Author Topic: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?  (Read 36247 times)

Timmmy

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #150 on: February 24, 2015, 07:37:38 AM »
Can I ask you all a question....this is a serious question and is NOT AT ALL intended to be contentious, but just thought provoking.

In situations where the financial contribution is unequal, do you think that when the female earns a lot more, due to working more aggressively not due to luck, and the male partner is staying at home with kids or working part-time, that there is more conflict about the financial situation than when the roles are more old-fashioned/traditional?

My experiences are that this is true.  Even if the couple themselves is OK with the non-traditional situation I think sometimes parents, older bosses, etc. are judgmental and can influence the way the couple feels about it themselves.

Example - I had a co-worker, an easy-going engineer (Mac), who became engaged to a brilliant female lawyer.  When she got a fantastic job offer out of state, Mac quit his job so he could move down with her.  When our boss asked him about whether he had a new job lined up in the new place yet, Mac said, "no, but its no hurry, she can afford to support us for a while..."  My boss later made a disparaging remark about Mac's "lack of ambition".   This was a little irritating to me because this same boss had a stay at home wife who never held a job in her entire life and followed him as he was transferred from office to office!

DW earns ~60% more than me and will continue to outpace my earnings growth so the gap will only get wider.  Her job also has the health benefits that we use.  It doesn't bother us at all.  And we don't really care what other people think about OUR life. 

Hi there everyone! New to posting, but have been following for awhile now and love the site!! I just could not believe how many people keep their finances separate on here. I thought marriage was a journey through life together and not each having separate end goals.
I just want to point out that a couple can not completely merge their finances and still be working towards mutual goals. When my husband and I first got married, my desire was that we combine our finances, because that's what couples who love each other do! My husband encouraged me to reconsider and I'm SO glad I did.

I have a tendency to observe where my money is going and adjust behaviors as a result, whereas my husband has a tendency to decide if something is a worthwhile expense and go for it if it is, without returning to revisit it -- these different "money styles" definitely caused us friction when I didn't feel like he was spending money on something justified -- and honestly, trying to control him when he was ON TEAM US was not productive. I think we're both happier just accepting that we have the same ideals but different ways of pursuing them.

So our strategy is this: instead of putting everything into the same pot, we just deliberate on who pays for what. Everything else is put into paying off our student loans, or a little bit of fun money. I think it's an ideal situation for us, because some arbitrary 50/50 split (or joint bank accounts) doesn't really customize for the needs of the moment.

I wonder why there was friction... 

TinyLightsBelow

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #151 on: February 24, 2015, 07:46:32 AM »
I wonder why there was friction...
I mean, that's the exact realization I came to, and not fully combining our finances ended up helping with the situation. I guess I don't see what you're getting at, aside from trying to point out what I explicitly admitted to?

2Birds1Stone

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #152 on: February 24, 2015, 07:49:59 AM »
I would never completely combine finances, that's just me. If SO has a problem with that, so be it.

Timmmy

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #153 on: February 24, 2015, 09:27:11 AM »
I wonder why there was friction...
I mean, that's the exact realization I came to, and not fully combining our finances ended up helping with the situation. I guess I don't see what you're getting at, aside from trying to point out what I explicitly admitted to?

You don't see anything wrong with trying to control him?  I can't even think in terms of trying to control my spouse.  We are married and together we make decisions about finances in such a way that both spouses goals are met.  Sometimes that means a goal that one spouse could achieve faster on their own may take longer.  If your spouse doesn't have the same goals as you that's fine, but they should care enough about you to want you to achieve those goals.

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #154 on: February 24, 2015, 10:11:38 AM »
If SO has a problem with that, so be it.

Are you married?

2Birds1Stone

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #155 on: February 24, 2015, 10:17:15 AM »

neo von retorch

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #156 on: February 24, 2015, 10:40:30 AM »
You don't see anything wrong with trying to control him?  I can't even think in terms of trying to control my spouse.  We are married and together we make decisions about finances in such a way that both spouses goals are met.  Sometimes that means a goal that one spouse could achieve faster on their own may take longer.  If your spouse doesn't have the same goals as you that's fine, but they should care enough about you to want you to achieve those goals.

Uh she admitted it and agreed with you already. Why are you still harping on this?

TinyLightsBelow

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #157 on: February 24, 2015, 11:05:27 AM »
I wonder why there was friction...
I mean, that's the exact realization I came to, and not fully combining our finances ended up helping with the situation. I guess I don't see what you're getting at, aside from trying to point out what I explicitly admitted to?

