Author Topic: income imbalance in a relationship  (Read 10335 times)

ebella

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 35
income imbalance in a relationship
« on: July 17, 2018, 01:19:31 PM »
Long story short, I make 3 times what my partner does.  I've got a professional degree (and ensuing student debt) and he's a blue collar dude with no degree and some credit card debt (incurred when we were long distance).  We've been together for many years; last year I relocated to a better job market and he came along this year once he got a job in his line of work (bicycles).  I've just purchased my first home in the center of the city so that commuting costs are zero for me because I can take public transit which my employer pays. 
His commuting costs were also zero....until recently when his employer wanted to promote him to manage a different location which is 19 miles from where we live (in the suburbs) and not easily accessible via transit or bike given the delight that is Atlanta suburban traffic.  They've offered to give him a $5000 raise ($40k from $35k).  I'm not happy about this because 1) this does not cover the IRS .54 per mile commuting cost and 2) he will be using my 2008 Subaru outback (he has no car) which I have paid off, intend to drive into the ground, and do not like to get lots of miles or and 3) that is our only car and, because he works on weekends, this means I will have no car on weekends. So basically, I (and my car) are subsidizing this commute which, is, essentially, a net decrease in take his home pay and our joint income.  He is unhappy at the current location where he works and thinks he will be happier at this other location and that it is a step up (as it is management) and its the nature of the bike industry. He also says there will be bonuses and they will look at raises in the Fall.
 I don't disagree with him trying to be happier or move up and I don't disagree that the bike industry is pretty shitty in terms of renumeration.  But I've seen this before in 2 other bike stores.  Last year, he got in credit card debt because he was commuting almost 2 hours a day but he took it because it was the only bike store offering health insurance.  At the bike store before that,where he got no health insurance and which is now probably about to go out of business, he kept being promised raises but they never materialized.  He was not particularly happy with managing either place but he loves bikes and people and, without a college education, can't imagine doing much else.  He could easily get a contracting job but says he would hate that. 
At the end of the day, I want him to be happy but I also feel like, when I bear the costs for this sort of thing, it perpetuates this cycle of him working for employers that are not willing to invest in him and (at some points) have directly stated that they don't need to pay compensate him with a livable wage because I have a good job.  I don't care that he makes less than I do and cannot contribute as much, but this particular scenario, really grates on me because its directly causing a net decrease for me.  I can't infantilize him and tell him he can't do it but, if he doesn't get a raise in the fall and isn't appreciably happier and more relaxed with work, I think I will insist that he start looking for other employers.
My question is, how do people deal with this sort of financial and professional imbalance while respecting that one's partner was born into different advantages and has different professional opportunities?  I'm going to try to have us do a budget tonight and I've laid out my long term goals re: paying off my student debt and mortgage pretty clearly.  I'd like him to have his goals laid out too but I don't want him to feel like I'm giving him some sort of financial ultimatum.  Please help with any stories of your own or advice,

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 11283
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2018, 01:30:52 PM »
You're in a committed relationship.  What hurts one, hurts the other.  You need to calmly, compassionately, and without judgement put all your cards on the table, and trust that your partner loves you enough to work together with you to find the best possible solution for everyone.  It sounds like there are a lot of possible options for your scenario . . . list everything out that you can think of and start the discussion.

sokoloff

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1183
Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2018, 01:35:38 PM »
Tough spot for sure.

The costs of driving a 2008 Subaru are not $0.54/mile for sure. What would it be if he bought a beater Honda Civic or Prius? That seems like it would alleviate several of your concerns (all/most of which are totally valid). The cost of driving a depreciated, older car are probably closer to $2500 for 10K miles a year, which is close to a wash with the raise (probably ends up slightly positive).

As for specific stories, I out-earned DW when we were dating and living together. I didn't (and still don't) give half a crap, but she was insistent that she pay rent equal to what her old place cost (which was cheap) and half the utilities and groceries. Was OK with me, but lots of other arrangements would have also been OK. Now that we're married, that semi-charade/semi-point-of-principle is behind us.

nobody123

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 523
Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2018, 01:43:02 PM »
The costs of driving a 2008 Subaru are not $0.54/mile for sure. What would it be if he bought a beater Honda Civic or Prius? That seems like it would alleviate several of your concerns (all/most of which are totally valid). The cost of driving a depreciated, older car are probably closer to $2500 for 10K miles a year, which is close to a wash with the raise (probably ends up slightly positive).

+1.  If you don't want him driving your car, tell him he needs to buy one for himself.  This isn't difficult.  You could always loan him the money and have him pay you back over a couple of months with the money from his raise.

lbmustache

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 909
Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2018, 01:43:51 PM »
Well, he willingly came along for your job, so I think it's only fair that you support him for his next career "move."

I would sit down and calmly discuss your goals. I agree that it is unfair for him to take this job knowing he does not have transportation unless you're there to lend your car, especially since you are focused on the goal of paying off debt. With that said, there seem to be far more upsides to his new job. Maybe you two could start a joint replacement car fund since this seems to be a big issue atm, or he can use some of his savings to purchase a beater. Does he pay rent to you?

If this is a long-term relationship and you want things to continue to work long-term, you will have to come to some sort of compromise or collaborative effort. I think your ultimatums are a bit mismatched for his income level/career choices, and maybe that means the relationship cannot continue.

ebella

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 35
Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2018, 01:45:09 PM »
What would it be if he bought a beater Honda Civic or Prius?

Since our building comes with only 1 deeded parking spot, it would be the cost of parking (which runs approx $100/mo) plus insuring and registering said vehicle.  That doesn't come out ahead, unless I sell my Subaru which I don't see as being worthwhile given its BlueBook value (100,000 miles currently) and that I bought it with cash because I wanted it to last forever. 

ebella

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 35
Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2018, 01:49:26 PM »
Well, he willingly came along for your job, so I think it's only fair that you support him for his next career "move."

I would sit down and calmly discuss your goals. I agree that it is unfair for him to take this job knowing he does not have transportation unless you're there to lend your car, especially since you are focused on the goal of paying off debt. With that said, there seem to be far more upsides to his new job. Maybe you two could start a joint replacement car fund since this seems to be a big issue atm, or he can use some of his savings to purchase a beater. Does he pay rent to you?

If this is a long-term relationship and you want things to continue to work long-term, you will have to come to some sort of compromise or collaborative effort. I think your ultimatums are a bit mismatched for his income level/career choices, and maybe that means the relationship cannot continue.

Oh yes, I definitely want to be supportive, I just worry that I'm kind of enabling shitty employers to continue to not fully compensate him. 

As for your questions: no he has no savings and no he pays no rent.  I wanted him to be able to focus on paying off credit card debt so when he moved into my place here I just kept paying it but, now that I've bought a place, I'll ask him to pay the HOA fees and insurance (I'll cover the mortgage which is less than my previous rent).

Bracken_Joy

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 9225
  • Location: Oregon
Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2018, 01:57:41 PM »
Well, he willingly came along for your job, so I think it's only fair that you support him for his next career "move."

I would sit down and calmly discuss your goals. I agree that it is unfair for him to take this job knowing he does not have transportation unless you're there to lend your car, especially since you are focused on the goal of paying off debt. With that said, there seem to be far more upsides to his new job. Maybe you two could start a joint replacement car fund since this seems to be a big issue atm, or he can use some of his savings to purchase a beater. Does he pay rent to you?

