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Partner earns 4x my salary... how do other people manage this?

(62 Posts)
purpleaura Thu 03-Jan-13 13:48:13

DP earns a LOT more than me and neither of us are v good at discussing money matters. We've been together 10 years and have always muddled along, each paying half of everything (I have always been stubbornly financially independent). We are now expecting our first (yippee!!) and we are having to consider our financial situation more carefully. There are just so many different options...

Should we each pay half of all joint costs? Should he contribute more towards the mortgage than me? Or should we just share all our money? I could pay for half of everything, but that would leave very little for personal items- what about if I need a new jumper or shoes?

Basically, I'm looking for ideas and inspiration smile How do other people manage this kind of situation?

Any thoughts much appreciated smile


PS I really hate the thought of me in a threadbare pair of jeans having to ask DP for money to buy a new one!!! Am I just being silly? confused

FunnysInLaJardin Thu 03-Jan-13 13:51:34

we share our money equally and always have since we met 25 shock years ago. Our salaries go into one joint account and then I shuffle the money about to make sure there is enough for mortgage CM etc and then we spend what is left. I tell DH roughly how much we have and keep a close eye to make sure we don't over spend

Alibabaandthe40nappies Thu 03-Jan-13 13:55:07

You need to organise your finances so that each of you has the same spending money left.

DH and I pay everything into our joint account, and all the bills, food shopping, family expenses, stuff for the house, cars and children comes out of that.

We each then have an amount of spending money that we put in our personal accounts and can do what we like with.

You also need to think about house ownership, asset ownership, life insurance, wills and all those other things. You as a low earner with a child, unmarried to a higher earning partner will be in quite a vulnerable position. Is there a reason you aren't married? It is the best way to protect yourself and your baby.

TheFallenMadonna Thu 03-Jan-13 13:55:27

We share, and have done since before we started living together.

BadDog Thu 03-Jan-13 13:56:40

oh fgs just share it!

StupidFlanders Thu 03-Jan-13 13:57:32

Start talking right now. Explain how financial situation will change drastically, ask what he thinks the outcome will be, hopefully he will realise he'll have to contribute more without any drama. It should never get to the stage where you need to wear threadbare jeans!!!

TwoFacedCows Thu 03-Jan-13 13:57:37

we share.

CPtart Thu 03-Jan-13 13:59:12

We each put x% of our salaries into a joint account for all joint purchases and are left to spend/save the remainder individually as we wish.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Thu 03-Jan-13 13:59:53

BadDog - there needs to be a mechanism for sharing though.

Otherwise the OP is dependant on the whim of her partner, who might seem to be a great guy but could in theory turn around a bugger off without a backward glance, or suddenly stop transferring money into her account or all the other shite things that people post about on this forum.

brainonastick Thu 03-Jan-13 14:00:13

One joint account, two single accounts.

Work out your joint bills and agreed savings pots, pensions etc, they go into the joint account. Anything left over is split equally so you have the same spending money (adjusted for work expenses, eg if DH needs dry cleaning, more frequent haircuts, to buy lunch at work etc, then he gets that much more spending money).

Adjust as bills or salary changes.

Easy peasy.

And make sure you've done a will and chosen some guardians for your children before they become adults makes note to self.

BadDog Thu 03-Jan-13 14:01:09


still just share - and have a good marriage ;)

rechargemybatteries Thu 03-Jan-13 14:01:39

Everyone should have the same amount of spending money left over is a great idea.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Thu 03-Jan-13 14:01:51

They are not married though...

BadBuddha Thu 03-Jan-13 14:01:53

Same as Fannys above. I'm currently a SAHM mum with another on the way, so no personal income at the moment. We've always paid everything into a joint account and I'm in charge of it smile (At DH's request - he's useless with money). Your current set up would be difficult to maintain while you're on maternity leave I would think (and wouldn't be very fair either IMO) but sorry if I'm making assumptions. Hope you come to some sort of agreement, oh and congratulations!

BadDog Thu 03-Jan-13 14:02:46

good point

oh christ - get married you weirdo!

Fairylea Thu 03-Jan-13 14:03:57

Household joint account for all incomings from both of you - all bills come from this.

