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Difference in income, financially reckless DH

(89 Posts)
NewUsernameForTheDay Fri 19-Aug-16 13:36:01

Hi there,

I've NC'd for this, for obv. reasons.

I know a lot of people will say 'you're married, you should share everything' but I'm just not comfortable with that.

I earn more than DH (£90K vs. £40K). I have more savings that DH (£80K vs. £2K).

Our bank accounts are separate.

Each month we pay our monthly budget 50/50 into my account, this is where all the standing orders/direct debits etc. come from.

Each week I pay him an agreed weekly budget (same weekly budget as I have).

The background is that when we met he had LOADS of debt, including payday loans, and regularly received letters threatening to take him to court. So when we moved in together and later got married I needed to take a protective stance by managing our joint incomes. He tells me that he's happy with the situation and feels more in control of his finances than ever before.

Until 2013 I used to pay 2/3 to his 1/3 for our rent and bills - this was reflective of our salary difference at the time. Then I lost my job and had no income at all for six months, which is when we started splitting 50/50.

Even just writing this, I am aware we should go back to a proportional split for rent and bills - that'd be fairer.

However - I'd love to know how you guys manage when one of you earns more than the other (and has more savings), especially if one of you is pretty bad with money.


AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 19-Aug-16 13:42:16

Why has your DH been so feckless with money; is this due to him being a problem gambler?. Where has all that money gone?.

Is he himself debt free these days and if so did you bail him out to achieve that?

NewUsernameForTheDay Fri 19-Aug-16 13:48:12

He just lived beyond his means consistently for a long time. It was in the early 2000's when getting credit was easy, so very quickly he had several credit cards maxed out, then once the payday loans came into play it escalated quickly.

He was honest with me about the debt when we met, and I wondered if it was gambling, paying for sex, drinking, drugs but I believe him it was largely, going to the pub, buying computer games and going to gigs.

Most of the big debts had aged (therefore written off) before we met.

For the ones outstanding, I worked with him on a plan to pay them off over the past five or so years. Once Christmas four years ago he ran out of money buying presents, and thinking I'd be pissed off he got a payday loan - I found out and paid it off (the one and only time I will do so). And yes, we have discussed at length and depth why it wasn't okay, and why hiding things is lying. Since then he's been on the straight and narrow.

JennyHolzersGhost Fri 19-Aug-16 13:48:37

What exactly is he doing that is problematic ? Is he running up spending ? Or is it just that you earn a lot more and have started to resent that ?

Ikeameatballs Fri 19-Aug-16 13:56:43


I would suggest that one of the reasons you have more savings is because you earn over twice as much as your DH yet contribute the same to our outgoings.

I suspect it's not as simple as that however I'm not sure what your current concern is? He's not in debt and seems to have changed his spend thrift ways.

As you are married I think you should:

Pool your income.
Pay joint outgoings out of that pot. Allow some flexibility for purchases, eg agree neither of you spends >£100 on an item without discussion.
Then allow each of you "spends" of the same amount. Any spends money not used can be personal savings.
Put the rest into joint savings that can only be touched if you both agree.

I'm fairly sure that's the advice you'd get if the roles were reversed.

NewUsernameForTheDay Fri 19-Aug-16 13:58:47

...nothing is actually problematic.

He isn't (to my knowledge) over spending.

He isn't (to my knowledge) unhappy with the status quo.

My worries are:

Am I being fair - although we live on the same budget day-to-day - should we be splitting the bills/rent proportionally with our income (I think so)?

I feel slightly resentful that big purchases (anything over £500) fall to me because I have easily accessible savings (he usually either pays me back, or makes several smaller purchases so as it feels fair). But still this doesn't feel like the behaviour of a married couple, this feels like flatmates, almost.

Should I stop managing the budget and give him full access to joint funds, even though the idea fills me with trepidation...

Really I am just curious how other people manage the same situation, does everyone have joint accounts? Does everyone share everything 50/50? How does it work?

tribpot Fri 19-Aug-16 14:04:57

Not sure what's prompted your post, given your DH appears happy to have limited control over the family pot. But yes, you certainly should be contributing proportionally, and I'd suggest you also consider to what extent he's been subsidising your ability to build up savings, as well. I appreciate that you have been much more financially prudent but you also have a lot more disposable capital, barring the six months of unemployment.

Has he now cleared the debts? It sounds as if maybe they are now gone. Although you've worked with him on a plan, you haven't paid the loans off (except the payday one), he's used his own money to do so?

