... 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?

wannabeawallaby Fri 21-Jun-13 00:59:51


DP and I arrange our money similarly to you but really, it's all shared. It's just how we like to do it. If one of us didn't work we would do it slightly differently.

I wonder if it's an age thing. Older women (than me) tend to do the one shared bank account thing. None of my friends (most in relationships, half of which are married), don't. We're all circa 30.

God I couldn't begin to divide it up. Severely disabled child making equal WOTH difficult and all that, we just have a joint pot. Couldn't care less what anyone else does.

MacaYoniandCheese Fri 21-Jun-13 01:13:37

The sheer amount of time that would have to be spent administering this sort of arrangement is what baffles me and how on earth do you go about divvying things when you have children? What about if one parent stays at home eventually...how do you stop thinking of things as 'yours' and 'mine'. It seems incredibly selfish to me confused.

wannabeawallaby Fri 21-Jun-13 01:20:43

It's not selfish if it's fair and both people are happy with the arrangement. Also it's not hard to set up a direct debit. Do a lot of women on MN earn much less than their DPs or are SAHM? Maybe they think having one pot works better for that? But i do have married sahm friends who have no joint accounts with dps whatsoever. I think it might be a bit of a generational thing (although of course you have exceptions and no doubt they'll all post here). Women are now brought up to earn their own money, not rely on a man, keep some of your independence.

Whatever works for you and your family.

That work for you, great. However there are two issues with the situation that annoy us 'everything in the pot' people. One is that marriages where someone has much more 'fun' money are selfish and weird to us. If I could afford champagne and DH couldn't afford beer, that would be wrong. That is not a marriage to me.

The other issue I believe is a feminist one. Women earn 75 cents in the dollar on average, are far more likely to work part time or raising children. They own far less property (1% worldwide) and have vastly less stable retirement prospects. They are also much more likely to have to pay more towards children in the event of a split, with less income. This means that in a situation where all marriages were treated with separate finances most women would be poorer and continue to get poorer generationally. Since the patriarchy means I am earning less, DH loves me and my feminist self and redresses that balance.

lessonsintightropes Fri 21-Jun-13 01:46:56

MacaYoni your response was exactly why I was puzzled and posted this. It really doesn't take any time - each knows whose turn it is to pay for stuff. If our circumstances changed then we would have a different discussion about it. So far that's two 2.5 hr conversations in 5 years. Should we get our BFP, we've already worked out DH would go part time, and our financial situation would change. Why do you think it is selfish? Not trying to be an arse, genuinely wondering why more couples don't talk about money in this way. What do you do and why does it work for you better than an occasional conversation when situations change?

Saintly your circumstances are entirely different from mine and therefore I'd expect things to be v different too - if you are WOTH and have a disabled child the way we arrange things just would have to be entirely different.

Wannabe I thought it might be generational too but guessing not so?

lessonsintightropes Fri 21-Jun-13 01:55:28

And MrsTP it just doesn't work that way in practice - I have higher bills than DH - along with a job that pays a bit better, comes a more expensive commute, and higher costs including work clothing which he doesn't have. If he was skint then I'd happily take a higher % and have done. It's not like I'm drinking champagne whilst he's eating beans on toast, far from it, this is just how we arrange things. As someone who is in the first generation from my family to even go to Uni it feels like a hard-won right not to hand over all my salary to my husband to manage, and vice versa he has said he'd feel emasculated if I managed all the household budget without discussing utility expenditure with him. We discuss all our joint expenditure as we go as it were... but neither of us want to feel like we're asking permission if we occasionally buy a coffee or grab a novel on the go.

If you are a joint finance couple - how do you avoid getting grumpy with each other if the other one buys something you're not happy about? How would you stop him telling you to buy Rimmel mascara rather than your once-in-a-three-year purchase of some Benefit instead?

lessonsintightropes Fri 21-Jun-13 02:10:02

And also sorry just to clarify - I came into the marriage with quite a bit of debt, he didn't. I don't see why he should help to pay off debts I racked up before we got together; we saved for and paid for our wedding and house deposit jointly, but have always agreed that my debt is my debt, not his (and yes, I'm trying to pay it off as quick as I can - out of the proportion of my salary that I keep for myself, rather than put in the household pot). I don't think it would be fair, even if it was legally the case as soon as we exchanged vows, that he should pay for my money mistakes made before we met.

