... 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?

The reason why separate finances bother me is because the idea of treating expenditure relating to children as just another bill to be split really gets to me, and I don't know why. (I've been mulling this over since posting on this thread). The idea of saying I pay x% towards our DC as opposed to we pay for our children. Dunno - just seems very clinical to me.
I know I will get flamed for it, but there you go. Maybe it's because I am not worried about financial independence - my mum suffered DV and brought us up alone for long stretches of times - I'm no fool about how things can happen. Even now she's still under the cosh.
Our arrangements aren't about romance. It's about the fact that we are one family unit.

Eyesunderarock Fri 21-Jun-13 08:32:51

I still think that the key to all this is to be able to talk to your partner about anything, including money. So that you both know what is essential and what is an indulgence, what is something that will need paying for every month and isn't negotiable or able to be compromised on.
As for 'treats'and indulgences, if the money is there then of course they are a part of everyone's life. you might not truly understand why a particular thing is of importance to your partner, but if it is then what's the problem?
Books and guitar pedals, cosmetics and gadgets. Part of being individuals.

I think the concept of having savings and spending money is a bit alien to me. Most of our money is accounted for. DH's salary goes into the joint account, mind goes into my business account then into joint once the business expenses are paid. We scrabble around a bit at the end of the month. We both check before buying anything that costs more than about £40 (not that's it's okay - we check that there's enough money). If we had separate spending accounts I doubt there'd be much in it anyway!

Anyway DH has earned way more than me for years - I do the three kids plus severely disabled child bit - and he couldn't earn way more than me if I didn't - for starters he'd have to be at home by 3.30pm every day (no chance of after school care for ds1). I would hate being given pocket or spending money from him - I'm not his to be bought or be kept - we're a partnership.

Ragwort Fri 21-Jun-13 08:40:26

The important thing is to agree with what works for you as a couple. Personally (& I am older so maybe that's why we do this grin) we have always had one joint accout and shared everything. When we first got together we each had our own home, which we sold and bought a joint house - tbh so long ago now that I can't remember who put more in or whatever - about equal I should think, and we earned similar salaries.

However since having DS (12 years ago) I have been a SAHM, we do have our own business so I do a little work for that but basically I do not bring in a salary. I have totally equal access to our account, I wouldn't dream of 'asking' if I wanted a new pair of shoes or whatever but we both have very similar attitudes to spending money and have never been overdrawn.

I can't stand the attitude of having to justify every 'luxury' expense, I used to have a friend who would go out and spend £X on something, even if she didn't need it if her DH had spent £X on something hmm - they are divorced now grin.

So long as you are both happy with your financial arrangements (and have measures in place if you separate/are widowed etc) then do whatever you want.

Lazyjaney Fri 21-Jun-13 08:42:24

We found that separate finances were fine when it's 2 of you starting out, very few commitments and renting a flat, but just too complicated and time consuming when kids, houses, insurances yadda yadda yadda were involved.

JassyRadlett Fri 21-Jun-13 08:44:48

Creature, my DH and I certainly don't do that. Nursery fees come out of the joint account - it's a set cost so that's sensible - but all other costs come out of individual costs as they arise. No keeping track of who's paid what or whether it's even.

Suspect the answer is that we trust each other to be sensible with all of our money, regardless of source or where it physically sits. Strict insistence on a joint account out of which everything is paid sometimes feels to me like a system of checks and balances on each other, which I'm not keen on for us. I trust DH to be sensible, and I don't need to see where exactly he spends every penny to be confident about that. And vice versa.

littlewhitebag Fri 21-Jun-13 08:46:32

I really don't think it matters how couple arrange their finances as long as it works for them and neither suffers in any way due to lack of money.

I would only be worried if someone posted something that sounded like financial abuse which possibly left them vulnerable in some way.