If this is a long-term relationship and you want things to continue to work long-term, you will have to come to some sort of compromise or collaborative effort. I think your ultimatums are a bit mismatched for his income level/career choices, and maybe that means the relationship cannot continue.

Oh yes, I definitely want to be supportive, I just worry that I'm kind of enabling shitty employers to continue to not fully compensate him. 

As for your questions: no he has no savings and no he pays no rent.  I wanted him to be able to focus on paying off credit card debt so when he moved into my place here I just kept paying it but, now that I've bought a place, I'll ask him to pay the HOA fees and insurance (I'll cover the mortgage which is less than my previous rent).

That seems incredibly condescending. If you don't trust him to make his own employment choices, then you don't respect him enough to be in a committed relationship with him. The way you write, it sounds more like a mother writing about a teenage son, not mutually respectful adults in a mature relationship. Especially since you brought this to the forums, vs just saying "hey I worry they're not paying you what you're worth. Does that worry you?" and listening to his answer. And respecting the answer.

v8rx7guy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1003
  • Location: PNW
Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2018, 01:58:50 PM »
He makes $35,000 and soon to be $40,000 a year and has low expense, he can afford to buy his own car, fill it, park it & insure it... what else does he spend his money on?  It sounds like this isn't as complicated as you're making it out to be in your mind.

Retire-Canada

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6075
Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2018, 02:06:14 PM »
My question is, how do people deal with this sort of financial and professional imbalance while respecting that one's partner was born into different advantages and has different professional opportunities?  I'm going to try to have us do a budget tonight and I've laid out my long term goals re: paying off my student debt and mortgage pretty clearly.  I'd like him to have his goals laid out too but I don't want him to feel like I'm giving him some sort of financial ultimatum.  Please help with any stories of your own or advice,

I have been in relationships with several people who made less than me...some 1/3rd or 1/4er as much. In general I feel like people need to contribute a fair amount. What's fair varies from situation to situation. For essentials I'd want them to contribute what they would if they were not with me. So that would be 50% of reasonable rent [say $500/month], 50% of reasonable groceries [say $250/month], etc... If I wanted to live someplace fancy I'd still only expect $500/month even if the true cost was $3000/month. When we did fancy holidays I would expect them to pay for some of it....maybe their airfare and then I covered everything else.

For your situation I'd say he should get a cheap car or motorcycle with the extra $5K he's getting paid. If he can't make that work the promotion seems like a bad career move....more responsibility and effort for less money after the commute costs are factored in.  Here is the thing...if it was a dream job...say wrenching for a World Cup Downhill champion and he needed some financial support for a couple years to make that dream come true I'd say help him. OTOH subsidising a low paying job that is not some amazing opportunity seems silly. Especially when you will need a car on the weekends.

CrustyBadger

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 425
Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #10 on: July 17, 2018, 02:09:50 PM »
To your immediate question about his commute -- I think it is reasonable to not want your significant other to rely on your car for his commute to work. His employers should not be counting on it, either!

He needs to get his own car, or take the bus to work. I see you live in Atlanta -- the MARTA bus runs to the suburbs and seems to me to be bike friendly.

https://www.itsmarta.com/bring-your-bike.aspx

I don't know anything about Atlanta geography but I see for example that the town of Vinings is about 15 miles from downtown.   Here's a description of how you could take a bus to almost there, then walk or bike the rest of the way.

https://martaguide.com/2014/11/18/marta-to-vinings

historienne

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 304
Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2018, 02:10:54 PM »
I agree that, given he's followed you to the new city, you owe him some serious support.  And it sounds like you agree with that too.  Ideas to buy a used car (however that's financed) sound reasonable to me.

The bigger issue, though, is that it sounds like you don't like his career choice.  Reading between the lines, you think he's picked the wrong industry, and is doomed to crappy jobs if he stays in the bike shop world, and worry that his choice will impact you down the line.  Y'all need to talk that through, but when you do so, make sure you aren't just thinking about his contributions to the household in terms of money.  Also consider what skills and talents he brings to the table; most bike shop people are pretty handy! Depending on your own job, it may also be very convenient to have a spouse who could cut his own hours at work and pick up slack around the house without too much impact on the family budget.  That goes triple if you are planning to have kids--this is the classic traditional family model, after all. 

In the interim, I can say that my husband and I decided early on to split expenses according to the ratio of our incomes.  At some points, this meant that I was paying for 90% of the household bills.  When we actually got married, we moved to a one-pot system, and budget for the same amount of personal spending money for each of us each month.  And all career decisions have been made jointly--but with an eye to life satisfaction, not just spending power.  My husband took a 50% pay cut a few years ago to switch jobs (he was moving to the nonprofit sector, so this was unavoidable).  He likes his job way more than he used to, and that outweighed the money for us. 

CNM

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 372
Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2018, 02:15:59 PM »
Has he tried to negotiate higher pay?

FrugalFisherman10

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 257
    • Fly Fishing Photo Project
Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2018, 02:32:10 PM »
Definitely just talk to him about it. I'm a guy so maybe it helps to hear my perspective...

if I were him, I would already feel like I'm pretty much "bumming off you" in a lot of ways (place to live mainly), so any little bit of pushback my loving, caring, generous girlfriend has about sharing/lending me something ELSE (her car on the weekends so I can go to work) would be received pretty reasonably.
Caveats : this assumes yall are in a good relationship and he would otherwise say you're loving, caring and generous haha.

You seem to be concerned about one money thing and two non-money things:
Money thing - car lending cost (of putting Miles on it)
Non money thing - not having your car on the weekends
Non money thing - concern for his happiness, wellbeing at work, and ability to "move up"

I think those are all valid. The 'employers taking advantage of him/not delivering on their promises" is a bit of a "stretch" concern though. You're worried about something that hasn't happened yet. It's not up to you to prevent employers from doing that, protect him from it, etc. I would just express your concern about it but you can't control an employers actions.  Sure it happened in a different instance, but who's to say it is going to happen with this manager /this time? Instead of worrying about it before it happens, maybe wait and see if it does happen (i.e. he doesn't get to move up much, doesn't get a bonus, whatever ) then address it. ("Hey, i think your management didnt really deliver on their promises now that it's been 6 months or so. What can we do to fix that? Take a different job closer to where we live?") That way you'll be addressing something that's actually occurring, not addressing something that hasn't yet occurred.

P.S. The issue here is (i think obviously) NOT the income imbalance in your relationship. Perhaps it would be a good exercise to "rename it" (in your head, if the forum doesn't allow you to actually rename the thread itself).
So here's a test...if you were to rename this "problem", what would you name it? I don't want to answer that for you because it doesn't really matter to me..it matters how YOU see it, and I don't think it's the income imbalance

Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk


jezebel

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1552
Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2018, 02:35:21 PM »
My spouse is a professional in an industry that just barely pays a a living wage (for a family in a MCOL city anyway) and requires a graduate degree.  It's crazy.  But that's how it is in that field.  I can't force my spouse's employers to pay more, even if it was appropriate for me to weigh in, which it's not.   It is what it is.  You can encourage your spouse to seek higher paying positions when the time comes, but that's about it.  You have to decide whether his career path is a deal breaker for you or whether you can be ok with the draw backs.   It sounds like he is making other financial decisions that you are unhappy with, so you may want to examine the full picture scenario of your life with this person.

ebella

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 35
Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #15 on: July 17, 2018, 02:56:59 PM »
Has he tried to negotiate higher pay?