PenelopeLane Fri 21-Jun-13 02:23:47

I think it only becomes weird when one partner has to ask the other for nice things, or even worse, things related to the day to day running of the house.

DH and I have a system which works well for us - everything we have gets put into our joint accounts, and this covers most things (bills, food, transport, commuter costs, everything we do together) although we each get an amount of money each week that we think of as our 'non accountable money' in that we can spend it on whatever we want. The amount of money though is the same for each of us, and I really like having some money that is just mine so noone needs to know when I waste it on crap. But, it also works for us having the same amount of money as over the 6 years we've been married we've each had periods when one of us has been the wealthier so it has evened out somewhat, and when I was a SAHM really liked that DH and I still had the same amount to waste on ourselves.

But if your system works for both of you, I wouldn't worry.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Fri 21-Jun-13 02:29:45

It sounds like a hassle, and maybe you will view things differently once you have children.

We have a joint account plus personal accounts. Everything goes into the joint and then DH and I take out a certain amount for 'spending money' each month - we each have the same amount.
Everything else comes from the joint. Bills, food, fuel, commute costs, essential clothes, children's clothes and activities, savings for holidays/Christmas/rainy day etc etc.

DH spends his cash on bits and pieces for his car and camera stuff.
I spend mine on clothes and expensive skincare.

FruminousBandersnatch Fri 21-Jun-13 02:45:07

I think it's odd because when you marry (or agree to spend your lives together) you enter into a partnership, and everything is shared. But it's easy in my case as we have the same outlook on what we should spend money on and neither of us has any expensive habits.

DontmindifIdo Fri 21-Jun-13 02:48:38

Yanbu - we do things similarly as do a lot of couples who lived together before being at the totally shared stage. It's actually very easy when dc come along, we have a clear idea of our monthly expenditure (the amount we combined put in the joint account) so it was very easy to say to dh that he'd have to put in that total amount. Then he transferred to me a separate "fun money" amount (about a third of what he had left) for my personal expenditure. Anything for dcs comes out of the joint account. Sometimes one of us will buy things for the family with cash that has come from "our" pot if money not the joint one, but it evens out over the year.

We also had this forced upon us as dh works for a bank that will only pay his wage into one of their current accounts, so he couldn't be paid directly into our joint account anyway(and changing the joint account seemed like a lot if hassle). I agree it seems generational, most early 30 something's I know work finances separately like this, only variation is some do it the iyer their way round - having wages paid into joint account then transferring out the "fun money" to individual accounts. I only know one couple who have everything paid into one joint account then they both use that for all spending - and it does seem to cause arguments...

garlicnutty Fri 21-Jun-13 02:51:22

Hmm, I'm "older" and have always been adamant about separate + joint accounts! With passing years and scenarios, my view is now absolutely fixed that each partner gets the same spending money and all else is joint. Different couples can work with variations on this, of course, as you do - my formula is intended to force fairness & honesty, which haven't been altogether outstanding in my relationships (or many of my friends'.)

I am horrified by the amount of SAHMs whose husbands inflict financial abuse on them. I believe every woman should protect herself from this and I did insist on written contracts! I saw so many of my friends' mothers sleepwalk, like mine, into a poverty trap. (I got shafted by both my divorces, but stupidly hadn't thought that far ahead.)

You might also be misinterpreting replies to unhappily-married women who don't actually realise that marital assets are all jointly and severally owned. MN, thank goodness, is quick to put them right on that.

McGeeDiNozzo Fri 21-Jun-13 03:18:45

I've had experience with the 'hand over entire salary to wife and get pocket money back' model, and it's rubbish, because unanticipated incidental expenses eat into said pocket money. We abandoned that and we just have a joint account now.

Flossie82 Fri 21-Jun-13 03:59:10

I am 30 and am one who doesn't get the having separate money. Although I can understand the method of both getting 'spending money' would work for some people.

All our money is joint. We have our own accounts our salaries are paid into plus a joint account, but that is just historical really. Either one of us / joint ac will pay for anything depending on where money is. We trust each other to not waste money the other wouldn't be happy with.

I don't understand how it is fair when the finances are split and the higher earner gets to keep more or have more spending money. Especially once there are children

VixZenFenchell Fri 21-Jun-13 05:23:51

Am definitely in the "one pot" category. All money earned by either DH (works part time, for me, from home, school hours) or me (60h week wohm, much higher salary) is family money and in the current account. All bills are on direct debits and come out of the current account.

