If Money Is The Problem, The Solution Is More Money

Reader:  I’ve been running the MAP for six months and things picked up almost immediately (improving Alpha, reducing Beta), but I hit a snag recently. I’m self employed, and here in the UK our tax year ends in April, so I made my tax return. The business has always been profitable, but I’m a long way from being rich; I usually increase income by about £1000 per year, and this year was the same. The problem is we’re looking to move house and although I *never* said anything like “this year we hit the big time baby!” it was clear when I showed her the figures that it wasn’t what she hoped to hear (for the mortgage applications we need to make in the near future). What’s more, she hates her own job; I think she may have been looking to my income to compensate if she left. Long, long, silent treatment yesterday without her actually saying outright what the problem was. I got “I’m thinking about stuff”. So I think my Alphaness suddenly dropped in her perception. It was a wake up call for me, because there’s a marketing plan I developed that I’ve kept meaning to implement, just… never got round to it. So I’m starting on that! I do work hard, and she sees me working hard, and acknowledges it. But she has said a couple of times recently “you should put your rates up.” (Part of the marketing plan is changing my charging structure, so this is in progress). My question is, how do I deal with this perception drop in the short term? Do I compensate by going harder on my other Alpha qualities (hit the gym more, get a bit more bossy with the kids, etc)? And how do I show her I’m implementing the marketing plan without sounding like I’m trying to prove something (ie, being needy)? Thanks for any advice!

Athol:  If the problem is money, the solution is more money, so work on the money.

Working out and getting buff isn’t going to make her concern about money go away. She’ll just think you’re wasting time when you could be fixing the actual problem. Likewise getting bossy with the kids, (lol use the word “leadership” rather than bossy) will just make you a guy that isn’t holding up his end of the deal… who is bossy.

So here’s my advice…

(1)  Talk with her about the money issue. Talk once, get her viewpoint, see what’s up.

(2)  Regardless of her… you’ve been holding back on yourself by not doing your marketing. Are you afraid to succeed?  (A completely serious question.)  Admit that you’ve been holding back and apologize once and once only. Basically you’re saying, “Okay I get it. I need to get this up to speed and have waited too long to do it.”

(3)  Get into action and do your thing at work. Roll out the plan, put up your rates. Make some fuck you money.

(4)  When you talk about your job to her, don’t talk about what you will do… talk about what you are doing and your successes along the way.

In short, you’re just telling her you’ve gotten it wrong and set out to make her believe in you again.

Look there’s no real way of spinning this to sound like anything other than women are superficial Ferengi. Women quite like money. Given a choice between the same guy with money or without money, the one with money always wins. Women dream about being rescued by princes and not janitors. Working hard is great and all, but the bottom line is the bottom line… your resulting income matters.

In your wife’s case she wants the money to upgrade the house nest. A nice big nest is great for babies and raising kids so it’s a sexy move in her mind. She’s just trying to do what she’s biologically set up to do. It’s not like it’s evil or anything. You already knew what to do anyway. You’re just asking for me to push you a little and get you started.

Jennifer:  Not having enough money is just stressful. If there’s something you can do about it and you don’t do it, that would make me stress further.

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Comments

  1. Flipper says:

    I agree. Money is very important. It is a mathematical way to measure one man’s worth against another man. It is simple and speaks to everyone. So if you have ability to make more, this builds her security (actually the ability doesn’t, the actual money does). Now the security is one thing, but it sounds like she really wants you to take the lead her and allow her to SAHM (it’s own set of problems notwithstanding). So she really just wants you to “save” her. And that’s about the biggest alpha move you can do. I’m working on doing the same.

    Basically trying to work our family into a structure of me providing solely. It certainly worked for Ward Cleaver. And you know what Mrs. Cleaver always used to say to old Ward? “You were a little hard on the Beaver last night, dear.”

  2. Candice says:

    Clarissa and I totally agreed on the importance of financial/material contribution. BOTH men and women appreciate a partner who pulls their weight and certainly a man who can support a wife to stay at home to have and care for young children is a BIG HERO. Likewise, during menopause you would like to take things easy, not be driving yourself beyond your limit to support the family. We’ve both developed radar for such good men and find them instantly attractive whereas handsome and charming men who are not good providers/husbands/fathers don’t get a second look! I don’t agree with never working and not developing oneself – that has huge pitfalls, but having the option to take a turn at not working while dealing with other issues would be massively wonderful. Good luck with the business! :-) Candice

  3. a god ROI says:

    “If the problem is money, the solution is more money, so work on the money.”

