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Grr! Taken for a ride...? Need a fair financial arrangement with DP to cover maternity leave.

(65 Posts)
Ienableyoutoearn Tue 22-Oct-13 00:05:14

I've namechanged for this as I realised I feel really embarrassed about the lack of clarity surrounding our financial arrangements for covering my maternity leave. I need help to craft a succinct and compelling financial proposal for how to manage our finances for the next 7 months, which is what remains of my maternity leave. I am taking a year off, the last 3 months of which will be completely unpaid, having been preceded by 21 weeks of only SMP (approx £383/month), which I believe is pretty standard.

When I'm not on maternity leave:
DP and I usually each pay X amount into a joint account every month, and this covers all fixed shared expenses; mortgage, insurance and bills. We split food shopping more or less 50-50, doing a couple of "big" shops a month together and supplementing individually in between. Whatever is left in our individual accounts we spend or save as we see fit, with no pressure to account for our decisions. I am thrilled with this arrangement.

During maternity leave
Now, here is where I run into difficulties. My last ML set a very unfortunate precedence in as much as that although I did 99% of all childcare for a year (every day, every evening, every night, with the odd hour here and there, once or twice a week, when DP would look after DD at home so I could nip out to vote or the doctors or whatever), I totally undervalued my contribution to our family life in the form of childcare, and hence ended up in a financially weak position where I spent quite a bit of my savings in order to keep up my joint contributions to our family expenses, as well as living day to day. The most embarassing part is that I agreed to let DP "support me / pay my share" for the last 3 months, and then to pay him back what I "owed" once I started earning again. That is not going to happen this time. I would have saved more in preparation for this period of maternity leave had I not been too busy paying DP back (aaargh!!) and paying off my VISA card which I ended up using rather more than I would have liked to. Grr! I think I fell into this because a) I earn more than him when not on ML and b) DP thinks I'm not as good with money as he is (to his credit, he is pretty canny and is always looking to make us more secure), so any difficulties I found myself in must have been as a result of frittering money away or not planning properly and c) I HATE the idea of him turning around and saying I haven't contributed my fair share.

This time I have presented him with a timeline of my maternity income and said that we need to do things differently this time, and I think he "gets it" a bit more now, but I still need help with phrasing a water-tight and coherent argument along the lines of "You are able to earn money, doing your salaried job as well as running your own business in your spare time, because I do ALL the childcare. I enable you to earn. The childcare I do is also work, albeit unwaged. My work requires financial recognition. I will not be financially compromised as a result of being on maternity leave. Humph!" which will compel him to see that my work should be nemunerated / recognised somehow. But what does this look like? Does it mean we pool our money, including child benefit, and everything comes out of that? Should I factor in a personal spending allowance (for things like petrol and mobile phone)? Seeing as I do the childcare, should I hang on to CB so I can pay for nappies, nursery lunches, activities etc, or should I suggest we pool that too? What do people who have really fair and equal arrangements do?

I just fully expected DH to financially support the whole family while I was on the unpaid part of ML.

And he did. Of course.

He is not your employer - why do you need to prepare a business case to win him over.

eg I won't be earning for those 3 months - how are we going to cover the bills. Perhaps he wants to do some overtime while he has free flexible childcare available - ie you. You absolutely should not be getting into debt if he can pay the bills on his own but just have less spends for a while.

You cannot pay 'your fair share' while you are temporarily not earning because you had his baby and you shouldn't feel guilty about that.

PoshPenny Tue 22-Oct-13 00:29:05

I'm horrified you feel you need to make a business case in the first place. You are a little family, and families look out for each other. particularly if mummy is having a baby. Your OH should be stepping up to the mark and covering the costs whilst you are on mothering duties and not earning. I am assuming that you are reasonably comfortable financially.

I guess you should pool your resources and go from there. You certainly should not be paying half of everything and going into debt on your credit card to do that just because he won't (as opposed to can't) pay more. I think this is what was described in bygone years as facing up to your responsibilities and supporting your family.

SoonToBeSix Tue 22-Oct-13 01:58:57

You are making it too complicated. It is simple you are a family so have a joint account and both spend what you need on family expenses and agree a equal set amount of pocket money per month.

Ienableyoutoearn Tue 22-Oct-13 09:55:23

Yes, you're all right. We are reasonably financially secure so it's not as if we cannot afford to fill the gap in my earnings from DPs salary or joint savings. I think we've just been so used to doing it 50-50 for so long that it's stuck with us even through a change of circumstances. The fact that I usually earn more has also somehow blinded DP to the fact that I don't always have more money than him, it seems. I just need to tell him that he's paying from now on, it seems. Thank you very much for chipping in, and wish me luck!

