Money Money Money

We had an interesting debate in the office yesterday about our various staff member's financial arrangements with their boyfriend/girlfiend/husband/wife.  It was a fun discussion simply because everyone had such different arrangements, and one person's ideal solution was another person's nightmare. 

The topic arose because the person organising our office secret santa asked how much people wanted to spend, and one colleague answered that it better be under £10 or he has to ask permission from his wife... and he wasn't joking.

OK, so these were the arrangements:

Older male colleague, married all his life, 2 incomes, one joint bank account, but she manages all the money, he gets pocket money and must negotiate any purchase over £10.

Younger male colleague, newly married, 2 incomes, each have seperate bank accounts for their respective wages and a joint account they put money into for mortgage and bills.  Both pay the same towards house and but they earn more or less the same. 

Older female colleague, married all her life, 2 incomes, one joint bank account.  He brings most of the money home which pays for house & bills.  Her 3 days a week admin job is effectively all hers to spend as she likes.

Young female colleague, cohabiting with long-term partner, 2 incomes but he earns more than her so pays proportionately more towards rent & bills.

Middle aged male colleague, married, he is sole bread winner.  They have a joint bank account but he also has his own savings account he puts money into he sees as his.  She is at home with 1 kid.  She doesn't have to negotiate purchases "within reason".

Young female colleague, cohabiting with long-term partner, 2 incomes but he earns 3x as much as her but the rent & bills as well as other major expenditure like a holiday are all split 50/50.

What are your arrangements?  Does it work for you?  Do you think some systems are fairer than others?  image

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Comments

  • single, so all my money is my own. image

    That first fella's situation doenst sound good though....mind you there might be reasons you dont know about??? 

    If i were in a relationship that got to that level - im not sure what would suit me as it has never happened....

  • To an outsider some systems will seem fairer than others but surely the important thing is having a system that works for both of you.  I would find it very difficult to tolerate some of the financial arrangements you describe, particularly the one where the husband has to clear all spending over £10 with his wife.  But if he is incompetent when it comes to finances it might be better for them if she manages everything.
  • I thought marriage/partnerships were all about sharing equally??????

    I have been married 40 years (well they said it was for life!!) had a single joint account all that time and been the major earner all that time. We have never had an argument about money or who has spent what in a time that has covered periods of comparative poverty and affluence.

    if you don't trust your partner you are in the wrong relationship!!

  • Nam wrote (see)
    Younger male colleague, newly married, 2 incomes, each have seperate bank accounts for their respective wages and a joint account they put money into for mortgage and bills.  Both pay the same towards house and but they earn more or less the same. 

    Young female colleague, cohabiting with long-term partner, 2 incomes but he earns more than her so pays proportionately more towards rent & bills.

    A combination of these two.

    We have seperate accounts, and a joint, both pay an agreed amount into the joint acc (me more as I earn more).

     The only issue with this arrangement comes when paying for "lesuire" items, like holidays, trips out etc, but we try and split everything fairly, so for holidays, I'll pay for the actual holiday and my partner will supply the spending money etc etc

  • Torque Steer wrote (see)

    I thought marriage/partnerships were all about sharing equally??????

    I have been married 40 years (well they said it was for life!!) had a single joint account all that time and been the major earner all that time. We have never had an argument about money or who has spent what in a time that has covered periods of comparative poverty and affluence.

    if you don't trust your partner you are in the wrong relationship!!

    Say you're married to someone who isn't good with money but is wonderful in every other way.  Would you trust them with the finances?  Marriage isn't about sharing equally.  It's about working to your strengths and allowing your partner to work to his or hers.
  • We have a joint bank account, which we contribute to on the same ratio as our incomes, so I put in a bit more than MrANTB. We then have our own current accounts and savings accounts. This year we decided to open a savings account for our big holiday.  We contribute to that 50/50, at MrANTB's insistance.