    Except if the family spends too much money and that is the reason that money is the problem. The premise is that if you make more money there will be fewer problems. When in truth, what happens is that simply more money is spent… continuing the “problems”.

  4. Rone says:

    Money is like health. Everything else in life takes a backseat if it’s not taken care of.

  5. K-Dog says:

    Sir, based on my long experience in the trenches as a small business tax accountant, one who has seen more than his share of divorces, I strongly advise extreme caution with this woman. Business failure, and in fact business failure to flourish, is an incredibly common cause of divorce. Just these past two years saw two such couples divorce, one after 20 years of marriage, 3 years of business and two kids – business failure – and one after about 9 years, several nightclubs, 2 kids and a restaurant – stress of the down economy.

    Risk tolerance is a serious issue. When you are self employed your income will fluctuate greatly, and you won’t always do as well as you want. It sounds to me like your woman has a higher level of risk aversion than you. Regardless of your MAP or how well you end up doing, it won’t be enough for your woman.

    She may very well be a special-snowflake-who-is-not-like-that but odds are that she isn’t. As much as it pains me to say this, again based on decades in the trenches, being an entrepreneur and being a husband generally don’t go in the same package.

    If she wants a big house, then you may want to go work for “the man.” If she wants you, she really needs to reset her expectations and learn to love the apartment. Your business will have ups and downs, and if you “upgrade” your house and supercharge your business, you’ll only keep your woman until you have at most 2 down years in a row.

    Of course, NAWALT, and blah blah blah. I’m just a little accountant who has seen this happen more times than any man should, so what do I know?

  6. Brian says:

    Ummmmmmmmmmmmm HELLO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GOLDDIGGER ALERT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She wants a nice house and her to be a SAHM and you do all the work and then she divorces your ass and you pay her house bill forever. Seriously, red flag time. I’d be pissed. What is she bringing to the party???????

  7. Jon says:

    This post actually makes me happy to be divorced.

    Thank you Athol! :)

  8. Rone says:

    Haha, nothing is perfect I guess. In fact, I think Chris Rock said it best. There’s two options … “Married and bored or single and lonely. Ain’t no happiness nowhere.”

    :D

  9. Changed Man says:

    I understand that money is very ‘alpha’, but how does your wife making much more than you affect the dynamic? I’m highly educated, working my dream job at a prestigious govt institution, where public sector pays less but provides excellent benefits and perks. She’s accomplished in her field, working in the private sector and doing well. Is money necessarily the ‘end all, be all’? Does money always trump position, title, accomplishment, etc?

  10. Ponyboy says:

    Whether it is work or not, if you are the type of person who is always talking about what you are going to do:

    -lose weight
    -cut the grass
    -paint the deck
    etc….

    you are going to lose alpha/respect in the eyes of your partner. Alpha is doing, not talking.

    Wait a minute, that list looks like my list…

  11. Jon says:

    Alpha is doing, not talking.

    Good point. I’m going to write that down and stick it to my bathroom mirror…

  12. PastorofMuppets says:

    Not to completely devalue the importance of money as an attraction builder, especially in a LTR, but if it were that important, struggling artists and musicians would have a hard time getting laid, and software designers would be beating back hot women with sticks.
    Of course, that’s not true.
    Money can be important inasmuch as it is an indicator of status, but it’s the status that matters more than the size of the bank account. A guy with a comfortable living as the owner of a small company is better off than a junior law firm associate who earns twice as much by working 80 hours a week as a partner’s gofer. A lead guitarist in a small-time band is more attractive than a six-figure actuary. A firefighter doesn’t earn as much as a civil engineer, but I’d bet most ladies find him more attractive.

    Obviously, I’m completely discounting here men who earn little to nothing and contribute nothing financially to the relationship. You’ve got to contribute enough to provide some level of comfort and security, but once you’ve reached that threshold, there’s plenty of other ways to compensate for not being the wealthiest man in the room. And this is becoming more and more the case, as women start to earn more and need men less for financial security. Don’t be a bum, but’s it’s better to be an interesting guy who lives a comfortable existence than the wealthy bore.