If DH needs trousers / new computer bits / books / whatever he buys it. If I need clothes / makeup / music / apps I buy them. We discuss any spends more than $100 - in practice we have the same tastes and ideas and agree expenditure fairly easily.

DH used to be the sahp as my salary was always higher and always likely to be. I would have felt uncomfortable if he had had to ask me for money for things for the boys, or clothes, or general "stuff". Kids get pocket money, not partners.

Anything left at the end of the month gets swept across into the joint savings account (and then put towards the house).

The only drawback I can think of is that a joint account / joint credit card makes surprise present buying more of a challenge!

We have a similar set up to you OP. I'm the higher earner. We both pay equal amounts into the joint account for mortgage and bills. In addition I buy all the food. DP won't have it that I should pay a bigger proportion of the mortgage and bills so this works for us. I usually pay for an annual holiday for us too. This set up works for us.

noisytoys Fri 21-Jun-13 05:44:23

I am 26 and me and DH go for the joint account with equal spending money for frittering. We are the only couple my age I know who share everything

VioletStar Fri 21-Jun-13 05:58:19

DH & I have separate and joint accounts and it works fine. We contribute different amounts - based on as much as household expenses are (I work it out about once a year in terms of childcare, mortgage, bills etc just to make sure we stay in black). He pays a hell of a lot more cos he earns more, but I buy stuff for kids as and when needed (and cos I notice if clothes are needed). If we need to add more I say so and whoever has some in own account adds it. Our separate accounts are our own and I have no idea how much he has and vice versa. We trust each other and talk to each other. He probably has more disposable income in his sole account each month but then he has variable work expenses that he covers so it keeps our house account stable. if either of us are short on spendies we say so. Works fine for us and our family cos we see ourselves as a team working for us all. Easy!

skaen Fri 21-Jun-13 06:27:57

We have a joint account and our own accounts. We both get paid into our own accounts and transfer a set amount of money each into the joint account to cover bills, food, childcare, children's music groups etc with a little over.

We keep exactly the same amount of money from our salaries and can spend that freely. We also jointly own the house.

We've never had just a single joint account and I wouldn't want one.

bigkidsdidit Fri 21-Jun-13 06:45:55

DH and I have never had a joint account, but then we've always earned within 3k of each other. We worked out how much the bills are and hiw much to save, I give him half, he pays them. We keep the remaining.

It works very well for us. I guess if one of us had big debts or one earned much more than the other we'd rearrange it, bit there's no need now.

scaevola Fri 21-Jun-13 06:50:47

You'll frequently read on MN how very important it is for women to keep an income, and a separate bank/savings account.

I think title of this thread is based on a wrong assumption that "MN" has a single view on how to arrange finances.

<Awaits Xenia's arrival on this thread>

"If you are a joint finance couple - how do you avoid getting grumpy with each other if the other one buys something you're not happy about? How would you stop him telling you to buy Rimmel mascara rather than your once-in-a-three-year purchase of some Benefit instead?"

Same as for everything else in marriage. We have the same shared views and goals and we talk about things and compromise. It really doesn't happen often - we know at the moment we're tryng to pay our mortgage off, and so we both have the same attitude to spending.
And interestingly we've both always earned similar amounts, same sort of debt and we saw that as a reason to have a joint account.

mamapants Fri 21-Jun-13 06:51:04

Agree. I read the threads saying partnerships mean all the money should be in one pot and anything less is abuse.
Me and DP have a joint account for shared expenses- mortgage, bills, food.
I will be paying childcare as I earn more. We both have our own money to spend as we want, save as we want etc. Its what we both want. It doesn't mean we aren't a team. When we first started out I covered more costs as DP had got behind on bills, when I was on maternity DP covered more costs. We prefer it this way.

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.

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


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).

HolidayArmadillo Fri 21-Jun-13 09:17:21

See one partner buggering off and buying a car is not a problem that comes with having joint finances. That's a problem with being married to a twat!

SirChenjin Fri 21-Jun-13 09:20:12

The only bit of advice I would give to people who have separate accounts <nods sagely> is to make sure that your DH/P at least has access to your account - otherwise it can be an utter nightmare to access funds in the worst case scenario (unless of course he/she is a twat, in which case there are probably other things for you to worry about)

angeltulips Fri 21-Jun-13 09:22:53

I suspect you'll find the split less to do with age than with the money imbalance in the relationship - similar to those threads where some SAHMs argue that "he couldn't do his job without me at home" whilst WOHMs and LPs look on in bafflement.

