If you’re familiar with the show The Office (if you’re not, just think of any company for the purpose of this example, and then go watch the show immediately when you finish reading this), you know at Dunder Mifflin, there are a variety of departments and people who all do very different jobs within the company.
There are sales, HR, accounting, admin, QA (we all know Creed doesn’t actually assure any quality, but that’s not the point), customer service, supplier relations, management, etc.
However, only the sales department actually brings in any money.
Every single department plays an important role in the overall success of the company, and each person in each department collects a paycheck.
Yet out of all the departments, only ONE brings money in. Salespeople are the only people who make any money for the company.
They all go to work every day. They all do their jobs (well, questionable on the show, but you get the idea). They ALL collect a paycheck. And only salespeople contribute to revenue.
In the nine seasons of The Office, there were plenty of shenanigans. Plenty of drama, tears, fights, laughs, some work getting done, fashion shows at lunch, office romances, arguments over bonuses, parties.
Not one time ever did a non-sales person ever say “I don’t deserve this paycheck because I didn’t bring any money into the company.”
The sales team NEVER took the other departments’ paychecks and said “this is OUR money, not YOUR money because we bring all the money into the company and you don’t bring any money in at all”.
THIS DOES NOT HAPPEN.
Not in this hilarious and fictional mocumentary, nor in any successful business or company (without the use of slave labor). If this did happen, the company would implode on itself and cease to exist, or have a major human rights issue on its hands…
You’re probably thinking to yourself “of course that doesn’t happen, that’s ridiculous!” And you’d be correct. Because it is ridiculous.
How The Office Applies To Your Life
Ok, now that I’ve made that point abundantly clear, let me explain why.
For all the stay-at-home moms. And the stay-at-home dads, and the homemakers, and the child raisers, and anyone and everyone else who does a shitton of work for no monetary paycheck, or a smaller paycheck than their partner.
And for all the working moms and the working dads and the working partners or people who DO bring in the money and bankroll your lives.
It’s NOT his money OR her money. It’s not their money OR my money. It’s not “I don’t have a paycheck so I don’t have any money”.
THIS IS BULLSHIT THINKING and also makes exactly ZERO sense.
I’m going to use the example of the heterosexual couple where the man is the primary earner and works outside the home, and the woman is the primary caregiver and homemaker because that’s what our family looks like right now (we currently take no money out of my business and live solely on my husband’s income), but this applies to any and every partnership/family where everything isn’t perfectly even all the time forever (ie: every single family/partnership there ever was).
My husband could not afford to outsource all the things I do. If I died or became incapacitated tomorrow, he and my kids would have some major things to sort out and lifestyle changes to contend with. Apart from being devastated, of course.
If he had to pay for someone to come in and do all the work I do in the house and for the kids to keep our family running, he literally could not afford it. (I promise, he may make the money, but I manage it all. He definitely can’t afford me.)
Since we don’t take any money out of my business yet, he earns all the money. The money he earns and brings into our family pays for everything.
That does not mean it’s all HIS money, and I have no money. That’s the equivalent of Oscar from Accounting saying “I don’t bring revenue into the company, so I don’t deserve this paycheck for all the work I do to contribute to the company”.
Chris goes to work every day and his income pays for everything. When I make dinner, I make it for him too. When I do laundry, I do it for him too. He also benefits from a clean house, bills that are paid on time, a stocked fridge, and kids who aren’t complete freaking hooligans (at least not all of the time).
STOP making it separate. Stop keeping score. Not only does it fundamentally make no sense, but it also doesn’t work. Thinking like this comes from a scarcity mindset and is not helpful or useful for anyone.
There Is No One Perfect Way To Manage Your Money
Now, personal finance is personal. There are a million different ways to handle family finances. I’m not going to give you the one perfect budget with five steps to solve all your money problems, because that’s BS too. Anyone peddling that there’s only one right way to handle your money is lying to you. It looks different for everyone.
What nuts and bolts of how we handle our money may or may not work for your family. But what I can tell you, is living in and functioning from a money scarcity mindset (only one person makes money so only one person has money) is cutting yourself off at the knees. It’s a surefire way to limit your potential like a damn champion. Please don’t do this.
If I lost you at “scarcity mindset”, I encourage you to take a look at your financial life right now. If it’s exactly how you’d like it to be in your dream scenario then 1. Congratulations, that’s amazing, and 2. You’ve got it figured out and don’t need to be reading this. Go watch The Office and enjoy your day.
If you’d make one small change or 50 huge changes in your financial life (or any area of your life for that matter, because how we do one thing is how we do everything), then consider the possibility that I could potentially be right for just one tiny second.
To the breadwinners who think I’m full of it, I offer you this: If you think it’s all your money, and your other half doesn’t deserve a paycheck for the work s/he does at home, but you come home and “shouldn’t” have to cook or clean or do laundry because you’re “working all day”, so s/he should do that because it’s “her/his job”… I challenge you to explore that rabbit hole and see how much common sense you find down there 😉