Reader: Athol, was wondering if you could write a blog about Beta men and their money. Women are attracted to men who can provide for their families, obviously. But what happens when they marry and then she takes over all the bill paying? I get that many guys see this as an obnoxious chore, and initially delegate the work to the wife. But does this backfire? He who controls the money controls the marriage is my experience. And if the wife married (mostly) for money, isn’t she less likely to have sex with her husband if she’s able to help herself to his fat direct deposit at any time? Wouldn’t it make sense for a beta-who-wants-to-be-alpha to open up his own bank account and have his paycheck directly deposited, then pay all the bills himself, simply giving his wife a biweekly allowance?
Athol: There’s this thing where whoever does a chore for the first time in the marriage, gets branded with that particular chore for the rest of the marriage. So if during the first week of wedding bliss you take the trash out, you have de facto agreed to take the trash out for the remainder of the marriage. You cook a couple times in a row the first week of the marriage, you’re the chef.
Fairly often the wife is the one that pays the first couple of bills, and she becomes the traditional bill payer. So there’s really no delegation involved, it just kind of happens and suddenly she’s in charge of the money. Which is I agree an unfun task, but also a disproportionately powerful chore compared to say being responsible for scooping the litterbox. (Which I accidentally did the first week we had a cat. FML.)
So if she is the bill payer, that gives her the leverage to say “yes” or “no” to how the money is spent. That therefore gives her control in the relationship. Right?
What you need to make careful differentiation between is the task of being the money manager, and being the one that actually spends the disposable income how they please.
It’s quite possible that the money manager is also the disposable income spender. This is the ogre husband that feminists warn us about, where the wife doesn’t even know the number to the bank account, or how much is in there and receives a weekly half a pittance to buy food and cleaning supplies. Plus she better keep the house up nice or get yelled at like the help. Meanwhile he buys whatever he wants for himself.
Of course it can equally be the wife that controls all the purse strings and husband doesn’t even see his money ever. The direct deposit of his paycheck being more like a badly overpriced wishing well than anything else. There’s no money for a fishing rod, but she always has her hair and nails done twice a month and has what appears to be a plethora of shoes.
It can also be one person desperately trying to manage the money, while the other is constantly buying stuff and basically hogging the disposable income by spending it before the money manager has a chance to spend it for themself in any way. Plus they can just be straight up spending money the couple doesn’t have.
All that being said, I’m not sure it truly matters who is the money manager, as long as both parties are responsible with the spending of the disposable income. There’s likely a balance of power in there as to who spends the most of that money.
Now as to… “Wouldn’t it make sense for a beta-who-wants-to-be-alpha to open up his own bank account and have his paycheck directly deposited, then pay all the bills himself, simply giving his wife a biweekly allowance?” the answer is probably no. This is going to be seen as a very aggressive move by the wife, and she will get very defensive about it, and generally assume that the express purpose for this is to take control of the money for the express purpose of hiding expenses… like hotel rooms. You think you got trouble now lol.
Very likely the person spending the disposable income is the one with the highest Sex Rank. So if that isn’t you, your opening move is far better to “take control” of enough money for a gym membership and start there. I’m pretty sure if you’re getting hit on by other women, your wife will think buying you the $500 fishing rod you’ve had your eye on is a great idea… “Surprise honey! You deserve it!” (Now go on a boat on the ocean far away from those bitches…)
As to Jennifer and myself…
Jennifer is the bill payer in our family, I really have to admit that I have no clue where we are with who needs to be paid for what and how much money we have, or why she calls her pen pal in Switzerland every second Friday.
However in terms of the one that spends the disposable income, that’s really more me than her. For the most part my wants are pretty light, so it’s not really all that much I’m spending on myself all that often. As long as I have an Internet connection I’m happy. It’s typically me making the “lets eat out” decision, or actually telling Jennifer she needs to buy something for herself.
Jennifer is the coupon queen, though not to the “Extreme Couponing” level. We don’t have a spare bedroom with rolling filing cabinets of soup, toilet paper and a pallet of 53 bottles of salad dressing. She does save 40-50% every time to the grocery store though. Almost always when I see her with a great outfit I haven’t seen before she’s typically as excited by how much she got it for as the outfit itself. When she’s snapping up $150 jeans for our daughters from Savers for $12 I’m actually quite impressed with her.
For us the money management is part of Jennifer being the First Officer. We simply aren’t going to have a conversation about how much to spend at the supermarket because I know she’s on top of it. Most expenses are routine, there’s nothing to talk about when it comes to the power bill, the cable bill or putting money in the kids school lunch accounts. Routine expected purchases she just handles. This all helps free me up to write MMSL and not have one more thing in my head that I have to keep track of. Carry on Number One.
However outside of routine expected purchases she has this mental threshold of $50-70 where she tends to seek permission from me. For the record I’ve never told her to think that way, it’s just something that she does that I figured out ages ago. Only about four years ago did the penny drop she was being submissive by doing it. In actual fact doing exactly that frames the husband as the Captain quite nicely for those ladies looking for a way to lure the lurking potential dominance out of their husbands.
I’m the one that green lights buying bigger purchases…. but I have no clue how much money we have so I pretty much always have to check with Jennifer whether or not we can actually buy it. I’m not going to pillage the checking account down to $500 right before Jennifer needs to write $1500 worth of checks. I mean that might cause a break in my Internet service… plus Jennifer frowns on it.
So for us, we have a system of checks and balances and it’s working pretty well. Or at least it’s working pretty well now that I went all Captainy and started MMSL and it’s pulling in a helpful income. We’ve made a couple of serious missteps with finances along the way and the economy has been tough all over. We’re on target to have all the credit cards paid off by July which will be an awesome feeling.
Oh and my $1200 laptop is on it’s way, the first splurge of any sort with the book money. It’s 80% work tool, 20% toy. Jennifer was very supportive about keeping her golden goose happy lol. Yay me!
Jennifer: LOL at “Captainy” being an adjective. You only need an “allowance” for someone that has a spending problem that must be controlled or it will seriously mess up the finances. This is different than a “budget” amount as in, “we only have $200 until payday, this is what there is.”