Yes they initially proposed 38K and he was like "that's a loss for me"

SilveradoBojangles

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 294
Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #16 on: July 17, 2018, 02:59:06 PM »
Are you in this relationship for the long haul? Have you combined finances? If not, do you split costs based on your incomes, or 50-50? Because you'll get different advice depending on the answers to those questions.

If you see yourselves making a life together, then in the long term this really doesn't matter that much. You want him to be happier, he think's he'll be happier at this other job, he may as well give it a shot. I second the suggestion of you two considering buying a second car (or you sucking it up and biking/using public transport on weekends for a few months). Presumably if the job isn't all it's cracked up to be you two can revisit down the line and then maybe it will make sense for him to look for something closer. But this isn't the same as him asking you to subsidize an expensive hobby

If you keep your finances separate, and plan to do that for the forseeable future, then maybe you should tell him that you are fine with him taking the job if that is what he wants, but he can't use your car so he'll need to buy one if he wants to do this commute.

Finally - Are you really fine with dating someone with lower income prospects? Because you don't sound that fine with it, and it sounds like this particular issue is symptomatic of a deeper resentment.

ebella

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 35
Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #17 on: July 17, 2018, 03:00:30 PM »
To your immediate question about his commute -- I think it is reasonable to not want your significant other to rely on your car for his commute to work. His employers should not be counting on it, either!

He needs to get his own car, or take the bus to work. I see you live in Atlanta -- the MARTA bus runs to the suburbs and seems to me to be bike friendly.

https://www.itsmarta.com/bring-your-bike.aspx

I don't know anything about Atlanta geography but I see for example that the town of Vinings is about 15 miles from downtown.   Here's a description of how you could take a bus to almost there, then walk or bike the rest of the way.

https://martaguide.com/2014/11/18/marta-to-vinings

Yeah the Atlanta buses are notoriously unreliable.  The one time I tried to take it it just didn't come.  I am not sure he can rely on those when he has to be at a store on weekends (when they are even less reliable) to open it.

Samuel

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 168
  • Location: the slippery slope
Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #18 on: July 17, 2018, 03:20:55 PM »
The bigger issue, though, is that it sounds like you don't like his career choice.  Reading between the lines, you think he's picked the wrong industry, and is doomed to crappy jobs if he stays in the bike shop world, and worry that his choice will impact you down the line.  Y'all need to talk that through, but when you do so, make sure you aren't just thinking about his contributions to the household in terms of money.  Also consider what skills and talents he brings to the table; most bike shop people are pretty handy! Depending on your own job, it may also be very convenient to have a spouse who could cut his own hours at work and pick up slack around the house without too much impact on the family budget.  That goes triple if you are planning to have kids--this is the classic traditional family model, after all.   

+1

Also, if he is open to leaving the bike world at some point (the way it was phrased made it sound like he loves bikes but also doesn't feel qualified for much else) the mechanical skills of a kick ass bike mechanic would likely translate well into industrial applications. Trade school to learn to repair and maintain some kind of high end machinery wouldn't be a huge leap.

calimom

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 680
  • Location: Northern California
Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #19 on: July 17, 2018, 04:08:55 PM »
I'm confused about the IRS mandated .54 per mile reimbursement. Is he actually using the car for deliveries and job related tasks during his workday? In that case, the employer should be the one paying mileage, not out of the BF's salary. If he is simply using the car to commute to and from work, it would seem reasonable for him to pay for fuel and his portion of insurance and repairs. It sounds like it's an understandable challenge for him to use the car on weekends when you need it to; what are the solutions? Can you drive him to work sometimes if there are no transit options? Can he carpool with a coworker?

The comment about subsidizing an employer's low wage is also a bit curious. There are lots of jobs in the world that do not pay six figures. In fact, most don't Agreed, it's better when people do their best and strive for better pay and benefits, and it sounds like your partner is trying to have a decent job in an industry he likes.

I hope you two can work out all these details. Nothing seems horribly insurmountable, at least on the surface.

lhamo

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7635
  • Location: Seattle
Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #20 on: July 17, 2018, 04:21:06 PM »
So what, exactly, are your respective incomes/debt load?

It doesn't sound to me like you are willing to be in a full financial partnership -- you talk about "my first home" not "our first home."  And that's fine. 

What you resent here seems to be his assumption that your car is available to him for this new job/commute.  It isn't.  I mean, you could let him use it but then the resentment would destroy the relationship.  So you should just take that off the table.  He needs to figure out a way to get/support his own vehicle if he wants to take this job. 

Come up with some kind of plan for how to cover the expenses you share in a way that you both agree is fair given your different incomes.  Some people allocate it by a percentage basis -- so if your income is 3x his and the basic household costs are $2k/month, you pay 1500 of that and he pays 500.  You don't have to divide it that way if you want, but realize that splitting everything 50/50 will make it much harder for him to dig out of this hole he is in (that is only going to get deeper now that he needs his own car to take this job).

And I agree, you should probably try to stop making pronouncements about what he is or is not going to do professionally.  You made a choice to be in a relationship with someone who earns significantly less/has lower levels of education/has fewer professional options.  You need to decide whether that works for you long term.  It might not.  And if that is the case it might be better for both of you to go your separate ways before even more debt/resentment builds up.

use2betrix

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 909
Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #21 on: July 17, 2018, 06:03:56 PM »
I would break up with him. Youíre obviously unable to get over this wage gap mentally and thatís not fair to him.

FYI, Iím 30 and a blue collar worker with just an associates degree. Iíve had several years over $200k in the construction industry. Iíve already taken home over $120k this year by this weeks end.

If I was to limit myself to women who were ďnear my pay rangeĒ Iíd be an awfully lonely guy. In fact, I have a near flawless relationship with my wife whoís never made more than like 20-30k and typically doesnít work at all because I donít find it worthwhile.

CrustyBadger

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 425
Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #22 on: July 17, 2018, 06:20:29 PM »
To your immediate question about his commute -- I think it is reasonable to not want your significant other to rely on your car for his commute to work. His employers should not be counting on it, either!

He needs to get his own car, or take the bus to work. I see you live in Atlanta -- the MARTA bus runs to the suburbs and seems to me to be bike friendly.

https://www.itsmarta.com/bring-your-bike.aspx

I don't know anything about Atlanta geography but I see for example that the town of Vinings is about 15 miles from downtown.   Here's a description of how you could take a bus to almost there, then walk or bike the rest of the way.

https://martaguide.com/2014/11/18/marta-to-vinings

Yeah the Atlanta buses are notoriously unreliable.  The one time I tried to take it it just didn't come.  I am not sure he can rely on those when he has to be at a store on weekends (when they are even less reliable) to open it.

OK, but public transportation is how people without cars do get around.  You tried the bus "the one time"... Did you ever try it again?   People who take the bus often have to plan to get one earlier than necessary just to be sure to arrive somewhere on time... It's a pain but that's what people without cars have to do.   

