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Marriage and money - do you share?

(81 Posts)
wordsmith Fri 28-Jan-05 13:29:35

At the risk of revealing my sandal-wearing tofu-eating credentials [not], did anyone read this article about marriage and money in the Guardian earlier this week, together with follow-up letters today? I thought it was fascinating - and amazing that so many married couples don't seem to share their finances equally - especially once they've had kids! It's as if giving up paid employment/going part time to look after children doesn't seem to equate to the world of work. What do other mners think?

suzywong Fri 28-Jan-05 13:32:20

we share, I gave up work to look after the kids, a privelege I think, and also my earnings would not have covered childcare in London and I workd evenings. DH sees my job as equal in terms of value, probably more valuable in fact

Very much looking forward to re-training and going back to work in a couple of years though and taking the financial strainand worry away from dh who has his own business (shorthand for always worried about money)

weightwatchingwaterwitch Fri 28-Jan-05 13:36:17

Oooh, the whole balance of power money thing re sahps makes me cross! As if it wasn't a huge contribution being a sahp! I've seen couples like those described at the beginning of that piece, where the woman (and it is mainly the woman) is completely disempowered because she doesn't work outside the home. We pool everything, it's all joint.

I only skimmed the article but I dislike this "James, a 41-year-old journalist, is the father of three young children and the partner of a non-working wife" (my italics) As if looking after the 3 young children isn't work!

weightwatchingwaterwitch Fri 28-Jan-05 13:41:04

But sw, why should it be your earnings covering childcare? I'm not saying it works out ecomomically for you to work and pay childcare but it is so often the woman's earnings that pay the childcare, as if it's her responsibility alone! Women are almost always the ones who suffer financially from having children.

weightwatchingwaterwitch Fri 28-Jan-05 13:41:14

But sw, why should it be your earnings covering childcare? I'm not saying it works out ecomomically for you to work and pay childcare but it is so often the woman's earnings that pay the childcare, as if it's her responsibility alone! Women are almost always the ones who suffer financially from having children.

MancMum Fri 28-Jan-05 13:41:26

i find it amazing that people don't share particularly when one patrner gives up salary to bring up the kids... isn't it all abotu partnership - as for the bloke in guardian letting his wife have holes in her knicks whilst he has loads of cash... that is not a relationship to me - that is a power thing... more fool her for staying... what is that situation teaching her kids?

I work and so does my DH - raising the kids when I am at work - when I get back we raise them together... when he needs things he buys them from the joint account - it is totally joint even though he puts nothing into it cos his contribution to our family and life is not paid for conventionally but is rewarded by our fabulous kids being well looked after and loved and developing into kids we are proud off... who needs offshore accounts when you have that and respect and love and an equal partnership.

weightwatchingwaterwitch Fri 28-Jan-05 13:41:42


wordsmith Fri 28-Jan-05 13:42:22

Finances in our household have been in a state of flux for years - I'm freelance and since having kids have been part-time earning not that much! DH alternates between being self-employed and employed, so it's anyone's guess who's earning what - if anything - anyway. But even if DH was a management consultant earning 6 figures (or I was and he was a SAHD), I'd still expect all the money to be pooled, and equally accessible by both of us. What's the point of getting married if you don't share everything? What I can't understand in the original article was the wife of the city guy (Henry?) who seemed to meekly accept that her role in life was to run his houses and look after his kids, living on her £7K part-time income plus a £2K per annum allowance! While he spent the rest! (Or is it just me? Am I being old fashioned?)

Satine Fri 28-Jan-05 13:42:39

Any bloke who reckons he earns the money should try spending a week at home looking after the children. Oooh this kind of thing makes me furious!!!

weightwatchingwaterwitch Fri 28-Jan-05 13:43:21

We do the same Mancmum, I work outside the home usually and dp is a sahd. The joint account is for use by both of us.

suzywong Fri 28-Jan-05 13:43:36

yes I suppose that's a good point WWW, the short answer is that if we had paid for London child care and I had continues to earn the money I was then we would have had to eat dirt and wear sacks. DH's earings were just about covering everything else and it just seemed that as his earings were all earmarked then it was mine that we had to play around with, or not. I had my own business too and when you are both selfemployed you have to be cautious.