So at the moment, both salaries are paid into your personal accounts. All bills and household expenses are paid from your personal account, except for some which he needs to pay for himself (things with cash, I'm guessing) - you give him that cash weekly.

What you both do with money outside the household budget is up to you. From the sounds of it, he spends and you save.

I don't think the approach sounds wrong, except for the ratio of income to household expenditure.

NewUsernameForTheDay Fri 19-Aug-16 14:05:36

I would suggest that one of the reasons you have more savings is because you earn over twice as much as your DH yet contribute the same to our outgoings. are entirely right. So splitting the rent/bills more appropriately is our first step. We used to do this, stopped when I lost income, and have never gone back to it. I have asked if he wants to and he's always said 'no' but it is the right thing to do. And will give him the option to save more.

I'm not happy with the idea of pooling our income as a whole. How about:

Pool monthly budget (with fair split) into an account and use that as normal.

Save % of our remaining income into a joint savings - we can both use this for family/household purchases. With agreement in place re: max. spend etc.

Save remainder of our own incomes in our own savings accounts...

Does that sound fair?

ps I totally acknowledge that the way things are working isn't fair, hence wondering how else to approach it.

Akire Fri 19-Aug-16 14:10:30

Would depend on your outgoing and his debts. How much does he have left over after basic and debt paid?

I would not feel comfortable having 80k savings and partner 2k if you can put extra £2-300 month in pot then think it's fairer. notjonh wrong you adding extra for treats or whatever if he goes off rails spends it all then you can go back to old way. But I would want partner to feel could equally have hobby or buy something wanted if I could do the same. It dosnt have to be all or nothing met in middle.

CelticPromise Fri 19-Aug-16 14:10:39

Hmmm well I earned a lot less than DH when I was earning, and now I earn nothing (retraining) and won't earn as much as him in new role. His money goes into our joint account and all of our spending comes out of it. Our savings are mainly in my name, but I mainly didn't earn them and they are joint. Mortgage/house is in joint names. Neither of us will buy anything pricey without checking with the other. It works for us because our income covers our outgoings and because we are happy to spend our money on similar things. If we preferred to spend on different stuff then we might each have spending money I suppose.

When we met I had student debt and no assets, while DH had a property and savings. When we married we agreed that everything would be joint. It's not the only way of doing things but i think it's the only way I would be happy - we are equal partners.

Willberry Fri 19-Aug-16 14:22:52

We do similar to you, each put a % of our wage into joint account to manage rent, bills and housekeeping. My earnings are higher so I pay in a larger % as if we matched it he would struggle (we pay for our own cars, gym, nights out etc.) We often treat each other out of our own money eg going out to dinner, getting take aways, cinema etc. When he was out of work I covered everything, he'd do the same the other way round if necessary.

In the past we had everything joint but that didn't work for us, we prefer having our own little pots too.

NewUsernameForTheDay Fri 19-Aug-16 14:29:21

Akire I totally don't feel comfortable with it either. I just want to do the fairest thing, whilst reducing risk.

Here's what we'll do:

Monthly budget (which includes spends + rent + food + bills + travel etc.) - split it 30/70

Each put 20% of our remaining income into a joint account for spending on family and household things (this'll give us about £9K p/a for that).

Each put the remaining 80% of our income into our personal savings accounts.

It'll get more complicated when I go on Mat Leave in September (six months) and then he takes six months Shared Parental Leave.

During Mat Leave I'll earn almost the same (I own my company, so mainly paid in dividends) however during his Pat Leave he'll be on Statutory Pay... but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

CelticPromise - I think your way of doing things is the 'ideal' way - but I just don't think it'd work for us. I am just keen not to put our stability at risk. I hope it doesn't sound like I 'baby' him, I ADORE him, he is a wonderful, supportive and loving partner - he's just a bit shit with money.

NewUsernameForTheDay Fri 19-Aug-16 14:30:22

Willberry I think I'd just come to the exact same conclusion!

CelticPromise Fri 19-Aug-16 14:45:39

Fair enough, it's not the only way! The main thing is you are trying to be fair, and it sounds like it works for both of you. The main disadvantage i can see is problems funding big joint purchases and having unequal decision making power.

NewUsernameForTheDay Fri 19-Aug-16 14:46:07

tribpot sorry I missed your post previously - thank you for it, very sane and salient points. And wholly taken on-board!

sianihedgehog Fri 19-Aug-16 14:51:08

My DP earns roughly half again what I do. I have historically had much larger savings because he's willfully useless with money. We pay about 50/50 on all bills. All our money aside from that remains separate and we handle individual purchases individually. I do all the food shopping and he pays roughly half the cost. If we need something for the household and I can't afford to pay half, I tell him so and he usually pays for it.

