DINKS vs. Single Income Couples

by Kristina on January 2, 2012 · 17 comments

flintstones coupleAs DINKS we are lucky enough to be in a couple where both people work and both people earn an income; it is beyond my financial comprehension why anyone would want to give up the DINK lifestyle, either to have kids or to become a single income couple.

I have a client who is kind of a jackass and who is currently in a DINK couple, but not for long.  My client recently booked an appointment to see me this week because he and his wife have decided that she will stop working and stay at home (to do what exactly I am not sure). Although he said that it was a couple’s decision, my hunch is that it is really my client who wants the bragging rights of being the sole provider for his wife. My client is planning to become the sole income provider for their currently DINK household and this is definitely a proud moment for him, that’s just the kind of guy he is.

My client and his DINK wife are not planning to have kids and they are not planning to change their living situation, they are just planning to stop being DINKS and become a single income couple.  When I asked my client why his wife wants to stop working he replied “I want her to stop working because I make enough money for us both.” Honestly, I am not sure how I feel about his comment.

Actually I know exactly how I feel about his comment, my initial thought was “How much money is enough money?” and my initial question was “Why would someone ever let someone else tell them how to live their life?”  However of course I did not ask my questions because during my 9-5 as a personal financial planner I am not able to have my own personal opinion. With a smile on my face I professionally replied “Ok let’s go over your household budget and tell me about when your wife is planning to make this change?”

In my opinion just because a couple can “afford” to live off of one person’s income doesn’t necessarily mean that we should. Affording to do something means having enough money to do so and still be able to live comfortably. But if we can do that with only one person’s income doesn’t it make more sense to still have a second income and completely save it? I am also not sure why a wife would allow her husband to tell her that she is going to stop working. And while we are asking questions, why the hell would anyone want to stay at home all day?

Maybe it’s a male ego thing or maybe my client has a male inferiority complex, this is a concept that I just don’t understand. I know that historically men were “supposed” to take of their wives and the wives were “supposed” to take care of home; but this is not Bedrock people.  Just in case my client and his wife are not aware of the current times…its 2011, it is ok for women to be successful and ambitious, and in case you haven’t heard we can also vote!

Would you ever give up your DINK lifestyle because your spouse asked you to?

Photo by Ewen



{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Nicole January 2, 2012 at 8:31 am

To play Devil’s Advocate, maybe she wants to focus on charity work. Or go back to school.

2 Squeezer January 2, 2012 at 9:09 am

Or maybe she wants to start her own business? I know a lady that was a stay at home mom. She used some of her husband’s money to buy rental properties and brings home several thousand dollars a month now.

3 Daisy January 2, 2012 at 9:23 am

I would get super bored if I gave up working, plus all of that money that I wouldn’t be earning would haunt me. I couldn’t imagine one person being able to support two, but thats probably all about where I live – Vancouver’s expensive, and unless we want to live in a dumpy apartment for the rest of our lives, two incomes are definitely needed.

4 E.D. January 2, 2012 at 9:44 am

DH and I just went through this involuntarily because he was laid off 26 months ago and doing it “just because”, without schooling or starting a business, just boggles my mind.

I don’t think this guy realizes how stressful it is to be on one income unless she was only making pocket change compared to his income.

DH was making 80% of what I made when he was laid off. Even though I make enough for us to live on and we saved every penny and more of DH’s unemployment, I had low-level anxiety the whole time because my job is not a 100% guarantee. DH got a job offer two weeks ago and started today and I am already feeling much, MUCH better.

5 Shellie January 2, 2012 at 12:06 pm

There are so many reasons why they might make this choice. Maybe she doesn’t enjoy the profession she is trained in and wants out, maybe she has health concerns that make working all day hard, maybe she has ideas for a home-business etc..
Being their financial planner you must know there situation, but personally if my husband and I had a good amount in savings, no debt and an on-schedule retirement plan- HELL YES I would love to be a one income house! In fact, my husband and I would probably be arm wrestling for who got to be the one to quit working!
Some women enjoy the ‘bedrock’ lifestyle of taking care of the house. Both of us working 40+ hours a week then coming home and taking care of a 1800 sq ft house on a half acre lot, a dog, 2 cats and ourselves is alot of work!
I can’t even imagine the luxury of being able to cook a decent breakfast instead of both of us rushing out the door with a pop tart, or cooking a dinner that needed more than 20 minutes of attention. Finishing all the projects that we currently work on just on weekends, going grocery shopping on a weekday morning when its not packed, being able to make appointments without having to get approval for time off from a boss… it sounds divine to me!

6 Kristina January 2, 2012 at 2:21 pm

@Shellie, if you gave up your DINK lifestyle would you be able to afford the house, the pets, and all of the projects?

7 Kristina January 2, 2012 at 2:24 pm

@ED congratulations on DH’s new job. I hope he likes it and I hope that you are both happy.

8 Jacqueline January 2, 2012 at 5:39 pm

My husband and I are DINKS. As a moderately agoraphobic individual, I would LOVE to stay at home full time. Reading, writing, hanging out with the cat … ahhh. I work because we have a lot of debt from school, home ownership and travelling. Logically, my husband would appreciate it if I worked as long as he plans to but I hope to only work for about a year or two after the debt is paid off (until I am between 45 and 50 years old). I actually love my job, but I love everything about being at home SO much more.