Transfer a set amount of whatever is left (minus some taken off for joint savings) into a spending account - each have half to spend equally.

That's how we do it. I am a sahm and dh earns a reasonable amount. We share.

rubyrubyruby Thu 03-Jan-13 14:04:42

I put everything on my credit card and DH pays it grin

LaCiccolina Thu 03-Jan-13 14:10:31

U share ur life and possessions but not money? I really don't get why not. Surely u both earn to provide for the whole, ur selves as a unit? Otherwise ur single aren't u just sharing an address and sex sometimes.

U are starting a family now. That means everything should be in one pot. It's not urs or his but ours. Or baby's as usually turns out! U will be providing an essential part of the family, if u don't believe ur worth to this then give up now. There's much more to life than a salary alone, I've found it eye opening and I was a power hungry career bitch once! I'm much more open and rounded I feel since my kids. It's great! And a challenge

Winterwalk Thu 03-Jan-13 14:11:49

But the best mechanism for sharing is to have one big pot. IMO, it's the only way to go. I'm a teacher and DH earns 4x my f/t salary too. We went joint as soon as we moved in together. At that point he only earned about 10k more than me. It is the easiest , fairest and least complicated way. I gave up work when dc1 was born and there was no way i wanted to be going cap in hand. DH completely agrees and finds the idea of anything else weird too.
Some people pay bills then have equal amount of spending money but that also seems strange to me as some months I'd not need and of it and DH may want to buy something pretty big. So just before Christmas he bought himself the new iPad. It would be silly for him to have to ask if he can use all the spending money that month. I knew he'd bought it so I was more carefully. Likewise when I gave up on my awful bugaboo a few months ago and bought a new pram, DH would have spent less.
I cannot see any other way of being a family unit rather than individuals. When you have children involved, especially if you sah, then your money should be family money.

DottyDot Thu 03-Jan-13 14:12:34

that's insane - why do you pay half when he earns 4x what you do?! I earn nearly 10x what dp does (she works very very part-time!) and I pay for everything except the phone and water - so that she has some bills in her name as that can come in handy for proof of ID for stuff. But I also put money in her account every month to cover other stuff like the food shopping, which dp does because she has more time than me.

We have separate bank accounts - we've been together 21 years this year and always have. When we first got together she used to earn about 3 x what I did so she paid for most things - it's just how it is!

Basically we cover everything between us but how that's covered reflects what we earn. Please don't struggle to pay half if your dp can afford to cover more. I like that dp also sorts out things like birthday presents for ds's friends' parties as she's got more time to get things like that and is the 'school mum'.

I also hope that we've both got a bit of slush our overdrafts for treats as and when we can, so I get my own clothes/books/coffees and dp gets hers.

Maybe draw up a list of the big direct debit stuff and go through them with dp, allocating most to him? Hopefully there'll still be money left over each month for both of you to have small treats - I would hate dp to have to ask me for money!

noddyholder Thu 03-Jan-13 14:14:20

Not married and we just share everything. He pays all bills i do food and going out works out equal. We put everything left at end of month into joint savings account

Winterwalk Thu 03-Jan-13 14:14:21

Oh and when he took a year off to go back and do an MBA, there was just my salary and it never occurred to me no to keep one big pot or to ever question whatever he spent. It was always still our family money.

tittytittyhanghang Thu 03-Jan-13 14:14:54

We do the same as funny. Not married though.

DeafLeopard Thu 03-Jan-13 14:16:25

DH earns ten times what I do - he is not mega well paid, I am just a low earner grin

Any money that comes in is family money. DH wouldn't be able to do his job without me being around for the DCs.

Money goes into joint account, we both spend it on what we need.

DeafLeopard Thu 03-Jan-13 14:17:11

But as someone else has said, do think about protecting yourself if you can by getting legal stuff sorted.

There is an AIBU about marriage with some very pertinent points on it.

heidihole Thu 03-Jan-13 14:18:47

We just have a joint account. His wages go in there, I'm at home with DS and all bills come out and all personal spending money. We both discuss big spends first, but otherwise we just both spend what we want, within reason!

works great.

