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... to think that MN has some very fixed views about financial issues?

(113 Posts)
lessonsintightropes Fri 21-Jun-13 00:56:07

My DH and I have quite different jobs and earn different money. We sat down and talked about it when we first moved in after nine months together and when the income inequality wasn't as big as it is now. At that time, we agreed I'd pay 55% of our shared bills (rent and utilities), he'd pay 45% and we'd both keep the difference of our own salaries, whilst taking food shopping/any eating out etc in turns.

When we got married, I also got promoted - and we agreed we'd get a joint account for shared expenses, this time now including food, entertaining and presents; my % of household spend went up, his went down. But also keep our separate accounts so we both have our own pin money/disposable income (mainly so he can't get judgy about how much I spend on books and I can't object to his occasional, once yearly spend on guitar pedals..!) We are ttc at present. Once (hoping for BFP soon) we have our pfb we will include childcare costs as a shared bill, but still retain our slightly separate financial situations. It means I can sometimes afford to treat us to a holiday - rather than trying to budget for it within joint finances, which wouldn't stretch - and so have been a bit surprised by some of the 'what's his is mine, and what's mine is his, end of' attitude on some other discussions of late.

AIBU to think that a marriage can have some shared expenditure, particularly on all household and joint things, including childcare, whilst still keeping some elements of financial independence from each other? I am - admittedly - touchy about money, as I grew up super-skint and therefore find talking about it quite difficult (one too many times watching my Mum crying about the gas bill) and keen to retain some measure of financial independence. He's much less fussed really. Both of us are on the deeds for the house and worked out that if something terrible happened and we broke up we'd split the house 50/50 regardless of who put in more. But other people seem to have very different ideas. I'd be very interested to find out why?

sleepywombat Fri 21-Jun-13 06:54:12

We only have one [joint] account, that's it (well and the mortgage which doubles up as our savings, but that's obviously joint too).

Can imagine it'd be very confusing otherwise.

I buy what I want; he buys what he wants. We are always on an unspoken budget though and neither of us are big spenders/shoppers so there are no issues. Our big expenses are obviously the bills!

When we were first married, only I was working. Now dh is working & I'm sahm. We share everything. We are in our 30s now but were 27 and 29 when married!

JassyRadlett Fri 21-Jun-13 06:59:47

We do pretty much this, with a nearly 2 year old. It just evolved this way but it works pretty well for us - crucially we don't see what's in our individual accounts as personal money.

Our salaries get paid into our individual accounts and we each pay a certain amount into the joint account, based on take home pay. That amount covers mortgage, bills and provides a cushion. Other than that, we just pay for things as they arise. We don't keep track of who's paid for what or whether it's particularly balanced. If one of us has funded a big purchase, we might raid the joint account for the money, but ultimately all the money is ours - this is just how we choose to administer it.

When DH was at home with baby DS after I went back to work, I put all but a tiny bit of my salary into the joint account, where he could access it. However, now he's back at work and we've reverted to the old system. There's no 'yours' and 'mine' about it - I think that's only likely to be a problem if your marriage tends to that sort of thing anyway.

froubylou Fri 21-Jun-13 07:02:12

I'm an 'everything in one pot'. DP earns a lot more than what I could do once I have juggled childcare. Dp is useless with money and although we would have plenty of fun money, holidays and nice clothes etc etc, we wouldn't have a pot to piddle in if left to him.

So his income goes into my current account. I pay bills and withdraw in cash what he needs for down the week, such as fuel, money for a sandwhich at work if he wants it, money for a pint after work etc etc.

I save a set amount each week for emergancies (we have a construction company so sometimes there may be a week or 2 without income) and for leaner times. I do the food shopping and buy the bread/milk etc etc.

We discuss things like holidays, new phone contracts, large expenditures and I ultimatley decide if we can afford them based on what we are working to at the minute.

I also have my own little business that doesn't really earn much but what that brings in is 'fun' money.

I am very, very lucky with my set up I know. BUT with the freedom of controlling the family spends (especially when I don't earn it) comes the responsibility of making sure things are paid and we have some monies put aside. I can be the bad guy if OH wants something (usually a holiday) and I say no but generally it works for us.

I don't think it matters how you pay your bills and divvy up whats left as long as both partners feel in control and have some say over what happens to the family money. I think without children its different. My DD is from a previous relationship and I used to work my arse off to make sure I could pay all the bills, feed us both and give her everything she needs. It came to a flash point when she was in hospital for a week, and then I had 2 weeks off work when she came home, then went back to work and collapsed with suspected kidney stones.

