Post # 121
“I find it interesting that those who indicated anything legal all said that it would be community property, yet the overwhelming sentiment here is that it is his separate property. My assumptions were never mal intent, only those of the law.”
I’m not sure why that should surprise you. In one situation the couple is working together as a team. Money is prioritized within that relationship, for one another’s benefit, as the couple sees fit, with the further advantage that they are only paying for one household. In a divorce situation that is not the case.
Thinking about it, I actually do see your point about things like haircuts and gym memberships. We never had separate accounts, but we did have multiple accounts for saving, bills, gifts and cash. These days large ticket items are simply run by one another. However, gym and haircuts were always paid from the account that pays the bills. We didn’t think of those things as extras.
All this in addition to your existing prenup theoretically benefits you in the case of divorce, so I’m not sure what the issue is.
Post # 122
If my partner and I agreed that we each had, for discussion purposes, $500/mo personal discretionary spending and he spent his every month on whatever but I decided to save mine toward a more significant purchase and then he suddenly decided I didn’t deserve to use that money as I saw fit because I hadn’t spent it yet I’d be pissed as hell. I’ve been both the higher earner and the lower earner in a relationship and in my experience people, male or female, who believe because they contribute more financially means that they have greater decision-making authority don’t tend to end up in very long-lasting relationships.
There can be significant differences between what is legal in the case of a divorce and what is right in a healthy relationship. I hope you care more about a healthy relationship.
Post # 123
LilliV : How does the line get drawn between necessary hygiene/grooming and extras?
It is interesting to think of it that way – D.H. and I do this similarly @jannigirl. When we went over our budget, we decided that my gym membership (he doesn’t go), my hair (cut/color), and his hair (cut, but less expensive) were all joint expenses vs fun money; however, if I want to get my nails done, it comes out of my fun money since it is not something I do regularly. We definitely spend more on my grooming than his, but he is ok with that. He prefers designer eyeglasses and I don’t wear glasses/contacts, but that is a joint expense for us.
It is interesting to see how each couple works these things out and comes to their own conclusions. Reminds me that I should check and see whether the investment account I opened up recently was only in my name, lest he think I have an alterior motive!
Post # 124
Mostly, I was referencing that we both found value in my being well-groomed. In your case, I might fall back to how you “upkept” yourself when you met. For me, I had my nails done regularly and cut and color done semi-regularly, as well. That is my baseline. Without a relationship, I would consider that “the basics” and therefore have the expectation that it would simply be a cost associated with being in a relationship with me. Just as my husband would assume that his deodorant and toothpaste is an expected cost.
My husband and I make it a practice to try to be generous to each other in our thoughts and actions. It certainly goes a long way in easing these potential sticking points.
Post # 125
That’s the dark side of each spouse having their own spending money account. As a married couple you should both be working toward the same goal and so whatever the other spends sshould always take the other into consideration, and so there’s no need for each to have separate accounts. I don’t know what should be done from here, but that could have been decided on together to put it elsewhere.
Post # 126
They did take priorities into consideration. When they decided on an amount to be used for discretionary purposes, the whole point and assumption is it does not affect the couple’s joint goals in any way.
Post # 127
its one thing to have separate accounts for discretionary spending if that’s what you agreed to (though my spouse and i share all finances) but he isn’t using it for discretionary spending. it would make me uncomfortable if my husband wanted to invest $10,000 that would not be used for shared expenses. it would make me feel like he was preparing to leave the marriage.
Post # 129
Yes, Y (kind of) TA. But not entirely.
You have to hold up your end of the agreement re: the money that’s been spent/saved in the past. Otherwise, if you get your half of the fun money and half of his half, you’re getting 75%. That arrangement would just encourage people to blow money on consumables so they could have whatever they want in the moment and then also be propped up by someone else’s responsible behavior.
OTOH, if you are earning 80% of the household income, he’s being propped up by your income. The fact that you earn 4x what he does is likely the reason he has disposable income at all. You can’t change what’s done, but you could discuss a different arrangement going forward. Allowances proportional to what you earn.
