Money and Fairness

My friend was sharing with me that recently his wife wanted a one year career break

I have written quite a bit on the role of money. My previous topics include it’s impact on friendship and also does salary matter in a relationship?

In today’s issue, I thought I’d cover a bit on money in the context of romantic relationships.

My friend was sharing with me that recently his wife wanted a one year career break. She wanted to up skill herself and find out her next steps.

She also had an extremely demanding job for several years and wanted a break.

He initially felt this was extremely unfair to him initially and had trouble accepting her request.

I also had a similar experience before with someone I was seeing previously.

When I was considering if I should commit, one of the important questions I had to think about given our different life stage - To what extent am I willing to pay more of the expenses in our initial years?

I am sure many of us will come across such similar crossroads at different point in life.

Here are some points my friend and I discussed and also my own personal reflections:

1. How much do you value this person and relationship?

My friend eventually reasoned with himself that his wife was someone he can tell everything to.

She understood him so well and was his pillar of support for challenges he faced him life.

In such situations, it is important to ask:

What do I value more the intrinsic value of the person; or money which can be earned easily?

A friend once shared with me, money is actually one of the easiest thing in the world to get.

It is loyalty; trust; compassion; growing together - these things are a lot rarer and harder to find.

Ultimately, our willingness to spend money on something is our reflection of values.

The question to ask yourself is: Do you value the loyalty and companionship of this partner more than the money you have to potentially part with?

“Don't tell me where your priorities are. Show me where you spend your money and I'll tell you what they are.”

James W. Frick

2. The role of money

If we think about money, it is basically an enabler.

The role of money is to buy freedom and happy life for us.

If you do not use money to resolve your major problems in life and remove pain, then what is the value of accumulating it in the first place?

If we find someone we like and know they can be our partner in life, would we not want them to be have freedom and also be happy?

Say this person is working in a toxic job or comes from a toxic home environment, if we can use money to buy their freedom and happiness, why would we not want to do that?

If you find yourself struggling with sharing your resources to help your partner in a difficult situation, then it is important to reflect on your perception of money and them.

3. We peak at different points

There is an old Thai proverb that says,

When the tide is high, the fish eat the ants. When the tide is low, the ants eat the fish.

It is never clear when you are at your peak (or at your bottom).

Right now, you could be sitting at the very peak of your life (or you could be sitting at the very bottom of your life).

You would not know which is which. It is the scary truth. This change in tides can happen gradually or instantly.

We all earn different amounts at different points in our life. Today, you can be rich. Tomorrow, you can be poor.

Since our trajectory is not predictable, it makes sense to cover for each other when one person is doing better than the other.

While the one on the receiving end may worry they are ‘making use of the other person’, it is not productive to think this way.

After all, the person giving could hit a low point some day, and that is when it is your turn to step up.

In my case, working in tech, there will likely be another layoff at some point in my life. That is when I’d have to lean on a partner.

When two people decide to commit to each other, the mindset shifts from “me” to “we”.

Without thinking of each other as a team and operating like one, they will not be able to walk this journey for a long time.

Hope this post helps if you’re going through similar decisions.

I am a Singaporean Millennial who writes about work; money; relationships and balance. 

💙 Hit reply and share your views with me

📥 Enjoyed this post? Ask your friends to subscribe here

Subscribe to keep reading

This content is free, but you must be subscribed to All-Rounder to continue reading.

Already a subscriber?Sign In.Not now