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This simply reinforces pay inequality between the sexes

(30 Posts)
Grennie Sat 19-Oct-13 04:52:06

I always read the threads about how couples manage their money and bills with interest. Some couples where both work, agree to split bills, food and other joint costs 50:50, and keep the rest of their earnings for themselves.

Given that women tend to earn less than men, then I think thisway of managing money, simply reproduces pay inequality in the home. So I think it is a feminist issue. And yet how money is spent in a family, and who makes the decisions about that, rarely seems to be viewed as a feminist issue.

Interested to hear others views.

scallopsrgreat Sat 19-Oct-13 08:02:15

Household finances are very much a feminist issue. Child benefit was brought in, in part, so that women would have some money to pay for things for their children because of the inequality and financial abuse in households.

I think there are several issues:

How finances are split; how it is decided what money is spent on; who manages the finances on a day-to-day basis.

On the face of it there appears to be two fair ways of splitting money (especially when children are in the mix): either both of you get equal set amounts of money and the rest in a joint account or everything is pooled in a joint account. However, unless how the finances are spent is decided fairly and reevaluated regularly according to circumstances then there will still be inequality.

And then you get on to the division of labour for this and whose responsibility it is to actually sort out payments for bills, mortgage, household shopping (or wifework).

Thants Sat 19-Oct-13 08:07:17

I think money should always be split and both have equal access so we don't get men giving women 'pocket money'. I can't imagine why anyone would want to be in a relationship where one person has more wealth than the other, it is only going to cause problems! And women are almost always the victims in this.

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Sat 19-Oct-13 08:12:35

We've aways shared the money completely - joint account, all in. I didn't realise this was unusual till I read MN.

StickEmUp Sat 19-Oct-13 08:20:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

WidowWadman Sat 19-Oct-13 09:27:14

We've always pro-rated what we put into the joint according to our earnings - when I was on ML I put less in, when my husband was unemployed he reduced what he put in. Currently I earn quite a bit more than him so pay more in than he does accordingly, when it was the other way round he paid in more than me.

We always kept separate accounts in addition to the joint, but see CB, tax credits (not getting those anymore) as joint income rather than belonging to one parent.

KaseyM Sat 19-Oct-13 09:42:57

I think another feminist issue is the amount of unpaid work (housework, childcare) that the part-time wife does. Judging by the amount of threads on this, it seems that when a wife takes on a part-time job there is no corresponding decrease in the amount of housework she does.

And this inequality is acceptable because the husband is the far greater earner and therefore pulls more punch.

But the reasons why men are more likely to earn more are not taken into account.

aturtlenamedmack Sat 19-Oct-13 09:51:06

I thought that the most usual arrangement is to pool all household income, pay the bills, then split the rest equally. That's what we do here and when people talk about their income on here this seems to be the most usual.
I still think hh income is gendered even with this arrangement. I think women take on far more than their share of outgoings after the split.
Kids clothes, school trips, books, toys, top up shopping, household products.
All small things but add up very quickly.

NoComet Sat 19-Oct-13 10:03:33

The thing I never see mentioned is that in many relationships the man is older. Simply because of this, chancres are, on average, he earns more.

Throw in maternity leave, part time hours etc and this small difference becomes a large one.

However, I think the damage to the dynamics of dealing with money within couples often start with that initial small difference.

oliveoctagon Sat 19-Oct-13 10:06:21

All our money has been joint since our teens. At different times I have earned more and vice versa. We have no seperate accounts, and I just say what we can and cant have.

KoPo Sat 19-Oct-13 10:32:44

Kids clothes, trips ect are all taken out of the pooled money and used before we et our equal split in this household.

Grennie Sat 19-Oct-13 10:47:47

I have seen women on here who do the proportionate split talk about fairness. But they don't seem to see that women are not treated fairly in terms of jobs and pay.

And yes, it does seem common for mothers to use "their" money to buy treats for the children, instead of stuff for themselves - unlike their DP.

BasilBabyEater Sat 19-Oct-13 10:55:20

Yes, Starballbunny, in the UK the average age gap between couples is 4 years, so men in a heterosexual couple are instantly 4 years up the career ladder which is why as you say, once you take maternity leave into account, female workers who start off at the age of 22 earning the same (or more if they are graduates) than men, by the age of 35, have slipped down the earnings ratio.

