Wayne and Wanda: Does wage gap need to be a relationship rift?

Dear Wayne & Wanda,

You missed an alternative solution. We have a similar issue. My wife is a physician and I work in state government. We got married later in life and we both wanted to keep our financial lives separate. Our solution? She (and the bank) owns the house. However, I pay her rent at the market rate as if I were a roommate. She sees her home as an investment; I see it as a place to live. There is no particular reason why we need to have both our names on the deed or mortgage.

Also, we have very different views about investments and risk. So we do our own investments. Finally, we have a joint account for joint expenses each month and we both put in equal amounts. The result? We never have disagreements about money.

You just have to think differently.

-- Rich

High-earning women who are achieving and ambitious will never be satisfied with a wimp who is already satisfied with his station in life. Their peers or friends will be limiting their social life. Who is the trophy in this relationship? Reminds me of Demi Moore and her boy toys.

-- Art

Wayne says: Rich, that's great. And Art, that's rich.

Hey, every situation is different. And remember, these two are just starting their life, planning to move in together. Man is poor and insecure about it; woman is not-so-poor and dreaming big; both are seemingly young, so they're a long way from having to talk about mortgages, investments and bank accounts. But, like I said initially, this is the time to have a real talk about how and if the relationship as a whole can work now, which will pave their journey into the future together.

And leave Demi out of this -- most of her high-profile boy toys have been just as successful in their Hollywood careers as she has been... though neither Bruce or Ashton could ever pull off "Striptease."

Wanda says: Even couples that bring home about the same income may substantially disagree on what to do with it. Investment choices, vacation destinations and which zip code to reside in can prove incredibly divisive. Rich and his missus recognized that and rather than let it split them up later, they simply divided everything up from the get-go. That wouldn't work for everyone, but for Rich, sounds like a score.

However, most couples confronting a wage gap will encounter obstacles early on, too soon for talk of mortgages, joint savings accounts and long-term fiscal goals. Instead, short-term money-related decisions create potential problems. Maybe he wants Club Paris every week and she's happy with Taco King. Or, in the case of our couple who wrote in, he'll take a Fairview fourplex and she wants a Bootlegger's Cove condo. In the infancy of any coupling, Wayne nailed it: talk about money, communicate about expectations and work together to find middle ground and compromise.

Now, as to Art's comments: Personally, I'd like to believe that a wealthy, successful woman can be happy with a man who has less money and success. After all, financially stable and career-driven men have long paired with females who earn smaller paychecks and have lower profile jobs without issue. Is imbalance of wealth and power only a problem if the woman is on top? Tsk tsk.

• Want to respond to a recent column, point out a dating trend, or ask Wanda and Wayne for wisdom regarding your love life? Give them a shout at wanda@adn.com.