For women who are higher earners or who have financial independence, pooling everything makes less sense. As a poster up thread said, if you have your own money, you need more trust to keep things separate, not less.

For me personally, I would loathe to have to pay my money into a joint account. But both DH and I are responsible for our own pensions, savings & investments etc. I can't imagine abdicating responsibility for that (and it helps that neither of us are bad with money).

I certainly would find it strange if someone my age pooled everything, but wouldn't find it bad or wrong in any way - just curious and not the norm.

LalyRawr Fri 21-Jun-13 09:26:30

I never got this 'family' money thing.

The family doesn't earn money. I earn money, OH earns money. 'The family' doesn't (looking at you DD! grin ).

I would completely freak out if I was not finically independent.

But really, why does it matter how other people run their finances? Tis works for us, great. Joint works for you, fabulous.

I love the idea that because you do something 'differently', you're doing it 'wrong'

Trills Fri 21-Jun-13 09:31:26

YABU to think that "MN" has fixed views about financial issues.

To be honest I don't really understand what you were saying in your OP. You didn't set out very clearly what you thought was the "MN view" or what you disagreed with.

FWIW I feel strongly that people should have their own spending money, but I think that that "spending money" should be equal, even if you earn different amounts.

CloudsAndTrees Fri 21-Jun-13 09:37:34

Having separate accounts doesn't mean that you don't share.

In any financial set up between two people, communication is the most important thing.

It's no good having 'family money' in one joint account if one person spends it all on luxuries before the other has had a chance to buy the weeks shopping with it.

As long as the lines of communication are open and you have two people in a marriage that want to support and care for each other, names on a bank account doesn't really make much difference.

LittleBearPad Fri 21-Jun-13 09:42:08

OP we organised our finances pretty much like you when we started living together although we also used the joint account for food, dinners out etc. It meant we both paid a similar proportion into the joint account and had decent individual disposable cash in our own bank accounts. There wasn't a massive disparity in our incomes anyway so I think that helped.

Since we had a child and I've been on mat leave our finances have got more intertwined. DH has basically paid for our life, my mat pay has been used to top up our ISAs and for whatever I've fancied buying for myself along with helping out with credit card bills every so often. But overall it's still all our joint cash even if it is in a few places.

Once I go back to work I will be earning considerably less as I will only work three days a week. Possibly the proportional approach won't work as well but we'll discuss it and adjust accordingly and will take childcare costs into account. Just like we did with pay rises and bonuses etc. Of those who say its unromantic it takes an hour every so often and we usually walk through the park if this helps make it less business like.

EatingAllTheCrumpets Fri 21-Jun-13 09:47:00

I think as long as it doesn't cause arguments, or leaving one person feel deprived or taken for granted then its a personal decision.
Me and DH have always pooled our money, even when we first started dating. When we dicided to buy a house together we opened a joint account. We only have that one account, both wages go in, all bills come out. If I want to buy something, I buy it. If DH wants to buy something, he buys it.
He earns significantly more than me but we both agree that what works for us us the idea that everything is ours.

Doesn't mean it's right or wrong. My parents have always had separate accounts and its always caused arguments about who owes who what! confused

DorisIsWaiting Fri 21-Jun-13 09:48:58

I think you you misunderstand slightly.

Ultimately you are doing much of what MN generally advocates.

A shared pot and a separate one for personal spending, the only difference in many cases on mn is that the spending accounts should be equal i.e. you are equally valued for what you bring to the relationship.

I earnt almost double what dh did prior to dc, we had this system then I gave up work (career not compatible with children). I am now SAHM and it works the other way with dh contributing way more.

Tweasels Fri 21-Jun-13 09:50:13

It's very easy to have shared money but still remain financially independent.

I add H's income to mine. His is double as I work PT. I then add the household bills up, shopping, diner money, child care and an extra £100 for days out, kids clothes and that sort of thing and take that off the joint income. What's left is split 50/50 into our personal accounts for spending on personal stuff like clothes and nights out.

The money is shared but it means we can spend on what we want or save for things that each other wouldn't necessarily want to pay for (eyes DH's unused kayak)

Tweasels Fri 21-Jun-13 09:50:56

Sorry X post.

Exactly what Doris said.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Fri 21-Jun-13 09:52:47

YANBU I had an arrangement like you with my DH but he grew dissatisfied and wanted us to pool our money....I as fine with that really....as both our incomes are very changeable as we're both self employed, it was too hard as it was.