DP had moved in a couple of months before and we had 'his' money and 'my' money (which paid for the bills, just). DP had wanted to help with bills but I hadn't wanted to loose my independance in case things didn't work, and having lived for 10 years on my own and then manged with a baby by myself it felt odd to let someone help.

He insisted I went part time and let him help with bills, then when I got made redundant a couple of years ago he asked me to run his company (paperwork wise) and helped me set up my little business.

It works for us. And now Im PG with our first baby together so will be totally relying on him. However if it were the other way around and I could earn as much as him he would be the stay at home dad and I'd provide for the family.

Mrsrobertduvall Fri 21-Jun-13 07:07:51

Dh earns a lot more than me...he pays all bills and big stuff and puts a fixed sum every month into an account for food.

I buy all the general day to day stuff...clothes for children, singing lessons, meals out, theatre tickets etc.. and take the money out of a joint bank account (which I don't actually contribute to)

My (small) salary goes into my account to pay for personal expenses such as clothes, my solo holidays and general upkeep.

It works for us. He is not a day to day spender...his major expenditure is golf club membershipwhich is not that huge.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Fri 21-Jun-13 07:09:33

Everybody has different ideas ... because everybody has different ideas! grin

From the threads I read there's about as many who do it your way as not.

We do the one pot thing because that feels right to us. You do it your way. There are loads of people doing it all kinds of different ways.

For every person who says that not seeing all money as family money and having equal access to and say about it = abuse, you have someone else saying that to pool all the money leads to resentment and loss of identity or autonomy or whathaveyou.

There really isn't a 'MN fixed view' on this. There's just a lot of people talking about their way of doing things. There's a massive range of different arrangements talked about on here.

As long as an arrangement is agreed between both parties and both feel it is the best arrangement for them and neither feels trapped by it or disadvantaged by it, then it's not abuse.

If it is imposed on one by the other and one feels trapped, or second class, or unequal, or like they have to beg for money for the kids shoes - then it may be about more than money. I think that's fair, don't you?

eurozammo Fri 21-Jun-13 07:09:55

Yanbu. I'm always surprised by the number of posters on here advocating the one pot only approach.

We both work ft and have our own current and savings accounts. We calculated roughly how much monthly bills came to, added a bit for a cushion, and we pay that into a joint account by standing order each month. We did this calculation when we moved in together five years ago and haven't redone it since so it's hardly a lot of work.

All remaining money stays in our own accounts.

My parents have been happily married for 40 years and have separate accounts (only my dad earns but he gives my mum an amount monthly that is hers to do with as she wants).

YABU for thinking that "MN" as a single thinking entity exists.

We had arrangements such as yours - spookily even down to me getting promoted. But we quickly realised its a pain in the arse so just chuck it all into one. We have financial independence - we're not accountable to each other for every penny, we're just sensible about it. I don't like the idea of me paying for something for the family (I actually earn more) - it's "us" paying.

I grew up in a poor household too BTW. No pocket money, sometimes the only food we'd have in was flour and porridge, not always enough money to get to school.

mrscog Fri 21-Jun-13 07:16:49

We used to do your system - it worked really well until we had children and then one single joint account became easier as there's even more joint expenditure - baby groups, children's clothes, petrol driving DS around (previously we'd kept our fuel spends separate).

We keep ours fairly separate, in fact almost totally separate and it has worked very well for 13 years. The house, mortgage and offset current account are all in my name, but we both pay a certain amount into the account and we both have free access to it via a joint credit card that is paid out of that account by direct debit and used for all shared/household expenses. When we married we earned almost equal salaries but DH now earns about 4x what I do, due to me being p/t but our income is greater than it was pre DCs, so he puts far more than I do in. We don't think of it as my money and his money, but move it around freely between us. Although I have the liability of the mortgage I have substantially more savings than DH and we both have a lot paid into pensions. We rarely discuss it to be honest, it just works.

WorrySighWorrySigh Fri 21-Jun-13 07:27:28

JassyRadlett's comment crucially we don't see what's in our individual accounts as personal money is the key IMO.

So long as the couple both feel able to discuss and re-discuss the arrangement then I dont see a problem. The problem comes when one partner doesnt want to re-discuss or worse still introduces secrets.

The money issue can be an expression of other, bigger problems in the relationship.

TwllBach Fri 21-Jun-13 07:28:27

I understand where you are coming from OP about growing up skint. My father was terrible with money, we were alway poor and we had to remortgage the house twice that I can recall. My mother was a sahm for 7 years and she says now that it was the most stressful time of her life and it was pretty shit growing up like that. Not because I wanted things but because there was a constant air of tension and mistrust ad resentment.

