Is Money Directly Related to Power?

by Kristina Tahnyak on January 13, 2011 · 6 comments

Think of the most powerful person in the US. Now, think of the richest person in the US. Were your answers the same? Is the most powerful person in the United States a rich business mogul such as the owner of a television network, or the CEO of a technology giant? Or is the most powerful person in the US the countries current leader President Barak Obama? Very often I think that we directly associate money with power, and I am not sure that the two are (or should be) directly related.

When we have a lot of money we have the power through financial contributions to influence the opinions and actions of others.  But does money always directly relate to power? In my opinion, the President of the United States is the most powerful man in the country, but he isn’t necessarily the richest man in the country.

What we need to think about are the men and women behind the scenes who financially contribute to President Obama’s campaign. The contributions of these people fund the causes that President Obama supports. Or, maybe they provide financial contributions to the President in order for him to support certain causes.  Are those the real people who control our country because their financial contributions influence the people in power?

The exact same philosophy applies to our personal relationships, just as it does in any business relationship. The person with more money indirectly (and sometimes directly) controls the relationship. As DINKS we all work, just as our spouse works, and we both earn a monthly income. However, our incomes are probably not exactly the same. Think about the last time you took a vacation with your spouse.  Was the destination the choice of the person who paid for the trip? Think about the last time you ate out at a restaurant. Did you eat at a restaurant chosen by the spouse who paid for the meal?

In relationships, does money always equal power? I hate when women say that they chose to stay home.  Translation…my husband makes a lot of money and he wants me to stay home. He wants me to work on my tan and keep fit, so he can show me off at his work functions. Why would anyone choose to stay home all day, especially if they don’t have kids?  In my opinion, housewives are just another piece of property for their controlling husbands to manage. But again, that is only my opinion.

I could never imagine not having my own income.  I could never imagine having to ask my boyfriend Nick for money every time I needed, or wanted to buy something.  That is definitely a foreign concept for me, as I am sure it is for a lot of us. This brings up another question, if one person in a couple is earning more money than the other, does he or she automatically have the power to make all financial decisions for the household?

In my opinion, people can never have enough money.  If one person in a couple earns more income than their spouse, there will always be an imbalance, but there doesn’t necessarily need to be inequality.

(Photo by Taro)

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sonja January 13, 2011 at 7:18 pm

My husband and I are currently DINKS. As things stand right now our household works and commutes about 110 hours/week. This means that when we get home at night we have about 3 hours in which to cook and eat dinner, clean up, do other chores (laundry, ironing, grocery shopping, pay bills, manage finances, plan fun activities with friends and family, plan vacations, do taxes, vacuum, clean the bathroom). That’s a lot of stuff to do – and frankly it doesn’t leave a lot of time for couple-time or (heaven forbid) me-time. However, within the year our plan is to have one of us quit our jobs. That person will be taking over the vast majority of all those chores. They’ll become the Chief Household Executive if you will. The end result will be that both people will have much more leisure time to enjoy with each other or to pursue their own interests. Both people benefit. Of course all this assumes you can afford to do it, and in our case we can.

2 James January 14, 2011 at 5:17 am


Good posting. People often don’t pick up on this relationship, but money and power are closely related.



3 First Gen American January 14, 2011 at 8:49 am

I thought much the same way until I had kids. I still work full time but I have very little me time these days. Most of the non-working day is spent doing errands and laundry. For now it still makes sense to have both people work, but if I look at couples who have a smoothly running household, they either don’t have kids, one spouse stays home, or one spouse has an extremely flexible schedule (like their own business).

I don’t think money always equals power either. Cops have a lot of power, but they don’t make that much money..and I think some people go into those professions for the power aspect and not the earning potential.

