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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.

ElizabethJonesMartin Mon 21-Oct-13 15:49:34

Everything joint in our case always and mos of the time I earned a very large amount more. Worked fine as everything was shared and most important of all both had same attitude to money as each other - pay off debt, spend very little except on things like private schools and properties.

It is when you both have different views on spending and one spends all the time and the other is a miser whatever your gender you get real problems.

biryani Mon 21-Oct-13 15:48:26

I bring in about a third of the household income, but pay for everything for dd: uniform, trips, clothes, entertainment, holidays. Dp pays mortgage and most bills. I have a separate account and intend keeping it that way, otherwise I would probably have to beg for spending money!

I too have a different "spending personality" to dp, who resists spending if he can. I envy those who can talk about money with their dp openly.

garlicvampire Mon 21-Oct-13 14:57:23

Grennie and turtle - I've always insisted on equal spending money. The only acceptable formula for me is (wage1 + wage2) - (combined bills) = spending. Then divide spending by 2.

There have been big arguments over what constitutes a 'bill' and this tends to alter over time; it's permanently negotiable. For example, I don't think sanpro and skincare count as optional, so they go into Bills. This would definitely apply, too, when it came to toys and clothes for children.

WhentheRed Sun 20-Oct-13 20:51:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ScientistwithoutWhiteCoat Sun 20-Oct-13 16:00:41

DP and I meant to get a joint account but the banks made it so hard that 20 years on, we've never bothered. He pays the mortgage, I pay the other bills, and we agree regularly how much we each save and discuss any plans to spend more than say £50 on anything, and move money from one of us to the other as needed.

It helps that I read all the post that comes in and DP is happy for me to say what needs doing with money he earns.

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

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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).

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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