You don't see anything wrong with trying to control him?  I can't even think in terms of trying to control my spouse.  We are married and together we make decisions about finances in such a way that both spouses
goals are met.  Sometimes that means a goal that one spouse could achieve faster on their own may take longer.  If your spouse doesn't have the same goals as you that's fine, but they should care enough about you to want you to achieve those goals.
I do see something wrong with it which is why I realized what I was doing, changed my perspective and changed the situation so that it doesn't happen again. It sucked that I was doing it. I like to think I stopped. I am genuinely glad that you have never felt like you had to control your spouse! That is how it's supposed to be! But my overall point was, combining my finances with my husband actually reinforced what I found to be an unproductive and unhealthy behavior and for us, we have had absolutely NO additional money problems since we just agreed to keep our bank accounts separate and collaborate when needed.

Timmmy

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #158 on: February 24, 2015, 01:06:42 PM »
I wonder why there was friction...
I mean, that's the exact realization I came to, and not fully combining our finances ended up helping with the situation. I guess I don't see what you're getting at, aside from trying to point out what I explicitly admitted to?

You don't see anything wrong with trying to control him?  I can't even think in terms of trying to control my spouse.  We are married and together we make decisions about finances in such a way that both spouses
goals are met.  Sometimes that means a goal that one spouse could achieve faster on their own may take longer.  If your spouse doesn't have the same goals as you that's fine, but they should care enough about you to want you to achieve those goals.
I do see something wrong with it which is why I realized what I was doing, changed my perspective and changed the situation so that it doesn't happen again. It sucked that I was doing it. I like to think I stopped. I am genuinely glad that you have never felt like you had to control your spouse! That is how it's supposed to be! But my overall point was, combining my finances with my husband actually reinforced what I found to be an unproductive and unhealthy behavior and for us, we have had absolutely NO additional money problems since we just agreed to keep our bank accounts separate and collaborate when needed.

My apologies.  I never meant to sound like I was coming down on you or anyone.  I was more trying to point out that the goal should be to not need to control.  Find common goals and work towards them.  DW and I both spend money on things that the other thinks is stupid.  Sometimes it's frustrating but we set our priorities as a couple and we make sure one persons goals get met even when they aren't a priority to both. 

TinyLightsBelow

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #159 on: February 24, 2015, 01:28:49 PM »
I wonder why there was friction...
I mean, that's the exact realization I came to, and not fully combining our finances ended up helping with the situation. I guess I don't see what you're getting at, aside from trying to point out what I explicitly admitted to?

You don't see anything wrong with trying to control him?  I can't even think in terms of trying to control my spouse.  We are married and together we make decisions about finances in such a way that both spouses
goals are met.  Sometimes that means a goal that one spouse could achieve faster on their own may take longer.  If your spouse doesn't have the same goals as you that's fine, but they should care enough about you to want you to achieve those goals.
I do see something wrong with it which is why I realized what I was doing, changed my perspective and changed the situation so that it doesn't happen again. It sucked that I was doing it. I like to think I stopped. I am genuinely glad that you have never felt like you had to control your spouse! That is how it's supposed to be! But my overall point was, combining my finances with my husband actually reinforced what I found to be an unproductive and unhealthy behavior and for us, we have had absolutely NO additional money problems since we just agreed to keep our bank accounts separate and collaborate when needed.

My apologies.  I never meant to sound like I was coming down on you or anyone.  I was more trying to point out that the goal should be to not need to control.  Find common goals and work towards them.  DW and I both spend money on things that the other thinks is stupid.  Sometimes it's frustrating but we set our priorities as a couple and we make sure one persons goals get met even when they aren't a priority to both.
Thank you for that, sincerely. You're right, of course, that the goal shouldn't be control -- which is why I said all that stuff about how important it was for me to remember that he was on team 'us' and why something had to change. :) I think the restructuring of finances worked (at least symbolically) for me to say, yes, we are a couple, but we are also two different people, and by having our finances separate they come together when they need to be, in a goal-oriented fashion. Sometimes I can't understand when he buys things -- and vice versa -- but yeah, we had to make a progression to the same dynamic that it seems that you and your wife have, where as long as we meet our mutual goals, we don't sweat the individual stuff.

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #160 on: February 24, 2015, 01:52:59 PM »
Couples: what's your expense split? Do you keep personal accounts?


My GF and I keep separate accounts. She'll be working fulltime for 10yrs+ after I start winding down towards FIRE.

When we met I made 25% more than her for 3 years. Now she makes 10% more than me if I don't take any side work. When I go part-time she'll make double what I do.

We split bills 50/50.