Now we have to look at the monthly incomings and work it out as a whole instead of us saying "What have you got this month...well then you pay this and I'll do that." we just work it out. It's trial and error isn't it and as long as both get some personal cash it's fine.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Fri 21-Jun-13 09:53:46

Oh and we have separate accounts....we just know what's going in and out of them!

higgle Fri 21-Jun-13 09:58:42

OP, we have worked a system like yours for 29 years now. We put an agreed amount each into a joint account for all routine expenditure and keep the balance for ourselves. When we were first married I earned quite a lot more, so I put more into the joint account and now it is the other way round and I put in a bit less. DH tends to do treats for the family a bit more than I do, but I think he just enjoys doing that. I'm afraid my surplus bits and pieces tend to go on new saucepans etc.

MostlyCake Fri 21-Jun-13 10:06:23

We have a joint account and our own accounts. Both our wages are paid into the joint account and we each get £200 spending money from that per month. I am the higher earner but am just about to go onto statutory maternity pay which will be a huge drop in income. To budget for that we are both stopping our allowance for the time I am off to compensate for the reduced wages.

This works for us but I do have friends who earn a lot less than their husbands who have very different arrangements (equal payments to cover household expenses which leaves her with no money each month and he with hundreds left to fritter away) - I just have to bite my tongue; how other people deal with their finances will always seem weird if it isn't the way you do it!

Silverfoxballs Fri 21-Jun-13 10:08:13

I think as long as people have very similar levels of disposable income after all household expenses then it needn't be an issue.

We do not have a joint account, we have a bloody huge spreadsheet including what is in our savings accounts. If we got divorced then all assets get split equally I'm pretty sure, if I'm wrong correct me. I think if your not married and one earns more and amasses vast amounts of savings then that is hugely unfair.

ilovechips Fri 21-Jun-13 10:48:24

I've been married twice. First husband adamant no joint account or in fact any shared finances at all. With my second husband we share everything.

I much prefer the open and sharing approach. But each to their own, there's no right or wrong way to do it, as long as everyone is happy with what they do why do you care what other people think about your personal circumstances?

We only have shared money. As the higher earner I'd feel uncomfortable having more disposable income than dp. It isn't an issue as we both live within our means, and we discuss bigger purchases.

I don't see how seperate finances work when you go on mat leave.

dollywobbles Fri 21-Jun-13 11:29:24

Separate finances when you go on mat leave work like this: 'can I have some money in my account, please, DH?' DH: 'Yes, how much?' grin
Or that's how it worked for us anyway.

bigkidsdidit Fri 21-Jun-13 12:02:41

I was on full pay my whole mat leave so it was never an issue.

LillethTheCat Fri 21-Jun-13 13:07:42

Been with DH for 10.5 years, been married for nearly 9 years. We have never ever ever had a joint account.

He has some direct debits coming out of his bank for bills I have some that come out of mine. When we want to buy something we generally see who can afford it whether thats a family meal out or something for just one of us like a CD. The same if its something needed like new shoes for example. So we both have our own money and we both pay what bills we can afford, but when it comes to personal money, say for me, either I will buy what I want or he will buy me it.

Ive not added up how much each of our bills comes to and I dont care. I can afford what I pay, he can afford what he pays.

This works for us as its the way we've always done it.

travelforpleasure Fri 21-Jun-13 13:25:04

DH and I don't currently have a joint account but that is for specific admin reasons. In practice though, I have full access to his account (use his card/online banking etc). In our minds there isn't a split in the finances, it's all 'our money' but we just don't pool it into a shared account. I couldn't imagine dividing up our income into percentages and paying for bills that way...though DH earns about 15x my income so I'd end up transferring such a pitiful amount that it would seem to be doing it for the sake of it. All the direct debits and online shopping come out of DH's account and when we are out together he pays for everything. I only really use my account when I'm out on my own, but I don't think about whether it is household stuff (food) or my own expenses (night out).

It works for us as neither of us are really extravagant and our household income is high enough that we don't have to check whether there is enough in the accounts. If we were on a lower income we'd probably need some kind of agreement just to make sure each of us didn't pull us into an overdraft, but we tend to have a surplus every month so it's not an issue.