Is the particular route from your home to his new workplace always running late?

Retire-Canada

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6075
Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #23 on: July 17, 2018, 08:04:57 PM »
OK, but public transportation is how people without cars do get around.  You tried the bus "the one time"... Did you ever try it again?   People who take the bus often have to plan to get one earlier than necessary just to be sure to arrive somewhere on time... It's a pain but that's what people without cars have to do.   

Is the particular route from your home to his new workplace always running late?

Yup. He can get up early and take the bus to be sure he is on time. If he is early he can carry a thermos of tea/coffee and chill out before he has to open the shop.

Hargrove

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 688
Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #24 on: July 17, 2018, 08:15:18 PM »
I don't understand. Who volunteered your pay in the first place that an employer had the gall to use it as a reason not to pay your partner? That should be unacceptable to all involved.

Does he assume he can use your car, or did you assume he assumed that? You say "my home;" if he's using "his raise" to buy "his moped" then there isn't even an issue... right?

Flip your question: if it cost you $1000 ($2000? $3000?) for your partner to attempt to do something to substantially improve his happiness, would you pay it? It's either "my money" or "our money." If it's "my money," he can't actually accept this job without getting his own car and paying his own parking, or own the fact that he's on the bus, maybe early. If it's "our money," you're talking about a partnered expense that it's fair to sit down and hash out what the benefits could be for this (perhaps temporary) financial loss.

If your problem is that he's "still waiting for bicycle work to pay," you need to address that issue or else move on, because it doesn't sound like he has a clue you want him to reconsider his career, if that's the case.

Check the Bluebook on that Subaru... I'd be impressed if 100k miles hadn't run most of its depreciation out already (the remaining depreciation, if that's really your concern, will be extremely slow at this point).

The more important question to bring you to a real understanding here is why your partner needs to do this. Does he want recognition? To measure up to you a little bit? To feel successful and competent? To overcome doubt and anxiety? To prove something to you or himself? To work in a preferred location? To learn management skills? To eventually... own a bike shop? Kudos to him for negotiating more money in the first place - if the difference is just 2k more, maybe he can make a counter offer for it.

Rural

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4594
Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #25 on: July 17, 2018, 08:36:12 PM »
OK, but public transportation is how people without cars do get around.  You tried the bus "the one time"... Did you ever try it again?   People who take the bus often have to plan to get one earlier than necessary just to be sure to arrive somewhere on time... It's a pain but that's what people without cars have to do.   

Is the particular route from your home to his new workplace always running late?

Yup. He can get up early and take the bus to be sure he is on time. If he is early he can carry a thermos of tea/coffee and chill out before he has to open the shop.


Not an option if he works in an Atlanta suburb. Weekend busses, at best, will run their routes two trips out of three scheduled to the suburbs, and weekends are worse, plus they likely won't run as early as he has to be there to open on weekends. The Atlanta public transit system really is that bad, has been for years. It's like that in a great many southern cities. Anyone who relies on buses in Atlanta to get to suburb jobs will lose that job in short order if they don't have a flex schedule.

jlcnuke

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 723
Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #26 on: July 18, 2018, 05:48:37 AM »
I see a relationship issue here more than a money issue. Sure, the job may result in a fairly slight net decrease in finances. He obviously thinks it is worth it however. You seem to not think his happiness is worth the extra monetary cost however. Based on your post, we can assume that between the two of you the total income will be ~$150-160k/year (his 40k plus your earning ~3x his pay). With that total income, sharing the car and the slight inconvenience or just buying a cheap commuter so that his work-life happiness can increase seems to be something you don't think is a good idea.

It's "your" home.
It's "your" car.
"His" job doesn't pay enough.
"His" career doesn't seem to be good enough.
"His" happiness at work doesn't seem to matter.

Quite frankly, I don't see much of you invested in making your relationship a mutual one, and you don't seem to respect his work or his wishes. If that doesn't change, I don't think any of his financial situation will matter for long as I can't see the relationship lasting anyway.

LouLou

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 242
Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #27 on: July 18, 2018, 06:16:33 AM »
I see a relationship issue here more than a money issue. Sure, the job may result in a fairly slight net decrease in finances. He obviously thinks it is worth it however. You seem to not think his happiness is worth the extra monetary cost however. Based on your post, we can assume that between the two of you the total income will be ~$150-160k/year (his 40k plus your earning ~3x his pay). With that total income, sharing the car and the slight inconvenience or just buying a cheap commuter so that his work-life happiness can increase seems to be something you don't think is a good idea.

It's "your" home.
It's "your" car.
"His" job doesn't pay enough.
"His" career doesn't seem to be good enough.
"His" happiness at work doesn't seem to matter.

Quite frankly, I don't see much of you invested in making your relationship a mutual one, and you don't seem to respect his work or his wishes. If that doesn't change, I don't think any of his financial situation will matter for long as I can't see the relationship lasting anyway.

This seems harsh, but this is the impression I got too.  A slight decrease in net pay to advance a career is a reasonable choice. Maybe there wouldn't be a net increase this step, but having management on his resume could help him with future opportunities. Plus, if you had a "team" mindset to this relationship, you would see that your joint income is pretty high and you just have some logistical problem. (Long distance bike commute? How to deal with Atlanta's public transit system? Budget for occasional Lyfts when the bus fails to show up? Drop him off and pick him up on weekends?)

I just took an actual pay cut to switch jobs and my husband is 100% in favor of the switch. Why? Because I am much happier and I think the switch will help me get to the career I want long term. My happiness and fulfillment are more important than money to him. We live below our means anyway so it's not like we are going hungry.

That said, my husband and I decided to be a team when we got married. I do not have a "team" mindset without being legally married. The bigger questions for you are: are you a team? do you want to be on his team? if not now, what do you need to see? why?  No judgment if this is not the right relationship for you.

Villanelle

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2157
Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #28 on: July 18, 2018, 06:46:42 AM »
If having him take the car on weekends doesn't work for you, tell him that.  You say you don't want to infantilize him, but that seems to be exactly what you are doing.  Be up front--I really want this job for you, but being stuck without the car just isn't going to work for me.  What I can do is help you find something cheap and reliable to buy.  [And, if you are comfortable with it, offer to loan him maybe $1500 for a car purchase, to be paid off over the next 4 months of higher paychecks, or something similar.]"

Because you are correct; he isn't a child so he's capable of sorting this out on his own, but to do that he needs you to be up front about what you are and are not willing to contribute to this new endeavor of his.  It would have been better if you would have given him this info before he made this decision (if it is in fact a done deal), but you are where you are, so tell him and let him deal with it as a man.  And as his partner, support him in that however you can, whether that means a loan to be paid off with his higher paychecks, or offering to help him car shop, or maybe letting him drive the better car unless you need it for some reason, or just being there for him while he sorts this out. 

Malkynn

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 992
Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #29 on: July 18, 2018, 07:24:15 AM »
I agree, this isn't a money imbalance issue, it's a relationship/communication issue.

Once you've chosen to be with someone, it doesn't matter who makes what or who brought what debt. You are either on the same path in terms of financial goals and priorities or you aren't.
If your goal and priority is to never ever lower your net income and his isn't, you have a problem in terms of priorities, not incomes.