Adversecamber Thu 03-Jan-13 14:23:01

We do have separate accounts and my DH earns a lot more than me. However he pays for everything apart from food so over many years we do have pretty much the same amount give or take a few quid as disposable income and savings.

WiseKneeHair Thu 03-Jan-13 14:23:22

Agree with the joint account.
We have had one since we moved in together 20 years ago.
All bills, etc come out, some savings and then what is left is shared 50/50 (easy version)
We actually have a complicated spreadsheet of all ingoings and outgoings, but the bottom line is that we have exactly the same amount to spend on ourselves. DO NOT get into the trap of thinking that you have to pay for all the children's expenses, as some people on here seem to do.
BTW, Over the years, it has flucuated who has earned most. I now earn more than DH and that is likely to continue. It is OUR money and we share accordingly.
If you aren't married, please make sure that you both draw up wills.

WineOhWhy Thu 03-Jan-13 14:25:46

I earn a lot more than DH. We dont have a joint account, never have (apart from a while ago when our previous mortgage company seemed to want it but we only paid in enough to cover the mortgage). We still regard all money as "joint" though, just dont feel the need to have a joint account in order to feel that way. My friends think it is quite funny because DH tends to be the one that pays for us when we go out for a meal or something even though I earn a lot more. But I pay the bigger bills (eg mortgage and childcare). If at the end of the month someone was short, we would rejig who paid what. Has never happened though.

AnneElliott Thu 03-Jan-13 14:28:52

We share all the money and gave done since we got married. All money into one joint account and all bills come out. Large purchases are discussed first, otherwise we both spend what we like.

we have seperate and joint bank accounts. Our salaries are paid into our own accounts but we transfer everything except the same amount of personal spending money each into the joint account from which all household expenses (including saving etc) comes from.

This means we both have the same personal spending money each month.

I will stop work soon and so won't actually have an income, but DH and I will agree a personal amount that is the same for both of us. We don't spend a lot on ourselves anyhow, it all goes on the kids!

HelpOneAnother Thu 03-Jan-13 14:39:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

EuroShagmore Thu 03-Jan-13 14:44:04

Different systems work for different people, but it needs to be something that you both feel is fair.

Our system is:
Work out rough max cost of monthly mortgage, bills and food shop
Divide that between us in proportion to salary
Pay that proportion of salary into joint account
Everything else stays in our own accounts for our own spending

I earn a chunk more than my husband so at the moment I pay more of the joint costs than he does. I also have more left over for my own spending and saving.

As the mortgage has gone down, we've left our payments into the joint account at the same level, so there is often a bit of money in there to pay for one off joint purchase (furniture, house repairs, etc., currently fertility treatment sad).

Startail Thu 03-Jan-13 14:44:59

We've always had a joint account, when we were broke students we we're careful and kept accounts.

For many years I have been a SAHM and DH has been reasonably paid and so long as the accounts in credit no one worries.

DH ever moans at me, I do mutter about too many boxes of computer equipment.

As much because we have run out of space as the cost.

BuffyFairyTopsTheTree Thu 03-Jan-13 14:46:11

We have 1 joint a/c and 2 individual accounts. We each keep the same amount of personal spending money and everything else is pooled into the joint a/c.

The mortgage, bills, household expenses, childcare, work related costs, anything for dd or us as a family comes out of the joint a/c.

larrygrylls Thu 03-Jan-13 14:50:08

Well, I earned a lot more than my wife (think 10x) and have a lot more money in total. She chose to have a monthly allowance (as, at the time, she did not feel that she was good with money). That allowance is for what she needs just for herself including a reasonable amount for contingencies. I pay everything else for us and the children. She has my credit card for any family related expenses that she incurs when not with me. In the last year she also inherited some money, which is clearly hers to do as she wants with.

It works well for us, although would not for everyone. Although, in theory, I have hugely more money than my wife, the reality is that I regard most of it as long term money for the whole family and, when I have gone a bit wild, it has more often been on presents than on myself. However, if someone has control and is selfish, I can see that it could be a big problem.

