Issues with Marital Finances

Here is the background:

My Mistake: I have been saving money on the side to give to my mom. The money I’m withdrawing is from my baby sitting side hustle. I have always made it clear to my husband that I want to help my family. I, also, pay about $100 worth of bills every month of my parents. I did not explicitly made it clear to my husband, since I am the one who manages the finances.

His Mistake: He found out I was saving money on the side and does not want to include his side hustle money in the main money pot. In addition, he is taking about 10% of his paycheck and not depositing it. His figures it’s fair because I’m basically doing the same thing.

Even though I have been trying to treat his and my money as our money, we are not acting like that. One, I bring in 3x as much money as he does before the side hustle. Thus, I am technically contributing more to the main household pot. However, I do not want to be like this. Sigh My parents have money issues and I still remember the fights…oh wait a minute, they still include me in the fights and I’m 22.

My Family: I come from a not so well of family, and have always wanted to help them. My husband comes from a well off family and doesn’t think it’s the kids’ responsibility to take care of the parents. Furthermore, the relationship between my husband and my family is significantly strained because of cultural differences and my parents’ controlling manner. While I do acknowledged my parents controlling manner, I still want to help them.  I don’t want to be a bad daughter.

Potential solutions:

- Split everything 50/50 and save the rest in our separate accounts. While this would be the most beneficial to me, my husband would barely make 50% of the expenses with his salary. Furthermore, at the moment, our savings account would never grow because he could never match the money I put in. Something I do not want to do because it divides the household.

- Deposit everything into our account and figure out how much we can give my mom every month or not give if it were up to my husband. We could each give each other a cash allowance. Potential problems I see already. First, my husband doesn’t deposit his entire paycheck. Mine is directly deposited into the account. His isn’t. Second, he works at a supplement store for more money. The stuff he buys there is deducted out of his second income, and he buys a lot of supplements. So, already, he is giving himself an allowance.

Reasons Why I Want to Re Look At Our Finances:

- I have been feeling pretty lonely managing the finances. It has been months since he had even looked at our bank account. He has left all the decisions to me. This puts a lot of stress on me to figure out how much we are going to spend, save, etc. He doesn’t share these dreams/goals with me. I want us to save $20K by the end of the year and start a ROTH IRA for one of us. Problem? I have mentioned these goals, but he is not on board with me. He just lets me figure it out. My dilemma? I am making our decisions by myself. Second, he wants to do things that may not be in our budget. Our credit card has been crazy out of control because we are both charging stuff.

- I don’t want to mention money because every time I do, he thinks I am telling him he is not making enough money. I don’t even care about that. There never seems to be a right time. When I do mention it and share my feelings, he gets defensive. Sigh, all I want to do is talk about our finances.

- I want to do our honeymoon in the next two years. But we have to plan and prepare for it. To this point, he wants me to plan it all. I don’t want to.

Escalation/Detente:

I asked him this morning that I wanted to re look at our finances for several reasons. I did mention that he had been keeping money and I had been keeping money as well. However, he is now unhappy and is on the defensive side. He’s thinking: what’s the incentive for him to save money and be frugal when I want to share it with my family? I’m thinking: I worked my butt off, still am working my butt off so I can help us and my family a little bit.

I’m sorry to throw this out there and make it a huge post. I just need to think before talking to him tonight. I don’t want to end up in a fight because that’s not productive. My end goal is to establish a plan where we both are active in managing our finances and life.

Any advice or thoughts???

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37 responses to “Issues with Marital Finances

  1. We’ve been married 2.5 years and we’ve barely reached the point where we’re on the same page with finances. The solution we figured out is that I handle all the day to day stuff, but every few weeks we sit down and we go line item by line item on exactly where our money went. We havce a spreadsheet to track EVERY SINGLE exp[ense4 and this helps him see where our money si going. we both agree on our goals but actually cutting money back to save for those goals is the hard part. regarding money for your parents, how would you feel if he was contributing money to his parents? i can see it both ways but I moreso agree with your husband that it’s not really fair that you’re taking money to give it to your parents. whereas he’s using his extra money to buy supplements. do you plan on giving money to your parents for your whole life or just for right now? that’s a real tough cookie to crack…i would be furious if my husband wanted to give money to his parents.