You two seriously need to sit down and hammer out what you actually collectively care about.


brute

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 555
Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #30 on: July 18, 2018, 08:23:18 AM »
I make ∞ more than my spouse currently. She's unemployed. When she does get a job, she'll make 1/4 what I do at best even though she has a Master's degree in a hard science. Avian biologists, amirite?

So, the question here is: Do I care?
Answer: sometimes. But I do my best to never, ever say anything about it when I'm not in a great mood. We also talk openly about finances, which helps a lot. She understands money even though she's never had much of it, and is open with me about her wants and understands when we have to put things off or settle for something less than the best and newest.

Now, $40k. Thats a lot of money. In fact, it's ~20% more than average. No reason he can't buy a car and handle the costs himself. If that isn't running through his head, then either he's not very bright or he's become completely dependent on you. If you can't undo dependency, dump him and let him grow into the best version of himself instead of being stunted and corralled. If you don't like supporting him, stop supporting him. Don't play with guilt, don't play with power. Be equals. Money is just money, not a representation of the worth of someone.

frugaliknowit

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1509
Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #31 on: July 18, 2018, 09:37:31 AM »
"...I don't care that he makes less than I do and cannot contribute as much, but this particular scenario, really grates on me because its directly causing a net decrease for me.  I can't infantilize him and tell him he can't do it but, if he doesn't get a raise in the fall and isn't appreciably happier and more relaxed with work, I think I will insist that he start looking for other employers..."

This concerns me.  I'm thinking this guy is too much of an "inconvenience".  A "net decrease", WTF?  He's your partner, you say?  When you bought the house you just bought, did you consult with him?  Did you attempt to include him in a (small) way?  Did you consider buying something appropriate for an $80K income (his $40K plus $40K from your end or some kind of split...), or renting together?  Hey, the GUY WORKS!  There are guys out there (I've met them) that CANNOT EVEN HOLD A JOB OF ANY KIND!


Radagast

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1105
  • Location: West of the Mountains, East of the Sea
Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #32 on: July 18, 2018, 09:39:40 AM »
He makes $35,000 and soon to be $40,000 a year and has low expense, he can afford to buy his own car, fill it, park it & insure it... what else does he spend his money on?  It sounds like this isn't as complicated as you're making it out to be in your mind.
That's sort of how I'm leaning too. I have not heard that Atlanta is a high cost of living city, at best medium cost. $40k should easily be enough to support one entire person and low cost commuter car, without any debt, maxing out an IRA, with some additional savings building up on the side.

ebella

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 35
Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #33 on: July 18, 2018, 09:58:05 AM »
Wow, alot of replies here. I would like to reply to all of them but, for simplicity's sake won't.  To all those who have experienced similar things: thanks for sharing. I think it will work out; we're communicating alot about it and have decided, going forward, we need to st aside one night a week to talk about these sorts of financial things and set out clearer goals.  We'll see how it goes when we do that next week. In the meantime, I'll manage on the weekends without a car and he'll fix a scooter he has (back in our old town) so we can have that too (without paying extra parking or buying something).  He thinks the raise in the fall will be around 5-8k more and, if that's the case AND he's happier, it's a good move. 
To those who said something along the lines of "dump him" or "it seems like you're judging him" or "it seems like money matters to you," I deliberately started my post with "long story short" because, in a seven year relationship, there's alot of context that goes into why I moved to a new city and the sacrifices we've made for one another's careers and finances.  So here's some context. 
While I got my professional degree, he was working full time but I paid half our shared expenses.  I think that's fair, as I incurred half of them.  He had an old truck; I had a used bike.  I did not seek jobs that required me to use his truck (in fact, he didn't let me use it at all).  Again, it's his truck, it's his choice. 
After grad school, I got my professional license in his state and found work there because he wanted to stay there.  After trying to use a bus to get to and from work for a few months, I caved and bought the Subaru on craigslist with money I got from my grandpa's life insurance policy. When I got offered more lucrative jobs more in line with what I wanted to do, I stayed in his town because he wanted to see where opportunities at the bike store (that promised him raises they never gave) went.  Those promises didn't go anywhere and my career (his health and our relationship) suffered. The place I worked dissolved, I was on unemployment (again still paid half the expenses from my unemployment benefits and savings), and it took me six months to find permanent employment.  At the same time, he was working in the bike shop 7 days a week, with no benefits, no raises and would come home grumpy and tired.  We fought alot.  Ultimately I moved out because I felt that, in structuring my life to support his lifestyle and career goals, I had lost sight of my own and didn't feel supported.
A few months later (after I dated other people, found a better therapist, and got my career back on track), we reconnected.  I had a term job that was about to end and was still seeking permanent work in our town, but not having any luck. Then the opportunity to move to Atlanta--where the market rate pays me a third more than our previous town--opened up, so I took it.  We continued to see each other and talk and, when I found out that bike shops here offer health insurance and 401ks because it's a bigger market, I urged him to look into it. 
He moved when he got a job here that 1) had health insurance 2) a 401k (he is not using) and 3) a bigger market for his career.  With rising COL in our previous city but stagnant wages and few benefits, he couldn't continue to live there alone.  So, yes, he moved for me, but it is also a no brainer career move for him.  I bought the property I recently did because the place I was renting (which I was fine with) is too small for all his bikes and vinyl records and 2 people.  When I bought, I used the rest of my grandpa's life insurance payout (which I'd invested) and money I saved over the last 3 years.  I took out the mortgage alone because, with just my credit, the rate was better.
What I love about my partner is that he is different than me.  I hated the white collar types I dated before and after him; I hated their pretension and that they cared about where I got my degrees and how many countries I've lived in.  I love that my partner is from small town, blue collar America but defies its constraints.  For instance, the reason he refuses to work more lucrative construction type jobs (despite his father being a master plumber) is because he hated the people who worked in those fields and considered it a culture of toxic masculinity.  My version of a budget is mint and spreadsheets, his is "don't spend all your money."  We're a very odd pair for sure but there's no one else we can be our weird imperfect selves with.
I guess what I was trying to get at with my original question was how to overcome the external shit, like how retail employees are devalued, or how hard it is for people who come from blue collar backgrounds to conceive of and advocate for an employment context in which they are not taken for granted, or how your parents whack ideas about finances take time to unlearn.  We've been through alot together, I expect we will go through much more (we're getting married next year, low key).   It's not that I don't want to support him or share finances; I've just generally shouldered my financial burdens alone (with the immense privilege of my family's generosity in paying for part of my education and in leaving me something when they died) and assume I always will.  So I don't know how to balance that self-supporting role (which, in this case, is telling me "you pay a higher mortgage so you can avoid using your car!") with a partnership where the other person may need my financial support more often than I need theirs. 
I feel like the message I get (especially as a woman who is more educated or professionally mobile than her partner) is that socio-economic opposites can't ever work.  I want that to not be the case and I guess this whole car thing just brings up those deeper concerns.  I felt like, because MMM is focused on financial self-betterment (and fostering a community that enables that) there might be some interesting insight here.  I guess I'm kind of disappointed to hear alot of the comments echo the negativity I've heard elsewhere about romantic partnerships in which the people were dealt very different socio-economic hands and, consequently, negotiate financial decisions very differently.

