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Husband I'm separating from's obsession with money.

(83 Posts)
Doughnut123 Thu 10-Oct-13 13:58:02

I am separated from my husband, but we still live together at the moment. We are separating after 15 years of marriage and 3 children.
Our relationship has been in trouble for years, but now I've had enough and we are separated . He agrees that we cannot go on like this. We've had counselling, but there are fundamental differences in how we want to live/see life, that cannot be resolved.
We still get on as friends, and, at the moment, everything is amicable.
However, my husband saw a solicitor a couple of weeks ago and one thing he said about the meeting haunts me. He said that he had been advised that I would only have a claim on his pension if we divorce.
'But we are going to divorce,' I said.
I could sense that he was anxious about this, but he said no more.
What gets me , is that it all seems to come down to money with him, in the end. He told me that he still loved me when I pushed for the separation. How can someone supposedly in love with their wife, be more concerned about her getting her hands on any of his pension, than the fact that she's leaving him?
He is a very high earner and puts a huge amount into pension funds. We don't have a joint account, partly because I wanted to retain my independence with my current account. But, He told me how much he earns recently and I was shocked. It was really when my solicitor broke it down so that I could see how much he earns per month, that it hit me.
He is a penny pincher. He's not mean with the bigger expenses so much, it's the small stuff, day to day,that gets me, like refusing the children a bag of sweets each at the cinema, because he thought they were too pricey. There's a general angst about money.
He is very careful, and squirrels a lot away, in shares and savings, which , I know, is admirable. But, I feel that he's so wrapped up in money( his job is too- he works for an insurance broker!) that he misses out on living and enjoying it too much. There's no spontaneity. There is a protocol to be followed if we get any work done on the house. We HAVE to have 3 quotes before we decide who to go with!
I feel stifled. I'm not at all a spend thrift and love the simple things in life.
I live more in the moment and he plans meticulously.It also feels quite controlling. He pays me £400 per month, but I have a joint credit card that I get food shopping, clothes for the children, with. I don't know how much is in his account, but now I know how much he gets per month I feel angry. He frequently says that we need to ' watch the money ,' so I get worried about it.
I know that I am in a very fortunate position and I know and have worked with a lot of very poverty stricken people.
But, I think this also highlights for me his preoccupation with money, because it is unjustified.
He's never been poor, his family are middle class and his dad is a real miser. As a result, of course, they have a lot of money.
It is the end of our relationship and I can see he is heading the same way as his dad, so I have to get out.
Surely, a man who really still loved his wife, would give up all his worldly goods, if he could still have her love?It just seems, sadly, that this is what a relationship can amount to, in the end. I would love to hear your thoughts.

Sahmof3 Thu 10-Oct-13 22:10:38

Doughnut123, you sound like a lovely person and I hope that my earlier post didn't sound a little harsh, it certainly wasn't meant to. Your husband abandoning you in your hour of need is unforgivable and you shouldn't have to live with bloody slugs coming up through the floorboards. Given the huge amount he earns, he does sound like a bloody miser. I'd certainly think my husband was tight if he didn't buy my kids sweets in the cinema if he was earning that amount.

HomicidalPsychoJungleCat Thu 10-Oct-13 23:00:36

The way you describe things financially seems a lot like our house, except I'm the one who deals with finances here. (Though dhearns most of the money) this is because he is and always has been disorganised with money, disinterested in financial planning and happy for me to deal with things. He does have full access to his bank account, that his salary goes into and I just ask him to shift bits when needed.

Tbh I think with so many families feeling the pinch, even relatively good earners, the measures you describe are not hugely penny pinching... in fact I'd love to have been more organised about putting more away for our future and haven't (yet).

£120k sounds a lot, but it does depend on where you live. To put a different slant on it He probably feels scared of losing half of everything he planned so hard to create, (and although I utterly get that your marriage must have broken down for other reasons and I'm not commenting on that in any way!) I CAN see, as the saver, budgeter and planner in my family how that must hurt him. It's like building a house and then someone wanting to cut it in half and take it away. I'd be gutted too. I think I'd probably grieve for it tbh. (But NOT more than for my lost marriage!)

