Mind the Gap: Overcoming an Income Gap in Relationships
Navigating relationship challenges when you have accumulated or earn more than your spouse or significant other.
Historically, fiscally unequal relationships have tipped toward the man having or making more than the woman in a relationship. In many cases, this also meant that men had more decision making power in relationships. But a rising trend since the late 20th century has been fiscally unequal relationships where the table is turned.
According to the Bank of Montreal’s Wealth Institute, about 51 percent or $14 trillion of personal American wealth is now controlled by women and that number is expected to increase to $22 trillion by 2020.i With that trend, it naturally follows that there are a greater number of relationships where the woman is the bread winner and has more investable assets or higher net worth than her male partner.i
What’s the Big Deal?
It’s 2017 right? Who cares who has more in the relationship? According to a Sudden Money Institute® research project, apparently, lots of people. “What we have found over the past decade of delving into this topic is that when partners are fiscally unequal, it’s challenging no matter who has more. But when the woman has more, a subtle imbalance is created in the relationship that is often difficult to talk about.”ii
Cultural, historical and societal norms that date back centuries are not easy habits to break and the assumption that women get wealth from family and spouses and men get wealth from work are embedded into our psyche. In an article from the Sudden Money Institute on this topic, they provided three observations that are invaluable to women who may be in a relationship with someone of considerably less means.
The following excerpt is from Sudden Money Institute’s recent article Fiscally Unequal