PoppyAmex Fri 21-Jun-13 08:48:02

Great post MrsTerry

See to me it indicates you don't trust the other person by insisting on separate accounts. We don't have to make sure we've paid "our share" etc - it all goes in, we make sure all bills are paid as that's it. We've done it both ways - this way works for us now we've got children.

monniemae Fri 21-Jun-13 08:54:29

DP and I have a long-standing arrangement of paying the same ££ into joint account to cover bills etc, but keeping the rest of our salaries in our own accounts. This despite me earning progressively more than him - he is shit / selfish with money, so I want to feel he is paying his way esp after years before the joint account where he always owed me money for stuff. But then I pay more for fun things, eating out, holidays etc - and buy more things for "us" - it's worked well. I pay slightly more into our house/savings though.

Having my own account and access to money has always been important to me as my mum drummed it home a woman always needs financial independence (which, as a melodramatic teen, I interpreted as being able to flee..)

We're having a baby in September and I'm saving to take maternity leave of up to a year. When we go back to work, he may go part time and the salary gap may be more pronounced. We've agreed to "pool" our money from September but keep monthly "individual" spending money - so all our flights (to visit family), work expenses, baby stuff and chilcare, joint socialising etc will be out of the joint money... But we can still have our own money to do what we want with. So if he wants to buy a £150 pair of shoes or more bleeding records I won't know/care. And, next year I do better out of it, but the following year he will.

Wish I had my own secret savings though! As opposed to a half stake in £240 joint savings sad

ksrwr Fri 21-Jun-13 08:55:11

we keep our finances separate, we both earn around the same. DH pays for mortgage and some house bills, i pay for nursery and the rest of the house bills. then we just take it roughly in turns to pay for food and remaining family-related things. i dont actually know how much goes in and out of his account, and he doesn't know with me either... we have just always had separate finances, its never crossed my mind to pool it. it seems to work.. so far... its been 10 years now.

PolkaDottery Fri 21-Jun-13 08:55:26

We've at various points had quite big differences in income. We have a joint account where some expenses come out of as well as separate accounts. We keep some financial independence but really do see and work things out fairly jointly.

Technotropic Fri 21-Jun-13 08:56:41

ImTooHecsyForYourParty

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

No shit Sherlock wink

But bang on the money. We are in the 'one pot' brigade but I wouldn't push it on anyone else and it's certainly not the 'right' way to do it.

pianodoodle Fri 21-Jun-13 08:56:43

We put everything in the one account it just seems easier to see exactly how much (little) we have when it's all in the same place really.

So there isn't really a scenario where I pay for this or he pays for that. Whatever the expenditure, it has been paid for by what "we" have regardless of who put what amount in to begin with.

Whatever you feel happy with and agree on is best.

JassyRadlett Fri 21-Jun-13 08:57:36

Creature, great if that works for you.

But to me, strict insistence on a joint account would, in my relationship, feel lower on trust for each other than what we're currently doing. It's all our money, we trust each other implicitly to use it appropriately without needing to have it where everyone can see it, and the ingoings and outgoings, all the time.

I've got complete respect for others finding it easier to do it a different way. Your refusal to countenance any other system as being on within a healthy relationship is frankly pretty offensive.

whatsthatcomingoverthehill Fri 21-Jun-13 08:58:05

The problem I have with the OP's setup is this:

"I can sometimes afford to treat us to a holiday."

Is he supposed to be grateful that you've spent some money on him? What about if you decided you weren't going to have a holiday this year, as you'd rather spend the money on some jewelry? It shifts the power in the relationship so that he is dependent on you for treats. I'm sorry but I just don't get that.

The only way I can really see separate accounts working is if the money is not viewed as 'mine' or 'yours', as some people have given examples of. But in that case, it's not really much different to having a joint account anyway.

I can completely understand having separate spending money accounts, but that's fair as both people get the same amount. Where you have separate accounts and a big difference in income it just seems set up for resentment to build on both sides - e.g. "He always has more to spend than I do", "She's just freeloading off me".

It seems strange that you would view the money as yours when if you were to divorce it would be viewed as joint, even if only in one name.

shewhowines Fri 21-Jun-13 09:00:55

It's the fact you treat him to the occassional holiday with any of your saved cash. You have extra power in your relationship because you earn more. You decide where excess money from your joint relationship goes.

