Post # 1
I have a question for bees who have separate finances from their DH. When we first got married and were talking about splitting expenses, we decided to split all joint expenses 50/50. It has been working really well so far. I pay for almost everything and keep track of our expenses, and every month I give him a breakdown of our expense and he gives me his half.
When we made this agreement, our salaries were pretty similar, so it made sense for us. However, since then, his business has really taken off and he now makes substantially more than me and also makes hefty commissions.
Long story short, for a variety of reasons, I would like to talk to him about possibly contributing more to the household expenses because he now makes significantly more than I do. Every time I think about bringing it up to him, I feel guilty, because he legitimately works harder than I do, and I feel bad asking him to contribute more to joint expenses. I am afraid that he is going to think that I’m becoming a gold digger now that he has become so successful.
Do any bees with separate finances have any insight?
P.S. We are definitely not interested in joining finances. We like having our own money and being able to spend freely without having to consult the other person (as long as the household expenses and savings are covered).
Post # 3
Do you want him to contribute more because you feel like you aren’t able to do all the things he wants now? Or that you don’t really have enough money for yourself each month?
Or do you just want him to contribute more because he makes more?
I think if you just think it should be a more equal distribution of discretionary income you should just present it as such. That you can’t do X because you can’t afford it.
Post # 4
Perhaps suggest contributing in terms of percentages. For instance, you both contribute 50% of your paycheck. This way, it’s an equal burden but not necessarily equal funds. It also allows for raises and paycuts to be handled without completely reevaluating the way you both contribute.
Post # 5
That is a tough situation but this is going to happen again and again as you get older etc so it’s a good conversation to have, and probably something you will have to re address as each of you take pay increases, pay cuts, etc throughout your lifes. I vote for doing a percentage type thing where you each contribute a certain percentage of your income based on how much you make and what the monthly expenses are. The fact of the matter is that it is his household and responsibility to pay bills as much as it is yours so if he is making more money and not contirubing more I would say that’s something to discuss and has nothing to do with being a gold digger. The other thing to do is to have him start putting a certain amount of money aside for savings for the two of you, or something of that nature. There are a lot of ways to even the playing field a little bit.
Post # 6
@andielovesj:There are a variety of reasons.
1) It would be nice to be able to contribute the maximum to my 401k because it’s pre-tax and my company does a huge match. Seeing as though we don’t need my salary to live, I would love to put away all $16,500 maximum allowed, but this is a chunk of my salary and it means that I would depend on him for day-to-day expenses
2) I would like to start planning on what it might be like to live off of 1ish salaries for when we have children. In planning for a family, I am torn between working full-time at my current job or starting a new career with more flexible hours, but it would be nice to know that we can live off of one salary if we had to. DH would probably freak out about this because he is scared to death about having to support a family with just his salary (even though I tell him over and over that I always want to work in some capacity).
3) I would like to get LASIK and the best way to go about paying is to contribute that money to my FSA and pay it off over 1 year. This would come out to another $300/month pre-tax from my paycheck.
4) Finally (I’m just going to say it even though it sounds horrible) I do a lot of things around the house that allows him to focus on his work, and I don’t feel that I get compensated for it. It’s true that I work 9 hours/day at my job and he works 14 at his, but I manage the household and allow for him to come home everyday and not worry about bills or groceries or workmen or cleaning…etc, and I feel that should be worth something….
Post # 7
This is exactly why I was not willing to have separate finances from my DH. But in my case I made significantly more than DH at the time, so it was a little easier for me to discuss with my then FI since I def didn’t look like I was trying to take advantage or anything.
Why don’t you ask your DH if you can reverse the process and pay for all joint expenses with a joint CC (preferably one with miles like an amex) then pay it off every month from a joint checking that you both contribute to every month proportionatly. So I know you’re still setting up joint accounts in this scenario, but you are doing it while keeping separate finances if that makes sense. So let’s say you make $50K and your DH makes $100K. Every month you put in $500 to the checking account and your DH contributes $1,000. Then when you get the amex bill you pay it off with that checking account, so ultimately every expense is split proportionatly to how much you both make instead of down the middle.
Post # 8
I agree with the proportionality agreement.
FH and I make dramatically different incomes and always will. We each contribute a % of our income to a joint account that is used exclusively for bills & household expenses, while also each maintaining our own accounts & CC’s.
