My Wife Made Twice My Salary Last Year – So I Cut Her Pay…?

My Wife Made Twice My Salary Last Year - So I Cut Her Pay...? #income #marriage #femalebreadwinner #communication

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I am a red-blooded 207 pound driven former-athlete of a man that feels the intrinsic drive to provide for his family. I am evolutionarily wired to protect, provide, and reproduce, and whether I like it or not – many of my decisions are subconsciously influenced by these long-established forces that are well beyond my control. So, when I tell you that I cut my wife’s salary by 75% last year – does any part of you think it was because my ego couldn’t handle her being the female breadwinner…?


(I’ll get back to that)


(Photo courtesy of MKulp Photography)



Before you get out the slings and arrows, let me start with some facts – then some clarification


My wife is a dentist who owns our family business – 100%. And although I currently work a day job as a forensic scientist, many of my nights and weekends are spent working for my wife as our business’ CEO. If you’re looking at our org chart, she’s my boss – period.


But I do run the financial aspects of our business, among other things. So, items like staff development, paying bills, marketing, cash flow, hiring, IT, the website, …, and payroll all run through me. And in a time when the average dentist’s salary is on the rise, my wife brought home a small fraction of that average while working in a business that grew 18.5% and by all accounts is well-respected in our community.


What if I told you that I couldn’t handle the fact that she makes twice what I do in a year?


Well, according to this article from the New York Times I wouldn’t be alone in that belief. 


when wives make more money than their husbands #income #marriage #femalebreadwinner #communication


Here are a few juicy statistics to get us started (taken from the article but originally were census data):
  • Women lie and say they make 1.5% less than they really do
  • Men lie and say they make 2.9% more than they really do (both are averages)
  • In nearly 25% of couples – women earn more
  • And here’s the kicker:


“A large study by economists at the University of Chicago, using census data from 1970 to 2000, found that marriages in which the woman earned more were less likely to form in the first place, and more likely to end in divorce. Women who outearned their husbands were more likely to seek jobs beneath their potential, they found, and to do significantly more housework and childcare than their husbands — perhaps to make their husbands feel less threatened.”


Let me tell ya… That paragraph above stoked quite the conversation between me and the Mrs… (I mean, Dr.)


So, it’s cool for me to feel threatened by my female breadwinner of a wife – right??


No, Team…




In fact, I’m actually pretty fired up over this article and the social ’norms’ it carries with it.



Why am I fired up, you ask? 


Well. A few reasons.


Let’s start with the selfish ones (I’m writing these from the point of view that ‘you’ are a husband and have a wife that earns more than you)


You’re a lucky SOB


Congratulations – your family’s income is diversified! There is another member of your household that earns a significant income (assuming that you also work). So, if either you or your wife suddenly lose your job, the loss in income can be absorbed by hopefully some emergency savings or the fact that there is still income on your balance sheet (i.e. your job).


Aside from that – if your wife earns a competitive (read: high) salary, there’s a better than not chance that her job skills are marketable. That opens up the door to jumping companies or transferring to a different area and potentially upping your family’s income. You’ve got more options.


Congratulations, you married a driven woman that isn’t afraid to head out on the hunt, slay the wildebeest, and drag it home… Sounds like a good catch to me


I don’t have much to add to that headline… But before I get to my take-home message, let’s throw out another point that’s worth mentioning.


Your wife will make a great example to your kids. Especially if you have a daughter


Say what you will about the political climate but women have been voting in America for less than 100 years… And just 2 years ago a woman was one of two possible choices for president of the United States.


Bringing this point closer to my our household, our daughter sees my wife working daily as a dentist – helping people in pain or to brighten their smiles. Monica is making a big difference in folks’ lives and I am 100% confident that our daughter sees that impact and as a result can dream the biggest dreams that her little mind can come up with.


Who says my daughter can’t do ___? Role model mom is over there bucking the norm and making moves, and that is subconsciously influencing our daughter – no question.


So, here’s my point – a challenge to the guys out there


Fellas – I’m gonna need you to check that ego at the door. 


We discuss how Ego is the Enemy in business conversations. We even hear former Navy SEALs, who may outwardly be seen as ‘macho’ and abrasive, preach about the importance of not having an ego in professional or military situations.


If we understand that having and growing a large ego negatively affects our bottom lines, then why in the world are we bringing that ego home and not expecting it to do the same thing to our marriages?


News flash – the successful marriages I’ve observed and the one my wife and I aspire to share are built on a foundation of mutual trust, respect, and love. Not on jealousy for one from the other.


So, if your wife makes twice your salary – pat her on the back, say ‘Thank You’, and try not to drip water from that mop in your hands onto her work shoes when she comes home from a day at the office.


The article I link to above goes on at length to detail why some men are threatened by a high-earning wife


The author talks with therapists, cites studies, and reads the data to say, in a nutshell, that the average male ego just can’t handle it. Us bros are supposed to provide, protect, and reproduce, and the chemistry in our minds can be thrown off when that balance is out of whack.