Now over here childcare is seen as a necessity for modern families and is well subsidised.

weightwatchingwaterwitch Fri 28-Jan-05 13:44:15

No wordsmith, you're not old fashioned, the man in the piece is a sexist control freak tosser.

wordsmith Fri 28-Jan-05 13:44:18

oooh mancmum what a superb post

Lucycat Fri 28-Jan-05 13:46:09

I am at SAHM through choice, we have all joint accounts where all money goes into. I organise all DD's, pay bills ,get best deals on insurance etc and although dh does get very stressed at work and on the whole I have the life of riley (thanks to 2 very good dd's - nothing particular U've done I'm sure) we both appreciate that marriage is about a partnership - an equal one at that.

weightwatchingwaterwitch Fri 28-Jan-05 13:47:20

Sw, I wasn't having a go at you btw! When we first had ds, the childcare was assumed to be coming out of my salary even though I earned slightly more than ex dh. This was his assumption because I was the mother and it didn't immediately occur to me to question it. It was equivalent to our (actually it was slightly more) mortgage so he paid that while I paid the nursery bills. So I was guilty of assuming it too tbh, when I was new to this parenthood lark!

anniemac Fri 28-Jan-05 13:49:05

Message withdrawn

marialuisa Fri 28-Jan-05 13:49:08

I do know a few women with big earner husbands and holes in their knickers. I also know of one consultant who makes his wife buy his food from expensive butchers etc, but expects her and the kids to eat Asda Value stuff, he has a separate fridge .

i realise what a good deal I've got with DH, our essential outgoings (food, mortgage etc.) come from a joint account which we both contribute to, but we both have equal amounts of "pocket money" every month, even though he earns significantly more than me.

Lucycat Fri 28-Jan-05 13:53:23

Is that consultant for real? What a pig. A drop of botulism on his steak would see him right!!

marialuisa Fri 28-Jan-05 13:58:37

yes, she's a friend of my mum. They have a massive house etc. but she has to ask permission to buy tights and they have this weekly meeting where she has to justify every penny she's spent from her house-keeping. Mum thinks he may be violent towards her too , he takes no interest in their 3 kids because they are girls.

weightwatchingwaterwitch Fri 28-Jan-05 13:59:17

ml, how awful, what a nasty piece of work he is.

wordsmith Fri 28-Jan-05 14:07:22

marialuisa, I can't believe that! (not that I doubt your word, I mean!) In this day and age, how can a couple live like that and stay married?

I agree with one couple interviewed in the article, we do argue over money occasionally, but because we donb't have enough, not because we think it's his and hers!

We did start off before marriage and kids having separate accounts plus a joint one for bills into which we both paid the same amount each month. We both earned similar amounts. But it took a lot of monitoring and once our earnings started to diverge it became totally unworkable we pooled everything. I certainly don't feel less independent, neither does DH.

morningpaper Fri 28-Jan-05 14:12:10

We each have a set amount of our own "pocket" money (which is the same for both of us) which goes into our separate accounts.

Then all the rest goes into joint account.

DH earns 15 X my (part-time) salary but would never think that entitles him to 'more' spending money. It's very depressing that some men are still such sexist dinosaurs in this day and age.

marialuisa Fri 28-Jan-05 14:12:49

Yes, the fact that DH and i both feel hard done by in terms of housework and are skint at the end of the month suggests to us we've probably got it about right!

NotQuiteCockney Fri 28-Jan-05 14:23:52

We don't pool our money. I wouldn't mind a joint account, but DH doesn't like the idea. He likes, for example, being able to buy me things without me knowing how much they cost.

When I was working, we would just spend our own money, put extra money on the mortgage, and not stress about it (we would never owe each other money). Now that I'm home with the kids, he gives me money every month, by standing order. But I don't have to account for what I do with it, and if I need more, I just ask. I generally have more than I need, and put some on the mortage, or pay for things like school fees or plane tickets.

We do each have a credit card the other pays for, so I can "make" him pay for things if I want, and I do sometimes.

I don't know that this system would work if we were ever tight for money, but so far that hasn't happened, so it's not a concern.

NotQuiteCockney Fri 28-Jan-05 14:25:48

Oh, and I would so not tolerate having to account for my spending! When I moved to this country, I was making about four times what DH (then DP) was. And so I paid the deposit on our first house, no problem, and paid more rent than he did, when we paid rent. I think this set a good precedent. Well, and also, we're both equivalently cautious with money, I'm a bit more careful, which is all for the best, as he never feels like nagging me about spending, except to say I should buy myself more things.

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