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Guys, Would You Stress Over a Millionaire Wife?

Monday, 9 Jul 2012 | 3:32 PM ET
Andersen Ross | Getty Images

Having a spouse who makes lots of money might seem like a good thing. But according to a new study of millionaires, wealthy households with a female breadwinner are filled with potential problems.

The study, conducted by SEI and Phoenix Marketing, found that a third of the women who are the financial leads in millionaire households say their partner feels “stressed” by their financial roles. By contrast, only 14 percent of males in male-led millionaire households said they feel tension from their partner.

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"When you're dealing with relationships and money, stress is a given, and when a woman is the primary wealth creator the survey shows it's even greater," said Michael Farrell, Managing Director for SEI Private Wealth Management.

Sources of financial tension might include spending decisions, savings decisions and investment decisions.

The top sources of tension in all wealthy households were kids and money, along with control and charitable giving.

Why are women-led millionaire households especially stressed? The study doesn’t say. And there may not be more actual tension. Women, for instance, may simply be more likely to recognize tension in their relationship than men. And many couples with women bread-winners are no doubt perfectly content.

Men might feel threatened in women-led homes because in classic gender roles men are the providers. (And if this is the case, the 1,500 men who have applied to marry in China might beware).

Either way, female-led millionaire households is likely to become more common. About 22 percent of American marriages have a higher earning wife. Maybe it’s time for guys to get used to wives who make more than they do.

Why do you think there are tensions in women-led households?

-By CNBC's Robert Frank
Follow Robert Frank on Twitter:
@robtfrank

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  • A reporter and editor, Robert Frank is a leading authority on the American wealthy for CNBC.