DP and I keep our own money and it works for us. We worked out how much we needed a month and we both pay half and we take turns buying the groceries.

We don't have children but I guess when we do, we will factor any regular costs into the monthly bills and carry on buying the groceries alternatively. We do have a joint account but it was more for savings and neither of us are really in a position yet to have any, so it's a moot point. Once children come along I think it would be sensible to both put x amount per week/month to act as savings for DC.

I wouldn't feel comfortable having just one big pot because I want to see money in my account. It's not because I don't want DP to have it and vice versa, we aren't selfish with our money. I've heard of some couples that go out for dinner and whoever pays expects to be paid back. We aren't like that, everything is fair but I feel safe knowing that I've got my money.

harryhausen Fri 21-Jun-13 07:32:27

Whatever works in each marriage is up to you. Horses for courses.

Personally however, I think separate finances is a bit faffy and not right for us.

We used to have separate money and a joint account for bills. We are both freelancers & self employed. I'm very financially independent. DH earns more than me, but I was (stupidly) adamant I would pay my way and we virtually split bills 50/50. For us the crunch came with our first dc. I was one of those people who believed it wouldn't change our set up at all. How wrong I was. My working hours dropped by over half and I was struggling. It was then that DH suggested just a joint account for everything. I have to tell you, from that day the whole money/bills thing has been such a relief in my mind. If I'm having a bad month I know there's money there and vice versa for my DH. Our marriage feels more 'together' somehow.

Years later, with 2 dcs, I'm earning much more again but it's all still joint. DH's money pays the bills and my money is used for savings on top and treats. Our savings are joint too. It's all ours. Saying 'my' money and 'his' money now would feel just weird.

As for buying stuff. We just buy what we want within reason. Any big stuff (sofas, new computer etc) gets talked about.

I feel more secure this way than I ever have.

Oriunda Fri 21-Jun-13 07:41:49

We have never had a joint account. When I was working I paid bills etc as we were living in my flat at the time and it was just easier. Now I am a SAHM my husband transfers me sums of money on an ad hoc basis which I then invest in savings accounts and for my son. In addition I have the rental income on my old flat which covers most of our day to day expenses. Anything I want to buy (clothes etc) I do so without referring to him, and he does the same with his money.

Whilst I know joint a/cs work for a lot of people, we have never needed one. Bills get paid, we buy what we want and no arguments about spending joint money on frivolities.

nilbyname Fri 21-Jun-13 07:46:33

It is all shared here, any big purchases (relative to our income) are discussed jointly then we move forward. This works for us, especially now we have kids.

DH earns much more than me, and the only time the £££ is "his" is when he gets his bonuses and I insist he treats himself to something.

I know a few people who have separate accounts and inevitably their arguments are about money and what goes where.

The sense of inequality and not thinking that everything is shared would get to me. I think when you enter into a marriage all the resources get pooled, as well as debts.

But I see that for some, and I think especially 2nd/3rd marriages/relationships there is a tendency to keep things divided.

FanjoForTheMammaries Fri 21-Jun-13 07:50:50

I really couldn't care what other people do with their finances

If it works.for you then great.

I would only judge if one partner was financially abusing the other.

LadyRabbit Fri 21-Jun-13 07:52:48

Gosh this all sounds so incredibly romantic.

I agree OP that there is a tendancy to regard seperate accounts as the work of the devil. Dh and I have seperate accounts and a joint account. Our salary goes in to our own accounts. He transfers a pretty big chunk to the joint account as soon as he is paid to cover bills and now shopping too and I transfer a much smaller amount. He earns three times as much as me but his share is considerably more than three times mine. Oth I will buy almost all childrens shoes, clothes, presents etc. We both have our own money to spend but would discuss major purchases and neither has any expensive habits. I keep a rough tally in my head and check my internet banking. Dh has a spreadsheet and puts everything on it. We could have a joint account only but it would stress us both and what we do works fine for us.

HabbaDabbaDoo Fri 21-Jun-13 07:56:04

We calculated that our monthly expenditure on school fees, mortgage, council tax, utilities, household shopping like food etc is about £3500. We rounded it up so we each deposit £2k into a joint current account. The rest of our pay cheques goes into our respective personal accounts.

DP earns more than me but, since I earn quite a bit myself, it seemed easier just to go 50/50. But if I was on £20k for example then I would expect DP to contribute a greater proportion towards the bills.

BonaDea Fri 21-Jun-13 08:00:14

Op - yanbu.