Gyosho

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 117
Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #34 on: July 18, 2018, 10:04:31 AM »

Oh yes, I definitely want to be supportive, I just worry that I'm kind of enabling shitty employers to continue to not fully compensate him. 

As for your questions: no he has no savings and no he pays no rent.  I wanted him to be able to focus on paying off credit card debt so when he moved into my place here I just kept paying it but, now that I've bought a place, I'll ask him to pay the HOA fees and insurance (I'll cover the mortgage which is less than my previous rent).

I also vote for breaking up with him. He is acting like your child, not a self-sufficient adult. Make him stand on his own two feet for a while, especially before you consider a further commitment and/or children. He will be a much better person for it. If you want, you could always get back together when he has grown up.


PathtoFIRE

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 425
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Dallas
Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #35 on: July 18, 2018, 10:06:28 AM »
Maybe a solution to both of your problems would be for him to start his own bike shop close to your house. It would certainly mean a financial hit initially, and of course is also risky longer term, but I guess it depends on how financially secure you currently are.

ebella

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 35
Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #36 on: July 18, 2018, 10:23:54 AM »
"...I don't care that he makes less than I do and cannot contribute as much, but this particular scenario, really grates on me because its directly causing a net decrease for me.  I can't infantilize him and tell him he can't do it but, if he doesn't get a raise in the fall and isn't appreciably happier and more relaxed with work, I think I will insist that he start looking for other employers..."

This concerns me.  I'm thinking this guy is too much of an "inconvenience".  A "net decrease", WTF?  He's your partner, you say?  When you bought the house you just bought, did you consult with him?  Did you attempt to include him in a (small) way?  Did you consider buying something appropriate for an $80K income (his $40K plus $40K from your end or some kind of split...), or renting together?  Hey, the GUY WORKS!  There are guys out there (I've met them) that CANNOT EVEN HOLD A JOB OF ANY KIND!

I don't know where you got inconvenience from; I never said that.  As far as your actual question re rent v buy, we considered all the things you mentioned. I was renting a 600 sq ft place that he moved into but, it didn't fit all his belongings so he paid for storage and didn't get to use his stuff (like his records).  I had been considering buying before he moved in so, when he joined me, the places I looked at (including the one he looked at with me) all accommodated his things.  The price of those places was not affordable for someone with 80k unless we bought in the suburbs which would mean we'd have substantial commuting costs (his employer proposed this location change the day I closed).  Rent on similar places was the same as buying, so I bought.  So, no, the issue isn't that he doesn't work or makes less, the issue is WE will be in a financial inferior position because of a job change that came out of nowhere (literally they first proposed it on 7/9), depends on a shared resource and, was not able to negotiate in such a way that it didn't set us back (7/16), and the change is effective 7/21.  I'm not pissed at him; I'm pissed at his employer for springing this on him like this and not giving him any alternative.

jlcnuke

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 723
Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #37 on: July 18, 2018, 10:51:36 AM »
Quote
It's not that I don't want to support him or share finances; I've just generally shouldered my financial burdens alone (with the immense privilege of my family's generosity in paying for part of my education and in leaving me something when they died) and assume I always will. So I don't know how to balance that self-supporting role (which, in this case, is telling me "you pay a higher mortgage so you can avoid using your car!") with a partnership where the other person may need my financial support more often than I need theirs. 
I feel like the message I get (especially as a woman who is more educated or professionally mobile than her partner) is that socio-economic opposites can't ever work. I want that to not be the case and I guess this whole car thing just brings up those deeper concerns.  I felt like, because MMM is focused on financial self-betterment (and fostering a community that enables that) there might be some interesting insight here.  I guess I'm kind of disappointed to hear alot of the comments echo the negativity I've heard elsewhere about romantic partnerships in which the people were dealt very different socio-economic hands and, consequently, negotiate financial decisions very differently.

I think you've let your experiences and the influence of others guide your responses to the situation more than you might like or realize.

Socio-economic opposites often work. In fact, most successful (professionally) people I know have spouses who are in a completely different income category. This is why there are so many stay-at-home parents imo. One spouse's income prospects are so low that the cost of paying for childcare makes their net income from going to work approach zero (or worse in some cases). This is generally the woman in most relationships, but far from always.

The fact is your significant other has few marketable skills and doesn't have any high-demand skills that would result in a lucrative career in a short period of time.  $40k is about the norm salary for a retail manager in a small to medium sized business. Since his job doesn't require any significant education or specific skills, he's fairly easily replaceable and thus will not "generally" be treated as a highly valued employee that an employer needs to "work with to retain".

The relationships can work with people of very disparate incomes. The comments here about our perceptions on your relationship weren't based on there being an income imbalance so much as they were based on the way you appear to be handling the situation; i.e. seeming to focus on "you" and how it hurts "you" financially as opposed to being happy for him".

Had your post read:
"SO got a promotion, but it means he has to commute and the pay isn't really much better, but it's what he wants and will make him happy, how should we deal with the new commute?"
or
"I think my SO's employer is taking advantage of him, here's what they did, because I don't think his compensation went up as much as it should, how can he address this? Should he start looking elsewhere? Is he just stuck dealing with it? What would you do in his situation?"

then I think the conversation here would have been very different. Your posting instead seemed to read more like:
"my undereducated SO took a crappy position that doesn't pay enough and now he's going to use my car, making me stuck at my home on weekends, to work a job that may or may not even go anywhere and his pay raise for this promotion isn't even covering the depreciation on my car, and now I'm stuck paying the difference and that's not good for my finances".

It's because of the tone and way things were stated that we are interpreting your posts in the way you see. Perhaps that isn't how you meant things or what you meant things to sound like, or perhaps it was an unconscious undertone that you didn't realize was there, but that's what it looks like to me and I think others as well.



formerlydivorcedmom

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 547
  • Location: Texas
Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #38 on: July 18, 2018, 11:11:21 AM »
I feel like the message I get (especially as a woman who is more educated or professionally mobile than her partner) is that socio-economic opposites can't ever work.  I want that to not be the case and I guess this whole car thing just brings up those deeper concerns.  I felt like, because MMM is focused on financial self-betterment (and fostering a community that enables that) there might be some interesting insight here.  I guess I'm kind of disappointed to hear alot of the comments echo the negativity I've heard elsewhere about romantic partnerships in which the people were dealt very different socio-economic hands and, consequently, negotiate financial decisions very differently.

This is bunk.  I agree with a lot of the other comments that the way you are looking at some of this may be the problem.

I'm a well-educated professional woman.  My current husband was a mechanic for 20 years. When we met, I made almost 4x what he did.   He never made close to $40k - but he had no debt, had a decent 3-bedroom apartment without roommates, owned a car, and paid child support for his daughter.  A few years after we got married he quit his job to become a part-time SAHD/full-time college student.  He now has a Bachelor's degree and his first job...and he still makes just under $40k (but his job is physically easier and has PTO!).  He could have gotten a job making $5k more...but he really wanted to work in this particular industry, and in the grand scheme of things the money didn't make that big a difference for us to meet our goals..

