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Marriage and Debt

KLEXH25
Valued Contributor

Re: Marriage and Debt


@800who wrote:

@Neblinosa  I'm not married so I don't have any knowledge on the topic, but I do question... how does it work out if a spouse's income is considerably more than the others? I think about that all the time when thinking about marriage and finance


That is a very valid point. Fortunately, my future spouse and I almost make the same exact amount, but that's typically not the case. I believe the fair approach would be to split shared expenses by the percentage you make, so if someone makes 2x more, then they should cover 50% more of the bills. Savings goals, they can contribute 50% more than the spouse who earns less. Of course in practice it may not work out as perfectly...





Message 11 of 26
800who
Regular Contributor

Re: Marriage and Debt

@Neblinosa That actually changed my pretty narrow opinion, I couldn't agree with that more. It's like I say to people all the time, there's people who make $25k a year and contribute to a savings account and there's people who make $250k going bankrupt. Thanks for your input!

Message 12 of 26
simplechamp
Regular Contributor

Re: Marriage and Debt


@Neblinosa wrote:

@800who wrote:

@Neblinosa  I'm not married so I don't have any knowledge on the topic, but I do question... how does it work out if a spouse's income is considerably more than the others? I think about that all the time when thinking about marriage and finance


We have that situation. I make almost 3 times what my husband makes.  When we make our monthly budget it is based off of our combined income and combined expenses.    I dont think I'm entitled to anything more than my husband simply because I make more.  I dont see it any differently than a single income with stay at home partner.  My husband and I both work hard at our careers .  I would think differently if I had a dead beat spouse and I wouldn't leave money available to be mishandled if I thought my spouse was irresponsible.  


We are in the same boat. I make a bit over 2x what my wife makes. I thought I might have a hard time reconciling "my money" and "her money" once we joined finances. But it turned out to be a non-issue. I just want us to be happy, successful, and live a good life. We both work hard and live below our means. Who brings in what money doesn't matter. She brought in about $20k of student loans. I don't see it as her debt to pay back. It's something we are working to pay off together so we can move on to other things. I feel like keeping separate finances and obligations would actually complicate things for us. Aside from our budgeted "fun money" we each get every month there is no mine and hers, it's all ours.

 

It's not how the money comes in that leads to problems, it's how it goes out. If you are not aligned there it will cause problems. If the person making less has bad spending habits, the person making more starts to feel like an ATM machine. If the person making more decides they get to make all the spending decisions, person making less feels like they aren't an equal partner. Even if the incomes are 50/50, disparity in spending habits and financial goals is a recipe for trouble.

Message 13 of 26
LaHossBoss
Senior Contributor

Re: Marriage and Debt


@800who wrote:

@Neblinosa  I'm not married so I don't have any knowledge on the topic, but I do question... how does it work out if a spouse's income is considerably more than the others? I think about that all the time when thinking about marriage and finance


I just responded to another post about this. I feel like this is a huge reason that studies have shown most people marry within their income ranges (I am not saying *all*).

 

We have a huge disparity in income between me and my SO of over 20 years (been together since we were 16, so early start there lol). It has always been that way, not to say will always be. We accept the money is *ours*. Initially splitting bills and keeping things seperate led to lots of tension, fights, resentment, and stress. It is not right to expect to live a certain lifestyle and expect your SO to just make their half of the bills happen when you know it is not possible, and not from lack of drive or work. It just will not happen.

 

We currently have under 150k income. All mine, but it is logisitcs and we like it as is. I move loads for work (upwards of 4+ times a year), so it is pointless currently for him to work. If he worked it would be 175-200k household. 

 

It works great for us. Everything in the pot together and it is ours. I drive the finances because of his lack of desire to manage our credit or finances, which works absolutely for me. Absolute trust is needed and we have that. It is absolutely possible, but from what I can see where people like to keep things seperate and split everything, it likely would not work or it could be volatile.

 

When my SO was working, he just deposited his money and I handled it from there. He is always free to spend, but he rarely spends without telling me, which actually sometimes bothers me like he needs "permission" to spend money. I guess Inwould feel differently if he drained the bank accounts, but that has never once been the case. I have to basically beg him to spend money. Where it sounds like some people would prefer the lower earner to only spend what they can afford based on what they make. I see that as an issue and could lead to resentment, depending on the disparity of income and especially in a one income household. You can't say I will spend freely and live a certain lifestyle just because I make more where as you, you have nothing because you can't afford it. That is just me, though.




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Message 14 of 26
LaHossBoss
Senior Contributor

Re: Marriage and Debt


@simplechamp wrote:

We are in the same boat. I make a bit over 2x what my wife makes. I thought I might have a hard time reconciling "my money" and "her money" once we joined finances. But it turned out to be a non-issue. I just want us to be happy, successful, and live a good life. We both work hard and live below our means. Who brings in what money doesn't matter. She brought in about $20k of student loans. I don't see it as her debt to pay back. It's something we are working to pay off together so we can move on to other things. I feel like keeping separate finances and obligations would actually complicate things for us. Aside from our budgeted "fun money" we each get every month there is no mine and hers, it's all ours.

 

It's not how the money comes in that leads to problems, it's how it goes out. If you are not aligned there it will cause problems. If the person making less has bad spending habits, the person making more starts to feel like an ATM machine. If the person making more decides they get to make all the spending decisions, person making less feels like they aren't an equal partner. Even if the incomes are 50/50, disparity in spending habits and financial goals is a recipe for trouble.


