First Person: Earning More Money Than My Man

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I laugh when I tell my husband I've gone from being his trophy wife to a top income wife in less than a year. With my latest bonus, I now officially bring home more bacon than my man, but he does not expect me to fry it up in the pan.

For those who don't get it, I'm referring to a 1980s Enjoli perfume commercial about a career woman who can "bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan and never let you forget you're the man." When my husband earned more than me, we figured out ways to keep the financial peace in our marriage. We continue to keep our marriage strong by tackling everything financial concern as a team.

Understanding how we compete

My husband likes to compete with others, while I compete with myself. This works to our advantage in terms of our money making abilities. I focus on earning more than I did the month before because I like to challenge myself. He works harder to keep up with me. I have no doubt he will surpass my income next year, and that will be fine.

Knowing we aren't alone

According to a recent Pew Research study, 26 percent of wives out earn their husbands. That's up from less than 18 percent in 1987. Many of our Gen-X peers are in the same boat since the recession has left more men unemployed or underemployed. I have a friend who financially supports the family since her husband returned to college to get his degree. He was laid off from his construction job.

Worrying about infidelity statistics

As sociologists examine the phenomena of the "breadwinner wives," they are finding some men cheat on wives with bigger paychecks. A scientific study by Cornell University men who are completely dependent on their wives are five times more likely to cheat compared to men who contribute equally. At the same time, researchers say infidelity is less common among the well educated. I'm fortunate my husband has a master's degree. I think by being open and honest about our finances, we are able to trust one another in terms of martial faithfulness.

Emasculating my man

As I stated, we are part of Generation X so we tend to share domestic duties. We blend our careers with our family by working at home instead of going to the office like the older, more patriarchal generations did. My husband doesn't define his masculinity by how much money he makes any more than I define my femininity by how often I make a pot roast.

Revising our budget

Because we did not anticipate that I'd out earn my husband this year, we had to revise our budget. We got on the same page about saving for our taxes instead of arguing over what we would spend our extra money on. By making it all about "our" money, we prevent so many of the money arguments couples have when one spouse earns more.

When we go on our weekly date night, my husband jokes that I should pick up the tab. I guess it's the price we pay as the breadwinner wives.

More from this contributor:

5 Financial Chats Every Couple Needs To Have Now

Rich Husband, Frugal Wife

Married to a Secret Spender


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