    @Changed Man … It depends on the woman. Assertions to the contrary, there are women out there who don’t want or will resent a man who earns less than they do. And there are plenty of woman who couldn’t care less so long as their man isn’t a bum who’s leeching off them.

  13. Red says:

    It’s not that he has to make a lot of money because let’s face it, money isn’t everything. If he’s happy in what he does and that translates into him being happier everywhere in his life, or if he is making honest efforts in his work or business, that counts a lot, a whole lot. If he is putting off things and being inattentive or slack and that is effecting his ability to make money or effecting how much money he makes, that says a lot about him too.

    Of course, a family can’t live on rainbows and butterflies, but if he is working hard and even better, working smart, the rest is just stuff.

  14. FlyingDutchman says:

    Sometimes romance equals money for sure. But overall money is security and a beta element more than alpha. Sure women love money, but we can all point to rich spoiled housewives who have everything they want and still aren’t very interested sexually in their rich husbands. Money does increase SR and will certainly help a guy to successfully alpha up to his wife, but he still has to be alpha to her or she won’t appreciate him sexually no matter how much money he has. This is sad one of the saddest realities of the blue pill world for a financially successful husband who realizes his wife isn’t into him sexually.

  15. Ben says:

    Ugh. I know this is true, but I hate that it’s true. In a perfect world then post-feminist revolution we’d be able to say, “I’m happy with the house we have, but if you want a bigger one, all you need to do is get that promotion so you can pay for it yourself, honey!”

    I know, I know. If wishes were whores we’d all get laid. I think that’s how the saying goes, right? (-:

    And in a perfect world women would be able to totally let themselves go, get fat and wear sweatpants all day and we’d still find them sexually appealing because of their brilliant personalities. It’s not like this stuff all goes one way. (-:

  16. A reader says:

    It’s in the MMSL Primer: income is a beta (comforting) trait, not an alpha (attractive) trait. Might be an oversimplification but pretty close.

  17. black says:

    If you’re increasing your pay year to year, she shouldn’t expect more. Does she care about you or is she a gold-digger? I don’t know of many people who make a good salary who are getting raises year after year in this crappy global economy.

    I under stand Athol’s “nest” analogy, but it’s situation specific as to the type of housing you currently have and what you’re looking at trying to upgrade to.

    My opinion: no apologies necessary. You’re providing and increasing year to year, a better position than many guys out there. You need to help her set her expectations and perceptions.

    Who’s to say that the next house you move into just isn’t quite what she was expecting? My wife has also gone into silent mode if we get into a stand-still on finances and limited options, etc. She moves past it once other things start to take precedence. I can almost guarantee it’s not directly about you, but about her unhappiness in life in general. No great answers there… Athol? It’s a very difficult situation to be in… a depressed wife.

    Also agree with Athol that you should focus on moving your business into the next level. This situation should provide impetus for that, but make sure it’s for yourself and your family, not just her.

    Best wishes!

  18. Southern Man says:

    Wrong, wrong, wrong/i>. If the problem is money, the solution is to spend less and live within your means, not make more money. Believe me, I fell into that trap during our sixteen-year marriage. At the end I was working one full-time white-collar professional job and two part-time jobs, and she was working one full-time white-collar professional job and one part-time job, and it still wasn’t enough to satisfy her endless craving to spend money. And in counseling, what was her number one complaint? “You’re weren’t home with me and the kids often enough.” My advice is to earn what you can in forty-ish hours a week, then stop and enjoy the life that your income provides.

  19. Jane says:

    Having enough money is really about reducing overall stress level. If there are any dave ramsey fans out there I’m sure you remember “men have to understand, not having enough money TERRIFIES women, we’re talking true terror, and when your wife is terrified, she’s gonna be making THAT FACE. You know that face, and it’s ugly – so if you want a pretty wife, make sure she’s not scared” so so true.

    I’ve multiple times been in the position of out earning my husband. When we’re set up well and I have everything I need and money in the bank “just in case” I really couldn’t care less how much he makes (but he does have to work, I’m not gonna support and Xbox and pot habbit…) , but when things are NOT good and I’m working my ass off cause I’m TERRIFIED at a time – 90 hours a week. I REALLY lost respect for my husband who was working 40 hours at his “dream job” making next to nothing (a computer science degree working as a video game tester…seriously, I get that it’s fun, but I didn’t work through college, to pay for that CS degree, so you could make $9/hour!) meanwhile I’m working 2 full time jobs…makes you resentful…

  20. Mark says:

    Income is alpha in the context of status and it’s beta in the context of providing for family. When it comes to providing you need to do what is necessary without trying to please her with money. Her giving you the cold shoulder for not earning enough is not acceptable. Be confident enough to deal with it and not allow her to control you through her attitude towards money.

