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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

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


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

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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

Where is the op??

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.

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.

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.

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)

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.

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!

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

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

PureQuintessence Thu 03-Jan-13 15:57:53

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Get married. Share your money.

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.

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!

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