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How to persuade DP that we should share our wages equally?

(115 Posts)
sunshineandfreedom Thu 10-Jan-13 08:31:08

Hello, really hoping for some practical advice here!

DP and I are getting hitched in August. Currently, we have seperate bank accounts and each pay exactly half of every bill, leaving our 'spending money' seperate. He earns a couple of hundred more each month than I do; hopefully that will be changing very soon but that's the situation as it stands.

I have always believed that we should keep it this way until recently, but it's starting to feel silly. When I broached the idea of a joint account and pooling our wages before splitting them equally, including spending money, he seemed to feel that I was basically just asking for some free money (because I would end up better off out of this, and he worse).

BUT. And here's the but. Although part of me believes in completely seperate finances, the other part believes that in order to be completely equal in partnership what we actually need is pooled resources. From a feminist perspective (with me, there's always a feminist perspective!), it's this:

A) Keeping finances seperate technicaly means we are 'financially independant' from each other (although not true, as neither of us could maintain our current lifestyle withoutt he other paying half of stuff).

B) Pooling our resources means we both have equal amounts of everything, which actually feels more fair in some ways.

So I'm not sure whether to push it or not. I currently feel strongly in favour of B, and think we should sort this out before we have DC in a few years. But every time I bring it up he is negative and seems to basically think I'm trying to take his money (which makes me think he's being childish and quite frankly a bit of a knob).


(X-posting to the Feminist Chat board)

sunshineandfreedom Thu 10-Jan-13 11:09:09

Okay, so I've drafted what I plan to say. I'll ask him to sit down with me and talk about it with a glass of wine of an evening, and basically say this:


At the moment, we lives financially as two separate people. When we are married, the law will see our incomes as totally combined. I therefore feel that we should prepare for this.

Ideally, I would like to have a joint bank account. Both our wages will be paid into this, and all bills will come out of it. Whatever is left after bills and savings we will transfer into our single-person card one banking accounts, split evenly down the middle.

I thought for a long time about doing it by percentages, but that means that if one of us lost our job, or in the future when I may be on maternity leave, there is a possibility that one of us will end up with no money for themselves whatsoever – I never want you to be in that position, and I hope that you feel the same way about me.

Our finances have been weird in our relationship, and by no means perfect or even good sometimes! We need to fix this.

When we are married, and actually already, I see us as a family unit of two (plus the cat), not two single people. We are a family. I feel that our finances should be family finances, not split into “this is yours and this is mine”. This will set us up for a secure future together and also make things like saving easier.

Right now, yes, you will be a tiny bit “worse off” out of it, but I ask you not to see it like that. What we earn, we earn for our family unit – as it stands, of two plus cat – we do not earn it for ourselves as individuals. One day I’ll be earning a helluva a lot as a lecturer (I hope!), and we’ll all be better off then!

I love you. I already see us as a family. Just because we don’t have kids yet, doesn’t mean we’re not a family. I want our money to reflect this, and think that if we do this now it will save us a world of trouble in the future. It will also make it easier for us to create some savings, which we can then use to pay off our debts faster and save for travel or a house deposit.

I also think that this will strengthen our “togetherness” as we’ll be “in it together”, so to speak. It will help us to be generally more considerate of each other because we’ll feel more united – an “us” instead of “you and I”.
I hope that you understand what I’m trying to do here. What do you think?


I think that explains it. He probably genuinely hasn't thought about it from that perspective. He can be a bit dense sometimes.

VenusRising Thu 10-Jan-13 11:15:00

Hear hear brainonastick, these are real life situations and need most urgently to be addressed to your satisfaction, and if he's niggle about it, in writing. Try counselling with Relate, as it does need to be sorted before you enter in to a legal contract with him ( marriage).

I would consider financial issues like this to be a red flag for abuse.

Consider also that women earn on average 20% less than men doing a similar job, and factor this into your spending money, and overheads.

Tb quite frank, I don't like the sound of him....... Hummm......

StillSmilingAfterAllTheseYears Thu 10-Jan-13 11:16:25

I agree you need to discuss thoroughly. In my view all money is family money, the risk of the proportionate approach is if you give up work after ML, you put in 0% towards bills but are left with no money to spend on yourself. While partner still has money for hobbies etc. A friend of mine in just this pickle, asking her husband for essentially pocket money.

Your dp's attitude sounds horrid tbh. On relationships board they say often 'when someone tells you who he is, listen'. Your dp is saying he is selfish and not a team player imo. Hope you have a good chat about this. I would see non-pooled resources as a dealbreaker.

sunshineandfreedom Thu 10-Jan-13 11:18:45

Thanks StillSmiling - I do genuinely believe that he just hasn't thought about it properly. It is very out of character and not at all in line with how he is in every other aspect of our relationship.

brainonastick Thu 10-Jan-13 11:19:04

I think that sounds entirely reasonable.

