(nerd wallet) – Some couples decide together that they want to lead a single-earner household. But the decision is made for others.
the Covid-19 pandemic has left many in this predicament, especially early on, as businesses collapsed and jobs disappeared in hard-hit industries. And with schools and daycares closing so frequently, many couples may have found it worth having a parent at home full-time.
Such upheaval can leave you both feeling powerless. You used to act as equals. Now one of you worries about losing your independence while the other feels the added pressure to achieve. Suddenly, your relationship dynamic isn’t what you originally signed up for.
Any change can be difficult, especially one that can make you reconsider who you are—your identity, your purpose, and your role within your family. But when it comes Make money-related decisions with your partnerthe best way forward is a combination of logic and heart.
Acknowledge the emotional component
Even if you agree that one of you retiring from the workforce is the best option for your family, you may both feel conflicted. Not only will your responsibilities change, but the way you view each other can also change, especially if part of what sparked your interest in your partner in the first place was their passion for their career.
“You align yourself in that professional way — and then to lose that, you might learn some things about your partner that might not be attractive, or you might have to adjust to them,” says Stacey Sherrell, a licensed marriage and counselor Family therapist in Glendale, California, co-founder of Decoding Couples, which offers classes, videos and other relationship support.
Essentially, if you’re the stay-at-home one, it’s like starting a new unpaid job that your previous work experience didn’t prepare you for. With no income, you may feel like you no longer have as much say in financial matters. At the same time, you can welcome a break from trying to get everything done as you can now focus solely on your domestic duties. “I’ve actually seen clients relieved that they no longer have a job,” says Sherrell.
On the other hand, if you’re the newly minted sole breadwinner, you might be wondering when you’ll get your break from juggling a career and family. It’s very stressful when you’re the only person earning an income, even when your partner’s work at home gives you extra time to focus on your career.
Prepare for the financial realities
With one of you home (and reduced income), it’s time Reconsider your budget. Maybe you no longer need a three-weekly snack, a professional dog walker, or housekeeping. Depending on what responsibilities the stay-at-home partner will be taking on, you will likely have some major expenses that you can reduce.
Don’t forget the valuable work benefits you may lose if you leave your job, such as: Discuss these details with your occupational benefits officer before your last day at work.
Here’s a potentially tricky situation: allocating money to your stay-at-home partner for their own expenses. Be sure to budget for it, but whatever you’re doing, Sherrell says, don’t call it an expense allowance. “That word itself alludes to ‘I’ll give you something.’ This is mine and I allow you to trade it for something,’” she says. “That in itself negates any ‘we’ language – we decide this together, we’re a team, we’re partners and that’s how we decide how we spend our money.”
Acknowledge all the opportunities that you both contribute
Being breadwinner in some families can also mean being the main decision-maker, and that’s just not fair. “Money has become synonymous with ‘entitlement,’ and that doesn’t work in a relationship,” says Rachel Facio, a licensed Glendale Marriage and Family Therapist who co-founded Decoding Couples with Sherrell. “In an equal, thriving relationship, that doesn’t give you the master key to the lock. Society must make up for this change.”
The non-working partner has a lot to contribute when it comes to family finances. They’ve already made spending, saving, and investment decisions while working away from home, and now they may have more time to do so manage the family finances. Shari Greco Reiches — co-founder of Rappaport Reiches Capital Management in Skokie, Illinois — finds stay-at-home partners make ideal clients for financial planning. “If I give them a list of tasks, they complete them faster,” she says.
Meet once a week to not only discuss what each of you needs to do to keep things going, but to give yourself a distraction-free moment to speak openly.
“Now is the time to embrace that discomfort and counterintuitively be more vulnerable to what’s going on with your partner,” Sherrell says. “There needs to be some sort of regular safe space to be able to talk about what’s going on for each partner.”
This article was written by NerdWallet and originally published by The Associated Press.
https://www.wavy.com/news/national/how-one-income-couples-can-remain-equals/ How couples with one income can stay the same