Relationships Podcast Post

Income Inequality at Home

George Grombacher June 23, 2023

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Income Inequality at Home

Is income inequality impacting your household? Does your spouse make more money than you? How do you feel about it? 

George talks about the current trend in households and whether or not it’s a good thing. 


Here’s the WSJ article:


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Episode Transcript

Would you like it? Do you like it? If when your spouse earns more money than you do if the opposite were true, if currently you earn more than your spouse, how would you feel if all of a sudden he or she earned more than you? Would you be okay with that? Yes, no, maybe. So, reading the Wall Street Journal article talked about how more women now out earn their husbands. In fact, that percentage has tripled over the last 50 years from 5%, long time ago to over 16% today, and those relationships where that’s the case actually last longer makes all the sense in the world to me. So this is an important conversation, there’s a lot of nuance to it. But it’s also pretty simple. The fast part of my brain, you know, when he’s thick and fast, the emotional response versus when you think slow, you think all the way through it, the fast part says, okay, if I’m a really traditional person, like 1950s, character guy, maybe I wouldn’t like it. Maybe I am the breadwinner, maybe I’m the person who needs to earn more than my wife. And if she was to earn more than me, my ego would be damaged, I wouldn’t be able to, I just, I just wouldn’t do that. It can’t be that way. And there’s a lot of women, I’ve talked to lots of successful women, and my heart goes out to them who say, Well, guys, there’s a lot of guys out there who don’t want to be with a successful woman. Because for whatever reason, now, I can’t speak to an individual’s circumstance. But I think that if you are with somebody, and that is the case, or if you’re dating somebody, and you’re meeting somebody, and they say, Well, I would never be comfortable, if my partner earns more than I would, that’s a huge red flag, I would run the other way. Because that is a problem of ego. It’s a problem of, of looking for external validation. If you are, if you find your, your, your personality, your identity, your character, by your title, or the amount of money you make, that is a sign that that person has a little bit of work to do, I totally get it, I’m not. I’m not so evolved, that I’m not aware of these things. But when I do think it all the way through, when I use the slow thinking part of my brain, I come to the realization that I would rather have my partner earn 10 times more than I do 100 times more than I do 1000 times more than I do. Because it’s just adding to our lives. Think about relationships. Life is hard as an individual. And then when you bring two individuals together, it gets harder. There’s expectations, life is messy, and you have kids, you have responsibilities and obligations, there’s a lot of moving parts. And what I’m sure of is that while money doesn’t solve any problems, necessarily, it makes things a lot easier to solve problems, money, immediately solves problems. And I would always rather have more money than not have enough money. So the idea here is we have partnership, and a relationship with my wife, with your husband, whoever it is. And we’re on the same page, we are sharing the same values, the same beliefs, we’re moving in the same direction towards common objectives. Why wouldn’t we want to be with somebody who’s capable of earning more money, who’s are capable of earning a ton of money? Odds are, and you know, a lot that goes into this. But odds are, this is a person who’s also going to excel as an as a partner, as a parent, as you name it, there’s so many different things that we must do to effectively have relationships, that why wouldn’t I want somebody who’s capable of making a ton of money? And I think, again, I think that maybe if you think that it’s just that you haven’t thought it all the way through, or maybe you have thought about it all the way through and that is absolutely your choice. But the more we can derive our self worth from intrinsic meaning inside things, versus title, the amount of money I earn all that stuff, the better off we are. In terms of equity, this is a really, really tricky one. And it’s kind of like balance, say work life balance. I think that that’s an absolute fiction. I I think I am fond of talking about rhythm is that I look for balance, because my day today is going to look different than my day is tomorrow. That doesn’t mean that I’m out of balance just because these are not the same two days in a row, it’s just not going to be that way. But I need to strike the right rhythm in my life. And when we talk about equity, what a loaded word that that that that is today. But talking about equity, does that mean it should be 5050? And my wife, and I should earn just the same amount? Well, number one, that’s probably going to be really, really, really, really, it’s possible, it’s probably just not going to happen. And why would I want that my wife and I are different people, she and I have different gifts. I am funnier than she is. She’s better looking than I am. She’s better at math. I’m taller than she is. So I mean, we’re just different. And that’s just how I should how it is I’m different than my friends are, I’m different than other human beings on the planet. In fact, there’s nobody that’s quite like me, and just like, there’s nobody quite like you. So what we’re looking for is the right rhythm. And there’s going to be times where you’re going to be shouldering more of the load than your spouse and vice versa, you are in this thing together, you are rowing in the same direction. That that is the whole thing. And because we’re human beings, we have a tendency to look around. And we’re curious as to what our neighbors and our friends from high school or junior high or grade school or college and from work, what are they doing? Oh, so and so makes a lot of money, so and so got a raise? Well, that’s just none of your business. And like Teddy Roosevelt said, Comparison is the thief of joy. And unless you have intimate knowledge of what’s going on in somebody else’s household or somebody else’s relationship, it is a losing game, to try. And to think that just because somebody’s putting on a happy face for the gram, or whatever means that they’re having a successful and happy relationship, because we just have no way of knowing. So we need to mind our own business. We need to think this through for ourselves. And, most importantly, having the conversation and making sure that you are as much as on the same page as you possibly can be with your partner, your husband, your wife, whoever. That’s the game. And when you share values, you have shared goals, you have shared beliefs. And you can make decisions based on being on the same team and moving in the same direction. And working to have the right rhythm. I think that that’s where you’re going to find long term success. And, you know, supporting one another to be high performers supporting one another to become the best possible version of your yourself as individuals. And then the best possible version of yourselves as husband and wife, partners, whatever, whatever however it is you want to refer to your unit, and then as a family, that’s the game. That’s the trick. And to be happy, when your partner, your husband, your wife is earning more money than you are. That just opens up a world of possibilities gives you more options, and more options are better. Again, I wish that my wife earned 50 million times more money more more dollars than I did you get the idea on that one. And I think that you ought to as well. Yeah, so I will link the article in the notes. I’d love to hear your feedback on this. I’m wrong. A lot could be wrong on this one. But I think that you should be happy and encourage your spouse to get out there and earn more money. That’s just better for everybody. Remember, you do your part by doing your best

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