DottyDot Thu 03-Jan-13 14:51:06

Hmm - to be honest I wouldn't want a joint account, as I know I'm much more frivolous than dp and she might get a shock if she saw just how many times I frequented Starbucks...! smile It's not that I don't want to share what I earn because we do, but I also like the idea of a bit of financial independence/freedom.

jaffajiffy Thu 03-Jan-13 15:30:44

We've always had all income go into one account and then moved an amount to each of our own accts for personal spending. I spend my money on clothes, hair, going out with friends, and gifts for DH. It's nice not having to justify hair costs to him, and he doesn't have to justify his iTunes and amazon purchases. When we are together we use joint cash or credit card. I used to contribute 80% of our joint income and now contribute very little as I'm off work trying to stay pregnant after 3 miscarriages. That was a joint decision and therefore a joint 'hit' to reduce our household income. I think if you're taking huge joint life decisions together like starting a family, it's the only fair approach. Congrats on your pregnancy!

Beamur Thu 03-Jan-13 15:36:53

We're unmarried, but have a child and a joint bank account. All our money goes in it, all the bills go out, we each have access to what's left - any big expenses are talked about first. We used to earn the same, but since DD arrived, my income has dropped and his has increased - as if often the way. But we both work both in and out of the home and it seems only fair to share what we have. If he wasn't willing to do this, I wouldn't be willing to live with him. DP is thankfully very kind and generous with money and has no problem with this arrangement.

bamboostalks Thu 03-Jan-13 15:39:49

Get married. Share your money.

nilbyname Thu 03-Jan-13 15:43:00

We share and have done since we got engaged. Prior to that I earned more than DH and I spent more on us.

I have friends who don't split it 50/50 and they argue a fair bit about £.

I work PT earn about 1/4 of what DH earns. We never quibble about money, we just pool it. If I wanted to buy something big or vice versa DH and I would discuss it to see if we needed it and could afford it, but otherwise I spend our money freely and it works for us.

If you go on mat leave, how will you cover your current share? Who will pay for baby things?

I know a woman whose husband makes her cover all the costs of their child to the extent that she is using her pension pot (house sale capital) to do so. I think that is utter madness and could not be with someone so MEAN.

OpheliasWeepingWillow Thu 03-Jan-13 15:46:50

OP marriage would give you much greater financial security than you have now. I say this from a practical perspective.

flowerytaleofNewYork Thu 03-Jan-13 15:50:08

All our money is shared. We make a budget based on total incoming, then work out how much we can afford as spending money each.

We both then transfer into the joint account our total earnings minus the amount we have decided we can afford for personal spending. That amount is the same for both of us, which means DH transfers much more than I do.

I honestly dont think it is wise to share dna if you cant even share your money. How are you going to parent, if you cant communicate properly?

The best way is to let all money be joint, and you both keep the same amount for yourself for private leisure etc.

For example. If he earns 100k and you earn 10 k. All money is pooled together for the greater good of the family, and you both keep £500 per month private money. That is fair. That is equal. When you have children together it does not matter who earns what, and who earns more. You each contribute, and you get even and equal spending money. smile

In this case, you need to swallow your pride. Or get a better paid job. wink

How do you do with holidays, out of interest? Do you insist you only go somewhere that you can afford to pay half? If so poor him, having this great salary, and be bound by your salary in terms of what great experiences life has to offer.

Or your mortgage? Do you restrict your standard of living and your accommodation to what you can afford?

In my view, this is quite controlling....

I second the "get married". If you have a child, this is vital. Or a good will.
As it would be horrid if your dp died, and his parents inherited him, it would leave you and your child in a very vulnerable position.

Mockingcurl Thu 03-Jan-13 16:10:27

We manage ours the same way Funny does. It's worked for 30 years and is the best thing we ever did. No arguments about money, ever.

sandycloud Thu 03-Jan-13 16:18:43

My dp earns a lot more than me and it all goes into one joint account. We have an offset mortgage so this is the best way to do it but we did before too. When we first got together he was unemployed and paying off debts so I supported him then even though I didn't earn much. I do remind him of this even though it wasn't much money it was all we had between us. We don't ask if we can buy stuff. I don't miss having my own account at all. I sort out all the shopping and bills too so is easier like this.

heymammy Thu 03-Jan-13 16:26:54

After many many years of me 'asking' DP for spending money, which was embarrassing tbh as I'd always worked until being a sahm, we have a joint account for all bills including mobiles, fuel, mortgage etc, X amount is paid in every month. DP also pays X amount into our savings account then the rest is 'spends' divided into three for myself, DP and DC.

yellowsubmarine53 Thu 03-Jan-13 16:35:24

My dh earns much more than me (because I work part-time) and we've never got round to setting up a joint bank account.