  21. Myna says:

    My husband makes me a lil crazy with this. He’s in the military and kind of a fat guy, which obviously the military detests even more than girls at the club. lol

    It’s always been a problem area for him, and he’s always done just enough with it to get by and not get kicked out. :p

    So now he’s at a point in his career where he needs to decide: ride it out at his current rank til retirement, or go hard for the next promotion. Either option is actually ok with me. We live simply, save a bit, have very little debt and are going to be fine either way. Plus our kids are getting older and I am excited to get back into the workforce myself, so I don’t expect our current super-basic lifestyle will have to last forever.

    But he wants that next promotion. Problem IS, he goes about getting it by focusing on stuff that he’s already good at… not on losing the extra forty pounds and looking good in his official photo. The stuff that’s been holding him back for years.

    I can’t overemphasize what a huge waste this is: it will not get us any extra money, and it means he’s still working 60, 70 hours a week. THAT makes me angry. He has spun his wheels like that for over two years.

    Maybe the OP was doing something similar: “but look! I’m working SO HARD!”

    Okay, but are you working on the stuff that will actually get you somewhere… or are you working so hard so you can be the guy who works so hard? Pointless martyrdom ain’t attractive.

  22. Myna says:

    Plus– isn’t the UK deep in a recession right now? That austerity stuff is bad news. Glad the US isn’t serious about trying it. “Make more money!” isn’t necessarily a reasonable option for many people. Sometimes, there just ain’t much money to be made.

    Might be worthwhile to point out that at least you *are* gainfully employed, and not on the dole!

  23. Thunder says:

    Wow, I completely disagree with this post.
    If he’s slacking off then yeah, he needs to up his game. And maybe he needs a bit of a kick here.
    But in general, sacrificing your soul to make more money (so wifey can be haaaappy) – is not the solution. Especially in this new economy.
    If you are both working hard then often the solution is to say, let’s live within our means and skip the new bigger house.
    Just Wow. I can’t imagine anyone single reading this post and rushing out to get married.

    Sorry Athol – and you know I love you.

  24. andy says:

    You’re doing the best you can, if that is not enough then too bad for her. Trying to please a woman in the money department is impossible dude. Once you make more, it will be something else she just has to have. Providing the basics is important; however, your sanity is more important. Do your best (really) and if that is not enough for her – give her the heave ho, and find someone younger, hotter, tighter, without all the demands.

  25. Geoff says:

    I struggle with “making more money is Beta”. I guess I follow the possible progression if you simply hand over the paycheck and don’t call the shots. Then allow your wife to turn into an entitled, bossy, ever-demanding while you try to satisfy her now princess mentality…then ok, yeah.
    But if you make the dough (more than her by a long way) and you’re calling the shots, then you’re leading the “ship” so to speak. What I’m saying is making more money + alpha = alpha boost IMHO.
    My X actually resented me for making more money than her because she spent all that time in law school. Then again, she was batshit-crazy.

  26. Dasugo says:

    This sounds like a Hamster wheel to me. You are saying that he should make more money so that she can quit the job she hates and get a bigger house. Why the need for a bigger house?

    Anyway, I think the man recognizes that he needs to brush up his work. Add that to his MAP to-do list and he should be fine.

    Also It seems that they need to sit and talk about the next 3-5 yrs of their lives. She need to figure out what she wants Jobwise. He needs to understand what she is envisioning and work a mutual plan together.

    Making more money so she can spend it sounds very Nice guy with no edge.

  27. jessie says:

    Myna, with all of the military cuts, he MUST pass his pft. We have two friends who didn’t pass, so they didn’t get promoted. They are kicking out anyone who doesn’t promote, no matter how excellently they have served.

  28. Ben says:

    @Southernman, @Thunder:

    From the OP:

    “It was a wake up call for me, because there’s a marketing plan I developed that I’ve kept meaning to implement, just… never got round to it. So I’m starting on that! I do work hard, and she sees me working hard, and acknowledges it. But she has said a couple of times recently “you should put your rates up.” (Part of the marketing plan is changing my charging structure, so this is in progress).”