    • I know it goes both ways. Honestly, helping my parents is going to be for the rest of my life. They are only getting older. I can’t just abandon them.
      I know since I’m setting precedence, we would have to help his parents. I understand that.

  2. Hmm this is definitely though. I would try talking to him again. I know kind of how you feel with the whole money, designating money towards different things, and family situation. If he doesn’t agree with you then maybe start splitting it 50/50

    • I should also say that my boyfriend is completely against me giving my mother any money. Of course it is a completely different situation with my mom though. We have given his parents money and see nothing wrong with it.

      • In reply to your reply about us not minding giving to his parents: His parents are completely different from my mom. They always pay us back (they only needed help one time and it was years ago because they weren’t living in the state and had renters living in their house, so we had to front some money) and help us when we need help with fixing cars and our house.

    • Michelle, I actually thought about emailing you since I know you also help your mom despite the circumstances.

  3. You could divide your household expenses percentage wise by income. Email me if you want the formula and I can find it for you! Keep all of that money in one account and then have an account for you and an account for him. My bf and I do it this way and it’s a pain to constantly be writing one another checks, but money is probably the one thing we never argue about.

    • I don’t think it’s fair to split according to income. If we split, it would be 50/50. Only fair.

    • I understand why you ask that. I see my husband as my primary family. But feel guilty for having so much money and not being able to help my parents. They worked hard in their low income jobs to get me through school and I want to help back. How is that wrong? It’s not like I give my parents all my money. Honestly, it’s not even 5%. It comes from the money I make from babysitting. This is supplemental to my salary job that’s 3x as much income as his.

      • I don’t think it’s wrong to give your parents money – but it’s not my opinion that matters, it’s your husband’s. You have to get him on board, not go behind his back. You committed financial infidelity and I think you should work to earn your husband’s trust back. Maybe that will involve forgoing giving money to your parents for a time until you can agree together to do it.

  4. I agree with Lauren Bee. Split the finances based on percentages of income.

    My husband and I have a single bank account where we both have our checks direct deposited. Our expenses come out together. We don’t have a “his bills” or “her bills” rule.

    I recommend that if it really doesn’t bother to you that he makes way less, try this: Plan it so that each of you are depositing your check into one account and paying bills out of that one account. Decide, together, how much of an allowance you are each allowed to have (an equal amount!) to spend on anything you want. It has to be an amount you both can agree on and to help avoid fights, I suggest you use part of your allowance to help your parents. That way, the decision remains yours if you will spend it on yourself that month or on your parents and he is out of it. His allowance should NOT include the money he spends on supplements – that should be a budgetted household expense – whether it’s yours to consume or not.

    I think if you did it this way, he’d feel more comfortable and not feel like he’s being attacked and having to account for his spending and you won’t have to defend you desire to help your parents. Also, you both need to agree on a single number per month that will go to a joint savings account (for an emergency) and each of you should contribute to your own retirment accounts – each the same percentage. Whatever money remains per month that isn’t used for budgeted items should go into a fun fund account that you guys can dip into to pay for fun activities together – like date nights or your honeymoon.

    Hope that helps!

    • On second thought, I don’t want to split the finances. My parents do, and they are always fighting about money. Seriously….I don’t want to be my parents. My dad hates that my mom helps her family, and my mom hates that he tries to help his family. Even if Dad used his food allowance and would forego eating lunches just to help his family, my mom would get mad. I’m having harsh childhood memories. I’m emotionally scarred from my parents’ relationship which sometimes affects my healthy relationship with my husband.

      • I don’t see why we should put his supplements in the budget. I barely spend any money on myself. Unlike most women, I don’t dye my hair, I don’t do mani/pedis. I get two haircuts a year. It doesn’t make sense. I feel like if we split our finances, we would tit for tat every expense. What about the $50 he spends on energy drinks at gas stations or the money he spends on lunch? I brown bag it, he doesn’t. What’s my incentive to continue to make more money? Hah, probably why socialist countries don’t work. Medical insurance and medical expenses also come out of my paycheck. I only see disaster coming.

