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Newlyweds and money matters

(7 Posts)
cheeseandchive Wed 15-May-13 17:35:48

Hi all

Not posting with a problem as such, just need someone to tell me to pull myself together really!

DH and I have been married 6 months, not living together or sharing finances before that. Now obviously have mortgage, joint bills etc. We have one income as DH works full-time and I am a full-time student. We discussed me getting a PT job but agreed that we don't really need the money at this stage and it would mean less time together/less time on uni work etc so both agreed I wouldn't for the time being while we get used to being married/homeowners etc.

The thing is, I find it really hard to see his money as 'our money'. DH is totally amazing, really generous and does see it as our money, as do I in theory. We both get the same personal spending money, I have a personal account that this goes into and also full access to joint account for food/household stuff. He never makes me feel like I need to ask permission to spend, though we do both consult each other on bigger purchases/update each other on what we've spent.

I do feel like a dependent, even though DH never makes me feel that way. Is this just how it is when you first combine finances and one of you earns more? How do I stop feeling indebted to him? Does this feeling go away after you've been married a while?!

cheeseandchive Wed 15-May-13 17:36:33

Really sorry if this sounds like a stealth boast by the way. I'm aware people have much bigger problems than me, I just wanted to get opinions.

lemonstartree Wed 15-May-13 19:18:41

I think you are LUCKY ! look at your studying as an investment in your joint future.. you will have greater earning potential if you have more qualifications.. so it is for that reason that, atm, your DH is earning and you are not. Later, if you have children, you might not work outside the home for a while - that will be because you are doing the JOB of raising your (joint) children. If you look at yourselves as a couple, working together for the good of the unit, it might be easier ?

Skinnywhippet Wed 15-May-13 21:38:55

Don't worry-doesnt sound like a stealth boast to me. I think in the future it will depend on what you earn in your career and what he earns in his. My husband earns a lot more than me but I have no problem spending his money. My money is mine and so is his! You feel dependent because whilst you remain a student, you are dependent! I do think this will change once you have an income you have earnt rather than an allowance. I'm nosy.....what bracket of earnings does your OP earn? 10-20k, 20-30k, 40-50k, 50-60k, 70k+.

Xiaoxiong Wed 15-May-13 22:10:43

I think it's telling that you didn't live together before you got married or share finances so this is all new territory. DH and I lived together and had a joint account for bills and other joint expenses like food for 4 years before we got married and yes, it did take some getting used to - but when we got married, lumping our money all together in the common pot felt like the natural next step. We have the same arrangement you do with a joint account and personal spending money and everything left over swept into savings at the end of the month.

Remember that you're in this for the long haul. When DH and I first met, we were both students. Then I qualified and got a great job, he still was earning nothing doing internships, then he was incurring debt as a student and I was supporting both of us, then he qualified and started earning as well but I earned a lot more, then I went part-time after having DS and we were earning about the same, and finally I left my job to start something up on my own and DH is now supporting the whole family. If we had at each point tried the this-is-yours-and-this-is-mine approach, there would have been no fair way to take account of these fluctuations.

floppyjoe Wed 15-May-13 23:43:32

I am in a very similar situation, DH and I got married last year and we didn't live together beforehand either. I'm also a student (but p/t, with other caring responsibilities). Choosing to marry without cohabiting first was a conscious decision by me, as my security/finances were affected by either cohabiting or marriage, so it was a big risk for me to do either of these, but at least marriage gives you some legal rights.

It has been hard to adjust to having joint finances, so many people ask me what work I do (I'm a mature student) and I don't really like to tell them that DH is supporting me. We had to verbalise some of it at first, to get us used to the idea (talking about our things rather than mine or his), and I think we're both still used to making independent decisions about finances, but we're slowly adjusting.

Skinnywhippet is right, you are a dependent of your DH in the eyes of most authorities. E.g., for me, HMRC stopped my tax credits and I also could no longer access discretionary funding for my degree because they take into account the household income, and I've also lost child benefit (for DS who isn't fathered by DH). I'm guessing your student funding has been affected similarly (IIRC, if you get married, you are no longer assessed on your parents' income but your husband's, and he's expected to support you in the same way your parents would). DH and I were both clear about these changes before we got married, and he accepts them because he has integrity and recognises that he needs to support his family, and now we are married, DS and I are part of his family. If I hadn't married DH then I would be eligible for more funding from other sources, but they rightly expect him to support me, so I don't feel guilty or uncomfortable about that at all.

cheeseandchive Thu 16-May-13 10:23:53

Thanks everyone, what you've said really helps!

You're right, thinking of us as a couple does change things - it just takes a bit of getting used to, especially as it's all so new. I think I find it easier to attach more value to his job because he gets paid and 'compensate' for my lack of money with doing loads of housework and cleaning which I then end up resenting because I'm neglecting my work! Even DH doesn't see it like that, so I've got no idea why I do!

Skinny, he earns £30k. I think we're actually v fortunate in lots of ways to be living on one income early on - it's really good practice if/when we make the shift to one of us being a SAHP!

I will be taking everything you've all said on board, thanks very much for replying - really interesting to hear all your stories too.

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