Too many couples refuse to even contemplate this and work out how they are going to ensure financial fairness in their relationship, in a world where financial fairness is absent.

WidowWadman Sat 19-Oct-13 11:01:21

Grennie - if she's not being treated fairly, that's an issue. If she's the only one buying clothes and treats for the children, then that's an issue. It's not a fair split if she takes on bigger costs relating to the kids all by herself. It's the opposite of fair.

In my own situation - treats for the kids (as opposed to necessities) often come out of our individual budgets, the same way as we take treats for ourselves out of our individual budgets - joint account is for necessities, individual accounts for luxuries - treats are luxuries.

If my husband never treated our children I would find that very weird, and vice versa.

ScientistwithoutWhiteCoat Sat 19-Oct-13 11:07:09

I think the 'fair' split according to income makes sense in early stages of a relationship when you're more like flatmates protecting your own financial interests just in case you split up, but once you've decided the two of you are a partnership, then 'fun money' should be equal and both agree on amounts going into savings etc.

I imagine moving from one model to the other might never get round to happening, though.

LegoCaltrops Sat 19-Oct-13 11:14:45

I see what you're saying. It doesn't always work like that though. I work, DH was unemployed for the last few years & now he is full time student. I pay all bills but have all the income, including CB & TC (so I can be sure I can always cover the bills).

MortifiedAdams Sat 19-Oct-13 11:18:18

I earn a third more than DH, and have only ever earned less on the 7months ML. We both work ft and share everything. We do the same.amount of childcare, housework, etc.

Trills Sat 19-Oct-13 11:20:59

I always tell people that the only "fair" thing to do if you have children is to have a joint account for joint spending (including everything that relates to the children) and to have separate accounts for your spending money - and that the contributions to the joint account should be set so that your spending money is equal.

Nessalina Sat 19-Oct-13 11:21:17

Yes, with so many couples these days falling into living together it can often take time to put formal finance arrangements into place, and this inevitably disadvantages women.

We were lucky in a way that when we moved in together, my DH was a part time TA, on a pittance, and then in teacher training, on a tiny grant, whilst I was earning what at the time seemed like big bucks (16k!). He was living in my house and not on the mortgage, but I was happy for us to pool our income so that it was fairer. I was also 2years older, so looking back, maybe I played the 'man' role financially for a while? Odd thought.

So anyway, both our salaries went into a joint account, bills inc my mortgage were paid from there. We saved a little jointly, then as I did the shopping, the budget for that went into my account, and what was left was divided equally and paid into our own accounts.

Eight years on, this still works! He now earns more than me, so I'm the one benefitting a little, but it doesn't really matter coz we're a team!

TallulahBetty Sat 19-Oct-13 11:22:06

Same as Sabrina. Everything goes into one joint account, where all bills go out of too. J thought this was normal until I joined MN.

Trills Sat 19-Oct-13 11:25:47

All money (including disposable income) living in one account can lead to inequality based on your different personalities.

One person might see "lots of money there, I'll buy the thing that I want" where another would see "car insurance due next month, I'd better not buy that thing that I want". One might feel that they have spent lots of money that month but in fact none of that was for themselves, it was all stuff for the children.

It might work for you, and that's great, but it would be overly optimistic to recommend it to others as a good solution.

Nessalina Sat 19-Oct-13 11:33:28

I've always liked us having our own 'spending' accounts because of just that, if one of you spends more and it's coming all out of a joint account, it's not fair again! (I'd so be the one to spend more blush)
Working in a bank, I've also see couples get into trouble making card payments on bills accounts - how do you know you're leaving enough for the bills?

CailinDana Sat 19-Oct-13 11:45:17

All our money is in a joint account but we have exactly the same attitude to spending so we've never had problems on that front.

TallulahBetty Sat 19-Oct-13 12:12:40

I'm not recommending it to anyone. I just didn't realise that it wasn't the norm.

Custardo Sat 19-Oct-13 12:27:44

i have always kept a separate account - eternal pessimist and don't ever want to get into a situation where i am not in control of my own finances - married over 20 years - but you never know whats r9ound the corner -just think its sensible.
that said

all money that comes into the house is our money - i earn more than DH, but at times he has earned more than me . the outgoings are split fairly evenly in that he pays all utilities and bits and pieces and i pay the mortgage.

the left over pot we spend together - if he needs sommat he gets it if i do i get it

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