While it’s nice to reminisce about the times when a family could get by on a single income, it is far more practical for modern couples to each bring home their share of the bacon. A dual income has a myriad of benefits when it comes to housing, living expenses, education and saving for retirement. While not always a necessity, the advantages will almost certainly outweigh the disadvantages.
Simple math is the main advantage of dual income. If both spouses bring home income, they can split their expenses. There are tons of costs for young couples including housing, taxes, auto payments, insurance, utilities, groceries and childcare. In a lot of cases, one income is not enough to cover all of these. Even if one spouse makes more than the other, there is still additional money available to keep current on the bills.
Two properly managed incomes will allow couples to increase the size of their savings. This is a huge step toward retirement. With just one income, it can put additional pressure on the wage-earning spouse to provide, not just now, but in the future. Not only that, but if one spouse loses their job, that savings can potentially carry the family until he or she can find new work.
A study by the University of California-Los Angeles and Utrecht University in the Netherlands has shown that both spouses working often leads to a higher level of satisfaction in the marriage. While one spouse can feel pressure as the sole wage earner, the non-working spouse can often feel like he or she is not pulling his or her weight. If both spouses work, even if an income disparity exists, each will at least have the feeling of contributing toward the household. Additionally, a spouse that excels at work will often have a desire to celebrate with his or her family. The positive experience at work trickles down to have a positive effect on the family.
You're young, newly married and want to enjoy life. You want to go out to dinners and movies, enjoy the occasional shopping splurge and, eventually go on family vacations. While having dual incomes won't guarantee you'll be able to do all of that, it will certainly give you a better shot. Whether one or both spouses work, proper income and debt management is key. Don't take two incomes as a sign to run up your credit cards and live beyond your means. Manage both salaries properly and you can ensure yourself good times ahead.
Carl Carabelli has been writing in various capacities for more than 15 years. He has utilized his creative writing skills to enhance his other ventures such as financial analysis, copywriting and contributing various articles and opinion pieces. Carabelli earned a bachelor's degree in communications from Seton Hall and has worked in banking, notably commercial lending, since 2001.