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Thread: Marriage Finances

  1. #1

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    Marriage Finances

    Hello. I've been married for a few months now and have a great relationship with my husband, however I'm starting to feel a bit resentful towards how our relationship duties and finances are split. To give some background, both my husband and I work full-time. He makes about 4 times my income, and I feel that proportionate-wise, he's not financially putting in as much as he should be.

    I'm fully responsible for the groceries (which we spend quite a bit on for just 2 people I think), toiletries, household cleaning products, miscellaneous products for the house, etc. This takes up quite a big portion of my monthly income. He on the other hand pays the mortgage, maintenance fees, gas (although only he uses the car for work), and dinners out. His expenses have not changed since we got married and mine have doubled. He also recently inherited quite a big chunk of money which he has invested into the stock market, and is about to get a raise at work as well. In his defense, he is investing in "our future", to save money towards our family home and future kids, etc. But I still feel like he should be paying for at least half of the groceries. I'm starting to fee a bit resentful and a bit jealous (which is not good for any marriage) about how much money he is able to save up and invest, whereas I feel like I'm not able to save much.

    I know communication is key, and I rarely bring up the money as I'm very proud person, but now that he's gotten a raise and has made money on the stock market, I feel like the least he can do is pay for groceries at least half the time. Am I being fair, or unreasonable? How do other couples do it?

  2. #2
    Forum Supporter ~Seraphim ~'s Avatar
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    For us , everything is together. We have never split our income . What is his is mine and what is mine is his. That’s the way we do it. One financial unit for the greater good of the family .

  3. #3
    Platinum Member IAmFCA's Avatar
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    In your situation, I suggest you consider Suze Orman's idea of having three accounts, and using her book to help guide you through the renegotiation with him.

  4. #4
    Platinum Member itsallgrand's Avatar
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    What sticks out to me right away is the fact that you are saying groceries plus toiletries and household items for two is eating a big chunk of your income. Even with being extravagant with those items, the figure on average would be quite low. And it would be a fraction of true cost of living. You are getting a good deal. Your income must be quite low. Were you living at home or with help prior? Do you have big debts? Is some of this resentment actually frustration at working full time at a low income?

    I'm asking all this because communication about money is important. And money is a loaded subject. Sometimes it's not about the money when we think it is, but what it represents to us.

    It's great you recognize letting the resentment fester is not healthy. It's time to open up that dialogue with your husband.
    I suggest leading the convo with talk about goals: as individuals and as a couple.
    For example, let's say a goal of yours is to land a better paying job and sustainable income to bridge some of the gap here . This is only an example, it may not be a goal of yours nor important to you as a couple. Maybe as a couple you plan on having you be a parent who is full time caregiver. Point is, that's important consideration for how you may choose to handle costs together. You are a team, there to support each other and for the best of the family.
    In my example, perhaps him handling grocery costs along with you would be beneficial so you can focus on beefing up your skill set etc.

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  6. #5
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    Hopefully you realize that the minute you two say "I do" that legally you enter a contract that is a financial partnership owned by both parties and all debts and assets are jointly owned. The exception is any property solely owned prior to marriage and any personal inheritance.

    All monies are co-owned. You should know this. Why do you have to 'save money" separately? It's not about 'what other people do', as if you are dating and living together, it's about following and knowing marital law.

    The wisest thing to do is jointly see a financial planner and of course jointly consult a CPA. Privately, you would be wise to consult an attorney regarding your rights as marriage partner. He can not hide or withhold assets from you to "save for a future" independently.

    Marriage legally is an equal financial partnership so it's quite odd that you feel "jealous" of "his" money. His raise is also your money. As far as investments from inheritance or previously owned assets, only an attorney can answer your questions.

    You have a say (and of course are responsible for) any financial decisions in a marriage. You need to get out of the just dating "who pays?" mindset. Not discussing finances because you are 'too proud" makes zero sense in a marriage.

    Originally Posted by JJ552
    -I've been married for a few months
    -my husband and I work full-time.
    -He makes about 4 times my income
    -His expenses have not changed since we got married and mine have doubled.
    -he is investing in "our future", to save money towards our family home and future kids, etc.
    -I still feel like he should be paying for at least half of the groceries.
    -I'm starting to fee a bit resentful and a bit jealous about how much money he is able to save up and invest
    -I rarely bring up the money as I'm very proud person
    -he's gotten a raise and has made money on the stock market

  7. #6
    Platinum Member IAmFCA's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Wiseman2
    Hopefully you realize that the minute you two say "I do" that legally you enter a contract that is a financial partnership owned by both parties and all debts and assets are jointly owned. The exception is any property solely owned prior to marriage and any personal inheritance.

    All monies are co-owned. You should know this. Why do you have to 'save money" separately? It's not about 'what other people do', as if you are dating and living together, it's about following and knowing marital law.

    The wisest thing to do is jointly see a financial planner and of course jointly consult a CPA. Privately, you would be wise to consult an attorney regarding your rights as marriage partner. He can not hide or withhold assets from you to "save for a future" independently.

    Marriage legally is an equal financial partnership so it's quite odd that you feel "jealous" of "his" money. His raise is also your money. As far as investments from inheritance or previously owned assets, only an attorney can answer your questions.

    You have a say (and of course are responsible for) any financial decisions in a marriage. You need to get out of the just dating "who pays?" mindset. Not discussing finances because you are 'too proud" makes zero sense in a marriage.
    Wiseman, with the win. This is exactly right. It may help to think of your finances as if you are managing a corporation. The marriage isn't you + him, its a third entity - a business with income, personnel expenses, operating expenses, and similarly, assets and liabilities that are needed to run the business.

    Resentment will lead to divorce. Resentment results from feeling powerless. Use your voice.

  8. #7
    Platinum Member indea08's Avatar
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    I actually completely disagree with everything Wiseman said. You’re married, but you’re still two separate people.

    I do find it difficult to sympathize with you, because I am the breadwinner in my family, and it’s not easy. I cannot imagine my husband only paying for groceries, and STILL wanting more help from me. Your husband has worked hard to get where he is, whether that means he went to school and got a degree, or busted his butt at work to get promoted, etc. He makes the money he does because he made decisions and took actions to get there.

    If you want to earn more, then I would support having a conversation with him about your next steps. Maybe he could support you both while you go to school. Maybe he’d be willing to give you a sum of money to start your own business. But if all you’re paying for is groceries, and you want to ask him for more support, you’re going to make him resent you for not carrying your weight financially.

    I agree with the three accounts as mentioned above. We started doing things that way about 2 years ago, and it was the best decision we’ve ever made. All of his personal bills are his responsibility (his truck, his phone, his gym membership, his student loans), and my personal bills are my responsibility. Of our total income, I make 63%, so I pay 63% of the remaining shared bills (mortgage, water, electric, etc). Because we are both working adults, with the same amount of opportunity to make money. I’ve worked hard to get into a position where I can make more money, so after my share of the bills is paid, my money is MINE and I can spend how I like. It also makes it far more meaningful when he comes home with a candy bar from the gas station, or a Christmas present I wanted. Because he spent his own money to get me something to make me happy, as opposed to spending “our” money on something I would have rather not spent the money on.

    So, summary: you need to have a convo with husband. It should not be a convo about you wanting more financial support, but more about how you can work together to get you to the place you want to be in.

  9. #8
    Platinum Member j.man's Avatar
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    Whatever you jointly own or have a shared liability for as a result of marriage is a matter of law. Not all states are community property states and not all states follow common law, and there are nuances in between. Regardless, in this case, it speaks to a sentiment which is largely irrelevant. No judge is going to demand he give you a larger allowance or pay half the groceries because his money is "both your money." His brokerage isn't going to sell half his equities to transfer your way. The bank isn't going to let you withdraw from an account your name isn't on. His job isn't going to send half his check to you in your name. And regardless of the legal framework, married couples heavily differ on the extent to which they actively practice a "what's mine is yours" philosophy.

    I would be Indea's husband (not literally.... someday maybe). I make a decent salary, but much less than my wife. She financially contributes more, but hell, now that I'm seeing you were able to strike a deal to pay for groceries and toiletries, I might have to go upstairs and renegotiate our arrangement. But in all seriousness, we both believe in maintaining separate finances while we're both fully capable of continuing, advancing, or changing our own career paths (read: no children in the picture yet).

    For us, "what's mine is yours" is less a sentiment practiced based for the sake of legalities or feels and much more so in what we share and what we sacrifice for each other. There's nothing about how she earns her money that I have any tangible influence in. But once we start having kids and I'll be the one to sacrifice my own continued financial independence to stay home so she can have the benefit and security of pursuing her career full-time, yeah, the game's going to change.

    These are things we communicated prior to getting married. They're things you should have as well.

  10. #9
    Platinum Member itsallgrand's Avatar
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    Lots of good points made. It's important to understand the actual legal aspects of marriage where you live. My partner and I love as common law, and after much discussion about marriage, we have chosen a symbolic ceremony in which we will remain technically common law married and not traditionally married in law. This is in part due to how important it is to both of us respect the values we both have about legal responsibility and ownership. Marriage in our country does not adequately reflect that for us.

    In any partnership, you have to be on the same page. And to have ongoing dialogue about goals, values, money. If a marriage councillor, lawyer, account can help you in that - and I believe they can- don't hesitate to use those resources.

    I'd love to hear some answers to my other questions though. I think it could help you in figuring out the real problem you are having here.

  11. #10
    Forum Supporter ~Seraphim ~'s Avatar
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    I just don’t understand “ modern “ marriage. It sounds like only a financial exchange.

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