She Makes Money Moves is a new podcast from Glamour and iHeartRadio. Hosted by Glamour editor in chief Samantha Barry, the podcast shares intimate, unscripted stories from women across the country along with advice from financial experts to help guide those women—and women everywhere—forward. Download a new episode every Tuesday, then visit glamour.com/money for an article like this, with more insights from that week’s expert.
More women than ever before are the breadwinners in their households. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 38% of wives out-earn their husbands. And while the aim should be to have a financial split that makes sense for each couple, research shows that this particular brand of imbalance can make some uncomfortable. So much so that some women lie about their earnings.
The New York Times has reported that in heterosexual marriages in which women earn more, wives will tell the Internal Revenue Service they earned 1.5% less than they actually do. Meanwhile their husbands will falsely claim to have earned 2.9% more than they do.
This week’s guest on She Makes Money Moves makes more than her husband. But the problem in their relationship isn’t that she has a bigger paycheck; it’s their different spending habits. Her husband is frugal, which makes her feel guilty when she spends money. She’s now expecting a baby and she’s worried she’ll feel even more reluctant to spend anything on herself once they have a child. To help her navigate her spending anxiety, Barry welcomed Shannon McLay, founder and CEO of the Financial Gym to the podcast. Here, McLay explores how to have a healthy financial relationship with your partner—no matter who’s bringing home the bacon.
Be up front about your money goals.
Have a conversation about both of your money goals. This will allow you and your partner to dream together and then plan together. You can discuss things like where do you see yourselves going in life? Do you want to own property? Do you want to have a family? Where do you want to live? Do you foresee any career pivots in the future? Is traveling a priority? All of these questions are important to answer and align on when deciding to enter (or stay in) a long-term committed relationship with someone. Especially when there’s an imbalance in income.
Get financially naked.
Couples are comfortable getting physically naked with each another, but more often than not they’re uncomfortable getting financially naked. Opening up about your finances is an important step in a relationship, and it’s one I encourage couples to do early and often. What does this mean? Each person should lay out their assets, debts, expenses, and personal financial goals they’re working on. Doing this can help ease any discomfort around deciding who pays for what, or how you plan your dates and vacations together. But more importantly it will help you understand one another’s priorities when it comes to your overall financial health.
Transition from viewing money as “mine” & “yours” to “ours.”
If you and your partner are working towards the same goals, then both of your incomes will feel like they are the tools getting you to those goals, together. Thinking about your finances as shared money going towards a shared future will make you and your partner feel less competitive and instead, more collaborative. Because if you’re constantly deciding how to split things up and the “fairness” of the division, the relationship can begin to feel more like splitting the bills with a roommate and not an intimate life partner.
According to a survey by Fidelity, the sponsor of She Makes Money Moves, 80% of women aren’t talking about money with the people closest to them. Today Glamour invites you to the conversation: Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, in the iHeartRadio app, or wherever you listen to podcasts, and join us as we help women raise their voices and make money moves.