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How should married couples conduct their financial affairs?



  • Registered Users Posts: 4,340 ✭✭✭mojesius

    I think the fact that your kids have never been on a holiday abroad despite the high household income is quite sad. I'd start saving money separately and bring them away myself. Holidays are some of best family memories to have and if you can afford a week or two away, you should do it.

    With penny pinchers, you need to show them what's being spent. You could do a spreadsheet of income/outgoings across a typical year including all the extras you pay for and highlight exactly where he is not contributing and when you are ending up in the red.

  • Registered Users Posts: 19,517 ✭✭✭✭Donald Trump

    They are out for dinner. He is making sure he isn't treating her by paying for anything she eats...........the meal is not going to cost less by making her account for her half..... Does he send her an invoice for half if he buys her a birthday present?

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,893 ✭✭✭deirdremf

    I think there are a lot of issues here.

    You want to be a team, so let's start here. You say you have been married for ten years and that you are now in your 40s, so you weren't terribly young when you got married. It might be a bit late in the day, but maybe you should think back to before you got married. Did you not discuss any of this at that stage, or was it a whirlwind romance (you don't sound like the type, but who knows!) Is he usually a calculating type? There are a lot of those in the corporate world, many of them on the narcissistic-sociopathic spectrum.

    Another issue is feeling used/left out/disrespected. You really need to work out what you get from the relationship. What it provides you with now, not what it provided you with initially. You might want to balance that against stability for the kids. If he is a great father, would he still be a great father if you lived separately? Coming back to the corporate aspect of your OH's job - do either of you travel much for your work? If the answer is yes - who is away most, and who looks after the kids when you or he is away?

    Money seems to be a big problem in your life, or at least in the way you present the situation. You have €225k between you, but as he only contributes on an equal basis to yourself, it is as though you were on €150k, and you say your mortgage is €450k, which is three times this "notional" income. That's not a bad place to be, it should be totally affordable for you. If you can only afford to dress from Penney's and can't afford a foreign holiday, I'd say money is leaking out somewhere - clubs, expensive cars and school fees are two things that spring to mind although there are many other possibilities. Because you individually are on a salary that is double the average industrial wage.

    Many families have less than your salary to live on. I'm wondering if there isn't some other aspect of your situation that is worrying you but that you haven't mentioned here.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,442 ✭✭✭bad2thebone

    As a single guy who's not married, I always thought if I got married it was all thrown into the one account and you make a happy homestead. And share everything equally. And nobody has more than the other.

    All or nothing is what I was brought up to understand, if my dad was hiding his salary from my mum she'd have his guts for garters. Proper order too. Because he'd be hiding our means from all of us.

    This selfish desire of what's mine is mine and your's is your's in a family unit is adhorent to a families primary purpose.

    If he's hiding the family fortune, what else is he hiding.

    Anyhow if the marriage didn't work out, he has plenty to offer and you won't be left out in the cold. He just made a headstart at saving enough to support his potential exe wife and kids.

    Men like this think they're strong, but in reality they're just weak pathetic wimps.

    Not man enough to put themselves second and their family first.

    Have you an older brother who you can comfide in ?

    Men know what's behind other men's agendas, and if I was your brother I'd be suggesting that you have a good think about what family value means.

    You might wake him up, but he's a sh1t to be hiding the family wealth or fortune.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Joint account for us. I think anything else and it'd be just bizarre. I know that lots of people do this, but it smacks of a transactional relationship if separate bank accounts applied. How does it even work re groceries etc, would be mind melting

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,893 ✭✭✭deirdremf

    Wow, €50k for a masters, and sending your kid to the US for surgery at the drop of a hat.

    You are living in lalaland, mate.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,000 ✭✭✭skallywag

    This one is a complete no brainer for me.

    Set up a joint account and pay an appropriate amount into it each month (i.e. in proportion to your earnings). Pay all bills etc. from this account. Each has a card from this account to use at the shops, etc. At the same time maintain your own accounts from which you can spend from on whatever you please and without consultation, assuming of course that the joint account always has enough funds to cover all required joint expenses.

    For larger expenses such as holidays etc. you can top up the joint account with larger payments that usual for that month, etc.