  5. Perhaps it is a cultural difference, but I would also be furious with my husband if we had to support his parents. As always, there are exceptions to that rule – if they were in dire straights or something like that, we would definitely help, but I would not be able to accept providing ongoing support (nor would they probably accept) for the rest of their lives! Surely, there have to be other ways to help them out/manage their finances better. My parents aren’t at the poverty level, but definitely lower-middle class, but they live within their means and that’s something I’ve always respected about them. I will say that when I first started getting serious with my husband, his Dad somehow figured that my husband “owed” him a large sum of money for something completely ridiculous. In order to salvage that relationship, they sat down to work out a payment plan with a definite start and end date and have since worked things out. I’ll be honest – it still infuriates me when I think about it and how much money he threw at the issue because I did feel like his Dad was taking advantage of him.

    I don’t think it’s right, however, for your husband to be buying supplements out of his paycheck either. If he already feels that he does not make enough money or contribute enough to the household, why wouldn’t he cut those out?

    My husband and I have been married for almost a year and living together for almost 4 years. We keep his, hers, and ours accounts for some of these reasons. I come up with our detailed budgets (for both of us) and determine where the money is coming from, how much we are saving for what, and what we get as an allowance and we just follow it through. We discuss our budgets at least quarterly, but more if the situation calls for it. More often than not, he goes along with my plans because he knows that I’ve put a lot of thought into it and it is kind of my area of expertise. It does end up that I end up contributing more to the “Ours” account to pay our household bills because my salary is higher, but I also feel it leaves us both a little independence to splurge on things the other would probably gripe about. So far, it’s worked for us.

    Good luck – I hope you all can come up with a solution that works! There are many shades of grey on this topic.

    • I am not looking forward to the ongoing support with my parents. Right now, I give them about $200-$300 a month. They both work full time and manage their expenses, this is mostly to provide my mom some extra money.
      I understand why some people would be furious but at the same time I always set the expectation before marriage that I would be helping my mom.
      I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place. My mom expects me to give her money and my husband does not agree. Which is why I work more on top of my high paying salary job. Do you know any other person who has a Bachelor’s, Master’s, and is about to complete her MBA, still babysitting?
      They way I see it, is that it’s easier for me to make money babysitting than for my mom to make it cleaning houses.

      • But if their expenses are covered, why are you expected to cover her “fun money”? I just don’t get it. That is money that you can be using to build up your savings for a house downpayment or baby fund, etc. Your parents worked so hard to support you when you were growing up – it seems a little strange to me that they wouldn’t want you to use that money towards building your future with your husband.

        I don’t envy the position that you’re in at all – definitely a tough place to be in. I’m highly educated as well – a few years ago, I started washing dishes at a local banquet hall because I was a little financially strained and wanted some extra spending money. However, I would have a really hard time justifying that time away from my husband and friends right now because it’s not really a necessity.

      • When I work the side hustle, my husband is usually working as well.
        It’s not even her fun money. She is saving for my brother’s college fund. My mom rarely has fun.

      • We don’t want kids anytime soon. Seriously, we decided we wouldn’t even consider kids until age 32. That’s ten years from now. I can’t worry about my future kids.
        We are already saving $2500 a month. This is apart from saving for retirement and expenses. I just don’t see the point in saving all the money for materialistic things when I could be helping my family too.

  6. This is a tough situation, but from where Mr. PoP and I stand, marriage is all about being on the same team. At the beginning of our marriage, Mr. PoP handed all the finances over to me, knowing that he trusted me to make the “right” decisions – but it got to be too much! If I made a budget decision and Mr. PoP had trouble sticking to it, he took it as an attack on him. I said I couldn’t be responsible for doing it by myself – we had to make all the decisions together. It was so much better after that.
    It doesn’t mean that all the disagreements go away, but we deal with them head on, rather than being passive agressive and either not depositing money or spending a good chunk of our paychecks before they get deposited. And family complicates matters – gifts in Mr. PoP’s families are more expensive than gifts in mine. It still bothers me that we’re “expected” to give gifts of $50 or more for holidays that I don’t consider real holidays (mother’s day gifts – really?? In our family that was barely a card holiday…), but we deal with it and prioritize together.
    Good luck talking to him… and maybe before you do – make a safe word so you guys can have a signal that you need to take a break before it devolves into a giant fight. That’s made a big difference in how we fight – and in a good way.