Thepoodoctor Tue 22-Oct-13 10:06:29

Why don't you cost up what it would take to put baby plus older child into nursery for DPs normal working hours, and that is the monetary value of your contribution? Plus hiring a cleaner if he expects you to cover the housework? So he puts his 50% in, and your 50% is made up of the above 'value', which for the moment DP has to cover financially.

If the value of your contribution exceeds your 50% he might owe you a bit extra grin

I'm not working (I'm studying atm to retrain). Dh pays enough into the joint account to cover all bills/food/diesel type of things. The rest of his pay is split equally between the two of us to spend as we like. Stuff for the kids we split roughly 50-50 (e.g. I might buy some stuff because I happen to see it, he'll then pay for whatever is needed next to balance it out)

Meant to say, when I go back to work we'll pay enough into the joint account as above and split whatever is left equally still. Doesn't matter who earns more, it's our money

holidaysarenice Tue 22-Oct-13 10:27:20

Why not keep ur salaries separate but pool child benefit etc.

You can work out throughout ur ml at each stage on the timeline what ur salary has reduced by. Reduce ur contribution to the household bills by the same. When u are unpaid dh pays the bills and you take out an agreed amount from what is left for each of you to spend.

Vakant Tue 22-Oct-13 10:29:50

We do the same as the poster above. I don't work as I'm a SAHM, so my husbands wages are paid into a joint account out of which all household bills, food, petrol etc. are paid from. We siphon some off to savings and then the rest is split to spend as we wish on clothes, lunches out, personal activities. In our case the split is 70/30 in my favour as I pay for our daughters clothes and activities.

I honestly don't understand why anyone would do it differently. You are a family, it is family money regardless of who specifically goes out to work to earn it.

ShoeWhore Tue 22-Oct-13 10:31:04

Reading your post OP, I was really struck by the language you used. All quite formal and business like. You are a family now. Families don't run to business plans! (Although of course some budgeting is usually required.)

It was taken as read that dh's salary would support us all while I was on maternity leave. Having said that though, this does work both ways. When I was earning more than dh, that extra money was also shared between us. How would you feel about that arrangement? (We share all our money, I realise not everyone wants or is comfortable with that arrangement)

So I don't know what the answer is but whatever arrangement you agree on has to account for the fact that you are looking after your baby - who is the child of both of you!

48th Tue 22-Oct-13 10:31:17

Bill him too for your reduced career prospects, reduced pension contributions...

All money in a pot, essential expenses out, make budget for food and split the rest for saving or frivolity.

This is a life partner? Either of you could be sacked, get ill, become dependent. Support is emotional or financial whatever is needed. Your arrangement hasn't valued you financially or personally. That makes me feel a bit sad for you, it's not on.

JoinYourPlayfellows Tue 22-Oct-13 10:35:06

A man who would make you pay back what you "owed" him after your maternity leave is not a good man.

Why on earth are you having another baby with this toerag?

DipMeInChocolate Tue 22-Oct-13 10:35:35

The change in family circumstances is often why not combining family income is a bad idea. We've had 2 MLs at SMP and DHs redundancy, without combined income I'd probably be bankrupt now, if I owed DH whilst I was looking after OUR new baby. If you can make him realise that all money earned and spent is family money. That appears to be the crux of the matter.

missnevermind Tue 22-Oct-13 10:36:26

If that is how you need to do it then Find out how much full time childcare is for both children and price up How much it would be for a cleaner to come in for a couple of hours EVERY day.
ALSO. Just for the double whammy, Price a night nanny for seven days.

But. This is not how we did it. All the money goes into the bank, wages benefits inheritance investments paying off.
The bills are paid first then shopping money. Then pocket money for everybody - including an allowance for the kids, which is paid to you.

Any money then leftover is family money to be decided Jointly What will be done with it

OnionRing Tue 22-Oct-13 20:24:34

I am appalled that he made you pay him back. Genuinely gobsmacked. What the fuck did he think you were doing during that time?!

LTB.

