A new study conducted by TD Ameritrade with The Harris Poll interviewed 1,011 American adults aged 23 and older with at least $10,000 in investable assets to find out the truth behind the breadwinners. For the survey, age brackets were defined as Millennials (ages 23-38), Gen X (ages 39-54), and Baby Boomers (ages 55-73).
Sixty-seven percent of all male respondents said they earn more than their partner, while 21% of all female respondents said they were the breadwinners in their relationship. Forty-eight percent of female respondents said they earned less than their partner, while just 10% of men said they earned less than their partner.
As for those who make the same, more than a quarter of women said they earned the same amount as their partners. From a generational view, Millennials were the most common generation to earn the same as their partner (32%), while Gen X came next (18%) followed by Boomers (17%).
How do you feel when you earn more than your partner?
For more than half of respondents of both sexes, the feeling is neutral.
Sixty-one percent of all respondents said earning more than their spouse or partner doesn’t affect them, which was especially true for men (67%).
Women were the most likely to feel secure (39%) when they earn more than their partner, as they were to feel in control of their relationship, with 29% of all female respondents admitting so. It also gave female respondents a sense of independence (31%). While being proud of earning more than their significant others, women were also left embarrassed (4%) and feeling guilty (4%), which was more than men in similar situations.
When money makes things difficult in a relationship
Money is never an easy subject in any relationship. Sometimes, it can lead to a fractured relationship where couples commit financial infidelity on each other by owning secret credit cards or even spending more than they have.
In most relationships, it can cause negative friction, according to the survey.
While nearly three-quarters of men (74%) said that making more money than their spouse never hurt their relationship, that wasn’t the same sentiment for women. Nearly a quarter of women (23%) said earning more than their partner sometimes caused friction, while 4% of all respondents said it happened constantly.
When it comes to the other person in the relationship earning more, 38% of all respondents said they loved it and 31% of respondents said it made them feel proud. Thirty percent of female respondents said it made them feel cared for, which was far more than male respondents (12%.)
Interestingly, another recent study out of Sweden found that when women got promoted to the top job in their field, it doubled their chances of a divorce. The same was not true for men being promoted.
Nearly a third of Millennials believe that the more money you contribute in a relationship, the more say you should have over spending decisions. Nineteen percent of Gen Xers felt similarly, while only 9% of Boomers expressed the same sentiment.
Boomers were the most likely to believe (48%) to say they didn’t believe that committing more money to a relationship meant that they should have overspending or money-allocation decisions. They were also the most likely to split their budget and investment management responsibilities evenly, according to the survey.