Survival Tips for Two-Income Households

In two-income families, it is common for one person to earn significantly more than the other. At one time in history, it was a given that the male partner was the primary breadwinner, while the female companion typically cared for the home and children. However, as times have changed and women have become a more prominent part of the workforce, competing incomes have sometimes been a confusing, and even contentious, issue in relationships. In some relationships, women earn far more than their partners, which sometimes is respected, but other times it is a dividing factor. The following tips suggest options for how to best deal with two-income households.

Never Confuse Net Worth with Self-Worth

One problem that is often lamented in two-income relationships is that one person either feels superior to another based on his or her higher earnings, or another feels inferior. Unfortunately, this happens when individuals inextricably link their self-worth to their overall net worth.

When people are defined by the numbers on a paycheck, they are often misled into believing that they are more or less important to a relationship because of this. In an effort to avoid this detrimental pitfall, it is imperative that couples remember that love, trust, loyalty and sincere companionship cannot be bought. Therefore a person’s presence in the relationship should never be valued or devalued based solely on their earnings.

Allow Both Parties to Contribute to Household Expenses

While it is tempting to allow the person who earns the most to pay most or all of the household expenses, this is not advisable. In order for each party to feel a sense of unity in caring for the home, each should have a relative stake in the financial maintenance of the home. It is a good idea for two income earners to sit down and create a realistic budget according to what each can afford.

One may be taking on the task of paying for groceries, credit card debt and utilities, while another pays for the mortgage and car payments. Of course, one is paying more, but this isn’t the point. The point is that everyone has an important role to play in financing the necessities of the household, which fosters a sense of equity and unity for both individuals.

Plan Income Appropriate Activities

One partner may be able to afford expensive trips and lavish spending sprees, while the other cannot. In order to create a level of balance in recreational activities, these should be planned according to what each can afford. Low-cost activities can and should be enjoyed just as readily as ones with larger price tags.

Even in cases where one spends the most on the primary activity, such as plane tickets or hotel costs, activities can be arranged where the other can pay for sightseeing, souvenirs and food costs. This is just an example, of course, but the main point is to be sure that each plays a role in paying for recreational activities and entertainment so that each person feels a valuable part of the fun memories created within the relationships.

Express Appreciation

Finally, the most important tip for two-income-earning couples is to always show appreciation for the other and what each contributes financially. Couples should never take the other’s efforts for granted, nor should they forget to express appreciation for monies contributed, no matter how great, how often or how small. Everyone works hard for what they earn and being considerate enough to spend money on the wants and needs of both parties always deserves a word of appreciation and thanks.

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