How to Have Financial Equality: Money can be a constant stressor in relationships. For some people, earning less money than their partner can make them feel like they have less say in how the household spends money. Consequently, they’ll feel like they need to give their partner the upper hand and allow them to dictate the terms of the relationship. Yet, the reality is that money should be a non-issue. If you’re earning less than your partner, you can help to eliminate financial inequality in your relationship by changing a few things.
Be open about your financial situation
Holding onto resentment over finances won’t help the situation, so you need to practice communicating your feelings about money to your partner. Even with someone you love and trust, talking about money can make anyone feel vulnerable, but being open and communicative is well worth the temporary feelings of guilt or nervousness.
Also, you’ll need to be honest about what’s making you feel unequal in the relationship and work together to create a plan that solves the issue. Are you feeling guilty because you carry more debt than your partner? Use this loan repayment calculator together to make a plan that gets you out of debt. Do you feel bad because your job doesn’t earn as much income as your spouse’s? Talk openly about the other ways you contribute to the relationship. Maybe you’re the one who plans and prepares the family meals, does the laundry, or takes care of the children. Those feelings of inequality could be caused by simply not accounting for the “sweat equity” you put into the relationship.
Make a household budget
If you don’t have a budget, stop reading this and sit down with your partner to make one. A household budget can help clarify your financial situation and reduce your feelings of inequality. Are there bills your income can cover that make you feel more involved in the family’s finances? If not, maybe you can take a more significant role in handling the family’s budget and ensuring the bills are always paid, removing that burden from your partner’s shoulders.
Have both separate and joint accounts
Maintaining a joint household checking account can make it easier for you both to ensure bills are always paid and haven’t gotten lost in the mix. While it’s great to have your own checking and savings account to maintain independence and have your own money to spend how you like, contributing to a joint account can ensure you’re both involved in the household finances.
If you’re already using a joint checking account, consider also opening a joint savings account for shared goals too. Whether it’s buying a new house, having a baby, or just taking a vacation, having the opportunity to contribute to shared goals (no matter how much) can make you feel like you have an equal say in how the family’s money is spent.
Remember that you’re an equal partner regardless of finances
Above all, don’t let finances create a wedge in your relationship. Your partner is with you because you contribute so much more than money and do more things for them than taking care of the mortgage payment. There are other ways you bring value to the relationship, and you deserve to feel like an equal partner who has a say in the way the relationship runs.
The bottom line
The most important part of financial equality is to have open and honest communication with your partner. Understanding your partner’s financial goals and talking about your needs as a couple can help resolve any financial differences you may have. If you and your partner take the time to talk about your finances, you’ll have a healthier, stronger relationship that’s never affected by the amount of money either earns.