Most of the bills come from his account, and I sometimes transfer a contribution and sometimes not depending on what I've bought that month. We tend to take it in turns to buy big things eg I pay for holiday, he takes spending money.

But we live within our means, and have the same attitudes to spending and saving. I think problems arise if things are tight or there are dramatically different opinions on what is a reasonable expense etc.

If you're going on maternity leave, his income basically becomes a joint one as you're raising your family. I agree with the idea that you should put all your money in one pot, account for necessary outgoings, savings etc then split the rest. But too lazy to do it myself!

QueenofPlaids Thu 03-Jan-13 16:40:57

We calculate our joint account contributions based on the idea that we are both left with the same amount of spending money after joint expenses have been paid.

We cover our own cars / other transport & mobile phones, but everything house related, food etc. is covered by our joint account.

This has been the arrangement both when he was earning more and more recently when I've been the one with the higher income.

It works for us. We both work FT, so it seems fair.

We also have bonuses and other random payments but try not to get too focussed on these. Most if the time these will go on a holiday for both of us or something for the house anyway.

BlingBubbles Thu 03-Jan-13 16:43:05

We have a joint account have had one even before we got married. To us it makes the most sense, I can never understand couples where one pays the mortgage, the other groceries etc, that wouldn't work for us. Everything goes into one account and spent from there.

The only time it doesn't work out very well is for birthdays and Christmas when we both know what's coming out.

Hulababy Thu 03-Jan-13 16:54:35

DH earns about 13-15 times my salary.

We have had joint accounts since living together. Everything goes into it and we each use the accounts with no issues. Infact, there are some accounts in my name only due to tax planning.

DH has never felt I shouldn;t use "his" money as we don't see the money in that way. He has earned more than me for a long time - I earned more the first couple of years, then similar for a couple of years, then his increased. i then had mat leave and later ob reduced my hours, and now earn far less as have a job earning far less than I used to because it fits in better with flexibility of school hours and working around our DD. We figure that DH is only able to earn such a high salary because I am able to be flexible and work round DD's hours and needs. If I had a similar job to DH then we;d be paying out for more than we now do for child minders, cleaners, and other services.

Basically its a partnership. We each bring different things into the family.

We both mention any bigger sends to one another before buying, out of courtesy and any really big buys we discuss beforehand anyway and make joint decisions. Smaller spends are just bought by either of us as and when. Everything comes out of these accounts.

DH is the one who monitors the accounts, knows how much in each, sorts DD and biills, etc. But that is through choice. I do other stuff in the house and he is interested in financial stuff whereas I am not, I do have full access to all the accounts though and now how to access and see/sort things should I wish.

BadDog Thu 03-Jan-13 16:58:02

lol at competitive times salarying

My h earns 20 million times my salary of 2billion pounds a minute

FamilyGuy22 Thu 03-Jan-13 17:17:17

I earn roughly 15x my wife and it has always gone into one pot. However, neither of us take the mick so is all good smile.

We both decided to start a family so who earns and pays for what is irrelevant. There is no such thing as 'my' or 'her' money except for savings where we max out our ISA allowances each year. This also ensures protection for my wife though so is good that we kind of have identical savings in our own names. Ultimately though, this is also irrelevant as the money is 'ours' at the end of the day.

For us it's the best way as there's no degrading, "can I have some money please". If she wants a treat then she can knock herself out. If I fancy one then great. But like I say, neither of us take the mick so works perfectly.

Good luck!