True though, that had he been as bothered about you half as much as his money then you may not even be at this juncture at all. I hope it all works out amicably for you OP.

payhisdebt Fri 11-Oct-13 06:14:37

I think your husband's attitude to money sounds not unreasonable and not a million miles from mine !
I don't understand your point about " if he loved his wife" he'd be more sharing / less concerned about finances in the split or whatever . you are leaving him , no wonder he is reluctant to share. I'd be exactly the same . I don't know anyone who,earns that kind of money who does not work extremely hard to get it .

and I don't understand your problem really because you don't sound in the least but greedy or grasping. You are getting rid of him and won't have to be annoyed at his day to day attitude to money ( which seems to be a big thing for you ) and you seem to be happy to accept a reasonable settlement.

if things are amicable now I would absolutely advise you try to agree on as much as possible WITHOUT lawyers.

good luck and I do hope you can stay friends .

perfectstorm Fri 11-Oct-13 14:34:38

Have you thought of counselling together? Not to seek to reconcile, but to split amicably and respectfully. He may be focusing on the money because it's how he is dealing with avoiding the emotions, who knows.

I do think avoiding lawyers and trying to reach a settlement you can both live with will save a fortune, save huge stress, and be infinitely better for the children. You will co-parent better if you can like one another. It's devastating to kids when parents don't.

I appreciate he annoys you with the money, and I do also think that given his income he's been extremely mean with you on the personal expenses front. But if you get a sensible settlement you'll have control of your own finances in future, and he his. I don't think either attitude is wrong, tbh. Just different.

Offred Fri 11-Oct-13 16:03:14

Surely £400pcm does not even cover child maintenance for 3 dc if he has a huge wage? I have four, only got 2 with x h who doesn't have huge salary and maintenance is £138 per week...

I think he is being tight there.

I think I can understand where you might be coming from on the sweets thing.

When I was little my dad had a really high wage but he always went on and on about being poor, was angry about money, always saving it, never allowing us treats or presents we wanted or making us feel bad for having expensive gifts (not outlandish, ruined my christmas present of a £100 bike once by being angry) because they were apparently too expensive. He always spent a lot of money on himself and his own hobbies (think £1000 a time on model trains).

Now we are all grown up and both my parents are on massive salaries and have huge savings and he is still obsessing over money, still restricting what my mum can spend. I think he is financially abusive and his saving was about him having all the money all for him.

My h and I are splitting up, his first comment was to shout about me "taking" h's house. H has moved to bedsit over the road in reality we are sharing the house and have separate bedrooms. So I think being obsessional unnecessarily about saving and treats for the family can be indicative of financial abuse.

Saving is all well and good but IMHO it is quite important that a family has enough at every stage, not that one person has more than enough to retire on.

Doughnut123 Fri 11-Oct-13 19:52:51

Thank you to all of you who sent messages. We are going to mediation to sort out the financial side of things. We did go to Relate a few months ago, for that very reason, Perfectstorm. I organised it, to help him come to terms with the separation.

I feel that I have not been very clear about what I have written- exhaustion, emotion and a poor short term memory are not conducive to accuracy!

To be fair to him, I do spend on myself on the credit card, so I am not limited by the £400pcm he gives me. But I don't really like using a credit card. It goes against the grain. I think of a credit card as a last resort.
I don't really understand why he uses one so much, apart from the convenience of them. If I was getting around £6,000 PCM ( I still can't believe how much he gets ), there's no way that I would use a credit card like he does.

I know that he has the family's best interests at heart, and some if his money goes into long term savings for the children and I know that the pension was to help me as well, as mine will be very small.
He is extremely good with money, which I know is a really important thing. He's thinking about our future.

However, I still can't escape this feeling of control. It may make no sense to some of you, but that's how it feels.

There was an incident last year which illustrates this feeling.
A charity worker came to the door (a reputable charity). He was asking for a donation monthly. Now, I know that a lot of people will not sign up to anything like this and I am usually one of them. It has been drummed into me not to sign up to anything on the doorstep- which, in itself, makes me feel like a child, incapable of making a decision and gullible.

Anyway, I talked to the charity worker, who was very nice - I know, they always are and he was good at his job!
Ordinarily, I would have said no thank you, but, all the time that I was talking, I could see my husband lurking uncomfortably in the kitchen, obviously very anxious that I might part with some cash.
But because he was doing this, it made want to sign up all the more! I suddenly just wanted to rebel, like a teenager! So I signed up to, £10 PCM,which, to him, is nothing.