  7. I’m going to stay out of it because on so many levels it’s hard to relate-and don’t feel it’s my place to give out any advice. I can say that I’m sorry you’re having to deal with this, and hope it works out OK for you! :)

  8. That can be a tough situation, especially if one side feels the other could care less about what’s going on. When my wife and I got married, we put everything in one pot. I know that will not work for everyone, it’s what we did because we view it as being on the same team. Each of us gets an allowance to do with as we please each month. All that said, I handle the finances and my wife pays the bills. It allows us to both have a part in what’s being done without the other having to do everything. In the end we make our financial decisions together to make sure we’re on the same page. Maybe that’s an approach you could take, just simply doing it together.

    In regards to family, that can be an equally tough situation to be in. We had a similar situation with a parent a few years ago where we had to help out. Part of the problem was the foolish choices they had made, but they really needed help. Thankfully they’ve made their way out and no longer need our assistance. We had decided when we did help them that we would do the same for any of our parents as it would only be the right thing to do. Family, as we all know, can make financial decisions really difficult. There’s only so much you can do for them and in the long run they have to live with the choices they make.

  9. This is a tough spot. On the one hand I see your point about wanting to help your mom, but maybe instead of giving money, you can offer to help them with their budget? (Just a suggestion as I don’t know all the story besides that you feel very strongly about helping them out which isn’t a bad thing at all)
    The percentage based off of income isn’t a bad idea. And if I were you, I’d write up a plan (before going to my husband so I had consice ideas with back up). This would consist of a few differing scenarios along with pros and cons:
    1) deposit into one fund the percentage (i.e. you put in 60% and he 40% or whatever) the rest is your personal money.
    2) Go on as you are now. (obviously a lot of cons to this if it is causing you this much stress).
    And so on ( I have others but that’s based off of loosely reading something so don’t want to put them down).

    How much does his supplements cost? If it equals the amount you give your parents, put both of those expenses in the budget? We have one rule where it comes to personal money or budget money: does it benefit both of us (or both of us would enjoy it)? If not, it comes out of the personal.
    I hope things get better for you! (also, I’m not trying to be mean about any of this and I can’t tell if it is coming off as meanish)

    a3n)d If you with scenarios.

    • Thanks for replying! You are not being mean. It’s definitely hard trying to figure out a budget and whether to help family out.

  10. Right now me and my BF keep everything separate but I can see that once you’re married it changes things, and if you do pool your money together for the most part, being both involved instead of just one person managing everything would be a good idea. Communication is key! Hope it all works out!

    • Thanks. We have started talking it over little by little. It seems I may have exaggerated the issues in my head a tad. We are nevertheless figuring it out.

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  12. Argh. I’m inclined to go with a percentage based split myself, even though it’s not perfect – seeing as you make more and you want to help out your mother.

    In our case, it’s the boy’s family who needs financial help, but I make nearly double what he does… and while it may sound selfish I don’t want to give any of my hard earned money to them.

    I hope you guys find a good solution – but remember finding balance in managing household money is a journey, not a race! It’s an ongoing thing.

    • Thanks for stopping by. The comments on this post have definitely given me some perspective. We are working through our challenges, and I’m thankful we have a really good relationship that can manage it.

  13. I wouldn’t be happy AT ALL with my boyfriend if we had to give money to his parents. In fact, I don’t know that I’d even be with him. They are adult people who should be able to manage on their own. And $200-$300 seems like a TON of money. I can see treating your parents to dinner once a month or something like that but giving them the amount of my share of the rent? Eek.

    But like a previous commenter said, it may be a cultural difference. I just think you have to see it from his side as well. I can imagine that it wouldn’t be fun to not only make substantially less money, but also have no power over where a big portion of the family finances goes.

    • It is a lot of money. While I don’t give my mom that much money every month. It’s more like every time I see them, which can vary significantly. But they also help me out. My mom is always buying me work clothes, etc.
      My parents are actually very responsible with their money. But I feel good helping them out.
      We are working through these challenges.

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