Val007 Fri 21-Jun-13 13:28:48

My husband hands the paycheque to me to deal with all the bills. But he has access to the funds to spend for his needs as and when required. We only discuss things like holidays and big purchases and only to establish if WE can afford it. Noone questions the other's expenditure because we trust each other and have almost identical views on money management. So, easy peasy. But I appreciate joint finances could be an issue for a couple with fundamentally different views on handling said finances. But then again, I would never marry someone with such fundamental difference of opinion on this crucial subject.

Boosiehs Fri 21-Jun-13 13:41:41

Hmm. We have an odd set-up but it seems to work.

We have completely separate finances. I am the high earner - DH works for himself.

I pay the mortgage and the bills by DD, I also pay for all holidays and the "big" food shops. I buy most of his clothes (when he's not there as he hates shopping), and the furniture etc.

He buys stuff he wants, gadgets etc, and also buys ad hoc day to day food (veg and milk mostly). He pays for the cleaner (a necessity) and other bits and bobs around the house.

I asked him the other day if he thought we should have a joint account, and he said no. It works ok now.

his account is mostly for his business - I think its easier for him to keep it that way.

Am I being unreasonable?

fedupofnamechanging Fri 21-Jun-13 13:45:12

I'm of the all in one pot mentality - I honestly can't see the point in being married if you don't view yourselves as one unit.

Also, as a sahm, I've made career sacrifices to care for our children and it has enabled dh to have a great career without being held back by child care considerations. Therefore I view what he earns as half mine, form a moral pov. He does too, so that's good.

Actually, I think the key is in having the same outlook wrt money. DH has his faults but he would never try to restrict what I spend of our money. But by the same token, I wouldn't blow all the money on shoes and then be unable to pay the mortgage.

I think it's generally a good idea for both partners to have the same amount of money for luxuries, so if one is a higher earner, then they pay a higher % of bills or into savings for both partners.

I think I would have your system OP, if I had dc from a previous marriage, because I would then consider my number one priority to be protecting their financial interests, but that not being the case, I think it is nicer to share everything equally. I wouldn't feel I'd given up anything (in feminist terms) by doing that.

Money should be jointly managed if one of you is likely to feel bad about giving up responsibility for your own finances.

FruitSaladIsNotPudding Fri 21-Jun-13 13:47:20

I just don't see the point in all those percentages. You've obviously put a lot of thought into how to make it fair - but wouldn't it be simpler and easier to just pay everything that has to be paid, including food and childcare, and then what's left is fun money, which can be joint or can be split down the middle if you prefer to be independent in your spending.

But I guess it's whatever works for you.

CotherMuckingFunt Fri 21-Jun-13 13:47:32

I think a lot of it depends on what money you have. DH and I have separate accounts. He works full time (when there's work) and I earn the odd 10€ here an there. Our monthly expenses are often the same as, if not more than his earnings. I can 'treat myself' if I've earned some money that week and he can 'treat himself' if any money's left after the bills are paid. If I was taking money out of his account when he had it there for a bill that was due then it would fuck us up.

As a general rule there is no spare money. If one of the kids needs new shoes we talk about to see who can spare the cash at that time.

ouryve Fri 21-Jun-13 13:51:50


There is no consensus about joint accounts vs individual accounts - people speak strongly for both, either way.

What does raise loud objections is when there is no agreement between partners in how finances are managed (resulting in constant argument), when one is clearly taking the piss (eg today's thread where one is paying for nothing and stealing from his partner's account), when there's lack of trust and a lot of score keeping (yesterday's thread) and when there is out and out financial abuse.

CinnamonAddict Fri 21-Jun-13 14:42:04

I agree with ouryve.

We got married quite young (24 and 26) and both had skint upbringing. We entered married life with a very different financial background, I had no debts because I worked all the way through uni, dh had a student loan and thousands to pay back. We both worked ft.
We got a joint account straight away where all monies went in, and all bills went out from.
His paying back his debt was part of our marriage. His salary went up constantly because we agreed one of us would stay at home at least 1.5 years with each child and that was me. So I earned a lot less going back part time and now he earns 5 times what I earn(ed, just packed in my job).
I'm going to retrain and possibly earn a lot more in the future.

There has never been "your" and "my" money, it has always been ours, regardless of who earned it.
We never saw the need to draw up plans who pays how many % of which bill. Discussing who pays for what. How does this work when you have kids?
We look into the account, see what we can afford and buy it. I usually do the homework on big purchases as I've got the time, and then I run it past dh.