    It would be one thing if he honestly felt he couldn’t up his income without adversely affecting his lifestyle (read: alpha/beta game) in other ways (like putting in 40 hours of OT a week and never getting to see his wife who’s presumably all wet now over that phat time-and-a-half money).

    But if she can see that there are simple, practical things he could be doing on the money front, and she can see that he’s not doing them, and she has expressed that the money issue is a problem, and it actually IS a problem and not just a shit test… well, what does that say to her about his status as a man who can pull his financial weight in the household?

    That’s not to say that it’s always quite that clear cut, but in this case, it does sound like the guy needs to get going on some of this stuff that he “just never got round to” yet.

  29. Jane says:

    I don’t think there’s anyone here who’s saying “kill yourself for a fat house.” By all means, live within them! Most of the time, learning to live frugally is WAY more happiness inducing! It’s not really a mater of dollars per se. It’s more of a general sence that as a woman, I’m NOT attracted to LAZY ans I am NOT atracted to all talk and no action. That’s really it. I want you to be about something. It doesn’t really mater what that something is, but just have goals and work toward reaching them. And work around as hard as I do at the minimum.

  30. Myna says:

    jessie: yes, he generally passes, but it’s always by the absolute skin of his teeth. lol. He’s got over 18 yrs now and will be eligible for retirement at his current rank so it’s not a promote-or-perish situation, fortunately. As long as he keeps passing I seriously wouldn’t mind him kind of chilling at work ’til retirement. I know he’s struggled with his weight forEVER; it just doesn’t come easy to some folks.

    But having him gone 70+ hours a week, attending schools out of town, etc, on a sort of Don-Quixote quest for promotion, while blithely ignoring THE glaring weak spot in his game is just really annoying.

    Love the guy madly, don’t get me wrong here. :D
    And I’m sure I’m annoying in my own special way. lol

    Anyway, in the case of the OP, seriously, why are mortgages so expensive in the UK? Two people working fulltime ought to be able to afford one mortgage without too much stress!

    At least our economic downturn came with the bright spot of cheaper housing in a lot of places.

  31. Dreadporatk says:

    I have found that in a LTR the actual amount you earn isn’t the issue, unless it’s very low, it’s being in control of what you’ve got (have a budget, don’t let her control it!) and have a plan to fix the problems. She wants a bigger house? Fine, sit down with the written Budget and show her what that will take and your plan for getting there. My wife doesn’t mind living small as long as she thinks I have a plan to keep it from being permanent . It doesn’t have to be overnight nor does it mean working 80 hours a week. Just be the man with the plan!

  32. FeralFelis says:

    So many posters have hit on core issues, I want to summarize my thoughts:

    1) There is a floor of earnings, below which you do not want to go or you’re in subsistence mode, not living mode.
    2) Once you are above the earnings floor, it’s important to discuss your personal and family values, because you can always find more on which to spend your money.
    3) Living beyond one’s means is an addiction which needs to be controlled, else you will ALWAYS have the feeling of needing “just a little bit more” than what you have
    4) Having short and long term goals (not just monetary) towards which EACH of you are working, in ways you have agreed upon, will prevent or lessen the feelings of “I’m working hard, but to what end?”
    5) Not all women regard earnings and money in the same way (I wonder if it has something to do with Love Languages?)

    Personal Anecdote: I have always made more than the men in my life. As long as they were making their appropriate contribution to the family’s goals and meeting my love language basic needs (quality time and touch), I didn’t care HOW much money they made. In fact, while 2nd husband was unemployed, he became Uber-SAHD and took care of EVERYTHING at the house; the kids, the inside, the outside, me, all of it, AND he had some time for himself, which he’d never had when he worked, so he was in a great mood most of the time. It was a great time in our relationship, until he started feeling that all the things he was doing had no value and he was “not a man”. In theory, I understood, but until he grew unhappy with the situation, I could have gone on forever like we were, and been blissfully happy (I couldn’t be happy if he wasn’t really happy).
    Anyway, we lived within our means, had an adequate financial cushion, and the only reason money was an issue was because he used it as a scorecard of personal value, and felt he was coming up short compared to other men. He was Alpha in the bedroom and in the way he treated me, and I loved and desired him more than I loved and wanted air. He ended up leaving, looking like he had his tail between his legs, and I hated that because he was Alpha in every way except earnings, and he just couldn’t feel it.