My husband and I do that. He earns a little more than I do, so he pays about 55% of the joint expenses and I pay about 45%. What is left is our individual discretionary money. I think that’s fair—why do I have a right to go get my nails done with money he earned when I’m not helping him earn it? I hear people (always women) talking about how the breadwinner is able to earn more because of the other’s “contribution.” Um, no. He earns more because he has a PhD and I have a master’s and he just has a higher paying job. We’re both adults who had our degrees and careers when we met, so neither of us can say, “We’ll, you make more than I do because of my support.”
Post # 130
I think most people fail to take into account benefits beyond salary when deciding what’s “fair” though. I earn more salary than my husband, but we have incredible benefits through his employer (government) that would cost more than double if we were to use what my employer offers. That’s not nothing! He also is able to work flex hours which allows me to work in the city and earn substantially more, but means I can never get home early enough for daycare pick up (which he handles every day). We don’t see it as the other really earning more because of the other’s support (although that’s a part of it), but more that we both work full time jobs while raising a family – we have equal effort and we think that translates into equal access to funds. We’re both in overtime eligible positions and my husband has a side gig and in those instances that person is only able to work and earn more if the other takes over a larger share of home/child duties during that time.
Post # 131
I can see the issue here with the mutual fund and how it can easily become a discussion regarding future ownership. I agree 100% with everyone on here that the 10K belongs to the saver / husband. Hands down, because that was their agreement with money (regardless of how we all feel about the agreement). However, if he invests it in say a high risk fund and gains tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars on the account, that’s a different story – does he now have only 100% ownership of all those gains? I can imagine that is how the discussion came up and that would be the real issue. In the end with a divorce I would say he keeps his 10K, then the remainder is split in some way between both. Because yes he saved and invested his ‘allowance’, but he would ONLY have that allowance due to his wife’s income, so I can see investment gains being more fair territory.
helixthecat : I agree with you that the discretionary spending should be at least a little bit more proportionate to the income. Especially if she has expenses like cosmetics / upkeep that he does not have, those things shouldn’t always be from her own funds. I agree with others that you set a standard when you enter a relationship, and yes women have more products to purchase, but he married you and knows what that takes. Where is the line drawn? A special spray or hair product is her own money, but regular shampoo is combined groceries? It can get a bit obsessive splitting expenses like this.
I am also the primary bread winner and make ~70-75% of our income. We have a much different / lazier set up though. Although we want to combine accounts, we haven’t gotten around to it. I pay almost all the bills because I’m type A, organized, and make more. He transfers me a set amount every month for bills and he usually pays for groceries / meals / things out. We typically don’t clear personal purchases with each other unless it’s something large, and even then there is wiggle room. Example – he bought tickets to Kobe Bryant’s jersey retirement game when it was leaked on TMZ at 2 AM before the announcement when the prices would skyrocket. He bought them (along with insurance in case I was upset) and when I woke up immediately apologized and said he spent $800 on tickets but I was sooo excited. We are transparent about what is in each others accounts and review bills / savings / credit cards frequently, and we do not have a set budget or allowance really. I don’t see the need to be picky about my money and your money.
Post # 132
I make more than my husband and took a $30k pay cut to move with him when we got married. I can’t imagine my husband begrudging me anything at this point. Though, honestly, we’re both on the same page about finances.
Post # 133
I totally disagree that discretionary money, if that is the model you choose, should be proportional to income. To me, that’s selfish, not within the spirit or meaning of a loving relationship. It’s another story if one spouse has more expenses than the other and both agree that they are reasonable or necessary. But to make it on the basis of earnings is repugnant to me. It’s a marriage, not a business arrangement.
Post # 134
I agree. What will married couples with that set up do if one of them is laid off or has to take medical leave? “Loan” the poorer spouse their portion of household expenses and then prevent them from having discretionary income till they’re back earning?
Sounds awful for a loving marriage. But convenient for divorce since things will already be split.