From a practical and credit rating point of view, you might find it easier to maintain your two single accounts, but set up a joint account into which you both pay and from which all the bills and savings come - and work the maths so you are left with similar/equal amounts in your single accounts for your own spending. We have a number of joint savings accounts as well, eg pensions/cars etc, but one non-specific for the 'buffer' for everyday things like a new roof, or just if one of us wants something quite expensive that they can't afford, and we both agree its fine to spend the money.

I also think you should raise future DC and whether either of you have strong opinions on how many/when and very importantly, who looks after them. Many posts on here with angst caused by wanting different numbers of children, or wanting different childcare arrangements or parenting philosophies.

Good luck.

brainonastick Thu 10-Jan-13 11:24:10

"He can be a bit dense sometimes"

I recognise this OP DH I'm thinking of you. Some of us mere mortals are not abusive or mean or selfish. Just maybe a little resistant to change and giving a knee jerk reaction, not having thought things through properly. I would give him a chance to have a proper think about this. If he won't shift his opinion, well, then you've got a problem. But it sounds likely he is just being dense and a bloke.

sunshineandfreedom Thu 10-Jan-13 11:24:15

DC is a conversation we've had and check on very often to see if anything's changed for either of us. It's start trying for the first when we're 27, for now we both want one but are aware that this might change when we have one, I will obviously take maternity leave and when he's home everything will be split 50:50. Our parenting philosophy is the same... Fortunately there I think we're set!

sunshineandfreedom Thu 10-Jan-13 11:24:53

Thanks brainonastick grin

strumpetpumpkin Thu 10-Jan-13 11:26:01

if he doesnt want joint finances, then keep them seperate. As long as neither of you are going short, I dont see the problem. I think seperate finances are much healtheir. Me and dp have always had seperate money and always will. My parents always had seperate money.

EvenIfYouSeeAPoppy Thu 10-Jan-13 11:27:08

Dh and I have had joint finances since we moved in together 2 and a bit years into our relationship (and 2 months before we married) and for the last five years or so have only had a joint account. Our financial positions relative to each other have changed a lot over the years. We had a stint where I was working FT and he was a SAHP; then we were earning roughly equal amounts for quite a while, and now he earns quite a bit more than me. We pay for everything, including personal expenses, from the one account. We are both fairly sensible with money, which helps; I am the one who does the budgeting and so dh will ask me whether or not we can afford something, or sometimes he will suggest a purchase and I will veto because I know what's coming up, but that's fine; it has rarely caused an argument.

Tbh I can't imagine why anyone would make the commitment of getting married but not be prepared to share finances (I'm sure there are situations in which keeping things separate can make sense, but not in the normal run of things). Marriage is not just a romantic day, it's a legal contract, ideally for life, with significant implications. I can't help feeling there's something flatmate-like about a committed relationship where there's such a defined sense of ownership over his/her money, to the extent of paying each other back when one partner covers more of a particular expense or assigning areas which 'he' and 'she' pays.

brainonastick Thu 10-Jan-13 11:27:26

Well that sounds positive at least. Have you discussed what happens to the finances if you decide not to go back FT (PT or SAHM) once you've had a DC, and if he is OK with that? IME you can't really plan for what you will feel like, and everyone is different. Also what would happen if you have problems conceiving - ie if you are on the same page re IVF/cost of many tries/adoption. All less likely scenarios, but worth bringing up before you tie the knot.

brainonastick Thu 10-Jan-13 11:28:51

Sorry - that was very sexist of me - he could be the one not going back PT and covering childcare of course!

BertieBotts Thu 10-Jan-13 11:36:53

IME parenting philosophy goes out of the window fairly quickly - better to know that you can discuss emotionally heavy topics respectfully smile

QueenofPlaids Thu 10-Jan-13 11:38:14

We use the approach that we're both left with the same amount of free cash at the end of the month. The joint account gets a budget for food, utilities, mortgage etc. plus a buffer for repairs. I am the higher earner.

Your partner's response would make me very nervous given the difference at the moment is relatively small (I could maybe understand if you are unmarried and the difference in take home was thousands of pounds). What happens if the differential grows for any reason? Yes DC could be one, but there are others.

Put it this way - 5 years ago DP and I earned almost exactly the same amount. 12 months ago, through luck (good and bad) and a few good moves on my part, I was taking home significantly more than him and our outgoings were massive. If we split things the way you do, we could literally have had very different standards of living in the same house, or had to make joint purchase decisions based on what the lower earner can afford (I know couples who operate like this, but frankly I think it's bonkers!).

Is he otherwise generous? When you go out together, does he get out a calculator for the bill? grin. If he expects absolutely everything split 5050 he sounds a bit mean!

sunshineandfreedom Thu 10-Jan-13 11:40:55

We can definitely do that, Bertie - as I say, this topic really is an oddity! I feel much better about it now I have a discussion plan smile

Our thinking for the future is that everything is subject to change - the important thing is to be open and honest with each other about how we feel about stuff, because that way we can have a good dialogue about things, and if there's a bit deal we can talk through it.

