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How should married couples conduct their financial affairs?



  • Registered Users Posts: 5,698 ✭✭✭Charles Babbage

    There are a lot of simplistic comments here about splitting the mortgage 50/50 and so on.

    If you have two people on different incomes (and this couple are although they are both well paid) then what sort of house do you buy. Do you buy a house proportionate to 2.5 times the joint income or whatever? In this case the less well paid partner is lving in a better house than they could otherwise afford and paying 50% of the mortage will impoverish them, while their partner has plenty of money left over. Do you buy a house proportionate to the lower income and everyone lives in a crowded space? A similar issue could apply to things like holidays, but this does not seem like an issue here.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,390 ✭✭✭UsBus

    For many couples getting married in their 30's or later, most people would have had their own bank account for 15-20 years before. Just because you decide to get married, you don't completely give up your independence and live joined at the hip. Nothing complicated at all about each person having their own bank account and both paying into a joint account to manage all household bills or joint expenses. A healthy surplus in the joint account and each person has the freedom to live off their own excess earnings.

    It's not real life to pool everything and live as one entity. Things can change unexpectedly in the future. Anyone who has experienced divorce will tell you that.

  • Registered Users Posts: 20,058 ✭✭✭✭Cyrus

    If you decide to have children then you need to start pooling income imo, doesn’t mean you lose your independence you just both have the same amount of disposal income , if you want to have a family with someone it’s a partnership you should treat it like one.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,049 ✭✭✭downtheroad

    A married couple with kids should be putting all income into 1 account and running the household from it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,317 ✭✭✭gameoverdude

    I don't agree.

    Joint account for house expenses yes.

    There's no one size fits all answer.

    If the OP paying for everything then a discussion is needed.

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  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    God bless my parents. My Dad used to come in on Friday night and put the square brown envelope with his wages in it (cash) on the kitchen windowsill for my mother to take out what she needed to run the house that week. She looked after all the bills, as by his own admittance, he wasn't great with money. She worked as well.

    She'd take what she needed from the envelope and then put it back on the windowsill for him, and whatever she'd left he spent on his cigarettes, and his biggest vice - eccles cakes and rock buns - which he'd bring home for us on Saturday night. He never complained he didn't have enough and she never left him with too little. We didn't have a car, my mother got the bus to work and my father walked everywhere.

    Simpler times. It was all down to trust and they definitely worked as a team.

    OP, my long-winded point is I feel your husband is not treating you and he as a team.

    That, and as I mentioned before, the secrecy, would bother me more than the income inbalance. I hope since starting the thread you've managed to have a decent chat with him. (Please don't take that as a request for an update, its not).

  • Also sudden illness/incapacity of one partner could potentially land the other in a tricky situation re cash flow if neither has an independent current account.

  • Rather like my parents. My mother ran a small cottage industry which helped finance her widowed sister, and it paid bills when my Dad would be seeking next job. She started it in motion when her sister’s husband was dying, and he died a relieved man knowing his widow would have a living and occupation. They did have a joint account, but when my Dad started getting strokes she opened a separate account. They were a team, but my mother was especially good at managing finances, even though my Dad was better at the math when she set him the task of getting to grips with actual figures. The neighbours were mostly father only working, and they had control of the finances, so when they became widowed they needed a bit more assistance from the children to conduct transactions etc. My Mum was able to manage finances up to age 89 when she died.

  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 21,656 Mod ✭✭✭✭helimachoptor

    Interesting responses and this subject has come up a few times.

    myself and wife have earned similar is over our relationship, last couple of years I’ve significantly out earned her and that will continue for a couple of years at least.

    I dump my salary into our joint account as does she, we keep a bit of cash for any DDs that come out of our individual accounts. I have a credit card for her personal account.

    we’re near on 20 years together, 3 kids and 2 houses, but most importantly I trust her and she’s financially responsible, my biggest vice is coffee shop coffee.

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Home & Garden Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators Posts: 22,379 CMod ✭✭✭✭Pawwed Rig

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  • Registered Users Posts: 377 ✭✭SodiumCooled

    I am not really sure this helps the op, all wages going into or not going into a joint account is not the problem - the issue is an overall very dysfunctional financial setup between the op and her husband. If you read the thread lots of posters have explained that they don't get paid into one account and prefer to keep their income separate (my wife and I included) and either top up a join account (50/50 or what they deem appropriate) or use some other method to share expenses (in our case Revolut transfers and scheduled payments back and fourth has taken over from the joint account in recent times) Kids coming along hasn't changed how we manage our family finances.