    We both feel a bit funny spending money from the joint account. It tends to go on house stuff, if we take other folk out for dinner or big pressies for family.

    He's far more sensible with money than I am, so he looks after the joint accounts.  If I see a healthy balance, I tend to think "ooooo spend!"

    I'd been badly messed about by my previous partner, so it took a huge leap of faith for me to go down the joint bank account route. I'm glad I have tho, but I'd never give up having my own money. Friends of ours have one joint account, where all their money goes. Leads to no end of rows, as he likes to spend and she likes to save. He had expensive tastes, she loves ebay. Rowing about money would make me very uncomfortable, my parents did it all the time.

  • My colleague who has to negotiate £10+ purchases, the arrangement counts for both by the way and he's very happy about it in a "I don't really need anything" kind of way. image

    Yes I agree with what people have said if someone is financially not very reliable but perfect in all other ways.

    The biggest discussion here arose between a male colleague, who feels that despite earning more he should not have to pay more than half, and a female colleague who feels it's unfair she pays half when she only earns a third.  I could see both sides argument...

  • joint bank account, joint credit card, joint savings account. OH has a seperate savings account to look after the 2 youngest who are still at uni, Thier father pays into that account as do we.
  • Nam wrote (see)

    The biggest discussion here arose between a male colleague, who feels that despite earning more he should not have to pay more than half, and a female colleague who feels it's unfair she pays half when she only earns a third.  I could see both sides argument...


    I was going to say the same... all of the scenarios you described seemed quite fair in their own way, but this particular one stood out as being rather unfair.

    But thinking about it further, in terms of their joint contribution I suppose they are both benefiting from the same standard of living in terms of their house and regular bills and the 'difference' in their income is reflected in the spare cash each of them has... so if he earns more, it's perhaps only right that he has more spare cash to do what he likes with.

  • We have separate accounts. No particular reason, we just never got round to having a joint one after we got married. I earn quite a bit more so I pay the household bills, and what she earns is hers to spend how she wants, although she does cover her own car costs.
  • Like Nick, I'm single so all my money is my own... all well and good, but sometimes it would be nice to be able to share the big household bills with someone !

  • from someone with little experience in this area (so i may be talking rubbish) there has probably been a shift away from a traditional sole joint account?....to more independance with regard to finances?

    (you would need to data to support this)....

    Purely due to how society has changed....i.e. fewer people getting married, higher divorce rates etc?

    I agree with Mr W that you ahve to manage things accordingly/appropriately for a couple. 

     Danos approach sounds what I think would be the approach I would like. People I think should pay an amount proportional to what they earn.

    Juliefrazz wrote (see)

    Like Nick, I'm single so all my money is my own... all well and good, but sometimes it would be nice to be able to share the big household bills with someone !

    its not so much the 'bad' expenses....sometimes doing the 'fun' stuff is expensive too...and often I dont bother, as it is too much......short holidays/breaks etc
  • I don't think there's a right answer to that, Nam, and fortunately we haven't had to tackle the problem as we earn about the same.  I would probably argue that they should pay the same amount towards household expenses as they are each getting the same benefit from having a house and paying the bills.

    But that's the economist in me speaking image

  • M.ister W wrote (see)
    Say you're married to someone who isn't good with money but is wonderful in every other way.  Would you trust them with the finances?  Marriage isn't about sharing equally.  It's about working to your strengths and allowing your partner to work to his or hers.


    So the dominant partner always gets his/her own way?? Good way to the divorce courts.

    What's this thing about being good with money? You don't have it, you don't spend it. When you do have it you spend carefully on what is needed. It ain't rocket science - or economicsimage!!

    Actually I withdraw that last remark - it's a lot more sensible than economics..................

  • We do this one:

    Younger male colleague, newly married, 2 incomes, each have seperate bank accounts for their respective wages and a joint account they put money into for mortgage and bills.  Both pay the same towards house and but they earn more or less the same. 

