on Oprah.com, “Everyone needs some financial independence, and often, that comes in the form of your own bank account. I’m a huge fan of what’s often referred to as the three-pot system: Yours, Mine and Ours. A joint account and two separate checking accounts.”

Personally, I like Dave Ramsey’s idea of having one checking account and one savings account. I don’t want to feel like roommates splitting bills and such. In addition, I didn’t get married to still have that awkward, “reach-for-your-purse-to-pretend-you-want-to-pay-but-secretly-hopes-he-grabs-his-credit-card-first” moment in restaurants. I like that every dime is coming out of the same pot: groceries, movies, mortgage payments, dinners out with friends, Starbucks, etc. We’re a team and having a joint checking and savings account makes me feel more like a team. I think completely separate money is a slippery slope and three or more accounts are just too much to keep track of.

Granted, joint accounts certainly aren’t for every couple and there is no one-size-fits all solution for money management. My husband and I are lucky that he is pretty frugal and I am a (mostly) reformed shopaholic. I definitely think twice about purchases when I consider I am not just spending my own money anymore and occasionally I will give the side-eye to one of his purchases, but the joint checking thing seems to be a good idea.

And you know what, if joint checking doesn’t work in the long run, then we’ll change it. No sense having unnecessary arguments! For now, though, it’s one of my favorite things about being married.

We have had one incident that was a result of sharing an account. I don’t always bring my purse places because it’s heavy, so if he has the credit card and we’re only going one place then I leave my purse at home. One day we were sitting in a restaurant and had just finished eating breakfast when the check came. I looked at him. He looked at me. He said: “You don’t have your purse do you?” I shook my head and said, “You forgot the debit card?” He nodded. We were sitting in the restaurant with no money! Thankfully we weren’t too far from our house, so he was able to drive home and get his card while I sat at the table waiting for him to come back. Now, I always ask him if he has the card before I leave my purse at home!

What do you think about joint checking accounts for married couples?

Alissa Henry is a freelance writer living in Columbus, OH. Follow her on Twitter @AlissaInPink or check out her blog This Cannot Be My Life

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More on Madame Noire!

Does Living Together Really Save Money? It Depends on Your Degree

July 6th, 2011 - By TheEditor
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Black Couple Living TogetherBy Alexis Garrett Stodghill

More couples than ever are choosing shacking up over matrimony, with their numbers doubling since the ’90s, according to a new report released by The Pew Center. Its analysis of recent Census data revealed another discovery: unmarried college-educated couples who live together have a higher household income than similar married people. Unmarried partners earned a median sum of $106,400, while the legally wed took in a little less at $101,160.

These facts disprove the widely-held notion that marriage is the ideal financial arrangement for all. CNN.com elaborates:

The report’s findings fly in the face of conventional wisdom that says married people have it better economically than their unmarried counterparts.

“When we started writing this report, we thought that people who were married, and not those just living with each other, would be better off. But that’s not the case,” said D’Vera Cohn, the study’s co-author.

The key is a college degree, Cohn said.

Cohabiting couples without college educations typically fare worse than comparably educated married couples and are on par with the economic means of an adult living without a partner, the study said.

In fact, “unmarried cohabiting couples who have only completed high school have a median income of $46,540,” while “married high school-educated couples have a combined salary of $56,800,” according to AOL’s MyDaily. So for those with only a high school diploma, marriage still provides greater stability — yet less than that of a single person with a college degree.

Pew found that college educated singles earn an average of $90,067, almost twice that of high school educated unmarried live-ins. Being single and college educated does not cause one to have a high salary — this is a statistical correlation. Yet, this correlation proves the importance of a college degree over marriage for creating wealth. Because of this, when college educated singles unite, they become an economic powerhouse.

The larger combined income of educated, unmarried partners enables these couples to save 1.4 times as much as couples who do not live together. Other factors contribute to their ability to save, such as the fact that only 67% of married couples count both spouses as earners, as opposed to 78% of unmarried loves.  More income automatically means more discretionary funds.

In addition, unmarried, college educated households have fewer children. Child rearing, for couples all along the education spectrum, leads partners to drop out of the workforce.