    That is not to say there is anything wrong with the all into joint account method but it is not for us nor the absolute must that some posters are making it out to be and is in some ways distracting from the core issues for the op.

  • Registered Users Posts: 20,058 ✭✭✭✭Cyrus

    Generally people who prefer to keep their income seperate is because one person earns a lot more and wants to keep it that way, thats fine if it works for you but its strange carry on when married with kids. As is transferring money back and forth like you would do with a friend.

    Makes more sense to have a joint account with a sufficient amount in it to cover all monthly household expenses, kids expenses, lunches, dinners, coffees etc and then keep a seperate income each in your own account split whatever way you deem fair. In our case we just split it equally regardless of income because i dont see the point in one of us having way more disposable than the other but thats just me.

  • Registered Users Posts: 45 WertdeerSC

    It'd be nice for you to know what he's doing with all his money... if he was saving for your joint future, for his children's future. There shouldn't be any secrets in a marriage, and that includes money - what is being earned and where it's being spent or saved. It's about trust and respect. It's hard-wired into most men to care for and protect their family and providing for them in a monetary way is often part of that.

    If he's not contributing to the daily expenses, you'd sure hope he's sorting out the college funds, the sizeable deposits for houses, the money for a first car, etc. All the things a couple with your income should be able to do. Hell, even buy 2nd and 3rd homes to rent out and one day pass on to your children to set them up and make their lives easier.

    Do you have a budget drawn up to see where the money comes and goes? This could be something you show him to explain that there's nothing left!! And for one person to be on the breadline as you put it, and the other to earn twice as much and squirrel it away (we assume), is completely unfair.

    If necessary, you could always frame it that you have paid for the following A, B, C, D, for the last X number of years, and now, it's his turn, and if he doesn't pay for these things the children or whomever, won't have X, Y or Z and will go without.

    If he's not prepared to have an open and honest discussion, then where can you go from there? You can't build a strong relationship on a sinking foundation.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,560 ✭✭✭tscul32

    There's no one size fits all and no one solution that fits a family that expands and changes with time. It needs to be flexible.

    We've always had our own accounts and a joint one. Back in the day we were earning similar and kept a same personal disposable income, all else went into the joint ac. Then there were two maternity leaves so my tax allowances were transferred over. I never bothered getting them back. Some told me I was losing out, that my husband was getting my money, but as long as it's coming to the household it doesn't make a difference to me. Then redundancy for me timed with kids staring school and number 3 arriving. Wasnt worth the childcare costs and the first 2 needed a lot of appointments, not realistic with 2 full time jobs. So I went stay at home and OH carried the can. Children's allowance went into my ac and OH kept a bit but the majority went into the joint ac. Someone said if you work hard to advance your career you should get to enjoy the benefits. But I sacrificed my career for the sake of the family, and I didn't love being at home. OH could do well in his career because he didn't have to do half the appointments or school meetings or other kids stuff or the shopping, etc. I went back part time a few years ago and now we just let my wages build up and use them for a holiday/pay the orthodontist, whatever is needed.

    What I don't understand is how the OP never knew what her OH earned. Surely they applied for a mortgage, filled out a census form, how did she never know their joint income? As others have said, the secrecy is strange, and the idea of having to ask for contributions to furniture or kids' expenses.....

    How you manage your money as a couple is irrelevant as long as there is full transparency and it's agreed upon by both parties. Looks like there was never a revision of the plan when kids came along and the family dynamic and priorities changed.

  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators Posts: 2,589 Mod ✭✭✭✭Mystery Egg

    I'm genuinely amazed reading these responses. We're together 23 years and pool everything, always have. I actually don't think it's right for partners to withhold finances from one another. Of course there are exceptions where a relationship is abusive or a partner is an addict or will blow the household funds.

    But assuming you've no great problems and where you've got a trusting committed, permanent relationship, it just feels mean tbh, and driven by the scabby higher earner.

  • Registered Users Posts: 20,653 ✭✭✭✭amdublin

    I think your partner might be a stingy person/hoarder of money. Not wanting to spend money on furniture or holidays is not a great sign tbh... I am all for being thrifty and not wasting money. But you have kids!

    Not sure what the answer to this is?? A marriage counsellor to help you mediate, agree a way forward of how to manage.

    Fwiw I think this would work for you: You both agree an amount that goes into a joint account every month - this is to cover all spends e.g. mortgage, bills, kids stuff, savings i.e you take money from this and put it in to a savings account. This savings is used as needed for bigger stuff like holidays or furniture etc. You both also should put some money into a joint savings account for Long term/emergency savings.

    *Personally I think because he earns more than you he should be paying in more every month.

    Then all the rest of your money: you each do what you like with it