One pot equals shared financial decisions. Both my DH and myself would discuss any extra purchase over and above necessities and reasonable clothes expenditure. We respect the fact we are a team and make shared decisions as how to spend OUR money.

shewhowines Fri 21-Jun-13 09:01:32

x post with whatscoming

LalyRawr Fri 21-Jun-13 09:03:48

Under no circumstances will I ever have a joint account with anybody. Watched my Foster sister get completely and utterly fucked over when she and her ex split and it took an email to the CEO of Halifax after 6 months of arguing to get her name removed from the account which her ex plunged into unauthorised overdraft etc.

Also, my OH earns more than me, but I have more money than him (inheritance after parents died). I had that money ten years before I met him, just because we live together, or even if we got married, it would not suddenly become half his.

I own the house we live in outright. All bills are in my name as they were before I met him. He pays me half his wages each month and I pay everything from my account.

I need that security.

I personally, cannot think of anything worse then having a joint account. Mine is mine. His is his.

HolidayArmadillo Fri 21-Jun-13 09:04:05

We have one account - mine plus a savings and an ISA - also mine. DH gets his wages paid into my account but has his own debit card to access whenever he wants. There's never very much in the savings or ISA as generally money is accounted for so I don't see why we'd need desperate accounts as there wouldn't be anything in them as anything leftover goes into the savings anyway. Maybe if you earn vast amounts of money I can see the point but otherwise half of nowt is still nowt. Having said that the thought of 'borrowing money' from my husband seems completely alien to me and I don't get those couples who say 'oh I'll ask if DH can lend me the cash for X but I'll have to pay him back' odd. I think even if (when) our wages rise significantly or certain expenses stop so we have more disposable income we're so used to just having access to all the money we'll leave it as it is. I might ask DH 'what did you spend 30 quid on in sports direct' or whatever but its not to berate him just curiosity and vice versa.

Bambi27 Fri 21-Jun-13 09:07:04

I don't think it's an age thing because I'm 26 and my husband is 26 and we wouldn't dream of having this sort of situation. We have a daughter together and I stay at home with her to look after her. My husband goes to work. We don't get any benefits so all money comes from him however...he does not 'treat' me to holidays or give me 'pin' money that money is mine just as it is his. I find it ridiculous that if you have chosen to share your life with someone you wouldn't want to share your money and feel you will be treating him if doing so...I think/hope this will change with children or you will have lots of arguments!!

SirChenjin Fri 21-Jun-13 09:11:44

DH have our own accounts but access to each others - there are certain things that his account pays for, same with mine. Everything else is our own to do with as we please (usually handouts to the teens, grrrr). I'm in my mid forties, he's 50 and married for 20 years - we've always worked this way.

I have a Dutch friend who is surprised at the number of couple over here who only have a joint account - in Holland it's very unusual (although I imagine someone from Holland is now going to tell me that's wrong!)

wannabeawallaby Fri 21-Jun-13 09:15:20

'Surely you have lots of arguments with some separate finance' is such a nonsense. Have you not seen the dozens of arguments on here when one party or other goes and spends a fortune on a new car without consulting the other and other similar stuff? Whatever way you do it, I think we all agree that you should consider the other person. For some people, buying a new top is a big enough purchase for the couple to have to talk about it, if they are having harder times. For some people they are lucky enough to not worry about spends on 'nice' things. Whatever way you do it, you can have arguments.

And when OP said she 'treats' them to a holiday I took that to mean a holiday is a treat not that her poor DP should be grateful in a subservient kind of way.

racmun Fri 21-Jun-13 09:16:06

As l

It really does AMA

dollywobbles Fri 21-Jun-13 09:16:07

See to me it indicates you don't trust the other person by insisting on separate accounts
bit harsh? Why is it a trust issue? Can't it just be a 'never been bothered' issue?
I've lived with DH for 15 years, married for 12 of them. We've had varying financial situations, him earning lots more than me; me earning a bit more than him; me not earning at all. And throughout, we've had totally separate accounts.
I'd say it works, for us, because we trust each other.
Just because the money is in different accounts, doesn't mean it's not shared. He pays the mortgage from his account, this doesn't mean he isn't paying 'my share', it's a bill. It gets paid.
DH earns a lot more than me, so he has more bills coming out of his account. I save more (savings are in joint names but he wouldn't know where they are, simply because he's never needed to).

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