9 Shellie January 2, 2012 at 6:45 pm

@Kristina- That was why I prefaced that with the big “if”. In relation to this post (the husband saying he made enough money for them to live thier chosen lifestyle) if we could corfortably live off one income we would. As for real life? Not by a long shot!

10 Kristina January 2, 2012 at 7:44 pm

We are reading a lot about how people feel about staying home. What about being the one sole provider. How would everyone feel about the stress and pressure of someone else being totally dependent on them? I think it would be very stressful!

11 Arden January 2, 2012 at 11:17 pm

I am also a DINK who would LOVE to quit my job and stay home. One big concern I always had was the issue of independence. God forbid if my husband rolled out of bed one day and wanted a divorce what would I do if I hadn’t worked for several years?
But to Kristina’s question about the stress of being the sole provider, it would really depend on the couple, where they lived, and what they wanted out of every day life. If you had to make major sacrifices to the lifestyle you both were used to then no, I don’t think it would be worth it.

12 Andee G January 3, 2012 at 12:40 pm

My husband left his job just over a year ago because he was miserable. He made a very good living comparable to what I bring in. Still, when we purchased our home, we bought it based on a single income simply for the flexibility and when his job became awful, that flexibility was awesome. Now, he maintains the house and I’m more than content to be the sole income. It really doesn’t stress me out at all.

When we both worked, we’d come home tired and grab dinner out or throw something easy together. Weekends consisted of splitting up the housework that wasn’t done during the week. However, since he has been home, he cooks, cleans, shops and all-around makes my life so much easier. Nights and weekends are spent together instead of completing chores. We will be relocating soon and he has singly prepared our house to sell.

He’s saved us quite a bit of money over the year just by doing things on his own instead of hiring someone, though I doubt that he’s saved us as much as he would have earned. Still, I feel that the change has been beneficial to both of us.

13 eemusings January 3, 2012 at 8:41 pm

When my fiance occasionally talks about the ‘what if’ dream situation, he often throws in there “and then you wouldn’t have to work”. Would I want to stop working? It’d be nice to have the option. But I don’t think I could realistically say unless I was actually faced with the choice. I anticipate one of us potentially taking off a few years when we have kids, but not for 18 years or anything like that. I’d love to eventually go down to part time (or contract/freelance if we could make it work) to spend a bit more time on my personal hobbies.

14 Stephanie January 6, 2012 at 9:13 am

I hopped over here from Budgets Are Sexy, interesting conversation happening here! I think a key point here is that Kristina said her client explicitly said that the reason is that HE doesn’t want his wife to work. She may be ok with that decision, but it seems that the decision was his moreso that hers, and that bothers me. Granted, if she’s planning to do charity work, as Nicole suggested, at least she could possibly use that experience to get employment again if she needed to (if he husband left her or died and she needed to support herself again).

My husband and I are DINKs at the moment, but we would like children soon. I doubt either of us would give up employment altogether if or when this happens, though. Odds are I’d end up the primary (but not sole) breadwinner since I make more and my main job has less flexibility. His work consists of being a substitute teacher during the day Mon. – Fri. and he does standup comedy on evenings and weekends. Since his day job is flexible (he essentially works full-time hours, but could switch to 2-3 days/week without losing the job altogether) and the comedy stuff could still happen since I’m usually home when he does that (so we wouldn’t have to worry about childcare) it makes much more sense for him to be the primary caretaker.

But I’d never be comfortable with either of us leaving the workforce completely. What if something happened to the sole breadwinner and the other person couldn’t find work, leaving us with no income at all? Not a risk I’m willing to take!

15 jl January 6, 2012 at 11:45 am

I’ve been in this situation before and there might be something they are not telling you. My husband and I were DINKs and I had a job that was a great resume builder. I was also being sexually harassed. Badly, as in, being asked by a superior to show my breasts in exchange for something I needed to complete an assigned task. And when I reported the incidents to the highest level, I was told to take all complaints to one of the people engaging in the sordid behavior.

When I couldn’t take it any longer, my husband was very supportive of my decision to quit my job. He encouraged me to take some time to heal after being in such a damaging work environment. And, yes, he was indeed, very proud that he could afford to let me be at home for as long as I needed while he supported me. Just wanted to throw it out there that maybe the man wanting to support his wife isn’t solely a male chauvinist jackass, maybe there’s just some personal details that would have been embarrassing or unnecessary to share at the time.

16 SavvyFinancialLatina June 20, 2012 at 4:14 pm

I will never give up my employment to stay at home. It’s something my husband and I have discussed and he knows that if I don’t have anything to do, I will go crazy. Kids do not count either. Even though kids are far away, we have discussed the future. We want to work for several years, save up enough money to launch his business, while I stay working for corporate, and if we decide to have kids, he can be a part time stay at home dad. Sort of what Joe at Retire by 40 is planning.
My dad prides himself in being a sole provider, but is very selfish with his money. My parents constantly fight about money. I don’t want us to be like that.

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