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

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

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

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

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

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.

saintlyjimjams Fri 21-Jun-13 01:05:29

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 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.

MrsTerryPratchett Fri 21-Jun-13 01:46:11

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!

AKissIsNotAContract Fri 21-Jun-13 05:35:47

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>

StealthPolarBear Fri 21-Jun-13 06:51:00

"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.

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