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How should this work? Finances in marriage = fairness.

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How should this work? Finances in marriage = fairness.

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Hi all

I'm just wondering how other people structure their finances to understand what's fair. Here's our story, husband and wife together two years. We each own our own properties. Husband rents his out and what he receives in rent just covers mortgage. We live in my house and I pay for all my mortgage. We both agreed before we married that if anything happened, we wouldn't claim on each others property. I know it's only verbal and all that but that's not the issue.

Moving forward I'm trying to work out what's fair to contribute to the household. Husbands property has only recently started being rented out and we agreed once it was rented out, then he would start contributing to our household. He's only lived here a year and I can manage financially fine. The bills etc haven't increased with him being here so I've had no issue paying for everything whilst he's been sorting his property out.

Money is tighter for hubby. I earn perhaps a third more than he does. I was going to suggest that bills such as council tax, utilities, home insurance, tv/phone etc are split 2/3 me and 1/3 him. This seems reasonable to me, does it to you?

We had a conversation last night which I got a bit upset with (I'm also pregnant so could be the hormones) where he mentioned that now his house is rented out he can start doing maintenance in our home - brilliant. He also mentioned how he's need me to contribute towards the materials as he couldn't afford it all himself. Again I think that seems fair. I pay most of the material (I'm sure he'll pay some way too) and he does the work. He is incredibly handy in the house so can do it all plumbing, electrics, DIY so it could save me a small fortune.

However, he made a comment about being slightly worried about doing lots of things in the house but he wouldn't benefit if we ever split up (in comes pregnancy hormones!). Of course, I got very upset about this comment and things got blown out of proportion. It ended with him apologising so much saying he never thinks we would split up but he just said something practical when he should've realised I'm emotional. That element I think is fine, however it got me thinking about how he will be living here, rent free/mortgage free so in my mind he is benefiting from living here. I appreciate there isn't a financial value on that but it is still a definite benefit so even if he does work in the house which increase the value he has still in some way benefited.

I honestly don't see us splitting up etc and that's not an issue but I was keen to hear from others how they've structured finances fairly?

It seems long gone are the days where two people get together, both earn equal amounts and both have an equal amount to contribute towards a deposit for a property. Things are all a little bit different these days so I was hoping to hear some rational opinions. Please do be kind as my hormones are all over the place.
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Replies

  • FireflyawayFireflyaway Forumite
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    I've been asking a similar question because my husband and I ( 17 years together) just can't find a method to manage the finances that we both agree on. You might find some examples on that post re how others manage finances. 
    I'd say it's not romantic or nice to think about, but you do need to ensure you are protected financially. I never thought my husband would leave but in January he had a mental breakdown and announced he was off! I'm now in a family home I can barely afford but it gave me a wake up that you can only really rely on yourself. You can never be 100% sure what's in the future. We are hoping to reconcile but finances are part of what we used to argue about so we need a solution.
    I'm no expert because we still haven't found a method that works ! However I can share one thing that I'm convinced is of utmost importance. Communication. Over time your finances will change. Your incomes might start to differ even more. You may have childcare expenses or change working hours. What works now might not be appropriate in 10 years. If you don't properly discuss and agree on a strategy, resentment and tension will appear. 
    From what you say, the housing thing seems to be quite seperate. I would say that any surplus income from your husband's house goes into your household budget, it's a type of income. Then whatever you both earn goes towards the house payment and bills where you are living. The tricky bit is whether you share any left over equally or split it based on percentages of your incomes are different. Could you add each other onto the mortgage / deeds of both properties? If you both jointly own both places there will be less feeling of he is doing x to my house or I am not benefiting from his house. Both houses will be 'ours' and thus joint projects / investments. 
    Good luck, I really hope you find a way that works for you. 
  • beckysbobbles12beckysbobbles12 Forumite
    4 posts
    First Post
    I'm not meaning to sound nasty. I've only said mine and his houses as we do have two houses. We could refer to them as house A and house B. It's definitely not meant in a horrible way. 
    The reason why I said rent-free is because it got my back up a bit regarding not benefitting if the property value increases due to the work he does but surely living in a beautiful home s benefit enough? Thank you for your response though - I do appreciate it.
    I think it's lovely other people sharing 100%. I do think that's a generational thing though that has sadly got very complex.
  • Comms69Comms69 Forumite
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    Hi all

    I'm just wondering how other people structure their finances to understand what's fair. Here's our story, husband and wife together two years. We each own our own properties. Husband rents his out and what he receives in rent just covers mortgage. We live in my house and I pay for all my mortgage. We both agreed before we married that if anything happened, we wouldn't claim on each others property. I know it's only verbal and all that but that's not the issue.