    So many of these topics have general guidelines, but then there are always specifics to each relationship that you have to be careful not to overgeneralize.

    Man, this relationship stuff is difficult business!

  33. MCM says:

    Speaking of money and the nest, our neighbor put up a super ugly fence a couple weeks ago and my wife remarked, “Do you think it will affect the resale value of our house?”

    I wondered why she asked that since we’ve talked about staying in our current house for another 5-10 years. I guess it was just a legit questions and that I shouldn’t read too much into her plans to sell the house.

    Because it is one ugly fence.

  34. Jane says:

    ok, i just have to ask, how is it an ugly fence? aren’t all fences pretty much the same? Just curious…And 5-10 years in your house…that fence WILL still be there, so that’s a legit question. But anyway I don’t think the comment was really in relation to the RESALE and more just on the VALUE as in “that dumb ass neighbor just dropped the value of OUR HOUSE!” Most homeowners do kinda keep track of what their house is worth, but more as an assesment of your net worth rather than actually planning to sell….

  35. Jaz71 says:

    If you make your personal worth all about money, then so will your wife. This guy sounds like he’s creating a gold-digger.

    They sound incredibly irresponsible about money. Quitting her job without another lined up in this economy? What if the OP’s business venture tanks, and then neither of them have incomes? And it’s not just living within one’s means; they have a future, too. What about savings for emegencies? Some colleges in the UK are free, but certainly not all, and definitely none in the U.S. And how about retirement? Kid’s weddings? The list goes on and on…

    If I were the OP, I would tell the wife that a single income in this era is fiscally foolish, and if she gets fired or quits, she is to immediately get a new job, and NO NEW HOUSE until then (Go Alpha!).

  36. Liz says:

    I can see two sides to this.

    @Ben is right that this seems to be both about money, and about the need for the husband to show his manhood by going balls out on something.

    @Jaz71 is right that no one should ever consider quitting their job in this kind of economy. The wife in the OP got up my nose, because she seems to be trying to position her way into a SAHM gig.

    Maybe it’s just me, but my question to my girlfriends when they complain that their husbands don’t earn enough is why they don’t earn more themselves. I’ve yet to get more than spluttering in response – but, on the plus side, they don’t tend to whine to me about this more than once.

  37. Liz says:

    To continue on my previous comment, could this be one of those occasions when spouses rise or fall to meet each other?

    When one partner starts to exercise and get in shape, it tends to follow that the other starts doing this to rise to the occasion. (I know this from personal experience – thank you for that.) People tend to marry their matches – “matches” in terms of value, work ethic, fiscal responsibility (or the lack thereof)…

    So maybe the wife in this needs to work on her own career, and stop seeing paid employment as something she does as little as possible of before someone rescues her from it. As I told one of my more annoying distant relatives at a recent gathering, with all the time and energy she’s put into nagging her husband on his own career, she could’ve gotten a promotion, took on freelance work, looked for a job she actually likes…You can point the finger at the husband in this one, and that would certainly be true, but he seems to have found his female equivalent wrt careers.

    Serious question: could this be one of those things that the wife could solve, or at least alleviate, by simply working Game?

  38. Dreadpiratkevin says:

    My experience has been that it’s not the amount of money make it’s how you handle it, at least as far as LTR’s go. Unless you really make nothing of course. If money is the problem, a PLAN is the answer, not just more money. Without a plan, more money will never be enough. Are you in control of your money? Do you know where every dollar goes? Or do you just let your wife deal with it? Very beta if you do, I think. At least I’ve found that, much as I loathe budgeting, my taking control of the finances, making a clear budget and plan to get out of debt has led to a great deal of security for my wife. It didn’t even require more money, just a plan. She’s involved of course, but my being decisive over money issues, with her input, has turned out to be very Alpha. and has completely eliminated money as a source of stress in our lives.

    The most important thing is, do you have a plan to fix the problems? We’ve been through our share of ups and downs, and the only time my wife has been seriously discontented over money is when I lost control of the budget and let her to deal with the problems. She’s mostly content to live simply as long as she has good reason to believe that I have a plan to make sure it’s not permanent, and she sees some effort in that direction. Something beyond just maintaining my current income. Not 80 hours a week at work either, since that not really a viable long term solution.

