How to handle talk about finances? SO makes a lot more $.

posted 2 months ago in Engagement
Post # 2
Member
1257 posts
Bumble bee

If you’re already talking about finances/houses/engagement, no time like the present! I would suggest bringing it up and setting a date in the near future to discuss it so you both have times to gather all your info. Something like “hey, since we’re talking engagement and houses I think it’s important we discuss finances in more detail. Can we set some time aside next friday and go over everything? I know I have [student loans] and you have [inheritance] and we may want to discuss [prenup] as well. Does that give you enough time to get everything together? I want to make sure we lay everything out and are on the same page for our future together.”

You definitely don’t need to combine finances, and there are many different ways to approach things. With such a difference income a % based contribution may be easiest. You’d each keep your own accounts and have a joint account together, contributing 1/5 for you and 4/5 for him of your joint bills. But also with such a disparity, maybe he doesn’t really expect you contribute much, or maybe you would cover utilities and groceries while he covers everything else (ie mortgage/insurance). There is a TON of wiggle room between totally separate and totally combined finances. 

Post # 3
Member
983 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2022

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@bohobirdy:  he thinks it’s old school to combine finances? So does he plan on making you pay 50% of things? Or is he gonna cover everything? Or does he want you guys to keep separate finances but pay things proportionally? I would not be willing to get engaged until I had a very serious discussion about this. I would be extremely not okay with him hoarding his $ & making me go halvsies! What is ur plan for paying for a house? How have finances not been discussed but you’re looking at a house? Will you both purchase, both contribute equally to down payment & mortgage? Hold the title 50/50? You need to have this discussion BEFORE you buy a house or get engaged. Personally I make about $25,000 more than my fiancé & he had $35,000 of student loan debt whereas I didn’t have any. We agreed when he moved in that he would pay significant less in rent because I make more $ & he wanted to pay off his loans before we got engaged. We decided to buy a house with mostly my money, help from my parents, and some of his savings. We signed a real property agreement I had a lawyer create that said basically we would each get back what we put into the house (and I get the portion my parents contributed [instead of paying for wedding they gave us $ toward this]) we decide to not get married or we divorce. It was important to me that he hold the title 50/50 even tho I contributed more & we proportionally pay for all our joint expenses, including mortgage, meaning I pay about 60-65% and he pays the rest of everything. I would expect the same kind of breakdown if he made more money (which he likely will in future as his career has more earning potential than mine). We have separate accounts & no joint accounts but we do plan on starting a joint account together at some point. These are all things we discussed before getting engaged or buying a house. Do not wait. If you are outearned I would make sure you are being treated fairly. Good luck!

  • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by megs229.
Post # 4
Member
631 posts
Busy bee

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@megs229:  Yea, I’m fairly suspicious of men that expect feminism and modernity performed in a way that conveniently benefits them. Expecting to split finances 50/50 with a large financial disparity often leads to financial abuse where the partner who makes less is unable to accrue wealth. 

Post # 5
Member
381 posts
Helper bee

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@bohobirdy:  you probably need to reevaluate if you’re ready to get married if your SO thinks it’s old school to combine finances. Getting married is growing together. Is he going to pay for vacations, mortgage, car, etc out of his funds? If so does that mean he is the only one that gets a say in where you live, where you vacation, and what cars you drive? Or is he going to be driving around in a nice car while you are driving a POS because you can’t afford one? 

I’m being harsh but the point I’m trying to make is if you are going to have a say in these things then you are combining finances, just keeping two separate bank accounts. But if you are not going to have a say in these things then this sounds like an incredibly controlling relationship. If God forbid you got sick and had medical bills, would he help you out then? I assume he would, but it still means he is picking and choosing when combining is ok. 

“Not combining finances” just means not combining them when he doesn’t want to. I’m sorry but this should not be the basis of a marriage. I know some people make this work but with an income as disproportionate as you guys have it sounds like a bad idea to me. 

Post # 6
Member
1827 posts
Buzzing bee

OP what does not combining mean? Does it mean he wants to go 50/50 or does it mean he just doesn’t want money stuck together in one account?

Hubby and I actually have separate bank accounts. He earns 3x what I do and he pays for the majority of household bills and I pay for groceries etc. We figured it out to be roughly reflective of what we earn. It’s also nice to have my own money to spend on Botox etc from my account and not be questioned on it lol like a good friend of mine whose husband asks her questions. xo

Post # 7
Member
858 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2020

We do a proportionate split and we have our own bank accounts and no shared credit cards. It works for us. We discussed it long before we got engaged, like grown-ups.

This is one of MANY tough discussions you’ll need to have if you plan to get married. No time like the present. 