These findings portray remaining unmarried as an economic advantage — if one has a college degree. Being college educated can make living with a similar spouse a means for getting ahead, but one can also do pretty well alone. According to this new research, anyone without a college education else is better off getting hitched.

What do you think? Does being college educated trump marriage as a foundation for financial security? Or is there more to matrimony than money? Leave your comments on your personal experiences, and discuss.

 

Ways to Protect Your Money When Marriage Is Over

June 10th, 2011 - By TheEditor
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(AOL) — Breaking up is always hard to do. But just because your life has been upended by a divorce or separation, it doesn’t mean your finances have to suffer, too.  That’s exactly what can happen, however, if you make any number of wrong moves when you’re unwinding a relationship.  Here are seven financial mistakes you must avoid once you decide to end a marriage:

1. Thinking that a mediator will protect your financial interests.  Many of us think that all divorces inevitably devolve into epic, drawn-out battles over money and property, complete with bitter screaming matches, chronic stress, and “I’ll get you!” style threats, kind of like The War of the Roses, the 1989 film that starred Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner.  But that’s the Hollywood version of a worst-case divorce scenario.

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Trophy Diggers: Why Are They Not Judged Like Gold Diggers?

April 4th, 2011 - By TheEditor
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"Charing Ball"Here’s a little history fact for all the young hip hop heads: EPMD was the first, in what would become a long tradition of hip-hop artists, to popularize an ode to the gold digger. In the timeless words of Erick and Parrish: “That’s why, men in the 90’s must watch themselves/ Cause ladies of the 80’s got hip and went for self.”

Although those lyrics are from 1990, they still represent a belief system that is as relevant today as it was during the golden era of hip hop.  The theory goes that a woman who seeks out financial security (and sometimes a little bit more) in exchange for love, she is considered a money-grubbing, gold digger. Folks say there are specific ways to spot a gold digger, including the way a woman dresses, the company she keeps (usually wealthy or professional men) and even how young and attractive she may be.

No one, regards of gender, believes that any woman who marries or dates an obscenely rich or prominent man does so for love alone. Just look at Melania Trump, current wife of Donald Trump; Heather Mills, former wife of rocker Paul McCartney; and Hugh Hefner and his assortment of playboy bunnies. No matter how much these women may have declared their everlasting devotion to these men, we the public simple refuse to believe it to be true, especially considering that the men in question are decades older and are not attractive as they once were.

While we collectively criticize and ostracize these women for apparently choosing money over love, their rich and powerful husbands or boyfriends rarely face the same scrutiny, when it is obvious that they base their “love” for these women off of their looks. As the old saying goes, if women are sex objects [then] men are success objects. So why is it that our collective reactions to these objectifications differ?

Just like the woman who marries a rich man for their ability to uplift them financially, there is a certain social status that comes with marrying a woman based off her appearance. A supermodel, beauty queen or video vixen could offer a prominent man the same status booster as can his vacation house, an expensive car or flashy jewelry. Even if a man is not as wealthy as say a Trump or even a middle class doctor, researchers believe that a man would be considered more popular or attractive if he had a beautiful or attractive spouse on his arm.

There is biological evidence that suggest that men often go for younger, beautiful women based off of a subconscious desire to conserve or even enhance their own genes. Women, who seek out financial stability, do so because of a subconscious desire to mate with the tribal leader, thus ensuring survival of themselves and their spawns. In less than scientific terms, we are a species of superficia­l, selfish, ignorant monkeys, who are driven mainly on primitive desires than our actual emotional desire to find “true love.”

Biology aside, though our society often celebrates one’s ability to equate physical desirability with love and romance, we ironically demonize the idea that other qualities, including financial stability, are equally important to matters of the heart. So if women are to be evaluated solely based on their appearance, it would only make it right that men be judged solely based on their ability to acquire wealth. After all, it’s just human nature, right?

Charing Ball is the author of the blog People, Places & Things.