    My advice to the OP would be to sit down with your wife, with a written budget, and show her what a bigger house would require. It might be more time at work, cutting back to pay off debt or whatever. Tell her your plan, and get her on board. But you’ve got to be the man with the plan. And you’ve got to have it in writing so she can argue with the numbers, but not you.

  39. Rone says:

    @Thunder

    I think it’s so much more about security than frivolously making her happy by earning more. It allows them both to keep the threats to the castle at bay so they can go about the business of ruling the kingdom.

  40. Ken says:

    @Liz Great Comments! I wish more women were like you. BTW, can I introduce you to my wife?

  41. Wendy says:

    “If money is the problem, a PLAN is the answer, not just more money. Without a plan, more money will never be enough. ”

    BINGO. thank you Dreadpiratkevin. You whole comment is excellent.

    Also the whole notion that women are superficial in terms of wanting lots of money because it is what they are genetically wired to do is certainly debatable. A woman being concerned with raising her 2 kids in a small apartment without a yard is different than a woman wanting to upgrade the house just to keep up with the Joneses. The “keeping up with” phenomenon can be argued to be culturally driven and I see it affecting men as much as women. The whole engagement ring thing is part of it. Some women do demand a minimum of carats, and I’ve seen some men be competitive about wanting to show off how many carats they put on their woman. Maybe that’s how you measure your Alpha-ness. I would argue it doesn’t have to be.

    Once married, I would say that being an Alpha man includes being actively involved in how money is generated and spent, not just providing as much as possible like a peacock walking around proud of all its colorful feathers. A man who is a flashy spender will attract women that are also flashy spenders, but not everyone, men or women, is a flashy spender.

  42. Ben says:

    Another issue is that the OP says “we were looking to move house” and more money would be useful in mortgage applications. The question is: are “we” looking to move house, or is “she”? Is there a valid reason why your current living situation is no longer tenable? Athol has written at length about how the nesting instinct is a perfectly valid one on the one hand, but pushing you into buying more house than you can afford can be the mother of all shit tests on the other.

    There’s also the matter of, “What’s more, she hates her own job; I think she may have been looking to my income to compensate if she left.” If that’s just an unspoken assumption, it sounds like something you need to talk to her about; if it’s a spoken fact, then it’s DEFINITELY something you need to talk to her about, because the income she should be looking to to compensate if she left her current job should be the income from her NEW job that she, as a responsible adult, should go out to find before leaving the old one.

    So yeah. There’s definitely a balance to be struck between getting your own financial house in order (as it sounds like the OP has concrete steps that he can take toward doing) and making sure that she’s holding up her end of the bargain as well.

  43. Athol Kay says:

    I got an email reply from him. Basically agreed with the post, he focused somewhat on the “afraid to succeed?” question. In short, he feels he’s been holding back on his business.

    I’m not saying he should put everything on Red 7 and hope for the best, just that if there’s something reasonable he can do to improve things income wise, he should do it.

  44. girl4 says:

    The OP didn’t say he did not want his wife to stay home, or that he resented becoming the sole breadwinner. He said that to have a new house etc, then his income alone would not do. We don’t know the details, but perhaps she could quit her job if they forgo the new house and take a step (small or large)back in lifestyle. What’s most important to her?
    Also, the OP realises he was not living up to his own potential. He sees he should be challenging himself more – for his own satisfaction and self worth as much as for added income. I think his wife approached this subject the wrong way and he took it as critisism, rather than encouragment.

    A man wants to be proud that he is providing successfully for his wife and family, right? Doesn’t this come under his accomplishments? His wife helps determine that feeling of success if she is happy and appreciative of what he provides.
    I thought that back in the old days it was a mark of success for a man to be the sole breadwinner. This not only gave him more dominance in the relationship and finances, but it was to be admired and respected that he could provide for his family. It was part of being a ‘man’. That was certainly my dad’s mindset, he is a dominant Alpha. He did not like my mum going to work because I believe he felt it reflected on him that he was not satisfactorily providing for his family. Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s the way I saw it.
    Things have changed so much now that if a woman is a SAHM it is almost universally viewed as a flaw of hers – rather than the compliment to her husband that he is sucessfully providing for her and the kids. (I’m talking about a wife who appreciates her husbands effort and reciprocates in the home- not the ones who don’t)

    If the OP can provide for his family, allowing his wife to stay home if that’s what they both want, then that is something for him to be proud of. If his wife wants more than he can provide, she has two options – compromise on what she wants, or be happy to contribute what is necesary to get it.

