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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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

KansasCityOctopus Fri 21-Jun-13 18:08:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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.

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


There is no consensus on MN

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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.

attheendoftheday Fri 21-Jun-13 10:53:59

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.

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?

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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!

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.

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