But, I just have a difficult time accepting those points as fact


My wife earned twice my salary for a few years and although I did ‘technically’ cut her pay significantly last year, it had nothing to do with my threatened ego. We were working on growing our fledgling business and we needed to keep cash on hand to pay for upgrades, marketing, and legal fees during the acquisition and move – simple as that.


In fact, I’m currently looking for ways to maximize my wife’s salary while also seriously contemplating drastically reducing mine. And do I feel threatened or a lack of fulfillment because of that? Not in the least.


We communicate our butts off and work as a team


We are constantly discussing ways that we can work together to help advance our family and our business. If that means I need to step back or step forward professionally – I’m up for it, and so is she… Because when we signed on the dotted line 7.5 years ago and vowed to live in support of one another – that was the decision we chose to make:


To do what’s best for our family. Whatever. Whenever. Wherever. 


And we’re no marriage experts, but I can tell you that I sleep better at night knowing that my wife is working her tail off to put us in a better financial situation than we’d otherwise have available.


And I love every aspect of that.



Reader’s Input


I’ll duck behind my car and let you throw your comments in the comments section below. I’m 100% curious to hear your takes on this topic. Am I off base or speaking your language? Let us know and we’ll keep this conversation going!


Thanks for reading!


If you’re interested in discovering a better version of yourself – whether with fitness, finance, or family – then subscribe below to MikedUp Blog’s FREE newsletter and let’s improve together!


I’m glad you’re here. Thanks again and talk soon!


– Mike
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  1. Sounds like you definitely married the right gal and you both have a clear understanding that it is a team effort and not necessarily who brings in what to the table. Communication as you said is key.

    1. Xrayvsn – you ain’t kidding, Sir.

      I completely agree – if you’re doing everything you can to advance ‘The Team’ then what does it matter who brings in what? As long as your goals are in progress and you’re making momentum – let the paper say what it well every other week. The only thing I care about is helping our squad get better. If I can get her to earn 7-figures annually – I’ll gladly make a measly $10k. …More vacations…

      Thanks for the comments – always appreciate them!

  2. I have always been out earned by my wife and I have always been happy about that, she is a baller. I can not understand how this could be a bad thing for a relationship.

    1. Good for you and amen to being proud of the ladies. At first, I couldn’t believe this was an issue… Then I had a few folks I’ve known at one time or another pop into my head as guys that may have issues with this… Still – it’s amazing to me why having a wife that out earns you is a ‘problem’.

  3. Good for your wife for working so hard to become a dentist. My dad, a pediatrician, always said the hardest part for doctors was running their own businesses, because no one ever taught them anything about business in med school. So how perfect that you’re running the business side of things so she can focus on dentistry?

    1. Laurie – thanks so much for the comment!

      Yes, we both agree with you. In fact, Monica never wanted to own a practice for those reasons – she just wanted to do the dentistry and go home at the end of the day… And there I was dreaming of starting a business one day, doing God know what – without any real ideas.

      Then, one day out of the blue she said she wanted to make it happen. The rest is history. It’s been a wild ride and I wouldn’t change it.

      Does your dad still practice? Thanks again!

  4. I’m in the same position as you where my wife is making significantly more than I make. My wife is also a dentist that bought her own practice. She specialized, so she’s been in dental school, then a GPR, then residency for 8 total years. During that time, I was working in biglaw and basically being the typical male breadwinner, but I knew that unless I stuck it out and tried to be partner, I’d eventually get way out earned by her.

    Am I threatened? Not at all. In fact, it’s pretty sweet because it gives me a lot more chances to pursue my own blog and online business ventures, something I couldn’t do if I didn’t have the luxury of a driven, business minded wife.

    1. Hey man – small world! My wife decided to forgo the GPR because my job (although it carries a sexy title) didn’t start out with the upper level pay scale. Kudos to your wife for crushing it and to you both for making those sacrifices early on for the success later.

      And amen to your comment about her success freeing you up for passion projects. Ditto on that one.

      Thanks so much for the comment and best of luck to you both!

  5. I just want to say how much I loved your article. I was raised in a family where my mom was the bread winner and my dad was completely supportive of her. The result? I grew up thinking that I could pursue any career that I wanted. I never doubted my potential for success working on Wall Street. Your daughter definitely has two great role models!

    1. Eliza – Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment! I really appreciate it.

      And that’s so awesome that I’m not full of it on the point about a positive female role-model (this was my wife’s favorite point in the story, BTW). It sounds like you’ve made some great strides in life and I applaud all of that – congrats and keep crushing it!

      Also – the end of your comment made my night… Thank you!

  6. I love that you have such a team-focused approach. I can see how that’s critical to the success of both your business and your marriage.

    Currently, my husband out-earns me (by a long shot), but has made it VERY clear that he would be quite alright if I become a millionaire blogger.

    1. SC – this NYT article sent me into a tizzy… I just don’t get why it matters where the money comes from as long as the team is on the same page and moving in the same direction.

      Based on the Little I’ve heard about you two, it sounds like you’re both churning full steam ahead! Keep it up and best of luck during these next few years!

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