+100




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Message 15 of 26
FastNickel
Valued Member

Re: Marriage and Debt

Before we got married I opened a dialogue about debt, savings, credit and overall financial direction. My wife luckily had no debt, subpar credit (from non-use which was fixed promptly). The bad part is that she couldn't wrap her mind around viewing money as a tool and not this green piece of paper that buys nice things. When we got married I brought her over to my financial institution and we opened a joint savings account. We both have our respective checking and savings account. She adopted my mantra,"It's not how much you make it's how much you retain." We have our own little bills, but we earmark 75% of our income to our joint savings. This is for the sole purpose of ventures that will move us in a forward direction. She has no savings, because she just refuses to latch onto having a personal savings. We have a few months a year that we have a stay on dumping money into savings to allow us to handle things that are pressing on an individual level. I came into the relationship with 30k in savings so god forbid anything happened my emergency savings would sustain us for a few years easily. I think if a couple can align properly they should have their own accounts but have an account that they dump into. It keeps us honest on BS spending and we have open communication about our future plans with said money. Through this approach we are well on our way to financial freedom. 
Message 16 of 26
LaHossBoss
Senior Contributor

Re: Marriage and Debt


@FastNickel wrote:
Before we got married I opened a dialogue about debt, savings, credit and overall financial direction. My wife luckily had no debt, subpar credit (from non-use which was fixed promptly). The bad part is that she couldn't wrap her mind around viewing money as a tool and not this green piece of paper that buys nice things. When we got married I brought her over to my financial institution and we opened a joint savings account. We both have our respective checking and savings account. She adopted my mantra,"It's not how much you make it's how much you retain." We have our own little bills, but we earmark 75% of our income to our joint savings. This is for the sole purpose of ventures that will move us in a forward direction. She has no savings, because she just refuses to latch onto having a personal savings. We have a few months a year that we have a stay on dumping money into savings to allow us to handle things that are pressing on an individual level. I came into the relationship with 30k in savings so god forbid anything happened my emergency savings would sustain us for a few years easily. I think if a couple can align properly they should have their own accounts but have an account that they dump into. It keeps us honest on BS spending and we have open communication about our future plans with said money. Through this approach we are well on our way to financial freedom. 

I guess I depends on how much you make, too. If you are someone that makes 50k a year and are forced to save 75% and then still need to pay bills and you have your remaining 25%...I would, personally find it unreasonable to save even further out of that, much less make the bills likely happen unless you can live at home with the in-laws. I am not dogging your train of though if the remaining income is well above the bills (likely well over my initial stated income used for an example) then that may be different. I like nice things, too. My husband has goals that right now might seem like spending money on fun, but it is really a hobby that can turn into a career. Even if it doesn't work out for him, you only live once, and I won't go into the grave saying that I didn't at least try for the sake of a few bucks in savings. Again, this is not a shot at you, as your methods may or may not work for your family, and they definitely wouldn't work for mine. Again, at just under 150k annually, I am more than willing to save 50%, but I am also being realistic with myself. If I make it impossible (especially trying to make a drastic change at once), odds are it just won't work. I started by throwing a few bucks in a different account and then it morphed into saving a lot in a lot if accounts and even investing because I now get joy from watching my money grow. I originally would live paycheck tonpaycheck because I love spending. In then end, I won't deprive myself if I truly want/need something, but I lean towards saving instead more than before. Sometimes baby steps and rewards and accepting it is ok to live in the moment occasionally is better than hitting a brick wall and getting nowhere.

 

Good luck!




Starting Score: 2•20 | EQ 550 | TU 498 | EX 505
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Message 17 of 26
importxpresions
Regular Contributor

Re: Marriage and Debt

My wife and I did pre-marital counseling through our church. We went into marriage knowing that once we were married we shared everything, including the debt. It wasn't a big deal because sharing the burdens and money we both make leaves no room for "this is mine" or "that is yours". You're in it together and the includes debt IMO. Work together to improve it, get out of debt, etc. that's life journey. 

 

A friend of mine gave me some advice when my first marriage failed. He said he knows 7 or so couples that were divorced and a common denominator was they always had separate finances. Having been in a failed marriage that had separate everything I can attest it did create tension. 


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Message 18 of 26
iced
Valued Contributor

Re: Marriage and Debt


@importxpresions wrote:

 

A friend of mine gave me some advice when my first marriage failed. He said he knows 7 or so couples that were divorced and a common denominator was they always had separate finances. Having been in a failed marriage that had separate everything I can attest it did create tension. 


My first marriage failed indirectly because we shared finances. You'll find anecdotes and advice for every option and direction out there.

 

A lot of marriages are destroyed because of financial problems and/or a lack of trust, not because the couple had separate or shared finances. In my case, letting my ex access my finances created financial problems (I was a saver, she was a spender; oil and water). In others, the separate finances can create a lack of trust or still not address the financial problems.

 

My new marriage is going much better, but it's not because our finances are separate. We're both savers, and so there is no debt and no financial problems to fight over. I won't purport to say that money can buy happiness, but when making ends meet is less than the least of one's worries, happiness has a lot more room to wiggle itself in.

Message 19 of 26
importxpresions
Regular Contributor

Re: Marriage and Debt

I agree many different opinions on things and ymmv. I would bet that the marriages which failed and finances were not shared was due to trust issues stemming from the beginning. 


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Message 20 of 26
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