I think everyone has to find a system that works for them. If one of us would constantly buy expensive stuff it would be an issue, but we both share the same ethics on money: never spend what you don't have. (except mortgage), in fact dh is the one who tends to favour the more expensive stuff as it lasts longer.
We've been doing fine for over 15 years with our system and we never had an argument about money.

Separate doesn't have to be fiddly or time consuming - we have ours set up so everything is done by direct debits and standing orders, literally the only transactions are taking cash out of the machine and spending via debit and credit cards - it would be exactly the same with joint accounts, except you would have to keep track more so you both weren't planning to use the same chunk of money for different things on the same day. So if anything, separate is easier, I always know exactly how much money I have available. We might move a chunk of money around once in a while to even things out (and I'm talking maybe once a year here) but otherwise our set-up totally takes care of itself.

sallycinnamum Fri 21-Jun-13 17:59:13

I had a joint account with my ex DP several years ago and hell would have to freeze over before I did it again.
When we seperated it caused all manner of problems and my solicitor told me he actively discourages his clients from putting all money into one account.

My DH have separate accounts but we share everything according to how much we earn. I've never had a problem with it and he's very generous with his cash anyway.

I need the financial independence having my own account gives me.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Fri 21-Jun-13 18:01:55


There is no consensus on MN

ThePlEWhoLovedMe Fri 21-Jun-13 18:06:09

Separate accounts here too OP - and we have been together 12 years.

12 years ago we discussed money and decided how to split bills. Money has never been discussed since.

I don't want to have to ask someone if i can spend my own money. Nor do I want to find myself having to split my savings if we ever split.

yanbu, DH and I have never had a joint account.. originally because he had CCJ's and i didnt, so it was easier for me to gain credit without mentioning him..and we've just carried on that way.

He pays all the bills, i pay for the day to day running of the household, so food & petrol, and we both pay what we can afford towards extras like holidays, clothing...etc

I know exactly what goes in and out of his account whereas mine is private, mostly because he's not got a money head and often asks me to help him work out how much hes got left (paid weekly) once the bills are paid.

Neither of us are scared to tell the other we're short and need a hand with a bill or the shopping...etc

TheFallenMadonna Fri 21-Jun-13 18:17:46

I wouldn't want to pool my finances with a man who begrudged me spending money on bags books. But then I wouldn't want to live with one either...
Which is why I don't really get that argument.

I am not financially independent, because I am not independent. I am in partnership with my DH. However, I have a good income, we have equivalent savings and pensions arrangements, and if we splits, I am in a position to become independent.

amicissimma Fri 21-Jun-13 18:23:40

We don't have 'me' and 'mine' (money, house, children, etc ) because now we are married we are 'us' and stuff is ours (including our families eg parents needing care, siblings needing help and so on).

The idea of munificently condescending to bestow something like a holiday on my equal partner makes me shudder.

HappyMummyOfOne Fri 21-Jun-13 18:24:00

Yanbu, the general majority believe that all money should be joint especially those that are SAHMs.

Whilst we do have joint accounts as its suits us, i see no reason couples shouldnt have seperate accounts as long as bills are paid equally. Not everyone does things the same way or believe that all income is theirs regardless of who went out to work for it.

bluesbaby Fri 21-Jun-13 18:50:32

We don't have a "one pot" household here either. I'm not married though, and unless our circumstances change, it's not going change. We have a joint account for direct debit bills & a generous food budget (includes occasional meals out and cinema).
Bills included in joint are everything joint only - mobile phones not included, and he doesn't pay for my car insurance (he has a company car). Examples of other individual small monthly direct debits are his Spotify account (I don't have a device to use it) and my Graze boxes.

He is quite crap with money by his own admission - we earn a similar amount each month (he earns slightly more) but never seems to have any money left over after going to the pub every week. He's also a smoker, so I guess it adds up. I spend a fortune once a year on the gym... wouldn't expect him to pay hundreds for that haha!

I won't merge finances totally and put everything in one pot until he is debt free and learns how to budget and live within his means. I've loaned him loads of money over the years (and I was the one unemployed for a while - and still paying half of all bills) and although because I love him I want him to learn the hard way and pay it all back - not get a free ride. So, until then, I'm not going to be making life easy for him to spend loads of money he hasn't got. And I'm not going to put myself in a position where I'm constantly angry at him spending £££ on things when he should be paying me back.

It's easy while we're marriage-free, child-free, earning roughly the same, are both able-bodied and both in full time employment. Will need a rethink when that changes.

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