AndNowItsSeven Fri 19-Aug-16 14:54:53

Nothing needs to be complicated, you are marriages and therefore a partnership. All money should be pooled.

Smellysaurus Fri 19-Aug-16 14:54:58

We are in a similar situation £80k vs £25k. DH doesn't spend a lot but is self employed and crap at cash flow and rubbish at saving (actually transferring it to his savings account).

We agreed that he puts a fixed amount into joint account no1 to cover mortgage and bills and he MUST make that every month (he's been known to not plan his work properly and find he's short so having an agreed amount gives him a target).

We then have another joint account into which I put a chunk to cover food/kids stuff (activities/clubs/clothes). We have £400 each pm to do what we like with and the rest of my salary and any surplus of his goes into savings which are totally joint.

This is the best arrangement we've ever had. He feels like he's contributing and I'm in control of the savings.

NewUsernameForTheDay Fri 19-Aug-16 14:56:17


'unequal decision making power.' this worries me too... you're entirely right that this is a risk.

I am very conscious of not running rough-shod and we have a very balanced and democratic relationship. We both work full time (I tend to do longer hours), but we do equal house work/cooking/cleaning, we plan to do six months each SAHPing (to cover the first year)... we wholly respect each other's opinions and make good joint decisions... but there is always the underlying power-bias towards the one the savings, and that will be even-more-the-case when we buy a house (or similar).

springwaters Fri 19-Aug-16 14:59:53

If you divorce he will get half of your savings anyway

I cant understand why married couples have their own money

Share a marriage vow, share a cheque book (or these days debit card)

If you were the man everyone on here would be calling you emotionally abusive etc. I don't agree with that but you do sound very controlling

Willberry Fri 19-Aug-16 15:08:13

I think so long as you both agree how it works at it feels fair to both of you then its ok. Celtic promise big joint purchases are agreed together and the split is agreed together too. We decide if we want to purchase it then look at our finances and work out how much we can each afford to contribute.

Another point about savings, is the difference because he can't afford to save or that he chooses not to. If its his choice to spend his money rather than save it you have nothing to feel uncomfortable about. And it may be you choose to use some of that savings to contribute towards large things you enjoy together eg holidays.

gingerbreadmanm Fri 19-Aug-16 15:08:45

i think ikea got it right. all money together. joint savings. equal spending money which you can do as you choose with. big purchases out of joint savings.

peggyundercrackers Fri 19-Aug-16 15:12:29

I earn 4 times my DP does. I pay for everything, bought his car and buy nearly everything when we go out. He spends most of his money on kids clothes, food and stuff like days out. Its only money - I can't get precious about it.

springwaters Fri 19-Aug-16 15:15:17

Once Christmas four years ago he ran out of money buying presents, and thinking I'd be pissed off he got a payday loan

Do you proportion gifts. If you spend £90 on him would you expect him to spend £40 on you o would you be expecting a £90 gift Sounds like the poor chap get in debt truing to keep up with christmas expectations that were unaffordable to him.

Do you pay double his contribution to any shared or family gifts?

I couldn't live like that if I was him. I would also think seriously think again before you decide to have children as if you cant trust someone enough with money then they will never be an equal partner and that isn't fair on the children and it will end badly. Imagine- he goes for school shoes (could be £200 for 2 children) and he is having to check with his wife first and get the cash - if that was a was the other way round there would be an up cry.

Have a joint savings account with no access for either one of you without notice. Use that to save for a house. The money is then about as safe as it can be- he would only get in in a divorce.

Then have joint access to all other accounts.

Cabrinha Fri 19-Aug-16 15:16:29

If that £40K of his has been the salary of the last 5 years, not some sudden jump, that's a hell of a debt that he ran up to take five years to clear, given that he has another adult to split outgoings with! (who for several of the years paid 2/3 of them).
And that's the debt he paid off - not the debt he got lucky walking away from as they didn't chase it before it was stature barred.

You says he says he now feels in control - but actually, you're in control aren't you?

Honestly, if you split up tomorrow - in 6 months time, would he be in debt again? My guess is yes. Someone else taking control doesn't mean he's had his "light bulb moment" and learned new spending habits.

So no way would I just be openly pooling all money.

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