Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 30th 2015 Contents AUGUST 30 • 2015 www.guardian.co.tt SUNDAY BUSINESS GUARDIAN
PERSONAL FINANCE | SBG15
"Often, (individuals who exhibit this behav-
iour) tend to be avoidant about financial mat-
ters," Price says. "But in order to move from
a place of helplessness to empowerment, you
need to be knowledgeable about money."
In the Green household, for example, Craig
keeps track of the family s bottom line, paying
bills and even depositing Ali s paychecks. "It
allows him to take responsibility and have a
more equal say," Ali explains.
Dilemma #3: The breadwinner
feels burdened---and resentful
For breadwinners, feeling like they are
responsible for supporting the whole family
can be overwhelming.
"Animosity can arise if you start to feel like
you re keeping everybody else afloat," Levinson
It s a sentiment that certainly resonates with
"A couple of years ago, I was stuck in a job
I hated, but I couldn t leave because we had
a mortgage," Ali said. "While Craig was sup-
portive, he also reminded me that we needed
to make a certain income. The responsibility
is always hanging over my head. If I lose my
job, we re screwed. If he loses his, it s just a
Ali s annoyance over Craig s paycheck came
to a head when they were forced to move
because they couldn t afford the cost of living
in their area.
"I felt frustrated knowing that if he made
as much as I did, we could send our kid to
a better day care, and we wouldn t have to
leave this place that we loved," she said.
If you re in this predicament, one thing that
can help diffuse your anger is to recognize
there are more ways to contribute than simply
opening a wallet.
Perhaps your partner supports you emo-
tionally, keeps the household running smoothly,
or takes care of time-consuming projects such
as vacation planning and home repairs. Try
to shift your focus from how they fall short
fiscally to where they excel in other areas.
And whatever you do, don t just sit there
"Talking about your worries with your part-
ner can bring some comfort," Levinson said.
"Your spouse might be limited in terms of
how much they can contribute financially, but
at least you can split the emotional load."
You can also discuss reworking your current
arrangement. "Even if you came to an agree-
ment when one person was making more in
the beginning of your relationship, you aren t
beholden to that forever," Price pointed out.
One way to bring more balance to the equa-
tion is to periodically revisit your household
budget, especially when one of you changes
jobs or nabs a raise or promotion, by setting
ongoing monthly money meetings.
Dilemma #4: One person isn't
pulling their weight ... at home
Another common issue that can creep up
for couples with uneven income situations is
the high earner skipping out on household
cleanup detail and child care duties.
Just take it from Monica Miller*, a 26-year-
old entrepreneur, who s still building her busi-
ness and only makes several hundred dollars
a month, compared to her engineer husband s
"Even though I m busy working during the
day, the brunt of household chores falls on
me," Monica says. "At times I feel taken advan-
tage of, like a maid instead of a wife."
According to Price, this imbalance often
manifests when the under-earner feels guilty
about their lack of earning power. "They over-
compensate by pitching in more around the
house, but may end up doing the equivalent
of two jobs," she said.
Miller can relate.
"I sometimes feel like a burden to my hus-
band," she said. "I want to put money on the
table, too and when I can t, I get frustrated.
Even though my husband is very kind, I feel
like I m failing him and not showing him my
Price s advice to Miller? Resist the urge to
make up for the lack of zeroes in your paycheck
by overdoing it on the home front.
While things don t necessarily have to be
split down the middle, she says, both of you
should be doing a reasonable amount respective
to your other obligations.
To get back on even footing, tell your partner,
"I ve been feeling stressed out lately about
managing things. Can we talk about how to
divide and conquer a bit better?"
Chances are, your spouse isn t upset that
you re not pulling your weight financially and
simply hearing them say so can help you devise
a more equal household workload plan.
Ultimately, regardless of your unique income
dilemma, it all comes down to communication,
which can help minimise the fiscal gulf in any
* not their real names
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