He was not happy about this, but it was the best feeling! I think I would have signed up to anything, just to piss him off!

Offred Fri 11-Oct-13 20:25:19

Child support alone should be £1500 per month. You are getting less than 1/3 of what you are entitled to for the dc never mind what you should get for yourself in terms of spousal support/share of marital assets.

I believe you've had a rough time and he is likely financially abusive tbh.

maleview70 Fri 11-Oct-13 20:57:52

If he earns £6000 a month then even if he has to pay 1/4
of it every month in maintainance, he is still left with £4500 a month!

He can probably keep his pension if he gives you the house so not sure why he is so panic stricken.

The only thing people need in life is income. Capital is just useless really if you have a good income because you never end up spending it.

If all the capital goes to you then ultimately your kids eventually get it. If he stayed with you your kids would eventually get it! Doesn't therefore really matter to him if he drops dead at 85 with not a penny in the bank as long as his income has been good.

Isoscelesnorks Fri 11-Oct-13 21:17:08

He gives you the credit card so he can check every penny that you have spent. Another very controlling and financially abusive thing to add to the list.

If I was given a credit card for spending I would withdraw cash on it as usually interest is paid from the day it's withdrawn. That would soon have him putting a decent amount monthly into your account.

Doughnut123 Fri 11-Oct-13 21:59:08

Thank you to all of you recent posters, you've really made me think.
I never thought of it as financial abuse, but I suppose it is.
The thing is, we still live together at the moment, so I don't have to rely totally on the amount he puts into my account.
He would have agreed to a joint account, but , it was me who didn't want it in the end. However, that said, I could not live with myself, if I earned as much as he does and wasn't giving him equal access to it.
Shouldn't he want to share it with his wife? It's not equal at all. He should have automatically sorted out a joint account, just for fairness sake.
It's very interesting to get a male view too, so thank you Maleview70. What you wrote has really resonated with me.
You are so right! Eventually, the children will get the money, so what the hell.
Life is for living!
He's not someone who won't spend in holidays and the big stuff, the children are well provided for.

But, it is still controlling and I can't live like this any more. I want independence as much as possible where money is concerned, though, of course, I will still have to rely on his child maintenance.

worsestershiresauce Fri 11-Oct-13 22:34:49

OK, so you're so nice and not bothered about money but when the chips are down I bet you'll take half the pension, and the half the house, and half the savings because that is what you are entitled to. Fair enough, those are the rules, but it does come across as a little hmm that you are happy to benefit from the fact he has been careful, and saved, rather than frittered all the cash away. If he hadn't been so mean with his money and stashed it in a pension (or put another way been careful and chosen a tax efficient method of maximising your family wealth) you wouldn't be walking away now with a nice fat settlement after the divorce.

It is not financial abuse to give someone a credit card for all household expenditure, and petty cash on top. I'll take that back if actually the card is very low limited and he goes through each statement with a fine tooth comb and rejects certain expenditure, but if he doesn't this sort of arrangement is very common. I have a credit card which covers basically everything. I take petty cash from the bank, maybe a few hundred a month, but the card is my source of money. I'm a SAHM, and DH is on a high wage. It's more sensible than transferring cash all over the place and having his and hers pots for this and that.

olathelawyer05 Sat 12-Oct-13 00:17:57

Of course, the irony of all this is that his apparent 'stinginess' and obsession with money is probably the main reason the OP will have any money to fight about in the divorce (i.e. the very thing the OP criticises the man for, is what will provide her and the children with a greater cushion that you would otherwise have had, when the rainy day of the divorce arrives comes).

3 estimates before doing work on the house....

She's literally knocking him for NOT throwing money away. Unbelievable.

Offred Sat 12-Oct-13 03:00:09

Nice woman hating last posts...

Cabrinha Sat 12-Oct-13 07:18:48

I don't think they're woman hating.
I'm making a big assumption here, but it sounds to me like OP has grown apart from her H and is pinning some of her frustration on having different attitudes to money. I'm sympathetic - its horrible being married to someone you don't love. But it's not (on info above) I think fair to start calling him abusive.

They do sound very different - but everything she says, has made him sound fair. He doesn't want to separate, she does - yet she says it's amicable. Which suggests he's behaving well for something he doesn't want. She doesn't say he's come storming in saying "you're not getting your fucking hands on my pension".