    I am baffled why anyone would want or choose to do anything different. It is a great way to control your spending as the worst case scenario is that the joint account will be suddenly empty.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    The amount of work required to keep this topped up to ensure enough would be exhausting.

    BTW, why get married... tax reasons?

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,066 ✭✭✭HerrKuehn

    I find some of the opinions on here very strange. I would wonder why some people even bother getting married. My wife earns much less than the OP, I earn a lot more than the OP's husband. We have always put everything into a joint account with each of us getting the exact same amount of pocket money. Pocket money can be used for things like clothes and going out with friends etc.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,000 ✭✭✭skallywag

    Not at all. In our case we make a couple of extra payments each a year to cover such things and that tends to be it. Our joint account tends to accumualte money in any case most months.

    I find your marriage question very odd. Is that the ultimate definition of 'marriage' now, that both parties have one single bank account? Is there really nothing more to it?

    I want us to be able to cover all of our expenses in a fair and balanced way (remember that I said that we pay into this account in a manner which is proportional to our salaries) but we also want to be able to spend from our own accounts without having to have a discussion each time about said expense. E.g. if my partner wants to buy herself a new computer, phone etc. then I want her to be able to feel free to do that without us having to sit down and examine how much is in our pooled together account etc.

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  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    "Is there really nothing more to it?'

    Bizzare thinking. How did you come to thar conclusion? Money is only a very small part of a relationship.

    But, I may see where you're coming from. My wife and I don't have money worries, so it may be an unfair example. I would still think all monies should be pooled and both have access. Having a chat about whether if such and such is affordable is just one of many conversations couples should be having, rather than how much should we each put in this month.

    I think personal money may be more important the younger a couple are, and the less distance they have from their single lives.

  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 7,052 Mod ✭✭✭✭Hannibal_Smith

    OP, I don't think there's a way finances should be treated. It's whatever works for both people and whatever they're comfortable with.

    You're not comfortable with the situation as it is and more importantly you can't have a discussion about it. You're a family and regardless of what the household figures are the family are not enjoying what they'd like to because the finances aren't adding up.

    But it doesn't seem that that's the only problem. You don't feel respected or listened to in the marriage and it is absolutely worth discussing what your issues are, whether it be between the two of you or with the help of a marriage counsellor. Jim2007's sets out three fair and rational ways of approaching the financial issues. If your husband isn't willing to discuss or consider an alternative to how you're currently living then it's a deeper problem. It's not going to fade away, it has to be addressed.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,858 ✭✭✭growleaves

    What I find strange is that people who have joint accounts are so dogmatic about it. As if a particular financial arrangement were itself the basis for marriage.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    How have you come to that conclusion, or does it just suit your bias? And how open are you to joint accounts or are you 'dogmatic'?

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    In that scenario, whether one half of a couple goes jobsharing should be a decision made jointly by the couple, with consideration to the impact on the family as a whole and on the family finances.

    If one partner puts their career on hold or sacrifices career advancement to be a stay at home parent, either full or part time, then this deserves recognition and financial support from the other spouse.

    In no circumstances should one spouse be left with nothing at the end of the month, while the other has money sitting in the bank.

    OP, in your shoes, I would sit him down and have a hard conversation with him. I would insist on full visibility of his income and accounts, nothing less. If he still won't even discuss them, let alone share them with you, then I would be of the view that he is hiding something, and there would be a big question mark over the future of the marriage.

    For me, it would come down to this. He either share his income and accounts details with you now, or he can share them with forensic accountant and/or a Family Court Judge in the form of an Affidavit of Means as part of a separation. His choice.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,119 ✭✭✭spakman

    You both just set up a standing order every month from personal accounts to joint account.

    If it runs out, you review if there was an exceptional spend that month (e.g. annual insurance payment) to explain it. Otherwise you increase your standing order amount. It doesn't take much effort at all.

  • Registered Users Posts: 15,401 ✭✭✭✭Supercell

    We are married 12 years and have always had a joint account. We just take whatever is needed when we need it from there, seems weird to me that married couples would do it differently. I earn far more than my wife but we're married who earns what just doesnt come into it as it all ends up in the one account.

    Have a weather station?, why not join the Ireland Weather Network -

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Until you're at a grocery checkout near month end and the card gets rejected for that managed account.

