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Money Moral Dilemma: Should I pay more towards a holiday with my boyfriend who earns less than me?

MSE_Kelvin Posts: 352 MSE Staff
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This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks...

My boyfriend of six months and I are planning our first holiday together. I know his salary's around £10,000 a year less than mine, but I've never told him how much I earn. He's currently saving for a deposit on a first property, while I already have a mortgage and savings. Should I offer to pay more towards the holiday? It feels unfair it should impact him more financially than me, but I don't know if he'd be offended if I offered to pay more, or if we should just be splitting costs equally at this stage of our relationship.

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  • x_raphael_xx
    x_raphael_xx Posts: 4,337 Forumite
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    If you're discussing the hol together, I assume he knows costs and is happy to pay his share/is budgetting.
    Maybe as Brie suggested, offer to pay for a meal or something.
    My ex and me were in a similar situation, she made a lot more than me and had more disposable income. I'd always want to pay my half so I didn't feel I was taking advantage.
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  • tacpot12
    tacpot12 Posts: 8,215 Forumite
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    I think it's important that you jointly choose a holiday that you can both afford, so that each of you can pay the same amount OR you agree that you should pay more because you earn more. I would also say that you need to be careful about setting a precedent. One option would be to alternate the two methods. 
    The comments I post are my personal opinion. While I try to check everything is correct before posting, I can and do make mistakes, so always try to check official information sources before relying on my posts.
  • philfuller
    At some point, you will need to share your differential in salary. Men can find it a bit emasculating to have the partner earning more so be prepared! I would let him pay his share, and enjoy the holiday, but resolve to have the money discussion if the relationship is long term
  • LP53
    LP53 Posts: 29 Forumite
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    Although he earns less he can afford a holiday or he wouldn’t agree to it. You may pay more in outgoings than him or spend more. 
    I imagine it will make him feel embarrassed and hurt his pride if you point out you earn more. I’m sure even if he knew he wouldn’t take money off you if he’s a gentleman. 
    He probably saves money on energy bills if he stays at your home sometimes if he hasn’t got a Morgage which may free a little extra money towards his savings. 
    It’s thoughtful of you but not something you should do at this stage. 
  • bikaga
    bikaga Posts: 162 Forumite
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    Depending on what kind of difference the £10k is - i.e. if he makes £20k and you £30k then I'd definitely offer to pay more, if he makes £60k and you £70 then it's probably not a big issue either way. Assuming the difference is significant, then yeah, it would be nice to offer, or to offer to cover more of the day-to-day cost on the holidays.

    Regardless of how you're going to handle the holiday situation, I'd mention my higher earnings - after 6 months that shouldn't be a secret, and if you stay together it'll come out at some point and he might wonder why you never mentioned it.

    I'm assuming by statistics that you're female, apologies if I'm wrong there! But there are lots of men who cannot cope, even in 2023, with their female partner earning more (see comment above saying it would "hurt his pride" if you earn more), and that's probably something you want to find out sooner rather than later seeing as you seem to have your life sorted out pretty well and will likely continue to be successful and in control of your finances. If you're worried that he'd be offended by the mere suggestion of you paying more, then how will it go if he finds out in a year or two that you're making more?

    I'm a little confused that you know how much he earns, but he doesn't know how much you earn. I do think that's a bit of an imbalance and I'd want my partner to know my salary if I know his.
  • stephgr8
    I would try to stick with paying half each but if you want a very expensive/ luxury holiday which will be harder for your boyfriend to afford then certainly you can and should offer to pay more than half the costs. You don't have to tell him you are paying more because you earn more, you can simply say you don't want him to eat into his deposit monies too much.
  • Oldtaxfart
    How does it “impact him more than me”?  If you are ach paying 50%, it is impacting you equally.  You own a house and the interest rates are going to bite you at some time if they have not already.  He is saving for a deposit.  You cannot stop paying the mortgage for a month so you can take a holiday, he can take a month off saving.  If the earnings difference is stated gross, the net is far less after tax, NIC, pensions contributions are factored in, he might be a basic rate taxpayer and you just in as a higher rate taxpayer.

    What proportion did you think it “fair” for you to pay?  You asked a question, I do not think you should have a moral dilemma.  Do you want a relationship on equal or unequal terms?
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