I posted about this recently in aibu because I had got to the stage of thinking DH and I should be pooling income to make things easier. He earns about three times what I do and I am now on mat leave so I was just curious what others do.

I was honestly shocked by some of the responses. Some people suggested my marriage was doomed because DH would rather leave things as they are. In the end, I came out being very defensive of him and having decided there is nothing wrong with our arrangement if the people who so pool all their cash are so bitter and judgey!! I know you take your chances with aibu threads, but honestly...

PicardyThird Fri 21-Jun-13 08:00:36

What sleepywombat says is exactly the way it is for us too:

'We only have one [joint] account, that's it [...]
I buy what I want; he buys what he wants. We are always on an unspoken budget though and neither of us are big spenders/shoppers so there are no issues. Our big expenses are obviously the bills!'

Percentage contributions to household expenses and my money/his money for married couples is a bit too much like 'housemates' for me.

Dh and I have done all kinds of financial situations/combinations. I've been sole earner, we've earned similar amounts, currently he earns more. When we first married we had separate accounts but we put each other on them as additional holders and they were joint accts for all intents and purposes. We eventually closed mine when we moved house and now only have the one joint acct. I don't think it would have occurred to either of us to ever feel dependent on the other. We are interdependent. And we've been married getting on for 13 years so not a great deal of romance left in the equation! (But plenty of love).

Dackyduddles Fri 21-Jun-13 08:00:50

What usually occurs from his and her money is bills out of his and childcare and family out of hers. Where I live to use a nursery for a day is 50. My salary is lots less as I earn less in an actual (as well as being a woman!) sense. So I would end up on pennies while dh would have multiple pounds.

If your married and everything together is joint I truly do not see why money is different. You either believe in marriage or you don't. In a divorce I'd get half. I'd get half anyway! So why so protective? It's pointless.

HabbaDabbaDoo Fri 21-Jun-13 08:01:09

We use to have a joint credit card for everything but we each got tired of the 'you spent this much on <shoes/a coat/going out with your mates/GF> ???? conversations when the CC bill came.

CloudsAndTrees Fri 21-Jun-13 08:01:49

We don't have completely joint finances because I have dc from a previous relationship, and while DH does take some financial responsibility for them, the majority of that responsibility lies with their Dad and I.

DH also has things that I don't want to pay for, like his car that costs more than a car needs to, so that comes out of his own money.

We share all the costs that belong to both of us, and it works fine for us. When bills go up, as they have done recently, we have have both had to agree to put more of our own money into the joint account.

I agree that MN as a whole seems to have some very fixed ideas about the right way to run finances.

Eyesunderarock Fri 21-Jun-13 08:16:00

Well OP, we have a joint account and two or three separate accounts and it's worked for us for years. We pay money into the joint account and if there is a sudden expensive need, like a new boiler, we budget and plan for that.
If we can't plan, then it's whichever of us has the capacity, the money in our personal accounts is still our money, for the family.
For years the split was 70/30 as OH was a SAHP and worked part time, then we went to 50/50. Now the balance has changed again and it's more 40/60 with me paying less.
We've always talked things through, we've never had an argument over money and who pays for what, and we both like the independence of having our own money. We know each other's PIN numbers, so theoretically if there was a problem one could empty all the accounts.
Both our names have always been on deeds, even when I was paying the whole thing.
I think that between two adults, you work out the financial method that suits you both and if others don't do it your way, that's their choice.
But to sneer and make it seem as if there is something wrong, something cold in your marriage because you don't heap everything into one pile for everyone to access all the time is rude and wrong.
In the same way that when I read women whittering on about how they have no financial income of their own, no separate cash and how they love their hubby and trust him and how its a forever thing and how his money is theirs and he thinks so too makes my blood run cold. Because the relationships board is full of distraught, deceived, trapped miserable women who don't know what to do when their relationship detonates.
Whose joint access to funds has been cut off and they can't pay basics for the month.
After 34 years of relative harmony, I doubt that my husband will leave me.
But who knows? If he does, I'm going to be financially OK. So will he.
So YANBU to sort your finances how it suits you.
YABU to pay attention or get stressed by randomers on the internet thinking that you are weird and wrong and that you don't trust your partner enough.
I hide the relationships board precisely because I'd just be posting WTF? all the time. grin

Hercy Fri 21-Jun-13 08:20:00

Each to their own. There might be separate finances because of reasons people might not want to tell you. In my case, I got into debt near the beginning of our relationship and subsequently have a bad credit rating. If we were to have a joint account, that credit rating would affect my partner, if all finances are kept separate, it won't.

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