For all her "live in the moment", and "if you loved someone..." OP isn't going to give up claim on the pension. AND NOR SHOULD SHE.

But there's such a difference in them - from the info here alone, that is the reason it isn't working, not what he has done wrong. Tbh, I could marry you OP! Sorry! You sound very kind, but deciding you don't need a pension because you'll be off doing charity work in Africa? That has me tearing my hair out!! What if you have a grandchild you don't want leave? Arthritis? Dementia? How are paying for the flights home to see your kids?

It's like the doorstep charity thing too. My ex signed up to £5 a month RSPCA on the doorstep. I had big rush of loathing ( we had separate finances, it really was his business) but I thought the following:
- don't you know the chugger company gets a cut? Say. I thanks, then go to website and donate directly
- you only did this because she was young and pretty
- you have never shown any interest in animals (see last thought)
Thing is, for OTHER reasons, I loathed him by then - it was just one more thing to pin the hatred on.

You call him miserly - yet I suspect that your family money was available for your volunteer trip to Africa. It sounds like you have free use of the credit card that isn't checked. Again - you criticize him for having a credit card when he earns a lot. WHY? He probably pays it in full and who knows maybe there are points? Lots of people do this.

I think you should be careful to get a fair settlement. And I'm wary saying all the above as I understand that abuse can be very insidious. To be honest, if you weren't alreat separated, I'd leave this well alone in case you needed to get out and it was counter productive to hear he sounds reasonable.

Marriage breakdown is painful, but try not to get too emotional if there are areas where you are just different, rather than wrong.

And get a bloody share of that pension. You will very very likely be glad of it one day!

Offred Sat 12-Oct-13 07:29:38

They are woman hating posts because they are upholding the patriarchical principle of male ownership of property. On divorce women do not "take a big fat settlement" divorce courts distribute marital assets based on contributions and expectations.

He is being financially abusive because he is controlling how they spend money during the relationship, is obsessing over saving rather than simply being sensible (as I see it) and is wanting to keep the savings for himself. He has given her a credit card so he can monitor what she buys and because he knows it will disincentivise spending and he is giving her less than a third of what he should be giving her in child support now they have split.

MarshaBrady Sat 12-Oct-13 08:07:21

You do sound very down on him, is it due to personality difference?

You do charity work which has changed your perspective but could you fund your family on that alone? Isn't it his salary that means you can do this and not need to work in, say insurance too.

I have no idea for sure on the financial control thing, but he sounds sensible to me.

You said no to the joint account but he should have made you get one.
So you don't say what you really want and then end up getting frustrated.

I find the approach a bit baffling.

ithaka Sat 12-Oct-13 08:25:16

Op, you are used to having plenty of money and on divorce will continue to have plenty of money. Which makes it easy to decide money isn't important and provides the opportunity to volunteer abroad and generally be a lovely generous person.

Nothing you have written makes your husband sound abusive. 3 quotes, pension pot etc is just careful. He tells you what he earns, suggests you have a joint account, never begrudges the children or big family holidays. This is not abuse.

I think mediation to reach a settlement is the best way to go. You don't love your husband anymore. You don't need to justify that by painting him as the bad guy, or financially abusive. If you no longer love him, that is not necessarily anyone's fault, it is just life.

Please try and be as amicable as possible for the sake of your children and resist at all costs moaning about their father to them. Good luck.

Doughnut123 Sat 12-Oct-13 08:57:27

I know I am in a very fortunate position and I can see that the way I have portrayed the situation could be baffling.
However, as Cabrinha says, when you get to this point in a relationship, all the niggles get amplified. We have just grown apart.
Cabrinha, I am very touched by your thoughts of marriage , but I won't be doing it again!

Much of the way I see life is as a result of many health problems over the years. I always feel that I have the Swird of Damacles hanging over me and have a desperation to live-NOW.
Life is very short and precious. But even I recognise that at some point I will need a pension and would never neglect my children or grand children.

I paid for my trip, by the way, with some inheritance money.

