A.B. asks from Chicago, IL on March 19, 2007
Working Out the Finances in Marriage
I'm just curious to see how other families manage their financial situation. My husband works full time and I work almost full time running a small in-home childcare service(not to mention the other 24 hour job of caring for my daughter!)Granted, I do not make as much money as he does, but he seems to believe he is entitled to 'extra' money from his paycheck, just for himself. Meanwhile, all my money from babysitting goes to the bills, I have none left over for me,(or to put in my daughters savings account) and we are struggling every month to get all the bills paid. I recently found out he has more 'extra' money than I had realized and was pretty upset because I'm always worried about paying everything off, and he never mentioned he had extra to help out with. Anyhow, at the risk of sounding totally stupid, I guess I trusted him and didn't think to be more investigative to where his 'extra' money is really going. Anyhow, we are having a talk about this soon and I want some ideas on how well balanced the finances are in other families. I hope this makes sense as it is complicated and I don't know how to explain it all in this post!! Thanks!!
1 mom found this helpful
R.T. answers from Chicago on March 19, 2007
That is total BS.
First, this is a marriage. A joint venture. Every CENT that comes into the household is BOTH OF YOURS. You BOTH need to have access to bank records, and know exactly what is coming in and going out. Sure, your husband is entitled to his hobbies - be it books, tools, nights out, whatever. Same as you. And if you guys are coming up SHORT every month, you really need to look into what is going on. Until you get ahead of the game, you are in BIG trouble. Suzie Orman is a great source.
1. Figure out total income, monthly (that includes knowing where 401k is going).
2. Figure out set bills (mortgage, car, etc.) and avg bills (gas, cable, elec, etc.)
3. See what is left. Set a budget for things like groceries and try to stick to it.
4. You BOTH are allowed some "fun" money - if you have it, $50-100 a month that neither party can question.
5. Look at your checkbook/online accounts. Meet once a week/month to see where you are.
6. Meet once a quarter to discuss investments (401k, Roth Ira, kids college, etc.)
Now, the WRONG reaction is, "well, he's spending, so screw it, I will too." We have one joint checking account. If you can't manage that, then get seperate ones, but it'll only hide what you are both doing. If you can't be honest with each other, then maybe you need to take a long hard look at your marriage.
Good luck, and drop me a line if I can help. Man or woman, every spouse has the RIGHT to know what is going on with your combined incomes.
3 moms found this helpful
N.D. answers from Chicago on March 20, 2007
This is terrible and it's definately a trust issue that needs to be resolved at this point. If I were yo, I would do some more "investigating" of where his money is going before the talk to ensure that nothing else is going on that you were unaware of.
My husband and I operate the same way that Beth M and her husband manage things. We pay the percentage of bills based on the percentage of income for the house. I am in sales, so some months, I bring in 80% of the income and some only 45%. As such, we total up the monthly bills and I would pay 80% some months and 45% other months. Make sense? It's our way of ensuring that it all evens out in the end.
I wish you the best. I would be more than peeved with my husband if I were in your shoes. You work hard for the household- he needs to respect that!
D.K. answers from Chicago on March 21, 2007
Wow, I would be peeved too, and very suspicious. I guess I should consider myself lucky. My husband turned all the financials over to me when we got engaged and moved in together. We direct deposit both of our checks into the same checking account and we have a shared savings account and that is it. He had a lot of credit card debt, student loans, etc. while I was a saver and owned my own condo, had no credit card debt and enough savings to get rid of his credit card debt. My husband is simply not interested in financials as long as he can buy what he wants. I have heard a lot of people say the secret to marital bliss is "separate checking accounts" but for us that would not work. I guess it is different for everyone, but when we had our couseling with our pastor prior to getting married the pastor said that money is the number one issue in marriages and asked us a lot of questions to make sure that we were on the same page or were at least discussing our finances. Luckily we were, I was already managing our finances.
I think you are very smart to have a discussion and try to get things worked out. You may want to consider getting a professional involved as well as this seems to have already gotten out of control a bit.
Oh, also, the monther of a friend of mine gave me some advice when I was engaged that I ignored but it may be worthwhile to you. She said every wife should get her own bank account that her husband doesn't know about and put a certain amount of money in it each week or month that is her emergency account in case the marriage doesn't work out. I guess she gave this advice to her ex-daughter-in-law and she had been doing just that. She lost half of it in the divorce, but at least she had something. It sounds like your husband has some issues with money and if I were you I would consider stashing some money away for any type of an emergency.
T.C. answers from Chicago on March 20, 2007
Everyone's marriage works differently. Some couples put all the $ in one pot for all bills, etc., and everything is 50/50. Others have individual accounts for husband & wife, & each is assigned different bills to pay. I know couples who have very happy, trusting marriages working both ways. My primary concern with your husband would be him stashing away more $ and not telling you. This is a trust issue, and trust is the foundation of a healthy marriage. I also read that stay at home moms, if paid, should earn well into the 6 figures to account for what the childcare, house cleaning, and other day-to-day duties would cost if hired out (I know you said you're running a childcare business as well, which just means your job is twice as hard!). I won't give my opinion on the stashing away of money as I don't want to sway your opinion, but I do think all bills need to be paid (including a savings account for your daughter's education, if possible) before anyone stashes away money. Maybe you two can agree on a set amount of money, or allowance, that each of you gets to set aside for yourself for personal use. Your husband should realize your family's financial health & your daughter's college fund should be more important than hiding extra money away. Just have an open, honest discussion w/ your husband about it and hopefully you can come to an agreement you can both live with. Also, I would recommend reading Suze Orman's new book...I haven't read it yet but have heard a lot about it. It's about women & money, I'm not sure of the title. If you don't know her, she is a financial guru and knows a ton about everything finance related. Good luck1
J.P. answers from Chicago on March 20, 2007
I didn't read the other responses but sounds like you two need to sit together and both look at your finances. You might even want to have someone there who would be equal partied. I'm afraid if you hide money from each other than that's not a very trustful relationship nor fair to either of you.
P.H. answers from San Diego on March 20, 2007
According to what you have written I don't think that money is your main issue and I think that it is important that you take this to a counselor before it gets out of hand. In my family only one of us handles all the money and niether of us gets play money unless there is extra after bills. My husband is the only one that works but i control all of the money but I do it fairly.
A.K. answers from Chicago on March 20, 2007
When my hubby and I first got married (both 2nd timers!) we decided the best and easiest way was for both of us to pool "OUR" money into a joint account, rather than "my money" and "his money". All the bills are paid from this account. After the bills are paid, we can then have fun money of $each. If we see something we would like to buy (for our son, or apartment, etc) and we have the cash, we go ahead and buy it, but if it is over a certain $ amount we discuss with the other person before buying it. We both have separate 401K accounts and savings accounts, but we both discussed and decided on the % and $ amounts that would be deducted from our paychecks.
I have to admit that it was hard at first to pool all the funds as we had both been independant after our divorces for a few years, but now it really makes more sense for us!
I would be peeved too if my hubby had secretive "extra" money too!! My first husband did that and that was just one of the many reasons I couldn't trust him!! It would make me wonder what else is he being secretive about!!
C.U. answers from Chicago on March 20, 2007
I dont really have advice for you but I would be so LIVID! The money that you both make should be to support your family. Once you get married there should be no my money and your money. It is family money. He is being really selfish and I would be so angry that he was keeping stuff from me!