This keeps things fair and lets us save and spend together, as well as separately. It works now and will also work in the future as circumstances change.
Post # 9
I can’t pretend to understand the concept of married people with seperate finances, so why not just combine everything and keep a portion OUT for yourselves to spend when you want? It honestly makes no sense to me that everything that each of you earns does not become YOUR(joint) money. I spend what I need to spend and have never felt bad about it, and now I contribute nothing to the finances.
Don’t you own everything jointly anyway? That’s exactly why you should be paying for everything the same way, IMO.
Post # 10
I have no advice whatsoever because I don’t understand the separate finances shin-dig. Especially since he’s making more than you are as of right now. FI and I will join finances, but also put aside our own “play” money. What’s mine is his, and his is mine.
I hope you two can come to a compromise though. Good luck and sorry I couldn’t be more helpful.
Post # 11
this is how my DH and I first started joining our finances. We also had a combined savings account for long term joint projects.
Now, we still have the savings account, but we just put all our money in the joint checking account. From that, we each take a certain amount of money that we put into personal accounts each month and that we are free to use as we wish. That way, say I want to go on a shopping spree, I don’t have to consult with DH as this is my money. Independance is still there, but since all is put in the joint account in the first place, we don’t have to calculate our salary rates every time there is a change…
This is what works best for us; there are ways to combine your finances while still keeping your independance and being able to spend money as you wish.
Oh, and I agree on the housework thing, I don’t think it sounds horrible. One day I will be a SAHM and I expect to be completely in charge of everything house related. It wouldn’t be fair to send my husband to work and have him bring 100% of the money, and then ask him to still split the chores 50-50.
Post # 12
@ItWasntMe: Actually no, we don’t own everything jointly. We both came into the marriage with separate investments and ownerships in businesses/properties that we do not want to be part of our joint finances. I also have everything of substance (house, cars, brokerage accounts…etc) in my name because he owns a business and it limits our liability.
As I said in my post, having separate accounts works for us. It allows us to feel like we are not on an allowance system. Maybe it’s a mental thing, but I like knowing exactly how much I have coming in and how much I have going out. I like that everything I buy/spend comes from my own paycheck. He likes being able to go buy an expensive watch because he made a big sale without having to check with me first. It really has worked well for us up to this point.
I like the idea of paying for joint expenses proportionally, I just can’t think of a way to bring it up to him without sounding like I’m asking for him to contribute more while nothing in my situation has really changed.
Post # 13
I think it’s fine to keep separate accounts. My FI and I are using a % breakdown roughly like this:
– 401K contributions
– Medical/Insurance contributions
– Whatever else comes out of our paychecks and goes to the gov’t.
= Net Salary take home pay
– separate expenses (e.g., car, student loans–mandatory ones)
= Net Salary for Joint Expenses
Then we compare the NET number as % of total. Then we split the joint expenses that way. Anything left over is just for ourselves. We plan to evaluate every time there is a meaningful swing in our incomes.
Not sure if/how it will change after marriage, but I think this is equitable. I think keeping the communication open between you and DH is good. I mean, I don’t think you’re with him for his money–no need to worry about “gold digger” status or anything like that. Maybe you can just present an idea to him and see if he has anything to add.
Post # 14
I think asking him to contribute more is fair, especially since you want to put money away for retirement (which will end up benefitting both of you) and LASIK. I think the best way is to be direct about it, and ask him what he thinks of splitting things in proportion to salary.
Post # 15
@blurmeblue: I like this idea too, I think that the person who makes more should contribute more to the family finances. You shouldn’t have $200 to scrimp on to buy yourself something nice while not contributing to your 401k while he contributes to his retirement fully and has lots of extra money. Your retirement needs to be funded, women live longer than men so you need to start as early as possible.
PS – Lasik is SOOOOO worth it!
Post # 16
I’m also in the camp that I just do not understand separate finances for married couples. But hey, do what works for you.
I think the real issue here is that I would never be worried or concerned about discussing something like this with my husband. He’s your HUSBAND you should be able to say anything you want to him without concern that he will take it the wrong way or react badly. Just bring it up to him that you are no longer comfortable with the arrangement and you think you guys need to look at it again. Bring up all the points you’ve brought up with us and just work it out together. Marriage is all about finding good compromises that work for both of you.