When I was making 25% more I paid for some extra optional stuff like surfboards/mountain bike parts/etc..

Now that we are close to the same I don't pay for anything extra.

When she's making double I'm not expecting her to pay for anything extra, but I won't be surprised if she picks up some extra dinners or buys me a nice b-day present.

We are not married and I am doing all my FIRE planning as if I was single. If we combine our $$ we'll be flush, but I know very few people that are together for 20yrs+ so I'm not counting on it.

-- Vik


2Birds1Stone

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #161 on: February 24, 2015, 02:19:47 PM »
Couples: what's your expense split? Do you keep personal accounts?


My GF and I keep separate accounts. She'll be working fulltime for 10yrs+ after I start winding down towards FIRE.

When we met I made 25% more than her for 3 years. Now she makes 10% more than me if I don't take any side work. When I go part-time she'll make double what I do.

We split bills 50/50.

When I was making 25% more I paid for some extra optional stuff like surfboards/mountain bike parts/etc..

Now that we are close to the same I don't pay for anything extra.

When she's making double I'm not expecting her to pay for anything extra, but I won't be surprised if she picks up some extra dinners or buys me a nice b-day present.

We are not married and I am doing all my FIRE planning as if I was single. If we combine our $$ we'll be flush, but I know very few people that are together for 20yrs+ so I'm not counting on it.

-- Vik



I am in a very similar boat, split joint housing expenses 50/50, I choose to pick up extra stuff like a bar tab, dinner, movie etc. I am hardcore into my FIRE plans, she is not on the same page. She makes half of what I do, but also doesn't follow a budget albeit being naturally frugal.

willow

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #162 on: February 24, 2015, 03:03:16 PM »
My gf and I got into a lively debate last night about how we think finances should be shared between a married couple with unequal incomes, which we both believe is in our future. Now seems like a good time to hash it out since we make exactly the same yearly salary.

I am aiming to FIRE, she is not. While she isn't super extravagant, she does enjoy buying lots of clothing and shoes on sale and at thrift stores, and generally does more optional spending than I do.

My thought was: split all expenses 50/50 regardless of incomes, then each of us keeps our own money in separate accounts after that. She feels that expenses should be split proportional to income, e.g. if someone brings home 2/3 of the money, they pay 2/3 of the expenses. And though it wasn't clear, it sounded as if she wanted just small personal accounts, and that a lot of the money gets pooled together.

We won't be sharing incomes for a few years at least, but what's a fair strategy? Getting her 100% on board with my spending habits is incredibly unlikely, but she isn't outrageous or super high maintenance either, so I don't see her impeding my goals or vice versa if we can come to an agreement.

Couples: what's your expense split? Do you keep personal accounts?

I'm trying to find a compromise. Perhaps pooling a certain percentage into a joint account that requires agreement for any purchases, and the rest into personal accounts that are for whatever the individual wants?

Note: this will only be an issue if I end up being the higher earner. If it's her, I will happily pay my 50% of expenses and never ask her for a dime of her money to use on my hobbies and optional spending.

We share everything. Our incomes go into one cell on the spreadsheet and our expenses come out altogether. There's no 50% split here or whatever. At the end of it all we allot a "don't ask" category where we each can spend x amount of dollars each month where we don't have to ask the other person for permission to spend it.(we do keep the statements open and accountable). That means we both get the same amount of "spending" money every month.  Sometimes I spend it all and most times I just save the extra, spouse does the same. And if they want to spend it all on something I consider silly I don't ask them about it. It's their money and I agreed ahead of time I'm "ok" with that money not going to FIRE or whatever other goals we have.

I think it can get ugly when you're paying x percent of the house and whatever on the bills. Not to mention all the jealousy and unevenness that could come from one person making a lot more money, and therefore spending a lot more on things like shoes and food, and entertainment and the other person not having as much.

I mean let's be honest. If you have 1000 left over every month and she has 500, you really think you're never gonna end up buying her gifts or paying for the bill when you go out to eat?

It makes much more sense for everyone to go in together. Ideally you'd save the 1k and split the 500 evenly.(depending on how mustachian you are, of course).

wordnerd

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #163 on: February 24, 2015, 06:16:28 PM »
Egads. It's a little heated in here.

I think many models can be successful, but the important thing is to communicate honestly with each other about your preferences, fears, etc, which can be frightening, so you can find the model that's right for you. If you're looking for a structured way to have that conversation, there are many books that can help. Before my husband and I got engaged, we worked through a book called the 10 Conversations to Have Before You Get Married, one of which was about money (others were about sex, kids, etc). That was a good starting point, but it took awhile for me to get comfortable really discussing finances with him. Part of that had to do with my upbringing, and part of it had to do with his being more frugal than me (especially then).

