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Do you suffer from "dual-income" envy?

January 22nd, 2009 at 05:27 pm

I sure do! It all started when I was in my early 20s looking to buy a house, but the starter housing market in my area was VERY hot in the early to mid-80s as interest rates were dropping from terrible highs. Anyway, I kept getting outbid for houses. I blamed the ability of those in dual-income marriages to bid more for my inability to buy a house.

And now years later, when I hear people talking about "banking my wife's paycheck", it almost makes me physically ill! I realize it is a trade-off, and that my kids probably benefitted greatly from a stay-at-home Mom, but now that they are over 16, money would be of more use.

Anyway, I guess I have to get over it! I just wanted to see if any other single income families are feeling the heat like I am!

15 Responses to “Do you suffer from "dual-income" envy?”

  1. creditcardfree Says:

    As a single income household, I understand what you mean. One positive, not ALL dual incomes bank the money...many spend it. So, no money and no benefit to any kids they may have! That's very sad.

  2. gruntina Says:

    No! lol! We are dual income and at the moment both income is needed. We live in a very high cost of living area (SF Bay Area - Silicon Valley) and bought our home near the peak of the heights. Lower end price homes were still set hat a very high bar to achieve. Hopefully in one year we can wean off of my income but then again we might not be able to bank it since we want to have children.

  3. monkeymama Says:

    No. My spouse worked for about 10 years and banked his paycheck before kids. He may stay home with them 10-20 years but he still has a good 20+ years to earn a paycheck to be banked.

    No jealousy here. Most of the people I know do not bank a second income. THey wouldn't have a clue how to make it on one income. So no, not jealous!

    I mean I am very pro-one-income with kids. BUT kids are only kids a very small portion of your life. & I find the idea that once you have kids you can never earn another dime, rather ridiculous. I would be THRILLED at this point if my spouse brought home $5k/year. He will probably be able to once the kids are in school. When you are used to one income, a small second income is kind of exciting if you ask me (& extremeley attainable).

    My mom never returned to work, but they didn't need the money. I think more people are jealous of them then the other way around.

  4. monkeymama Says:

    No. My spouse worked for about 10 years and banked his paycheck before kids. He may stay home with them 10-20 years but he still has a good 20+ years to earn a paycheck to be banked.

    No jealousy here. Most of the people I know do not bank a second income. THey wouldn't have a clue how to make it on one income. So no, not jealous!

    I mean I am very pro-one-income with kids. BUT kids are only kids a very small portion of your life. & I find the idea that once you have kids you can never earn another dime, rather ridiculous. I would be THRILLED at this point if my spouse brought home $5k/year. He will probably be able to once the kids are in school. When you are used to one income, a small second income is kind of exciting if you ask me (& extremeley attainable).

    My mom never returned to work, but they didn't need the money. I think more people are jealous of them than the other way around.

  5. Analise Says:

    I guess it is all relative. Your single income is probably much higher than many two-family incomes. You are fortunate that you have been able to support your family on one income... many families are struggling on two incomes and do not save any of it. And, the care your children got from their SAHM is definitely something of value... think of what you saved on child care alone, not to mention the other benefits.

    Now that your kids are over 16, your DW could always get a job, even part-time, to help w/ college expenses and pay off your CC debt.

  6. M E 2 Says:



    I only envy the extra paycheck part.

  7. mom-from-missouri Says:

    My DH works full time and then some (he also is an auctioneer & does a few a year, and has auto mechanical trainin). We live off his check and I stay home. I do sometimes make money by sub teaching or as now, babysitting part time, but I would not go back to me working outside the home full time for a big check for anything.
    We figure our kids gain more from the attention, training, and experiences a stay at home parent can give them than me working so we can have a wii or whatever gaget is the current fad.

  8. princessperky Says:

    Not a single part of me envys the extra hassle of two incomes.

    -Having to check schedules before vacation, you think one is bad, try two (or two plus kids, ugh)
    -Having two folk tired from working all day and not wanting to cook (though I really don't like to cook regardless)
    -Having two folk outfitted properly at all times, I never liked work clothes though
    -Having to try money saving habits after having worked all day...nothing makes me less interested in inconveniences than having my time taken away for money.

    among other irritating details.

    Having said that, I sure would love more money...but who wouldn't?

  9. whitestripe Says:

    BF and I are just buying a house and both have an income. our goal is in 3-7 years to have paid off a large chunk of the mortgage and have a sum saved so that we can have children and one of us can stay home (the highest earning). so i will let you know then!

  10. Caoineag Says:

    Dual income here (at least for the moment) but what I envy is free time. Incomes are nice but having someone to do housework and home repair projects would be nice. Time is the commodity I am running out of. Course without the income, savings for retirement and house projects would disappear.

  11. swimgirl Says:

    I was the stay home parent for years, and it was great. Of course, we always wanted more money. My kids are MUCH better off for it, though. I wouldn't trade my kids' childhoods for the money I could have earned. Especially since a portion of my money would have gone to pay for daycare and more meals out and work clothes and other things that become necessary/urgent/helpful when life is too busy to get organized.

    Second salary? You bet. Second job? Over-rated.

  12. Petunia Says:

    Well. . . one thing that one income can do is force you to learn to work together. . . if you take advantage of the opportunity. (We are just starting to take advantage of that opportunity now.) But as other posters have said, the second income frequently gets spent away, not used to build the wealth of the family. It's not always what you earn, but what you do with what you earn.

    I worked until Daisy was two, and I felt crazy during those years. The juggling of 2 24/7 jobs (I worked in IT, even working part-time I wasn't really off) really got to me. Having one person at home to manage the home stuff can really be an asset to the working (working outside the home) person.

  13. ceejay74 Says:

    I was super-spoiled with THREE incomes for a while there...now we're down to two incomes + unemployment, and it's still pretty nice--we haven't had to cut back yet. I hope to get back up to three incomes at some point this year, but when babies come, we'll have some hard choices to make.

  14. disneysteve Says:

    I think it really depends on the size of the incomes. The reason we are able to bank my wife's income is because I earn enough for us to live comfortably. For the 10 years that she was a SAHM, we made out just fine. So when she ultimately returned to the workforce, we saw no reason to start spending her income since we had lived without it all those years.

  15. homebody Says:

    If you wife is making your life easier, dinner on the table, laundry done... you may miss that if she got a full-time job.

    We have always been a dual-income household. I missed out on a lot with the girls, but they are healthy and good and contributing citizens so my working did not seem to bother them. But I wish I had worked less.

    You need to have that talk with your wife!

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