  45. Ben says:

    “I thought that back in the old days it was a mark of success for a man to be the sole breadwinner.”

    Sure. But then, back in the old days a one-income household was still economically viable for more than the top few income brackets. Also there were only a handful of (mostly low-paying) jobs a woman COULD hold: hope you like being teachers, nannies, and housekeepers, ladies! Also a divorced woman was a pariah with little to no hope of remarrying even if her ex-husband was a lout who beat her, and the legal definition of “rape” didn’t include the rape of a wife by her husband because her agreement to marry him was taken as a tacit ongoing blanket statement of consent to sex with him.

    Do we really want to go back to the old days?

  46. Joe Commenter says:

    @Wendy: Exactly. The man is supposed to be the leader, the captain. It is the leaders responsibility to lay out how much money can be spent via a budgeting process. If they don’t have enough money for a house, it is the man’s job to communicate this to the family. The OP is letting the wife drive the priorities of the marriage. Wrong wrong wrong. The captain needs to set the direction and guide the budget discussions. Surrendering the budgeting is = surrendering leadership. OP is setting himself up for failure. What if his marketing plan does not bring in the extra $$? He needs to create a separate fund account dedicated to the mortgage. Tell the wife that when the account has x amount of $$$ in it, they can consider a house. The wife needs to be told what the goal is. Most wives are perfectly happy if they can see that you have a plan and an approximate timeframe for reaching that plan. Since the OP has no specific target, the wife is worried.

    Even “rich” people have to have a budget because there will always always be more demands for your money than your money can supply.

  47. Joe Commenter says:

    Continuing previous post.
    Early in my marriage and 20 years ago, I laid out a financial plan showing how much money we would need to save in order to be able to retire at age 55 and be able to buy a house. I told her that we could spend as much money as she wanted. But only after we had funded the accounts that were dedicated to those purposes. The change her attitude about spending that this triggered was amazing.

    Suddenly my wife didn’t need a new car. Our existing furniture was good enough. We were going to have to buy new stuff when we bought the house anyway right? She didn’t want to go on the most expensive vacation. Why?

    Because I had laid out the goals, and a method to achieve it and she bought into those goals and made them her own. I never ever had to nag my wife about spending too much money after I laid out the goals.

  48. girl4 says:

    @ Ben- I think you’ve missed my point. It’s not about what women could or couldn’t do in the old days. I’m talking about how a man’s pride in providing for his family as the sole breadwinner, is stomped upon these days. It shouldn’t be. Men are entilted to feel proud that they can supply enough income to have a stay at home wife. It makes me angry that people don’t care about a man’s pride in that. This is feminism. ‘She is supposed to have a job to prove she is equal, even if they don’t need the money, and who gives a fig about how that might make him feel’.
    Well, I care about how my husband feels and I want him to be damn proud he provides so well that I can stay home and raise our children and be his personal ‘slave’ :) He deserves a personal slave for how hard he works…lucky me to fill the position!

  49. Ben says:

    @girl4:

    Fair enough. The problem I have is with statements like:

    “[Being the sole breadwinner] was part of being a ‘man’. That was certainly my dad’s mindset, he is a dominant Alpha. He did not like my mum going to work because I believe he felt it reflected on him that he was not satisfactorily providing for his family. Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s the way I saw it.”

    Now, if I was reading your comment wrong and assuming you were advocating that viewpoint as opposed to just observing that it used to be more common, then I apologize. Just as you (rightly) take offense to the notion that being a SAHM is somehow a sign of low character, I take offense to the notion that being able to support the entire household on a single income is the best or only way to “be a ‘man’”.

    Being a man means taking responsibility, pulling your weight and doing your fair share. Income is one way to do that, but it’s not the only way or even the best way. If your husband is one of the lucky (and hardworking) few who can take on the entire financial burden for the household, then good on him. And good on you too, as long as you’re both satisfied that your non-financial contributions to the household are just as valuable and necessary. I just don’t think that makes him any more of a man than someone in a two-income household, or a SAHD for that matter (again, as long as both that SAHD and his partner are satisfied that his non-financial contributions are sufficient to the needs of the household).

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