Post # 1
I’m a regular bee going anonymous for this. I know there have been other posts about this and it can be kind of a contentious topic. My SO is pushing for separate money for a very specific reason (he claims) that I haven’t seen mentioned on other posts on this subject and I’m not sure how true it is. I also have some insecurities about my income that cloud my judgment…sorry this is so long!
So, my SO thinks we should have a joint account for paying regular expenses but keep the rest of our money separate because if something were to happen to one of us (i.e. serious health issue, etc.) it would be paid for from that person’s account but the partner couldn’t be forced to pay anything from their own account. This is all inspired by his grandparents. His grandmother can no longer care for herself and needs in-home care. Since her money ran out (they did have separate accounts) Medicare (?) covers her care and no one could force payment from the grandfather’s money because grandma’s name was not on the account. My main question is if this is true and if it is a valid concern.
The rest of my issues stem from the fact that I only make a little over half of what he makes. So I feel like no matter what we do I’m always going to feel inadequate or strapped for cash. We do live together and currently have our expenses set up as a portion of our income. We keep a spreadsheet and every so often I’ll write him a check to cover what I owe (he pays the mortgage, etc. from his account while I pay for groceries and other expenses). I really hate feeling like I ‘owe’ him all the time, so it will be nice to have the joint account for bills at least.
For the rest of the money I’ll either have minimal spending money (separate accounts) or always feel like I need to ask permission or feel judged if I buy something for myself (shared accounts). Meanwhile he can pretty much buy anything he wants when he wants and I literally do not buy anything for myself if it isn’t on sale. Yes, it’s his right if he has a well paying job to do that, and maybe I should have thought of this before going into a field that doesn’t pay as well. But it seems strange to me that one member of a couple would have really nice clothes and all the latest whatevers while the other is shopping on the clearance rack at TJ Maxx and has a crappy phone that barely works. Last night I was fighting with my phone not working again and he says oh maybe you can buy a new one this weekend. Just like that! From the person who gets a new iPhone every time they release a new one without even needing to think about it. He has more money in his savings account that I have ever had in my checking and savings accounts combined.
I should add that I grew up in a household where my parents had completely shared expenses and the income disparity was even greater, so the whole concept of separate accounts is a little foreign to me. It could be all in my head, but I do wonder if he just doesn’t trust me with his money or feel like I don’t have a right to it (even though I’m not going to go on crazy shopping sprees or anything). I was raised that as a married couple you should share everything.
So, is there any validity to his concern about having separate accounts? And what have people in similar situations of income disparity done?
Post # 2
anotheranonabee: FI makes more than 2x what I make, but we have completely separate accounts. No joint account (though this will probably change when we’re married) and it works for us. We will still keep separate accounts, just add a joint account.
Your post, while long, doesn’t explain the joint expenses split. If you’re making so much less than he is, your joint expenses could be split accordingly so one partner isn’t rolling in it while the other is hand to mouth.
As an example, say our joint bills are $3k a month. Since FI makes more than 2x what I make, he would put in more than $2k while I put in less than $1k, as proportionate to my income. If my vacation budget is backpacking and his is the Ritz, then we either do what we can both afford (backpacking) or he pays the difference between backpacking and the Ritz if he wants to do the Ritz.
If you go 50-50, then it’s tough to live a lifestyle that stresses you out financially while it’s comfortable for him. If he wants to go 50-50, then he needs to be ok living the lifestyle that’s comfortable for you.
Also, what state you’re in determines how martial property is split. So without more information, we can’t answer the question of if his concern is valid.
CA is a community property state. Once we’re married, it all comes from the same pot, no matter whose name is on the account. Unless there’s a prenup that modifies the state default divorce laws and says otherwise. HTH
Post # 3
- Wedding: June 2015 - Dreams Las Mareas - Costa Rica
We have separate accounts and a joint for bills… but since you make so much less than SO… you should not be putting equal amounts into the joint account… so if all the bills are 2000… he should probably put 1500 and you put 500… thats fair… and thats the way we do it… no one should feel strapped for cash….
Post # 4
I’m not sure about the whole medicare thing.
But, I can also give you a perspective from someone who is in a similar lower income bracket in comparison to your SO. My FI makes about 3x as much as I do which is never going to change, and he’s ok with that.
When we moved in together we had a very open and honest discussion about money. We did the math and figured out how much of my income should go toward ours bills, and the same with his. At first, I was just giving him the money every week toward the bills, and holding onto the remainder in my account. But, he felt like it was awkward, and then I had a situation with having to go into urgent care…..and he didn’t want me to ever feel like I didn’t have money that I could pull from if needed.
So we opened up one main joint account where both our paychecks go. After I contribute from my paycheck, I have a certain amount leftover that I can spend on whatever, and if I need to go over that amount, then I do. As long as the bills are paid, there are no questions asked or judgements passed on what either of us are spending.
And we do share a savings account where all of that money is for the both of us and our future.
Post # 5
My husband makes 2x what I make, but there was a period where it was the other way around. He also is a freelancer, so he doesn’t have set paydates….in fact some months he’ll get his entire income in the first week of the month, others it’s a little bit every other day….so for all these reasons we’ve had joint accounts for years. It works for us. But that doesn’t mean it is the right answer for every couple. I think combining finances is something you both have to want, especially for the person making more bc I think it’s way easier for that person to feel reseresentment.