    How about credit cards, how are they financed? Are they allowed?

    How about one stay at home parent not earning an income. What personal money will they have?

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,066 ✭✭✭HerrKuehn

    If 2 people earn similar amounts, have no kids and one has a habit of spending money, then it can make sense to have entirely separate accounts. When you have kids, often one partner, usually the woman, will sacrifice her career and earning potential somewhat. This is for the benefit of the entire family. Whereas if the husband starts earning a lot more and keeps it to himself, it is just meanness in my opinion.

    A couple also needs to plan for retirement. Apart from a romantic relationship, a marriage is also a joint venture that involves raising kids and accumulating enough wealth to retire.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,858 ✭✭✭growleaves

    I came to that conclusion because one poster used the phrase "not a marriage" and another poster said "I would wonder why some people even bother getting married."

    No I'm not biased against joint accounts.

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  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    So, not everybody that has a joint account like you implied?

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,858 ✭✭✭growleaves

    Whatever dude. Its clear I'm talking about people who are insisting on joint accounts as some posters have, and I've just provided you with verbatim quotes to that effect, so stop taking offence.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,000 ✭✭✭skallywag

    I think that some people seem to think that those who do not pool absolutely everything together are somehow lacking in trust, or do not understand 'what it means to be married'.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,969 ✭✭✭893bet

    why is that laalaland? Did you read my post and understand?

    My question is basically “the dude is earning 150k, is he “wasting” it all or does she think he has 300k cash in the bank”

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,261 ✭✭✭naughtysmurf

    My thoughts on this are,

    if you are a working couple & each earn in or around the same then 50/50 is grand on everything or pool your resources & both work out of it, all transactions visible to both & have conversations about purchases / expenses some people like to spend, some don’t , if one person wants to blow a few hundred on clothes, then the other should get to keep a few hundred to spend at a later date if they wish,

    If one income with the other working in the home, keeping the house, looking after the kids etc, then the one income belongs to both of you, after the bills are paid, what’s left is divided between the two equally, jointly save for the future if you wish.

    Then the tricky one

    If both working, one on 100k, the other on say 40k, 50/50 sometimes doesn’t really work, the high earner may feel resentful at seeing a higher % of their income going into the household, my own personal opinion on this is that you are either in it together or you are not, maybe a little old fashioned……….

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,893 ✭✭✭deirdremf

    If your question was just about his assets, fine.

    But where do you pay €50k for a masters? And even if there are businesses that charge that amount for a masters - why would you pay so much?

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,637 ✭✭✭...Ghost...

    I agree with most of what you are saying with regards job sharing and family impact/finances etc. Sometimes however there are circumstances where one partner is just bad with money and manages to flitter it away every month. This is why I said the OP first needs to examine her own spending habits before blaming her lack of money at the end of the month on her husband. We don't know the full story...far from it. Though I suspect that the husband is just a penny pincher, I wouldn't rule out poor spending habits from the OP who has admitted she has a very good income in her own right. With 2 kids and that level of of mortgage, she should have plenty left over at a 50/50 where is it all going?

    When I was at college, my Wife was paying the mortgage not much less than that of the OP. She is a civil servant too and we have more kids to feed than the OP. We still managed a holiday every year or 2 on a budget.

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  • Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 7,003 Mod ✭✭✭✭HildaOgdenx

    Mod Note

    Reminder - as per the forum charter - Personal Issues is an advice forum. Posters are required to offer advice or opinion to the OP in their replies.



  • Registered Users Posts: 8,969 ✭✭✭893bet

    while I have no idea what a masters costs these days but 50k over two years to include fees, expenses and accommodation def ain’t out off the question in any city in Ireland.

    Why pay so much? Well not all masters are equal. I have a friend who paid 100k for an MBA from some private French school. Let’s just say the doors it opened for him probably makes it look a bargain.

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  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    I'm not insisting that all income should be pooled or all go into one joint account - I think that's up to the couple to decide how they want to manage it, and yes spending habits taken into consideration.

    The bigger and more immediate issue for me would be the secrecy.

    I do firmly believe the OP should have full knowledge of her spouse's income and finances and she should insist on this. The fact that he keeps this hidden and has until now refused to even discuss them, would be a personal dealbreaker for me.