Love And Money: Step-By-Step Guide To Financial Unity

November 4th, 2010 - By TheEditor
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(Forbes) — Money is a leading source of conflict for most couples, says Alexa von Tobel, founder and CEO ofLearnVest.com, a personal finance website for women. While about half of all marriages end in divorce, von Tobel believes a great many relationships could be brighter if couples were as united in their finances as they were by their love. According to her, one in five people have a secret bank account or credit card, and 80% have lied to a spouse about spending.  “Marriage is a financial decision,” says von Tobel. “You should know what you’re getting, and get on the same page.”

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Six Reasons He Won’t Marry You…Financially

October 6th, 2010 - By TheEditor
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Your man still wines and dines you.  He loves that you’re health-conscious and your best self.  He even supported your career – before you quit.  Very soon, you’ll be married.  Or else.  Until then, you give him your all.  Your daughter and parents can’t wait.  Five years later, you’re still here and unmarried.  You’re good woman.  You’d make a great wife.  Maybe give him a kid after all.  What’s wrong?

It’s You.  Often, the most beautiful and intelligent women miss the aisle because they lack financial “fine-ness”.  Often, the commitment you seek is farther than the road you’re blocking from his financial freedom.

Here’s Six Reasons You May Not Get The Ring

1.    You Won’t Compliment Our Wealth
Times are challenging.  We want adaptable women.  A cheerleader at our highs and counselor (mainly sex) in our lows.  Will you be ready and unconditionally supportive for our power moves and misses?  In rough times, find out if we need you financially.  Extra income trumps morning workouts and Oprah.  Asking alone shows you’d be a great partner.

2.    You May Be A Liability
Many of us see wives as an obligation that MUST be worth it.  Offer qualities we refuse to live without – great sex, ridiculous beauty or whatever our “currency” is.  Possess something we’re willing to trade our “freedom” for.  We decide how much effort we’ll expend to keep you very early.  The more you offer, the better your chances.   We’ll fold on an average hand.  No excessive debt, litter of children or new responsibilities we don’t want.  Sending “his money” to mom may make you a burden not an asset.

3.    You Don’t Make Financially Sound Decisions
Before marriage; we weigh the “costs” of sharing financial decisions.  Similar financial outlooks are preferred.  If we’re financially carefree – be thrifty.  If we’re thrifty – be thriftier.  Mirror us financially to see the “papers” you desire.  We assume you’ll treat our money like yours.  Quitting your jobs abruptly may be fine.  Quitting without a backup plan is unacceptable.

4.    We Make Unsound Financial Decisions With You
We make calculated decisions about you to get what we want.  The more we like you; the worse our decision-making.  For protection, we instantly classify women into categories.  You’ve been analyzed; so anything we give beyond “your worth” seems like a loss.  Excess in dating compromises our financial stability.  You don’t have to pay; BUT PAY ATTENTION.  Suggest alternatives to fine-dining if you suspect our ambivalence.  We’ll appreciate your sacrifice and work harder to please you.

5.    You Make Us Feel Financially Weak

Men compete with each other from birth. In order to survive and be successful, our self-confidence must always remain in tact. We can’t be compromised AND successful.  Broken men, allowed themselves to become LESS than what they originally envisioned.  Most men won’t care if you make the same pay or more.  We’ll push you away if you make us feel smaller than our vision of ourselves.  We must be the head of house in one way or another.  We’ll never be thrilled with making less than you.  Succeed; but never flaunt your financial prowess.  It’s not “good money” if deteriorates our self image.

6.    You Treat Us Like Currency

A woman “who can find somebody else” is open to someone better than us.  Once again, we’re competing.  Thoughts of you with the competition make us feel disposable, like money.  Bottom line – there are more women than men.  Unless you’re irresistible; we’ll call your bluff.  We too, “can find somebody else”.  Women who appreciate us; appreciate in value.

Here are some tips to promote positive financial growth in relationships:

1.    Share Your Financial Decisions to Create an Open Financial Environment.
2.    Find Ways to Build His Wealth Too.
3.    Assess and Align Your Financial Decision-Making Styles.
4.    Be Receptive and Adapt To His Financial Peaks and Valleys.
5.    Make Him “The King” of Something Else If He Can’t Cut it Financially.
6.    Appreciate What He Brings to the Table and Truly Value It.

Jemal Webb is a leading Independent Financial Asset Manager in Atlanta, building a community based on Abundance, Protection and Education.