Glittertwins Thu 03-Jan-13 17:25:59

Another one for sharing it with a joint account and communication/honesty.
We have swapped between who the higher earner is but it all goes into one pot and then moved about for tax in the savings accounts which means oddly enough it is me with most of our assets.

nickelbabylyinginamanger Thu 03-Jan-13 17:36:36

I would work out what the family expenditure is (bear in mind that children cost a lot of money, so you will have to keep revisiting this as you go along)
This means any household goods, food, bills, mortgage, insurance, licences, car tax etc.

build in a decent "what if" contingency budget and then each of you pay a percentage of your income to make this work.

if your Family Expenditure is £100 and he earns yourwagex4, then you should pay £20 a month and he should pay £80. (4x £20)

Keep adjusting this as your situations change - especially if you're going to do maternity leave or extended ,or sahm.

Make sure you both have proper savings plans - make full use of your ISA allowances (and make sure you do the same for your child), and keep a good amount back in a long-term high interest savings account.

Make sure you both also have decent spending allowances - this is something that can be a proper bugbear, if one partner gets 4x as much spending money as the other just because they earn more.

also, just reading Bling's comment about birthday/christmas presents - start a separate fund for those as well.
You can keep putting money into it, but make sure you both put the same amount in, if you're going that way (use the percentage calculations to make it fairer)

makemineahalf Fri 04-Jan-13 00:09:57

DH earns a lot more than I do and we treat all money as family money, although we don't have dc together and I have a DS who is not DH's. We still have separate accounts, but that's an administrative thing to protect his credit rating - we try to keep our finances separate on paper. But I use his credit card to pay for online transactions and we keep a kitty topped up with cash withdrawn from both our accounts (neither of us keep tabs on this, just whoever has been to the cashpoint). All bills come out of his account. We have savings accounts in individual names to make the most of our ISA/tax limits.

Neither of us has to justify purchases to each other and we both have the same attitude to spending so it all works out. Most big spends are household things/holidays and we discuss them to make a decision anyway. There's always surplus left at the end of the month, which we use to overpay the mortgage.

Arisbottle Fri 04-Jan-13 00:13:05

My DH earns around 4times as much as me, although a significant proportion of that is paid out in maintenance so the difference is not as great as it could be. Our wages go into a bill bank, we then pay out monthly expenses and a proportion into savings. A set amount goes into another account for food and then a direct debit for each of us of the same amount to play with.

BackforGood Fri 04-Jan-13 00:34:01

Over the time we've been together, we've been in the situation of dh not earning, while I was, of me being on various maternity pays, or me earning more than him, and of him eraning more than me. It's irrelevant really once you are a unit, surely - it's just the same as with 'chores' or housework or childcare, each person should have equal 'recreation time' they can do with what they want. Well, IMO, each half of the couple should have equal spending power.
What I would do is put all money coming into the house into the joint account, out of which all bills come, then set up a standing order to each of your own personal accounts, for your 'spending money'. How much this is will depend on what you've budgeted for weekly / monthly living expenses + holidays + savings + pensions + emergency savings etc, and of course how much is left after all these have been paid.

nilbyname Fri 04-Jan-13 09:00:40

Where is the op??

rubyrubyruby Fri 04-Jan-13 09:01:53

She's out spending her DPs money grin

purpleaura Fri 04-Jan-13 10:04:20

I'm here! Wow- totally amazing response. Thanks so much everyone who has replied. It has been incredibly eye opening and stimulated some really important discussion between DP and I. Fascinated to read that so many people share their money, and knowing that makes it much easier for me and DP to agree to do the same.

After MUCH (!!!) discussion, we have decided that it is high time that we pooled our resources and we're gonna mull over the details of exactly how to do that best. I really like the idea of paying things in proportion to our earnings, but actually I think we'd feel like much more of a tight little family unit if we just shared everything.

DP has paid for some big things before now, but it has always been his money and his decision. So from now on, its gonna be our money and our decision and that feels so much better!

I can't believe that we haven't done this sooner blush I think pre-baby, things were just rolling along okay and neither of us had questioned it.

So now, we're feeling buoyed up, tied together and we are investigating the marriage thing. I'll check out that thread- thanks DeafLeopard

Thanks again everyone for being so candid about your finances. I really appreciate your honesty and ideas. smile

DottyDot Fri 04-Jan-13 15:57:59

just to say I talked to dp this morning based on this thread and asked her if she thought we should have a joint account like most grown up people seem to do. She immediately said NO WAY because she'd get too cross at my frivolous spending so it's better for her not to know grin


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