Mom, do you make more money than daddy?
The question of how much – and how – to talk to kids about family finances often stymies even the most dedicated parents.
While kids don’t necessarily need to know exactly how much money you make, they do need to know how the world works. Children, as they grow, need to learn what money means, how much it costs to buy things, and how the money to buy things is earned.
But what if they seem to be trying to figure out who’s the primary breadwinner?
It’s a tricky question, and as with most such money queries, you should probably begin by trying to figure out why the child is asking. Why would it matter which parent makes more money?
Well, while likely not on junior’s mind, a new study suggests that men are more likely to cheat if their income is much lower than what their wife or female partner makes.
Clearly, when it comes to money, it helps to have a bit of balance. That search for financial equilibrium is a key message in Spousonomics, a new book by Paula Szuchman and Jenny Anderson that tries to show how simple economics can help even troubled marriages survive.
Even if this is a sensitive area for you as a couple, look for a positive spin while still answering the question, they suggest.
If one parent is home taking care of the children, for instance, this question offers an opportunity to explain that his or her work is as vital as the labours that the parent at the office performs.
Or to say that no matter how much money each parent makes, both contribute equally to the household when all is said and done.
Do your kids seem to care about who makes what? How have you handled this type of question in your house?
Posted by: Sam | May 5, 2021 10:45:37 AM
The children were curious why despite my better education my wife makes more per hour than I (though because I work nearly 30% more hours I 'make' more per year). I told them that when Daddy & Mommy graduated the Ontario government stated they would not hire any white male graduates so because I couldn't change my skin colour or gender only Mummy was able to get a nice Gov't job with lots of holidays and time off, Daddy got stuck working weekends, week night overtime and through holidays to help make Canada's Donald Trump Richer.
Though, with the direction our economy is being steered all new Mummies will follow in Daddy's work footsteps. Hopefully, future children love their day care leaders as much as their parents (they'll be spending much more time with them).
Posted by: Gina | May 5, 2021 6:28:59 PM
good thing you're not bitter!
Posted by: Timetraveler | May 6, 2021 12:06:43 AM
Right now the wife makes way more than I do and will probably continue to do so as health care careers are superior to engineering careers hands down especially when it comes to age discrimination and opportunities. Two year diplomas often beat the hell out of four year degrees in this case. Parents, tell your daughters to stick to nursing, forget engineering, they'll make more money, can't be outsourced and won't be "retired" against their will in their early 50s.
Posted by: Sic*and*Tired | May 10, 2021 11:27:28 AM
I was one of those Hubbys, who ended making less than his then loving wife. At first it was fine because we both had started out the same rate of pay, but over the years her income grew substantially, while mine grew modestly. Then as she began to corporate ladder suddenly I became redundant ( or as she put not ambitious enough). I grew up in a household with parents who looked at the household income as joint and equal ( no matter how much each were contributing). Boy I end up in a rude awakening. It seems as her circle of friends had change and I became an embarrasment to her and my career. Needless to say we are separated now. She has her life and I have mine. I went on to meet someone who feels exactly the same about how the family income should be treated and how decisions should be made by both parties not the one who makes the most. I have been teaching my kids the same lessons I learn and will be encouraging my kids to find someone who is truly on the same page regardless what happens as each person career grows. Just a added note: My brother makes over a 100k and his wife makes on 50 k but his attitude is the same as mine and he treats the family income as both of theirs. They make decisions together and how they spend the family income. Times are changing lots of women make more than their spouses, and suddenly many men feel the sting of having it thrown in their faces, hence the rise in separations and divorces. Couples should think like married loving couples and less about themselves.
Posted by: James | Jun 11, 2021 10:32:24 PM
@Timetraveler... what are you talking about? My career is in engineering, and I earn much more than my family doctor. I even own his house. Most of my relatives on my wife's side are nurses and I make at least triple their salaries, not to mention incredible stock options. My daughter is a nurse, and my son is a mechanical engineer. He is making more as well.