    Moving forward I'm trying to work out what's fair to contribute to the household. Husbands property has only recently started being rented out and we agreed once it was rented out, then he would start contributing to our household. - Conversely if his tenants stop paying would you contribute to his costs? He's only lived here a year and I can manage financially fine. The bills etc haven't increased with him being here so I've had no issue paying for everything whilst he's been sorting his property out.

    Money is tighter for hubby. I earn perhaps a third more than he does. I was going to suggest that bills such as council tax, utilities, home insurance, tv/phone etc are split 2/3 me and 1/3 him. This seems reasonable to me, does it to you? Well no, because that means you are paying 50% more than he is? But earn 30% more? But if that seems fair to you then fair enough

    We had a conversation last night which I got a bit upset with (I'm also pregnant so could be the hormones) where he mentioned that now his house is rented out he can start doing maintenance in our home - brilliant. He also mentioned how he's need me to contribute towards the materials as he couldn't afford it all himself. Again I think that seems fair. I pay most of the material (I'm sure he'll pay some way too) and he does the work. He is incredibly handy in the house so can do it all plumbing, electrics, DIY so it could save me a small fortune. - So far so good.

    However, he made a comment about being slightly worried about doing lots of things in the house but he wouldn't benefit if we ever split up (in comes pregnancy hormones!). - Bit crass, but a fair comment. Obviously legally speaking your verbal agreement has no basis whatsoever  Of course, I got very upset about this comment and things got blown out of proportion. - i assume you mean he saw a future without you and thats why you got upset? It ended with him apologising so much saying he never thinks we would split up but he just said something practical when he should've realised I'm emotional. That element I think is fine, however it got me thinking about how he will be living here, rent free/mortgage free so in my mind he is benefiting from living here. - well sort of yes.  I appreciate there isn't a financial value on that but it is still a definite benefit so even if he does work in the house which increase the value he has still in some way benefited.

    I honestly don't see us splitting up etc and that's not an issue but I was keen to hear from others how they've structured finances fairly? - well you're married and with that most people just stop saying mine and start saying ours. 

    It seems long gone are the days where two people get together, both earn equal amounts and both have an equal amount to contribute towards a deposit for a property. Things are all a little bit different these days so I was hoping to hear some rational opinions. Please do be kind as my hormones are all over the place.
    Those days never existed. But most people put money secondary to love and said doesnt matter if i put in 200k and you put in zero, because your my husband/wife. 

    I think you both need to decide what this marriage actually means to you both. Because as i siad, to most people it means that everything is now joint.
  • JamoLewJamoLew Forumite
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    Thinking more about it, I guess it doesn't matter how you arrange your finances as you  go with what works for you as a couple.
    As long as you are both "happy" with the arrangement - that's the main thing
  • carlycarly Forumite
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    JamoLew said:
    maybe we and the missus are the exception - but all the money goes into one pot and out the same pot.
    There is no mine and yours its ours
    Same here, and it has worked just fine for more than 40 years
  • littlegreenparrotlittlegreenparrot Forumite
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    I understand where you are coming from. We maintain separate accounts. It's fairly straightforward for us though, have always earned similar amounts so everything is split 50/50. 
    You might currently earn more, but won't that reduce when your on maternity? You mention he benefits from living there mortgage free, but isn't that the same as you benefiting from having someone on hand who can do the maintenance?

    My suggestion is to move away from yours/mine in this respect, all of it is a joint endeavour. Without wanting to upset you my understanding is that if there is a divorce it's all dealt with as joint anyway.

    Write a list of all the bills for both houses, add that up. Add a bit to put into a separate savings accounts for big maintenance, new roof, boiler packs up in the middle of winter type emergencies. 
    Look at both your incomes, work out the proportions. Then work out the same proportion for the total of the bills. 
    Set up a separate account that then belongs to the household. You each pay your proportion according to what you earn, you both benefit from having power/internet/water etc.  You adjust as necessary when circumstances change. 
    You both still have control over what money is left, and what you do with that might be another discussion. 

    It's important to remember that you are only a year in to something that will hopefully last a lifetime. Circumstances change. Maybe someone gets ill, goes back into education, a family member requires care, reduction in hours to take care of children, a promotion, a new opportunity, a global pandemic that prevents you from working for 3 months....the numbers will change. 


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