Communication and equality are key to the success of couples in which the wife makes significantly more money than the husband.
“When you have a woman who makes more and thinks she can wear the pants, that's a marriage headed toward disaster and vice versa,” said Diane Conrad, who belongs to an investment club and balances the checkbook. “We really feel that even though I make more money, that doesn't mean I have more power.”
That wasn't always the case. In the beginning, the Conrads, who have been married five years, “butted heads” about money.
Diane admitted succumbing to the, “Well, it's my money” philosophy. But, “you really have to come to an understanding that both of your are equals,” she said.
The Conrads share a bank account, and when it comes to making decisions about money they work off each other's strengths and make decisions together.
They're in the process of buying a car for Diane, who will decide how much they can afford, while Dean will go to the dealership and negotiate the deal.
Neither of them will make a major purchase without consulting the other. If it were up to Dean, he'd spend money on mountain bikes. And, if Diane had her choice she'd get a Lexus GS.
Equality applies to household duties as well. Some women “alpha earners” assume that because they earn more, they should do less housework, said Randi Minetor, author of “Breadwinner Wives and the Men They Marry.”
The Conrads divide all household chores. And, having a maid helps.
The couple's 4-month-old son, Dylan, has put a new spin on things. Diane's mother has again voiced concerns that her daughter won't be able to stay at home and be a mom. But after three months of maternity leave, “I knew I would never be that way,” Diane said. “I'm a workaholic.”
Asked what she'd think if Dylan married an alpha-earner, Diane said, “As long as he's marrying a good person at heart, that's all that matters.”