What Would Zula Do

WWZD is where we answer submissions from our readers, from queries to confessions or even recurring dreams. While we are no experts in this thing called life, sometimes all you need is a listening ear from your e-BFF, anonymously.

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WWZD: My Younger Girlfriend Earns More Than Me


My doctor girlfriend is 5 years younger than me and, of course, is earning much more than me. I feel incompetent whenever we talk about money, the future, etc., but she has mentioned before that things would change if I am willing to work hard. However, we are still very comfortable spending time with each other. Am I suitable to continue with this relationship? I do not want to waste her time just in case things do not work out.

—Yee, male, age not provided

This submission has been edited for grammar and clarity.

Zula Says

Hey Yee,

It’s so great that you and your girlfriend are thinking long-term and are concerned about the financial health of your relationship.

While things like weddings, children and BTOs cost money, with proper financial planning and budgeting, it’s possible to live a modest and happy life.

Personally, I feel falling out over money is a superficial problem if you’re from a mid- to high-SES background because most problems would stem from wanting to live a lifestyle above your means. It also seems like your feelings of incompetence stem from the archaic idea that men should earn more.

Perhaps instead of asking if you’re suitable to continue with this relationship, consider a different perspective: is she the right one for you?

When you find a life partner, you’ll want someone who is 1) kind to you and herself, 2) is emotionally mature, and 3) emotionally available. You’d want someone who is 4) an open communicator and 5) has the ability to take setbacks in her stride. Likewise, you should be doing the same for her.

Because at the end of the day, when shit hits the ceiling, you’d want someone to clean up the mess with you, not someone who’d throw a hissy fit if they run out of ~cUsT0m mAdE~ Yusof bin Ishak ‘paper napkins’ to wipe their tears on.


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What Would Zula Do: My Wealthy Boyfriend Is Too Calculative

Dear Yee,

I know as Asians we love the idea of being doctors and her profession naturally commands a rather high salary, which might be the reason why you feel inferior.

Your income is not everything. What’s more important is whether or not you spend within your means. So let’s work out your issue by being objective. This 2019 salary guide can help you calculate roughly what both of you will be making for the next 10 years.

With this, you will be better able to plan a lifestyle both of you will be comfortable with. Like good Singaporeans, debate your differences and work according to your 10-year plan. After doing that, you probably will not have any contentions regarding money.

My only worry is with this line that you wrote, “things would change if I am willing to work hard.”

Does she expect you to surpass her income at some point? Are her expectations realistic or simply out of reach?

I don’t know why this has become an issue in your relationship, but it is definitely a relationship red flag. I know love isn’t just romance but also solving practical issues. However, harping on your lower salary seems to go beyond practicality.

In that case, the wise decision would be to leave and date someone who places less value on money. From my experience, your lower salary will be used against you during quarrels, however irrational, if it hasn’t already happened.


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