    If we earnt significantly different amounts we'd do this.

    Young female colleague, cohabiting with long-term partner, 2 incomes but he earns more than her so pays proportionately more towards rent & bills.

    We also have a joint ISA for house deposit savings/holidays. 

    We earn about the same, I spend ££ on shoes he spends his on xbox games and gadgets... if you're paying the bills it doesn't matter what the rest is spent on.

  • Married 23 years - MrGFB is self employed and I'm his love slave (unpaid!!) - I run his office and up until this year didn't draw a wage - I think thats changing in Jan when I become self employed also.

    We have a business account - pays all the business bills.

    A personal account - pays all home bills

    A savings account

    All joint.

  • Torque Steer wrote (see)
    M.ister W wrote (see)
    Say you're married to someone who isn't good with money but is wonderful in every other way.  Would you trust them with the finances?  Marriage isn't about sharing equally.  It's about working to your strengths and allowing your partner to work to his or hers.


    So the dominant partner always gets his/her own way?? Good way to the divorce courts.

    What's this thing about being good with money? You don't have it, you don't spend it. When you do have it you spend carefully on what is needed. It ain't rocket science - or economicsimage!!

    Actually I withdraw that last remark - it's a lot more sensible than economics..................


    You live in some sort of dream world where no-one gets into debt and people only spend what they earn.  Yes, that's how I behave but it certainly isn't how everyone behaves and you're stupid if you think they do.

    It's not about one partner being dominant.  It's about recognising that some people aren't good at some things.  There's stuff I'm not good at so I'm happy for Pink to do those things.  Equally, there are things Pink isn't good at so I do them.

  • M.ister W wrote (see)

      I would probably argue that they should pay the same amount towards household expenses as they are each getting the same benefit from having a house and paying the bills.

    But if one partner earns vastly more than the other does that mean the families lifestyle has to be based around the one who earns less ?

    My OH earns lots (and I mean lots) more than I do, We couldn't afford this house, or our cars if we only based our life on what I earn + the same from her.....

     we are a partnership and everything goes into a joint account, and everything is paid from that account

  • image I'm not sure it's got anything to do with a 'dominant partner getting their own way'.

    Some people just aren't so good with money but may be great in many other ways.... It makes sense for the partner who's better with money to manage the finances, pay bills, keep a handle on what's being spent etc... it doesn't mean that's not a good relationship, or that the other partner is in this situation against their will.

  • Good point, Dave, which I guess proves that a system that works for one couple won't work for another couple.  There is no right and wrong as long as both people are happy with the way the finances work.
  • I kind of felt a bit sorry for my younger female colleague.  They live in quite a big place and her 50% contribution to the cost of living costs kind of leave her with very little spare but barely make a dent in his account.

    I think I would feel a bit sad if my partner earned 3x what I take home, but would feel aggrieved at contributing a bit more.

    But having said that, her boyfriend's argument is that he paid his way through Uni etc, works long hours, why should he pay more than half? 

    I have pondered about what Nick was saying about the change away from the traditional joint bank account.  Does anyone feel that to insist on keeping your financial affairs seperate is somehow refecting a lack of committment to the relationship?

    I think my ideal scenario would be own accounts and a joint one with 50:50 contributions, but then we earn about the same and while I do earn a little less if you consider his perks, I do want to be seen to be pulling my weight?  I have always had my own money and I think the scenario I would personally struggle with most is if I had no income and felt I wasn't contributing.

  • Not sure I agree with the 'dominant partner' comment....that is too simplistic.

    If people didnt spend what they didnt have, then we wouldnt have a huge national debt.....sadly we do, because many many people do exactly that. I am not one however.

    I think you have to have a pragmatic approach...with a certain amount of flexibility.....given that even though there is still a disparity between gender earnings, it is increasingly probable that the female in a M/F rel;ationship would earn more.

  • Agree with you again, their Nam, I'd feel very uncomfortable with a situation where my partner earned vastly more than me or I wasn't earning at all, but that would also be affected by the nature of the relationship.

    Devoted2Distance wrote (see)

    Call it outmoded, but I still think the man should be the breadwinner though. 

    That did make me chuckle... it is a teeny bit outmoded. image

  • In their situation, Nam, she clearly isn't happy with the arrangement so I would say that it isn't a good one and they should think of a better way to do it.

  • I guess it boils down to how generous you are. I earn almost double what MrANTB, so pay almost double into the joint finances. I also buy more bits and pieces, and pay for stuff out of my own account, because I want to. I only more than MrANTB because I work in the private sector, he works in regulation. He works harder than me, without doubt. It's just an accident of circumstances I earn more than him. I know if the situation was reversed, he'd do the same. As it is, I think he spends too much of his very hard earned cash on me and our home.  He does, however, monopolise our car
  • Agree with no right and wrong, Mister W.

    Myself and Mr M used to have current account each and a joint account that we paid into equally and this covered all joint expenses (including joint holiday as this was a joint expense).  What remained in our current accounts was our own.  I distinctly recall getting gibbery about an expensive frivolous purchase and Mr M telling me that it was my money and I could do what I wanted with it.

    Retrospectively, I earned more than Mr M and I think it would have been fairer to have proportional deposits into our joint account based on income but I didn't think of it at the time.  I think if I had a new Mr M and he earned more than me, I'd want him to contribute more than me, so not sure why I didn't think of that at the time doing it the other way around.

    What was complicated though was our housing arrangement as the sale of my flat paid a 50% deposit on our house, so we drew up an agreement about how this would be separated proportionally should we split up.  Fortunately, when we did split up the separation of the property was amicable (and I agreed to pay all the fees)

    We were not married.

    I am interested in statement

    "...Middle aged male colleague, married, he is sole bread winner.  They have a joint bank account but he also has his own savings account he puts money into he sees as his.  She is at home with 1 kid.  She doesn't have to negotiate purchases "within reason"...."

    Should he and his wife split up, does he think that the savings remain his?  In divorce law I'm fairly sure his wife could lay claim on that.

    I wonder if the different sets of arrangements are possibly affected by the married/unmarried state of the relationship?

    Also how much of the 'pocket money' type statements were meant in humour?  I know several married tradesmen who get 'pocket money', yet if they do work on the side 'for cash' they tend to not tell the wife the whole truth about what they were paid and pocket a little extra before handing over the cash for the pot.

  • Nam wrote (see)

    I kind of felt a bit sorry for my younger female colleague.  They live in quite a big place and her 50% contribution to the cost of living costs kind of leave her with very little spare but barely make a dent in his account.

    I think I would feel a bit sad if my partner earned 3x what I take home, but would feel aggrieved at contributing a bit more.

    But having said that, her boyfriend's argument is that he paid his way through Uni etc, works long hours, why should he pay more than half? 

    I have pondered about what Nick was saying about the change away from the traditional joint bank account.  Does anyone feel that to insist on keeping your financial affairs seperate is somehow refecting a lack of committment to the relationship?

    I think my ideal scenario would be own accounts and a joint one with 50:50 contributions, but then we earn about the same and while I do earn a little less if you consider his perks, I do want to be seen to be pulling my weight?  I have always had my own money and I think the scenario I would personally struggle with most is if I had no income and felt I wasn't contributing.

    Nam - I agree that could be the case....however, you could also argue that you have to accept that there is a higher divorce rate now than 25 years ago, and that things like pre-nup agreements and fewer joint accounts are a reaction to this? Ignoring the facts could mean you are considered foolhardy...naiive or whatever? Im not saying it is right/wrong, merely how things have changed.

    Im sure most people when they get hitched think 'yep this is forever' etc....but 1 in 3 (?) end in divorce?? 

  • I'd be interested what Mr 3X earner would do if they were to have a child?
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