However, (and full disclosure, I live in Canada), his reason to not combine finances is gross to me….if I needed medical care, and my husband had the money, regardless of whether it was a joint account, I would absolutely expect him to pay (and for the best he could afford at that), instead of relying on the government…
Post # 6
We have a joint account for the wedding, and seperate accounts for us. We’re moving in together soon and will have a similar system-an account we share, and our own accounts as well. Both sets of parents do it this way, and it works well for them.
I do agree that bill pay should be proportional to relative income though. I make less than FI, so I will pay a smaller, but fair and proportionate, amount of our monthly bills. It wouldn’t be fair for me to live like a pauper when I work as many hours plus go to school, just because I make less per hour. On the other hand, it wouldn’t be fair for him to assume all the responsibility for bills while I splurge with my money.
Post # 7
sara_tiara: +1 to the second paragraph
Post # 8
bitsybee: bkprettygirl: OMGMrsW2B: sara_tiara: Laurenplusalex: Sorry it wasn’t clear- the bills are paid proportional to income, so he does pay more for everything but he also has a lot more left over. We live in Massachusetts if that matters. In terms of healthcare and whatnot, it’s less about not wanting to take responsibility or get quality care and more that in his grandparents case I guess if their accounts hadn’t been set up like that his grandfather would have been completely wiped out from the grandmothers care expenses. They live in New Hampshire.
Post # 9
Wow, that is really a tough one. I believe what he is saying is in fact true. If one of you does incur a lot of debt somehow, and the other had to declare bankrupcy or died with debt, only joint assests could be siezed to settle debt. But I think that is such an extreme case, that it’s not really a real consideration. The idea of separate accounts and one struggling while the other is out buying whatever they want is unfair too. I mean, what if you want to go on a vacation and he can afford it, but you can’t from your separate accounts? Does that mean you dont go? Would he pay for you? Do you guys have the same spending and savings habits?
Post # 10
I don’t get this. When you get married, isn’t it supposed to be for better or for worse and for richer or poorer? Shouldn’t those vows extend to if one of you were to incur medical debt from serious health issues down the road…? Should you have to even “force” your partner to help you with something like this?
It’s not like one partner had a gambling debt and needed money, it’s about health issues. Personally, I wouldn’t marry someone who’s reason for not having joint accounts stems from this. I want/need someone who’s going to be there for me and support me no matter what life brings. I don’t want to be someone’s business partner. First and foremost, I want to be someone’s wife.
P.S. You having to buy clothes off clearance racks and use a shitty old phone while he lives high on the hog sounds like a really crappy deal to me. I’m sorry but that would really bother me if I were in your situation. He should want to help you out with things like that.
Post # 11
anotheranonabee: I’ve always viewed marriage as joining your lives which to me means merging finances. Otherwise I honestly don’t see the point in being “married” rather than just being a couple who lives together and splits the bills down the middle. It’s too much of a “room mate” situation for me. I know couples who say they have to “borrow” money from their husbands which sounds crazy to me! I recently read an article about this contributing to divorce because one partner felt they could not live the same “lifestyle” as the other since they made significantly less money. Leaving one partner barely scraping by with their “share” of expenses and the other easily able to afford their half and having tons of extra spending money to buy things for themself and take trips (which apparently some couples do where one partner who can afford it goes and the other who cannot stays home! Seems crazy to me!)
Personally, when we’re married its our life, our home, our family and our money.
Post # 12
- Wedding: July 2015 - City Hall!
I keep trying to post a kind response to this. But honestly, I can’t.
I never understood or agreed with the separate accounts. Ever.
And the health issue thing and money really rubs me the wrong way. If heaven forbid, there was a reason why one partner had to pay for the other’s partner healthcare, I would hope they would. Without question. Not hope the government will pay for it while they live the high life still.
Post # 13
GirlyGirl24: +1 I don’t want to be someone’s business partner. First and foremost, I want to be someone’s wife.
Could not have said it better myself!
Post # 14
Move to Canada where your medical costs will not bankrupt you. Problem solved.
Post # 15
Switching up the roles here – I actually make twice what my fiancé makes. And we both agreed that separate was best for us. It was the easiest wedding and marridge related discussion we’ve had so far actually!
We have a joint savings account that we both agreed to pay a certain amount into each month. All of our bills are separate too, I pay rent and car insurance, he pays cable, electric, cell phones, and our health insurance will be through his job and come from his paycheck. We each pay our own student loans and credit cards. We don’t have children or a mortgage, so there’s really no reason to change it up right now. But we do try to keep things equal, my money is his money and his is mine. I don’t think twice about him asking me to fill his gas tank, and he always givea me his credit cards to go shopping. I also travel a lot for my job and my company reimburses me for expenses, so my paychecks are never the same and I’m always moving money around. It’s a lot easier to keep track of that stuff when it’s just through my account.
Anyway back to you. It does seem a little unfair that he isn’t willing to spend on you or for you the way he does on himself. Does he make you feel guilty if you ask him for money? Is he controlling at all about it? Can you have an open conversation with him saying you feel inadequate and unbalanced in spending/entertainment cash? I would say to him ‘hey I really do need a new phone but I don’t think I can do it myself’. I find that men can be pretty dense and don’t think to change things that are blatantly wrong even if it’s right in front of him. Maybe he hasn’t realized how awkward this is for you.