4 Dana January 21, 2011 at 8:36 am

You seem to be very good at having provocative opinions on controversial topics which I imagine does stir up alot of responses and traffic for the blog. I’m glad you believe what you say. I don’t prescribe to your beliefs on this particular topic. In my opinion money equals power only sometimes and only in certain relationships. My experience has been different. I’m in my twenties, college educated, middle class, married, without children, and a by mutual choice non-instutionally working stay at home wife. Prior, I was non-instutionally working stay at home girlfriend, by mutual choice. I am also not arm candy or a trophy, which bothers me to no end (joke). I’ve gotten alot of negativity from a variety of different people who know our situation but also recieved some positive remarks. I’ve tried to respond with compassion and by sharing our value system. We value family. Our family of two. Here’s a list of things we value: stability, respect, honesty, time with friends and family, alone time, intelligence, being available to help sick relatives in need, education, our health, travel, learning from each other and time spent together. Here’ s a list of things we don’t value but sometimes are lucky enough to enjoy: television, land line telephone, new clothes/ accessories, new cars, perfectly maintained houses, perfectly manicured hair and nails, makeup, gourmet food, staying at hotels, air travel, handy men, store bought cleaning products, store bought meals, meals out, and cosmetic dentistry.
If power and money are that entwined in the value system of someone’s home life and not just a small piece of it they aren’t in a elgalitarian relationship or striving to be in one. I think that’s the crux of your argument, that you think power and money upset the ability to have an egalitarian relationship.
Asking for money? There are joint checking acounts, ATM cards, debit cards, and credit cards. Don’t you know what the budget is? Don’t you have an idea of what you can spend? As for asking before you spend large amounts of money…you both have to approach the other to do it. So what’s the issue? Relationships are about compromise and caring more about the other person than you do about yourself but they are only successful when both people can act to the benefit of the other. Power and money are a small part of the equation. Mutual respect and values carry relationships way farther.

5 Kristina January 21, 2011 at 12:52 pm

I love reading the opinions of people in different situations. Of course I have my opinions, they may be right and they may be wrong, but they are just opinions.

@ Sonja I agree that if your couple can afford it and it is by mutual choice then it is still a partnership. It is not so much a power struggle as it is a working relationship :-)

@ James Thank you!

@ First Generation. I agree that people who enter the police force or the army don’t necessarily do it for the money. They are usually adrenaline seekers or power searching control freaks. Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful for everything that troops do for our countries however violence is most of the time unnecessary. In general I feel that Canadians have very different opinions on war than Americans.

@ Dana I think it’s great that you gave us your opinions as an insider. Because of course my opinions are formed from the outside looking in. I think it’s interesting that the person in the couple who earns the money doesn’t necessarily control the money.

6 Emily February 9, 2011 at 9:17 am

I agree with Dana. Both my husband and I work full-time and I am a graduate student full-time. At different points in our marriage, his income has far exceeded mine and vice versa. However, not once has either of us felt like we were in a position of power because of that. We both bring things to the relationship besides just money. And personally, I would never marry someone who felt like they had more control in the relationship because they contribute more financially. Furthermore, we plan for me to work maybe 10 – 15 more years and then be a stay at home wife. My husband 100% supports that because he loves me and he knows it would make me happy. I don’t know how something like that could translate into, “my husband makes a lot of money and he wants me to stay home. He wants me to work on my tan and keep fit, so he can show me off at his work functions. Why would anyone choose to stay home all day, especially if they don’t have kids? In my opinion, housewives are just another piece of property for their controlling husbands to manage.” My husband couldn’t be more non-controlling if he tried! And he brags about me going to grad-school – not my tan! Personally, I think it is kind of sad that is the view you take. Why can’t it translate into “My husband loves & values me and knows how happy/less stressed/more able to volunteer, etc I am when I don’t have to work full time.” And likewise, I do things that take stress off him. We both want the best for the other and put the other first. I would go without a lot for him to have what he needs/wants no matter whose paycheck it comes out of & he would do the same which creates a very loving, compassionate, egalitarian marriage. How can you share your life/bed/everything with someone but not your money? I guess I just don’t get that point of view.

Another point, sometimes one person is not physically able to work, should the other person have all the control b/c of the income disparity in that situation as well?

There are a million other reasons why people choose to stay-at-home, rather than raise children – like volunteer, help other family members, etc.

I usually agree with a lot of the posts on here, but this one has really left a bad taste in my mouth.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: