A husband seeks advice

PepeTorres - posted on 04/30/2013 ( 7 moms have responded )

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Hello all:

I am here to seek your thoughts on my family finances because it is one of the biggest points of contention in my marriage. Here's the situation: we have been married for 10 years and we have a young child. Throughout those ten years I have shouldered the _entire_ financial burden of running the household: food, home repairs, internet, phone, utilities, property taxes, home and car insurance, entertainment, plus at least one or two vacation trips a year, often overseas. My income is good and our finances are healthy. During these ten years my wife stayed at home for about 6 years and has worked part time for about 4. Her monthly income is about 20% of what I make and we agreed that not only would she keep all of her earnings for her own expenses, I would also top it up with a few hundred dollars a month. I help out with some house chores but, clearly, she does more of the house work. In spite of this arrangement, she constantly says that she's not getting enough money for her own needs, that she feels second-class, etc., etc. When I calculate how much money I'm paying to support the household month after month, it comes out to 40% of my paycheck. I believe I am doing enough. I'm interested to hear your thoughts and maybe if you could share some of your own arrangements, that would give me a reference point. Oh yes, one more data point: she has a graduate degree from a top-ranked school in a technical field but she figured she didn't like working in that area and so she works for a nonprofit. When we first met, never did I ever imagine that with her education and my education that we would be having such bitter arguments about money.

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Alesia - posted on 04/30/2013

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I agree with both responses below especially when it comes to you both being aware of your expenses each month. Depending on how tight your budget is, it is absolutely most important that all bills be paid and you both agree how the extra will be used. If there isn't much extra then I recommend both your and your wife look at what your "other needs"/expenses are and if those things may need to be cut back on. If she feels like you're spending more of the family's budget (or vice versa) on things for yourself then I could see where she may be concerned. If there is a spending problem on either end that could cause doubt and unrest that certainly isn't healthy for a marriage. I recommend that you Pool your money together, communicate about each of your needs, make a plan, and agree on how the extra will be spent.

Sarah - posted on 04/30/2013

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I would agree with Anna. No matter how much money one makes it is never enough. We always want more or feel like we need more. I think pooling all the money into one account/area and then first paying the bills, second putting some money away, and then thirdly allowing each person a said amount of "fun" money works best. I also think it is important for both people to know their finances. You each should know how much you pay on your bills and how much is left over for "fun" use. For me I view our money just as I view our marriage. We are a couple....what we make goes into one place. No one has more control or say over the money. We both have the same value system.......pay bills first, save some $ second, and the extra is left for enjoyment (this includes vacations).

Anna - posted on 04/30/2013

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I think being a stay at home mom is a very honorable profession and the fact that she worked part time as well is saying something. BUT I'm just wondering why she keeps her money and why you give her more. I mean, can't you just both pool your money, pay the bills and expenses together and put money in savings then pay yourselves an equal allowance? Problem solved, now you both get the same!

I'm a stay at home mom and my husband works full time. I get child support from a previous marriage. Unfortunately we don't have a lot of 'extra' money. My husband pays all the bills and I pay for all of the extra expenses like toilet paper, shampoo, laundry soap, etc. with my child support. We both pitch in for dates and gifts when we can. Neither of us gets more or less and we give each other money as needed.

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Carol - posted on 05/07/2013

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So Christina, can I just send you a blank check immediately? I mean, I want to earn income while staying at home too. The only way I can think to do that is to send you and all other solicitors blank checks and/or my ID to get started. Sounds legit since you added the key words of "sharing, caring, and loving."

Christina - posted on 05/06/2013

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Carol - posted on 05/04/2013

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I don't understand why couples keep separate accounts. Is just screams distrust to me. My husband and I pooled our accounts while we were still dating. I wouldn't recommend moving that fast to my kids, but it worked for us. We discussed expenses all the time. We tried to be fair about things. I stopped working when I had our first son. I've had one brief part time job since. We were fine when we lived paycheck to paycheck and we were fine when we were doing better than that. I think we both lucked out because I have really simple tastes and he was completely anal about finances and never put us in financial hardship due to excesses. Fair doesn't have to be equal, it just has to be that each gets what they need or want. In our case, I got garden supplies and updates to the house and he got toys with wheels. His wants just cost about 10 times more than mine. The bottom line is that we were both happy with what we had and happy that the other one got what they wanted.

It sounds to me like you don't think she's pulling her weight AND she's still wanting more from you on top of that. That goes beyond finances. Good luck.

PepeTorres - posted on 05/04/2013

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Thank you all for replying to my post. This is very helpful. You have given me the perspective I was looking for. Last week I did exactly what you suggested: I wrote down how much I'm paying month after month for the house bills and everything else. It was a good sum. I then asked my wife to do the same because I really want to know where her money goes to try to understand why she says she is so cash strapped all the time. She has yet to provide me with the list. That is quite telling in itself. Sarah Hofland, you make a good point: we always want and feel like we need more. This sheds some light into what might be going on in my houseold. Thank you.

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