QueenofPlaids Thu 10-Jan-13 11:42:39

Oh I see the thread has moved on a bit while I was typing up War and Peace grin

When DP and I first agreed our approach he thought proportional was fairer. Once I explained it, including the long term view (salaries and circumstances can change) he quite quickly 'got it'. He was also just being a bit dense wink

smilingthroughgrittedteeth Thu 10-Jan-13 11:43:04

DP and I have our wages paid into seperate bank accounts, we then put the same amount each into a joint account to cover rent, bills, shopping and a bit over.

What's left in our personal accounts remains our own money, I earn more than DP and have less outgoings then him so have more disposable income but if for whatever reason one of us needed money for something then the other would pay more into the joint account that month.

We still see all money as family money but we both have very different attitudes to money and by keeping seperate accounts it means I don't moan about his easy going attitude of spending and he doesn't get annoyed at my need to save, I have a savings account and an account for car related expenses that I pay money into each month and my spending account.

Its pretty much guarenteed that by the last week of the month he has no money left and I cover petrol for both of us.

We don't have children together yet but I cant see it changing if we do, they way we deal with finances suits our relationship BUT the difference is that we have discussed it and agree unlike you and your DP, I don't think there is a right or wrong way but he does sound like he is being unreasonable in not discussing it

brainonastick Thu 10-Jan-13 11:44:20

Bertie - I agree. And parenting philosophy is definitely a moveable feast. I think mine has gone from Gina Ford, through Toddler Taming and few other thrown at the window books, and ending up as 'more sleep please, and failing that, more wine' grin. I think I meant more that he wasn't expecting the OP to turn into a SAHM, 1950s housewife, as soon as children were in the house. Some men seem to time travel back through several decades once they have children.

StillSmilingAfterAllTheseYears Thu 10-Jan-13 11:48:51

Do come & update. I am fingers crossed he's just not thought it through.

I can't think how to phrase this without sounding like patronising auntie, but very impressed you're discussing these topics in advance. Will hopefully save much angst in future. I otoh moved in with a selfish chap, had to do maaaajor unravelling to escape. Luckily I broke off the engagement! Money is such a potential for unhappiness and power issues. Sadly how it is shared does matter.

smilingthroughgrittedteeth Thu 10-Jan-13 11:54:04

Just realised that sounds like I have lots of play money and DP doesn't blush

I have a savings account that I try and pay into each month and another account that I pay into each month that covers car tax, mot's and unexpected car related bills, both these accounts are used by both of us but they are in my name as I had them before I met DP, by the time I've paid into those I have the same if not less than DP to spend, I can just budget better

LadyKooKoo Thu 10-Jan-13 13:02:19

Once we got married, DH and I opened a joint account and both wages go into that and what is left is split evenly between our own individual accounts and our savings account. All of the bills come out of the joint account even if it is a bill specific to only one of us (my Cineworld subscription for example).

funnypeculiar Thu 10-Jan-13 13:05:31

Sunshine - that's a great conversation starter, well done. I love the idea of your little 2 + cat family. When dh and I got married, we talked to my dad about going away for Christmas - as we were nervous what my mum would think if we werent' around. He told me that we were a family now, and the most important thing was that my family was happy - if something worked for dh & I we should just do it. Obv not at the expense of others all the time, but I think it's a good starting place.

One thought. If it were me, I would want the conversation to go this way:
1. Me telling DP how I felt, what my priorities were
2. DP telling me what he felt, what his priorities were
3. Us working together to come up with a soln (that might be me saying I've thought of x and y, but I don't think they'll work, how about z?)

I'm sure you would in RL (you sound very sensible and thoughtful) but make sure you give him a chance to express any thoughts and concerns before you jump to a solution.

sunshineandfreedom Thu 10-Jan-13 13:13:27

I may have to invent in a talking conch, a la Lord of the Flies wink

sunshineandfreedom Thu 10-Jan-13 13:13:34


defineme Thu 10-Jan-13 13:26:19

We have had a joint account and split everything since I moved in with dh. I didn't even wait until we got married. The only reason not to this that I can think of is if one person is really shit with money. Dh and I are pretty similar. If either of us had an expensive hobby I suppose we would discuss it with each other before making large purchases, but we discuss most stuff anyway eg if I'm thinking of going away for the weekend with friends I'll have a think about a) can we afford it and b) has dh had much fun recently ie is there a balance of spending so that it's fair-it can't be absolutely equal eg my haircut costs more than his, but roughly fair is what we aim for. The matter of who earns more is absolutely irrelevent:how could that be an equal partnership/kind if that was an issue?

I don't think it's complicated, I actually think it's very simple and what we keep on banging on to the kids about-sharing reflects the love we have for each other and our commitment to this family unit. I'm an individual and I'm a member of this family: you can be both.

Or to put it even more simply: ask yourself is he being kind? If the answer is no then he's not a suitable partner imho.

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