How to date a woman who earns more than you

What are date nights like when your girlfriend has more spending power? Justin Vanderstraaten, Rosalyn Lee’s SIM business management undergrad beau, on overcoming the income gap with the Lush 99.5FM deejay 12 years his senior.


Justin Vanderstraaten, 24

You may recognise Justin from the #justintorosalyn Insta-snaps that the couple post so regularly, it almost feels like you’re part of their relationship. On being so open with their romance on social media, Justin quips: “I’m just a guy who’s really proud of my girlfriend, and not afraid to show it.”

HOME IS: A five-room flat in Bishan which he shares with his civil servant mum and elder sister, The Final 1 host Vanessa Vanderstraaten. “My mum’s quite strict with me about [not] staying over at Rozz’s place, so I go home every day.”

HIS RIDE IS: His mum’s car, his bicycle or public transport. “I’ve been brought up to think that $5 spent on a cab is $5 too much, so I’d wake up an hour earlier just to take public transport.”

HOW MUCH HE EARNS: “I still get an allowance from my mum, but for the past two years I’ve been working at events as a model, a few times a month to earn extra money. It pays about $100 to $150 for a day’s work. Once, Rozz asked me to go for an event as her guest, but I was also asked to work at the event. I ended up choosing work, but I got to see her at the event, so that was a win-win. To me, work is work. I need the money!”

Please mind the gap 
“Rozz and I have been together for 10 months and it’s going really well, even though on paper, [our relationship] isn’t supposed to work. Of course, there are some differences when it comes to spending. She’s financially stable; I’m not. She has higher spending power than I do. But she knows what she got herself into. That’s what happens when you date a younger guy who’s not earning yet. But I always tell her: ‘Give me 12 years. I’ll be richer than you.’”

Drawing the line
“I pick up the tab for smaller things like movies, but she pays for things like holidays. Because I’m perfectly happy eating hawker food, I’ll pay for hawker food. We go to prata places, hawker centres, and Golden Mile Thai food joints a lot and I’ll pay for those. If Rozz wants to eat at more atas places, then she pays. She’s cool with paying, but she said she’s keeping a tab somewhere. I don’t know if she’s serious!”

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