We thought about several models, but eventually decided to combine everything and agreed to discuss all purchases over $300. This model has worked very well for us (we're only three years in, but still...), and I think it has helped us talk more about our life goals.

boarder42

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #164 on: March 04, 2015, 05:40:31 AM »
Couples: what's your expense split? Do you keep personal accounts?


My GF and I keep separate accounts. She'll be working fulltime for 10yrs+ after I start winding down towards FIRE.

When we met I made 25% more than her for 3 years. Now she makes 10% more than me if I don't take any side work. When I go part-time she'll make double what I do.

We split bills 50/50.

When I was making 25% more I paid for some extra optional stuff like surfboards/mountain bike parts/etc..

Now that we are close to the same I don't pay for anything extra.

When she's making double I'm not expecting her to pay for anything extra, but I won't be surprised if she picks up some extra dinners or buys me a nice b-day present.

We are not married and I am doing all my FIRE planning as if I was single. If we combine our $$ we'll be flush, but I know very few people that are together for 20yrs+ so I'm not counting on it.

-- Vik

Split 50/50 all bills but i make more so i fund our retirement accounts more. 

boarder42

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #165 on: March 04, 2015, 05:43:30 AM »
Egads. It's a little heated in here.

I think many models can be successful, but the important thing is to communicate honestly with each other about your preferences, fears, etc, which can be frightening, so you can find the model that's right for you. If you're looking for a structured way to have that conversation, there are many books that can help. Before my husband and I got engaged, we worked through a book called the 10 Conversations to Have Before You Get Married, one of which was about money (others were about sex, kids, etc). That was a good starting point, but it took awhile for me to get comfortable really discussing finances with him. Part of that had to do with my upbringing, and part of it had to do with his being more frugal than me (especially then).

We thought about several models, but eventually decided to combine everything and agreed to discuss all purchases over $300. This model has worked very well for us (we're only three years in, but still...), and I think it has helped us talk more about our life goals.

Just talking about purchases over 300 would be a problem for some here.  List of things that cost under 300

1. clothes - could buy clothes daily
2. coffee - could buy coffee daily
3. eat out daily
4. expensive not needed groceries
5. TV
6. Cell Phone
7. Tablet
8. a dog per month


Glad it works for you but as far as FIRE goes.  Your spouse (if not onboard) could be spending piles of money monthly with this system and wouldnt have to ask you a thing.

Mesmoiselle

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #166 on: March 04, 2015, 11:59:52 AM »
We go by percentage of overall income earned, divide up the bills to roughly the right number, made adjustments until both of us didn't feel resentful or broke all the time and voila.

Example of not real numbers:

$2000 of "Bills" a month. I make 50k, he makes 25k. 33% of $2000 is $666. All utilities plus some other bill =$666.

That's his share of the bills. The rest are mine. And if job/incomes change, we do the math again.

Whatever remains is our personal spending money. Our personal debts we brought into the marriage are our own responsibility, and school loan payments are made out of it.

4 years together, married 18 months, this has worked for us quite well the entire time. And we definitely accomplish our goals. We both contribute to our retirement accounts, obviously at different rates depending on what we can afford individually. We both want to be financially independent so we can go after low paying passions.

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #167 on: March 04, 2015, 01:11:57 PM »
In our 39 year marriage there were times when he made a lot more than me, there were years when I made a lot more than him...  but it never mattered.  All of our money is our money.  Neither of us made large purchases without running it past the other one. Our accounts are all joint accounts.  It works for us.  I know another couple married almost as long, but they have always kept their finances separate because one of them likes to spend too much.  That works for them.  You just have to figure out what works for you.

this.

there is not a one size fits all option here.
wife and i married for 5, together for 10.

we keep separate accounts for the most part, but we have access into each others accounts as needed.

i make significantly more, and also spend significantly less.

we split most of the household bills about 50/50.  i end up, at my own discretion, choosing to pay into some of her spending/debts (student loans/car payment) since the overall financial view is shared, regardless of how the accounts are actually held.  so something to better her accounts, betters mine... and vice versa.

Knapptyme

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #168 on: April 05, 2015, 11:56:46 PM »
Ironically, since posting earlier in this thread, my DW and I signed up for new separate bank accounts. The reason...to reap sign up rewards in double. An easy $450 just for moving our money around for six months.

Everything's still shared equally, but it's nice to know that we can make more as individuals sometimes. (Same goes for CC rewards, too.)