Post # 8
Member
536 posts
Busy bee

My husband makes 3x more than I do and we combine finances. He always says it’s for us. I think it’s important in a marriage to not have a Me, You mentality and instead an Us mentality in every way. My ex husband didn’t want any finances together, not even me on his insurance. Many other things in that marriage felt separate. I think that can be the case having Mine, Yours, Me, You. You absolutely need this convo now, not later. It is very important. You don’t want to be in a disagreement about this later. Money is huge and a massive stressor when two people aren’t on the same page. I think whatever you both decide to do needs the Us mentality behind it. 

Post # 9
Member
13924 posts
Honey Beekeeper

I have no idea where your SO gets the idea that joint accounts are somehow “old school.” While a larger number of couples may keep fully separate accounts now than in the past, the majority still combine finances in some way. For example, joint accounts may be for major expenses and there are separate smaller accounts for personal spending, in many cases split fairly, or on the basis of who needs what. 

Personally, I think joint accounts are more transparent and efficient. Of course that requires trust and for the couple to be on the same page regarding saving vs. spending. I can’t imagine the dynamic of having one person spend whatever they feel like and the other saving for the future. At a certain point you are either a team or you aren’t. 

It’s convenient and suspicious that the person making so much more seems to want everything for himself. That would be a dealbreaker for me if he is talking about the kind of set up where you have very little in the way of discretionary spending while he lives it up. To me, that’s not a marriage. Why bother? 

Post # 10
Member
1518 posts
Bumble bee

One thing to think about, whatever you do, are what are the laws in your state re: division of property. While Alberta’s laws changed in 2020, prior to that a lot of people would run into problems because they paid the groceries and utilities and their partner paid the mortgage. Mortgage is the only traceable money and the person paying the mortgage would get a lot more of it (even if the bills were shared 50/50). 

It might be worth it to talk to a lawyer for an hour to find out how choices, what you pay, how you share finances, etc. can impact you in the future.

Post # 11
Member
2121 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2022 - Studio City , CA

I do extremely well financially but fiancé makes a significant amount more than I do. He was very open about his finances when things got serious and led with my money and savings is yours and said no prenup was needed. I insisted on mutual ones out of respect for his daughters well one in particular  who I feared would have issues about inheritance which is a whole different thread in itself. Anyways despite his generosity I am hustler and grind away making my own money and very generous as well when it comes to shared finances. I say it’s never to early to start talking Nout it because in a way marriage is a business when it comes to money so we lead with that. I hope that makes sense 

Post # 12
Member
660 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2017

 

View original reply
@bohobirdy:   I would most definitely have the talk before you are engaged!! You might not even want to get engaged depending on the outcome of the conversation lol.

…and just wondering do you make very little and he makes good wage or do you make a average/good wage and he makes a huge wage? What is the reason for the large disparity?

  • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by ozbee.
Post # 13
Member
2298 posts
Buzzing bee

Definitely have the conversation before getting engaged.

When my OH and I started discussing marriage, I asked if we could do a marriage prep course before deciding to get engaged, as I wanted to make sure we weren’t going to run into any deal-breakers.  My thinking was that if we were going to hit any irreconcilable differences, it was better to run into them and break up before getting engaged than after (or worst still, after marriage).

It might be worth looking into doing this, as a good course will not only cover common areas of conflict like finance, household roles, childcare, contact with wider family etc, but also give you good tools and ideas for healthy communication.

Regarding splitting finances, a joint account is certainly not ‘old school’, although separate accounts are more common than they were many years ago.  Whether joint or separate, the important things to ensure are that 1) what you do works for both of you, 2) it is a mutual agreement, not one that is imposed by one partner on the other and 3) any division of costs is fair and doesn’t leave one partner in greater poverty than the other.

Personally, we’ve found that a joint account is far less hassle, especially as our earnings fluctuate a lot (mine are particularly seasonal).  We regard it all as ‘our’ money.  We just have an agreement that neither of us spends over x amount (you can work out for yourselves what amount is appropriate) without checking with the other.

Also, it would just feel weird that, when I’ve promised to stick with this guy for life and we share everything else, we don’t share a bank account!  But that’s just how I feel.  

Post # 14
Member
4876 posts
Honey bee

H and I have completely separate finances, but we still consider everything to be ours. He also makes considerably more than I do, but we split things based on income and not 50/50. We have no joint accounts and he just pays me a set amount each month that covers living expenses.

There is nothing wrong with keeping your finances separate just as long as you both feel comfortable with the arrangement and it’s fair to both of you. 

Post # 15
Member
4876 posts
Honey bee

And keep in mind, joint accounts were commonplace back in the day because women weren’t allowed to have their own bank account. They had to rely on their husband or father to manage their money.

It is becoming more common for couples to maintain separate accounts.

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