GrandpaInMyMicrowave Tue 22-Oct-13 20:29:29

Before we had children, we agreed all the essentials in a typical month and pro-rated our contribution to a joint pot based on take home pay. This worked pretty well considering we weren't married, we were still in the earlier stages of our relationship and DW was determined not to be 'supported'.
By the time we were married and planning a family our salaries were very similar. It was a no brainer that all our money went into the same pot and we divided up what was left over equally. For a long time DW actually had a slightly larger slice as a reflection of the fact that, generally, her personal expenses were higher.
Personally I don't think marriage was the key thing for us. Perhaps it helped that our salaries were so similar at the time of starting a family, anyway I absolutely believe that because we are a team we deserve an equitable share. DW has sacrificed her career prospects which she might never get back. We'll never truly know what she could have achieved. In that respect our family will always be indebted to her. The thought of her having to pay me back when she goes back to work is (I'm afraid) a little ridiculous.

eurochick Tue 22-Oct-13 20:33:15

We generally arrange our finances so that we know roughly how much we need to cover all household expenses (mortgage, bills, food, occasional purchases such as homeware) and we pay into the joint account in proportion to our incomes. So far, that has meant that I have paid the majority of our joint expenses.

I would expect the same principle to apply on ML. So as my salary goes down, his contribution would rise to make up the difference. That seems fair to me.

BrunelsBigHat Tue 22-Oct-13 20:33:25

What onion ring said

mikkii Tue 22-Oct-13 20:52:13

I think I am in an unusual position as I know exactly how you feel. My take home pay is more than twice that of DH.

Prior to having children, I had paid for DH's car by a loan, as he had never had credit other than his mortgage and the garage were asking a ridiculous APR as a result. I also paid for our wedding, using a loan.

When we had DS I had some savings (although probably not as much as I should have had) I paid to kit out the nursery, I had 6 weeks of OK money, then 20 weeks of SMP.

I finished paying the loans while on maternity leave.

When I returned to work, I was paying £1,000 a month in nursery fees and half the household bills. I didn't get a chance to do much in the way of saving.

I had DD1, then we had a nanny for a year before DS started school. I basically lived off my credit cards to fund my maternity leave and things didn't really improve.

With DD2 I only took 3.5 months maternity leave to minimise the financial impact. I have never received any help from DH for any of this.

I now have a credit card with a lifetime balance rate and a bank loan which are slowly chipping away. I am looking forward to receiving my EYS funding for the January term. But that will really only cover my last child benefit.

Please make the arrangements so you don't end up struggling like me.

Ragwort Tue 22-Oct-13 20:58:50

I am speechless that families actually behave like this shock.

I can't even comment, when DH and I married we opened a joint account, everything was pooled, everything is shared, we don't have 'his money' and 'my money'. We don't barter over who has more 'treats'. I haven't worked for years, I still have total access to the account and buy what I want - obviously it helps that we have very, very similar attitudes to spending and savings.

As someone else said, I couldn't imagine having a child with someone whith whom you have to have such a business like arrangement over finance.

What would happen if one of you was made redundant, was seriously ill, etc?

Alibabaandthe40nappies Tue 22-Oct-13 21:02:10

mikki - WTF? Surely people don't actually live like this? Why on earth hasn't your DH paid his share of the childcare bill? He must be an absolute tosser to have given this no consideration.

OP - what we do is this. Income is allocated firstly to bills and essentials, then to joint savings and investments. Then we each have some spending money - the same amount each - which we can spend on whatever the hell we like.
I hang onto the child benefit (that then gets clawed back via DH's tax return) to cover the cost of the various activities the DSs do.

All our joint savings are in my name. Partly for tax reasons, and partly as my insurance policy against having given up my career.

PenguinsDontEatPancakes Tue 22-Oct-13 21:04:57

We lived roughly the way you describe before we had children. Except that the percentage wasn't 50/50 to account for my higher earnings. And savings went into a joint pot where we could see what the other was paying in.

The moment I went on maternity leave, we moved to a single joint account with all payments going into that account. The money is ours. It felt pointless and bound to end in upset to try and value an input like childrearing in financial terms. We have financial and non financial input into the family and everything is one big pool.

RandomMess Tue 22-Oct-13 21:05:10

I know Ragwort I can't believe it either!!!

It's all our money, even before we got married (post children). Surely what you need is to work out a family budget and where the money is coming from what free "spends" you can afford and have the same each... who pays for the dc clothes and activities - is that coming out of joint money or yours?

jellyandcake Tue 22-Oct-13 21:07:35

Just a minor point but SMP is more than plastering£383 a month - isn't it £135 a week?

We pool our money so that we have an equal amount to spend after bills/food etc. I used to earn a lot more than DH now I am part time he earns more than me so we both have experience of supporting the other financially. I have a maternity leave coming up; we will work out how to cover the expenses with all the household income (his salary, my maternity pay and child benefit) and split whatever is left over (if anything!). That's how a family works! I am astonished he accepted you 'paying him back'.

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