Our relationship works because
  • We make our decisions based on what is best for our family and our marriage, not necessarily what is best for the individual (and not completely based on finances)
  • We are on the same page in terms of financial goals
  • We have joint bank accounts and consider ALL income (and all debt) "ours"
  • We talked a lot a lot a lot a lot about the discrepancy in our incomes and made sure we were both absolutely okay with the fact that this probably won't ever change
  • We are each respectful of the other person's talents and choices

You and your SO are in a grey zone right now - engaged and living together but not married yet.   There are things I'd recommend for a married couple that wouldn't necessarily make sense for you.  So you need to work together to figure out what the finances will look when you get married (joint or separate?), and make sure you have agreed-upon goals and that you are both in the right mental place to make this relationship work.

And I'd tell him to get his own inexpensive car.

v8rx7guy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1003
  • Location: PNW
Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #39 on: July 18, 2018, 11:23:12 AM »
I feel like the message I get (especially as a woman who is more educated or professionally mobile than her partner) is that socio-economic opposites can't ever work.  I want that to not be the case and I guess this whole car thing just brings up those deeper concerns.  I felt like, because MMM is focused on financial self-betterment (and fostering a community that enables that) there might be some interesting insight here.  I guess I'm kind of disappointed to hear alot of the comments echo the negativity I've heard elsewhere about romantic partnerships in which the people were dealt very different socio-economic hands and, consequently, negotiate financial decisions very differently.

How in the world do you come to this conclusion?  I feel as if you want this to be the problem, so you're making it the problem.

GrumpyPenguin

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 251
Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #40 on: July 18, 2018, 11:35:33 AM »
I'm actually surprised at all the negativity here too, and all the jumping to conclusions I see.

If it were me, I'd look closer at the 54 cent/mile IRS rate that you were using for your math, and understand that it doesn't apply here. Instead, estimate the real number for you.  For a 10 year old car, I suspect it'll come up to a per mile rate that is less than the $5k raise over a year.  Once that is done, he should offer to cover those costs as being the reasonable thing to do.

Retire-Canada

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6075
Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #41 on: July 18, 2018, 11:39:52 AM »
Maybe a solution to both of your problems would be for him to start his own bike shop close to your house. It would certainly mean a financial hit initially, and of course is also risky longer term, but I guess it depends on how financially secure you currently are.

The joke in the bike industry goes...How do you make a small fortune owing a bike shop? Start with a big fortune. ;)

ebella

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 35
Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #42 on: July 18, 2018, 11:46:19 AM »
Quote

Had your post read:
"SO got a promotion, but it means he has to commute and the pay isn't really much better, but it's what he wants and will make him happy, how should we deal with the new commute?"
or
"I think my SO's employer is taking advantage of him, here's what they did, because I don't think his compensation went up as much as it should, how can he address this? Should he start looking elsewhere? Is he just stuck dealing with it? What would you do in his situation?"

then I think the conversation here would have been very different. Your posting instead seemed to read more like:
"my undereducated SO took a crappy position that doesn't pay enough and now he's going to use my car, making me stuck at my home on weekends, to work a job that may or may not even go anywhere and his pay raise for this promotion isn't even covering the depreciation on my car, and now I'm stuck paying the difference and that's not good for my finances".

It's because of the tone and way things were stated that we are interpreting your posts in the way you see. Perhaps that isn't how you meant things or what you meant things to sound like, or perhaps it was an unconscious undertone that you didn't realize was there, but that's what it looks like to me and I think others as well.

Did you read my original post? I stated: "His commuting costs were also zero....until recently when his employer wanted to promote him to manage a different location which is 19 miles from where we live (in the suburbs) and not easily accessible via transit or bike given the delight that is Atlanta suburban traffic.  They've offered to give him a $5000 raise ($40k from $35k)."
That is LITERALLY ""SO got a promotion, but it means he has to commute and the pay isn't really much better, but it's what he wants and will make him happy, how should we deal with the new commute?"
I think (for whatever reason) people are making alot of assumptions about my tone that are just flat out not supported by the actual words I wrote.

ebella

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 35
Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #43 on: July 18, 2018, 11:50:04 AM »
I'm actually surprised at all the negativity here too, and all the jumping to conclusions I see.

If it were me, I'd look closer at the 54 cent/mile IRS rate that you were using for your math, and understand that it doesn't apply here. Instead, estimate the real number for you.  For a 10 year old car, I suspect it'll come up to a per mile rate that is less than the $5k raise over a year.  Once that is done, he should offer to cover those costs as being the reasonable thing to do.
Thank you! And some of the more helpful money-centric (as opposed to people basically critiquing my relationship) posts yesterday got us to do just that.  Which was really helpful.  I hate cars and never want to be a 2 car household and we both prioritize reducing our environmental impact. But, if this has an end goal in sight that is more in line with our finances and values, I am on board.

GrumpyPenguin

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 251
Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #44 on: July 18, 2018, 12:00:30 PM »
I'm actually surprised at all the negativity here too, and all the jumping to conclusions I see.

If it were me, I'd look closer at the 54 cent/mile IRS rate that you were using for your math, and understand that it doesn't apply here. Instead, estimate the real number for you.  For a 10 year old car, I suspect it'll come up to a per mile rate that is less than the $5k raise over a year.  Once that is done, he should offer to cover those costs as being the reasonable thing to do.
Thank you! And some of the more helpful money-centric (as opposed to people basically critiquing my relationship) posts yesterday got us to do just that.  Which was really helpful.  I hate cars and never want to be a 2 car household and we both prioritize reducing our environmental impact. But, if this has an end goal in sight that is more in line with our finances and values, I am on board.

Yeah, this sounds pretty straight forward.  Try something like this:
http://artofbeingcheap.com/calculator/

(I haven't used it, just quick internet search, probably want to check reasonableness).  Nice, I'm also in a one car household (it is owned by my long term girlfriend).  I hardly ever drive the car, but if I did, I'd definitely want to be paying the fair share of using it.

jlcnuke

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 723
Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #45 on: July 18, 2018, 12:06:31 PM »

Had your post read:
"SO got a promotion, but it means he has to commute and the pay isn't really much better, but it's what he wants and will make him happy, how should we deal with the new commute?"
or
"I think my SO's employer is taking advantage of him, here's what they did, because I don't think his compensation went up as much as it should, how can he address this? Should he start looking elsewhere? Is he just stuck dealing with it? What would you do in his situation?"

then I think the conversation here would have been very different. Your posting instead seemed to read more like:
"my undereducated SO took a crappy position that doesn't pay enough and now he's going to use my car, making me stuck at my home on weekends, to work a job that may or may not even go anywhere and his pay raise for this promotion isn't even covering the depreciation on my car, and now I'm stuck paying the difference and that's not good for my finances".

It's because of the tone and way things were stated that we are interpreting your posts in the way you see. Perhaps that isn't how you meant things or what you meant things to sound like, or perhaps it was an unconscious undertone that you didn't realize was there, but that's what it looks like to me and I think others as well.

Did you read my original post? I stated: "His commuting costs were also zero....until recently when his employer wanted to promote him to manage a different location which is 19 miles from where we live (in the suburbs) and not easily accessible via transit or bike given the delight that is Atlanta suburban traffic.  They've offered to give him a $5000 raise ($40k from $35k)."
That is LITERALLY ""SO got a promotion, but it means he has to commute and the pay isn't really much better, but it's what he wants and will make him happy, how should we deal with the new commute?"
I think (for whatever reason) people are making alot of assumptions about my tone that are just flat out not supported by the actual words I wrote.

