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Should I Let My Partner Pick Up the Tab If They Make More Than Me? – GOBankingRates

Money / Financial Planning


Money / Financial Planning

Today’s “Financially Savvy Female” column was inspired by one of our readers who asked, “In relationships where income levels are really different, I’m curious if people tend to split things down the middle or if they pay for a certain percentage of bigger items. Women tend to make less and my partner currently makes more than me, so we talk about what would feel equitable. I’m a working woman, but in reality, he earns more and splitting things down the middle just furthers our income gap.” To help this reader out, we spoke with Loreen Gilbert, CEO of WealthWise Financial Services.

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What’s a fair way to determine who pays for date nights?

When a couple starts to date, most of the time one person is picking up the tab. That person is typically the pursuer in the relationship and may or may not earn more money than the other person.

Typically, the one asking the other out pays for the outings. However, there are ways that the other person can contribute. For instance, making your partner a meal at home is a great way to “pay” for a meal without it being an awkward situation when the tab arrives. Also, offering to pay would most likely be appreciated, even if it is not accepted.

Helpful: Who Pays for What? How You and Your Partner Can Fairly Split Expenses

Where it oftentimes gets trickier is when the one accepting the invite clearly earns more money and still wants the partner to pay for the outings. In this case, I suggest that the one accepting the invite do extra things not related to the date. For example, you may want to pay for the upgrade on both airline tickets or pay for a special concert or theater performance.

At what point should you have an open discussion about who pays for what?

Money and how to handle money is an important topic that usually comes up around the three-month mark when dating. That doesn’t mean that you are disclosing all of your assets at that point, but it is the time to talk about your expectations around finances and how you handle financial matters. This is also a good timeframe to talk about who will pay for what during this courtship time and before you merge your lives and your finances.


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