Mr Wonderful is also Mr Low Earner :(

posted 3 years ago in Career
Post # 2
Member
9137 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL

ImperialRed:  If it’s bothering you, marrying him isn’t going to make it better.  My husband and I are in pretty much the same situation as you are but it doesn’t bother me at all.

He has a Master’s degree in international marketing but he is happier being an underemployed writer and I love my job as an in-house counsel attorney.  We have no problem sharing one car.  The plan is for him to be a Stay at Home Father when we have a kid next year.  Taxes are actually better since we got married because his lower income pulled us into a lower tax bracket and we got a lot of money back when we filed this year.

If we want a new car or to buy a house, it’s really on me to make more money so we can afford it.  But honestly we prefer living in our little apartment downtown which is well within our budget.  He does set aside more than half of what he makes at his contractor jobs and even though it’s not much it was enough to pay for our budget wedding last year and our two week first anniversary trip to Europe this fall.

You need to determine whether a lifestyle where you are the primary breadwinner is going to be okay.  Some people can handle it while others can’t.  I would love for my husband to land a big marketing job or publish a ridiculously successful novel but if that never happens I am happy with our current lifestyle.

Post # 3
Member
4483 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: April 2015

I am the (current) low earner, but after I finish my master’s degree that may change. Whether I make more, less, or just about the same, it doesn’t matter to me. I appreciate that he’s a hard worker, but I actually like that he doesn’t work 50+ hours a week and stay late at the office, because that’s not where his priorities are.

Decide now if you can live with him at any income. Some people are just not as determined to be high earners as others.

Post # 4
Member
11722 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

I think you need to decide if you can live with it.  You can’t keep throwing money in his face and expect him to keep taking it.  Telling him you can’t buy a house until he makes more money is unfair – you could phrase it as, “Until we have x% down in savings WITH an emergency fund, it’s not the right time.”  Don’t make it his fault.  Some people just don’t earn as much money. DH is an attorney and makes a lot more than me – he never tells me that we can’t do something until I make an equal salary as him.  I would be incredibly hurt if he did – it would make me feel like he cared more for the money I contributed to the house rather than me.

So you need to decide – can you deal with being the primary breadwinner for the sake of a man you love, or do you care more about how much money he’s bringing to the table?  Once you make up your mind, decide to move on, or decide to stop throwing his salary compared to yours in his face.

Post # 5
Member
8425 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2013

I think you have to decide whether or not you want to take on this type of financial responsibility/burden.  I don’t work, but my husband doesn’t harbor any resentment because it’s something both agreed to at the beginning of our relationship.  However marrying someone in hopes that things will change often leads to disappointment.

Post # 6
Member
537 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

No one here can decide for you how important money and material things are to you. You need to decide. Your post makes it seem like you resent your FI because you think he’s a slacker. Is it a lack of ambition that bothers you, or simply the size of his paycheck? What would you have him do differently? You obviously think he’s not doing enough/the right things to find a better-paying job, so if you have a plan, let’s hear it.

On a side note, you can’t nag your FI into landing a job that pays 6-figures. It honestly doesn’t sound like you’ve been very supportive in the situation, and I’m guessing your FI feels extremely inadequate and frustrated with your constant reminders that he’s not living up to your standards. Counseling may indeed do wonders… in helping you deal with your frustration.

Post # 8
Member
376 posts
Helper bee

Having just come out of a relationship with someone who earned a decent wage ($55k base salary) I can safely say its not all that amazing. I got massively fed up of late nights, missing weekends, very little down time.

Post # 10
Member
3442 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

If it’s difficult for you guys to afford to live day to day, or have any goals, then I can see why him making a low wage is difficult. But, if the problem is just that you wished he made more in general, then I don’t think that’s a legitimate reason to be upset.

Is he really doing all he can to make more? If so, what else do you expect him to do? Some people will just never make that much money. It’s part of the reason that the world goes round. We need people at all levels of income to make the economy go round. Has your FI thought about getting a masters in economics and becoming a professor, or getting his teaching certificate to teach economics in high schools?

Post # 12
Member
2150 posts
Buzzing bee

ImperialRed:  I think you need to accept the fact that the economy sucks and he just can’t get a good job no matter how hard he tries. 

I could never be a good life insurance agent as my sales skills are horrible- his might be too if he can’t make a decent wage. 

You guys also maybe need to cut some uneeded expenses (cable tv, going out to eat, etc) if you have any. 

I will be the breadwinner in my relationship once I finish my internship this year. I’m perfectly fine with that. FI will make about half of my salary. That will be plenty for us to live off of and enjoy life with. 

Maybe he should expand his job search to other fields. You never know what kind of job he could land. 

I’m not sure if the issue here is the fact that you’re the breadwinner and the way that makes you feel. Or is it hat you just don’t make enough money to support the two of you and you NEED him to work a better job?

 

Post # 14
Member
2891 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

ImperialRed: I can understand your frustration but the tax thing concerns me. 1099 means you’re responsible for your own taxes and you have to pay them quarterly. I would be more annoyed that he didn’t plan ahead and then had to pay penalties, interest, etc. 

if he’s personable and people oriented and currently doing sales, why not do software sales / account management?

Post # 15
Member
5199 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: April 2013

As a software developer, you’ve got the opportunity to make a lot of money in a high growth field.  He’s got a less marketable degree in a less proven earning potential.  I think that if you want to marry this guy and have a happy life, you should come to peace with this situation.  Financially, it would make sense if you settle on a path where you are the primary breadwinner and he is the primary parent (either stay at home or just the one who sacrafices more in their career to care for the kids).  There is nothing wrong with this arrangement, if it works for you two.

You clearly have a lot of resentment over this situation.  I’m guessing you never pictured yourself ending up with a guy who earns less than you.  I think you need to work through that because it doesn’t sound like it’s going to change.  Comments like “we can’t do that until you earn more money” are hurtful and negative for your relationship, especially in a society that tends to value men based on their earning power.  I suggest you do the work necessary to come to peace with this.  Some feminist literature might help.

Also, from a financial perspective, it would make sense if you two try to scale down your lifestyle to live on one paycheque.  If you already feel like you’d be screwed if you lost your job, you are not in the safest place financially.  Although, let’s be honest, as a software developer in this market you’d be employed again in a matter of weeks.

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