Yes, I did read those TWO sentences, or ~15% of the original. Hence where I got the information for the suggested postings....

I also read the other 85% of the post, about 5%being was you saying you want him to be happy and most of the rest seeming to complain (or state negative facts) about his income/jobs and/or the impact on you and your money.

Hence why my suggested post left the other 85% out of it as that's where the "alot of replies" discussing your relationship seem to have come from. As I said, maybe you didn't mean to come across that way, but the number of posters that thought you did come across that way is quite numerous so it isn't just one person inventing something in their head that no one else sees in the words you posted.

jezebel

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1552
Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #46 on: July 18, 2018, 12:14:05 PM »
Had your post read:
"SO got a promotion, but it means he has to commute and the pay isn't really much better, but it's what he wants and will make him happy, how should we deal with the new commute?"
or
"I think my SO's employer is taking advantage of him, here's what they did, because I don't think his compensation went up as much as it should, how can he address this? Should he start looking elsewhere? Is he just stuck dealing with it? What would you do in his situation?"

then I think the conversation here would have been very different. Your posting instead seemed to read more like:
"my undereducated SO took a crappy position that doesn't pay enough and now he's going to use my car, making me stuck at my home on weekends, to work a job that may or may not even go anywhere and his pay raise for this promotion isn't even covering the depreciation on my car, and now I'm stuck paying the difference and that's not good for my finances".

It's because of the tone and way things were stated that we are interpreting your posts in the way you see. Perhaps that isn't how you meant things or what you meant things to sound like, or perhaps it was an unconscious undertone that you didn't realize was there, but that's what it looks like to me and I think others as well.
Did you read my original post? I stated: "His commuting costs were also zero....until recently when his employer wanted to promote him to manage a different location which is 19 miles from where we live (in the suburbs) and not easily accessible via transit or bike given the delight that is Atlanta suburban traffic.  They've offered to give him a $5000 raise ($40k from $35k)."
That is LITERALLY ""SO got a promotion, but it means he has to commute and the pay isn't really much better, but it's what he wants and will make him happy, how should we deal with the new commute?"
I think (for whatever reason) people are making alot of assumptions about my tone that are just flat out not supported by the actual words I wrote.

Tone aside, none of the comments, as I read them, have indicated that socio-economic opposites can't ever work.  That is a conclusion that you have jumped to, for some reason.  People are saying that YOU need to consider whether YOUR relationship is working for YOU.  Many of the posters have point to their own relationship where incomes are very different, including myself - so they are obviously working. 

It's not simply negativity to suggest that your posts are exhibiting a me v. him vibe, rather than a partnership vibe.  But it sounds like this mentality was set early on in your relationship.  In my partnership, we look at the total household income and make joint financial decisions accordingly (not broken down by percentage of income).  Some couples have separate finances and it works for them.  You have to decide what works for you.  It sounds like you might be holding some resent because you always paid your own way, but your spouse doesn't intend to do the same.  That is something you need to get on the same page about asap.

Finally, you can't change the market value of retail work.  You can suggest your spouse apply for higher paying jobs and/or go back to school, but getting upset about it isn't helping your spouse.

Dee18

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1448
Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #47 on: July 18, 2018, 12:24:14 PM »
When I lived in Atlanta (years ago) many employers allowed domestic partners to be on the employee's health insurance.  I have no idea if that is still true, but just wanted to mention it in case that's away for you all to save money that could then go for transportation.

I'll also add, I think couples can arrange their money any way they want, as long as they are both happy with it.  If they are not happy with it-or one is not-meeting with a neutral (counselor or financial advisor) just a couple times could be very helpful.

lhamo

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7635
  • Location: Seattle
Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #48 on: July 18, 2018, 01:32:25 PM »
I have not read it, but you might want to check out Farnoosh Torabi's book "When She Makes More." 

Candace

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 468
  • Age: 52
  • Location: Hampton Roads, Virginia
Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #49 on: July 18, 2018, 02:12:13 PM »
It sounds a little to me like the OP is dealing with some feelings of resentment. When she was a poor student, she paid half her way even though her partner had an income. During this time, she was not allowed to use her partner's truck. A whole bunch of events and trade-offs ensued.

....

Now that the tables are somewhat turned, where she actually bought a house partially to accommodate his belongings, and her perception is he seems to assume he's entitled to use her truck to commute, leaving her without a vehicle in the Atlanta suburbs (not exactly bike-friendly), in order to take a job transfer she's not sure is actually in his best interest or theirs. When she was a student she couldn't use his vehicle, but now he expects to use hers on a daily basis.

From a wider perspective, I hear a constant drip of anxiety that his background and his skill/education level are at least somewhat playing into what the OP might see as un-advantageous decision making pattern on her partner's part. My perception is that she is anxious that this pattern will end up affecting her and their relationship disproportionately (e.g., him basically making her car his car, leaving her without a car, so he can pursue his job). There is a little bit of negativity and more than a little bit of "mine vs. his" mentality going on, which might be a self-defense mechanism brought on partially due to her not completely accepting his pattern of decision-making as part of who he is. They actually split up and got back together in the past, and the split happened after she spent some time sacrificing her career opportunities in order to stay with him in a small town. When she decided to pursue a good career opportunity in another place, he ended up following her partially because it made financial sense for *him* to do so.

So... although on a personality and day-to-day level, she says they have a fantastic relationship, it sounds like the financial and practical side of things is a little bit shakier in terms of whether they have a match. She seems to feel that his background and the level of opportunities he has partially play into a pattern of non-optimal decision-making. I'm guessing she is afraid that pattern will continue and engender bigger problems in the future.

OP, perhaps you should at least consider having, er, a long engagement? That doesn't mean break up. That means let the financial things play out for a year or two and see how you think he's going to be as a partner 10, 20, 50 years from now. Partner means all the good stuff and all the bad stuff. Forever.

I say this as someone who's had to make peace with my DH's approach to money. My DH doesn't save much of anything. All the long-term planning is up to me. He could make more and save more, but he chooses not to. He doesn't buy anything for himself. He's a white collar professional but serves the "under-served" most of the time, and is incredibly generous with his time and goes incredibly easy on the billing. One absolutely key thing from my perspective, that makes our relationship work, is that he's unlikely to be a huge drain on my expected financial outlays on a year to year basis. We have an arrangement that works for us for our ongoing expenses. I FIRE'd last year. He probably won't retire for several years. In the long term, I expect it will be my stash that supports both of us when he decides to retire, because I can't count on him to accumulate. I've accepted that, although I don't understand or sometimes agree. What's the stash for, if not to share?

Your partner will probably never approach his career and money the same way you do. You have fundamentally different ways of looking at money and career. Since I have gone through this myself, I think I can recognize it in others. The question is, are you going to be happy with accommodating his approach? Does your relationship *as a whole work*, even if you're not happy with his approach to money? Even if you end up contributing more? Is he going to expect you to float him, and how much of that are you willing to do/can you do while having a healthy relationship that works for you?