I totally agree with what Ithaca wrote. It's a sad situation when you don't love each other any more. But it's quite natural to vent your frustration about your other half.
Mediation will definitely help and I think we can keep things amicable.
I am careful not to moan to the children about their dad.

uptheanty Sat 12-Oct-13 09:05:20

My dh has always managed the finances in our house, much to my shame blush. I really should have been more involved but it was easier not to be.

I don't spend lots of money but we are trying to save for a couple of big ideas we have so...

I'm having £100 per week cash and giving dh my cards ( my idea ), to help me resist temptation. We do the shopping etc on weekends together. As i don't have my cards i dont go browsing and often find myself with £50 left by Friday. Our finances are getting pretty flush very quickly!

How can it be financial abuse to have 400 pcm and access to credit cards for nessecary shops such as food. Is the 400 for personal spends or are you expected to pay bills with them? If they are personal theni'd say you are being provided for very well. Which wouldn't constitute abuse.

I would guess that maybe you are feeling very controlled and limited. But i would suggest that perhaps you had a hand in orchestrating your relationship this way. It suited you at the time and now it doesn't you blame dh.

I agree with all the posters who say what a lovely lady you are, you sound very kind and likeable.
Unfortunately i would also suggest (with kindness and respect), that the problem you have with your ds's money has provided you with an out of touch and totally unrealistic view of what your life would be without it.

thanks sorry you're having a bad time x

Offred Sat 12-Oct-13 09:06:42

Because they have split up and she is entitled to £1500 in CSA nevermind spousal support etc. That's why.

Offred Sat 12-Oct-13 09:09:32

Whether people have their dh's credit card or whether they have agreed with a budget and given up their cards is immaterial because a. You guys are still with your partners and b. you guys have agreed these things and are happy with them. Neither of those things apply to the op. I believe it may be abusive because I feel he is using his position as the higher earner to dictate what the op has access to out of the marital assets.

worsestershiresauce Sat 12-Oct-13 09:09:40

I'm not woman hating offred. I don't know how OP and her DH run the credit card, but a credit card is actually just instant access to cash. It is no different to getting money out of your purse that you have just got from the cash point. OP doesn't mention draconian controls around her spending, so unless she does we can assume there aren't. If he was abusive he wouldn't be putting money into a savings and assets that are split on the divorce. He would be doing something clever and probably illegal with them off-shore. Ask any solicitor dealing with a high net worth divorce.

It is not woman hating of me to point out she is benefiting from her DH's prudent attitude to saving. She is. The asset pool to be split is family money BUT it is a considerably bigger pool than it would have been had he been a bit more gung ho about spending.

Sometimes MN pisses me off, because there are two sides to every story. I see both here. It's definitely not a case a poor abused woman kept short of cash whilst DH lives it up. It's two people with different attitudes to spending. One is thrifty, possibly overly worried about financial security in old age, and the other has always lived comfortably and hasn't really had to worry about finances so doesn't. Partnerships often break down when people don't agree about the big things - money, kids, where to live....

3littlefrogs Sat 12-Oct-13 09:14:55

I think in the current climate everyone has to be careful, no matter how much you earn.

I speak as someone whose father lost job, house, the lot when I was growing up. I still can't really think about it without feeling a sense of fear that it could happen to anyone.

DH and I both work and are lucky to have good jobs. We save as much as we can, and we pay a lot into life insurance, critical illness insurance and pension. This means that we are very careful with the day to day spending.

Maybe you STBX is thinking a long way ahead?

Offred Sat 12-Oct-13 09:16:01

He doesn't want the savings and assets to be split, that's the whole point isn't it! He is squirrelling it away and expecting to keep it to himself. Hoping no doubt that if they have an amicable divorce she will agree things which do her out of her entitlement. She had to find out his salary from a solicitor. He begrudges the children sweets at the cinema yet earns £6k per month. The credit card is a problem because he can monitor what she is buying with it, would you want an ex husband to be able to see that kind of stuff? She is unhappy with the card, as I read the op, because she wants independence from him.

People seem to be seeing this as though she is wealthy and ungrateful but you forget that she does not have access to her h's salary. I think a lot of assumptions have been made on this thread about what she has access to of her h's salary and assets.

Offred Sat 12-Oct-13 09:18:19

I don't think it is necessarily what he is doing with the money btw it is that he retains entire control and dictates her access to it. Even after they have split up he has convinced her to accept much less than what she is entitled to and he is trying to keep the savings.

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