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    • MSE Kelvin
    • By MSE Kelvin 7th May 19, 4:00 PM
    • 68Posts
    • 189Thanks
    MSE Kelvin
    Money Moral Dilemma: Should my husband pay more towards bills while I'm on maternity leave?
    • #1
    • 7th May 19, 4:00 PM
    Money Moral Dilemma: Should my husband pay more towards bills while I'm on maternity leave? 7th May 19 at 4:00 PM
    This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks...

    My husband and I have had a baby - it was planned and I am taking a year off work. I knew my maternity pay would be poor so I saved 23,000 from my own salary to cushion the blow. My husband and I still pay exactly the same towards the mortgage and bills, but I'm now digging deep into my savings. I know I'm having the time off, but it's my husband's baby too - should he be paying more while I'm on maternity leave?

    Unfortunately the MSE team can't always answer money moral dilemma questions as contributions are often emailed in or suggested in person. They are intended to be enjoyed as a point of debate and discussed at face value.

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Page 1
    • Comms69
    • By Comms69 7th May 19, 4:01 PM
    • 8,955 Posts
    • 10,266 Thanks
    • #2
    • 7th May 19, 4:01 PM
    • #2
    • 7th May 19, 4:01 PM
    Surely if this is an issue having a child is not the best idea.
    • BillTrac
    • By BillTrac 7th May 19, 4:20 PM
    • 1,728 Posts
    • 1,469 Thanks
    • #3
    • 7th May 19, 4:20 PM
    • #3
    • 7th May 19, 4:20 PM
    You saved 23,000 from your salary (I assume while you were married). If you don't want to spend this now what was it saved for? You say the decision to have a baby and for you to take maternity leave was agreed. Why should your husband shoulder more than his 'share' of the mortgage if you saved this 23k to soften the blow of maternity leave?

    Is it a case of you want 'your' 23k just for you (because, of course, you saved it)?

    If this is the case there are further problems ahead....
    • CityOwl
    • By CityOwl 7th May 19, 5:15 PM
    • 59 Posts
    • 85 Thanks
    • #4
    • 7th May 19, 5:15 PM
    • #4
    • 7th May 19, 5:15 PM
    We pooled our money when we married over 26 years ago, so this has never been an issue for us. We both earned roughly the same amount, but this changed dramatically after 5 years of being a stay at home mum and 3 children. I first returned to work part-time, then term-time and finally full-time when all the children were at secondary school.

    There is no mine and yours, everything is ours and we decide how to spend it. The children are ours and maternity leave is not a holiday.

    However, you both have to be happy with whatever arrangement you decide upon, so it may be time to have a good chat about how you feel. Maybe you can both agree a new way forward.
    "Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness.
    Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery."

    Charles Dickens
    • Pollycat
    • By Pollycat 7th May 19, 5:23 PM
    • 22,668 Posts
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    • #5
    • 7th May 19, 5:23 PM
    • #5
    • 7th May 19, 5:23 PM
    If the baby was planned - as you say it was - surely finances would have been discussed before now...
    • kazwookie
    • By kazwookie 7th May 19, 5:31 PM
    • 10,651 Posts
    • 128,787 Thanks
    • #6
    • 7th May 19, 5:31 PM
    • #6
    • 7th May 19, 5:31 PM
    Go back to work and get your OH to be the stay at home parent, then see what they say.
    Sun, Sea
    Slinky is back on! - 23 and counting
    I can do this, I will do this...
    • Claddagh_Noir
    • By Claddagh_Noir 7th May 19, 6:08 PM
    • 64 Posts
    • 94 Thanks
    • #7
    • 7th May 19, 6:08 PM
    • #7
    • 7th May 19, 6:08 PM
    This should have been discussed way before conception!

    • onwards&upwards
    • By onwards&upwards 7th May 19, 6:20 PM
    • 519 Posts
    • 952 Thanks
    • #8
    • 7th May 19, 6:20 PM
    • #8
    • 7th May 19, 6:20 PM
    Married and raising a child together, but splitting the bills like flatmates.

    Just crazy.
    • calleyw
    • By calleyw 7th May 19, 7:36 PM
    • 9,140 Posts
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    • #9
    • 7th May 19, 7:36 PM
    • #9
    • 7th May 19, 7:36 PM
    Married and raising a child together, but splitting the bills like flatmates.

    Just crazy.
    Originally posted by onwards&upwards

    There are lots of couples like that with and without children. I knew of a couple with kids and each paid different bills.

    And then you get the couples who think that because they keep finances separate, think that when one of the couple no longer has an income that their income should not be counted towards benefits. And say why should keep their partner?


    Calley x
    Hope for everything and expect nothing!!!

    Good enough is almost always good enough -Prof Barry Schwartz

    If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try -Seth Godin
    • ClaireBeth
    • By ClaireBeth 7th May 19, 8:16 PM
    • 1 Posts
    • 7 Thanks
    Firstly, congratulations.
    It was sensible to save money knowing that you'd be on limited income and all the extra spend a new child will bring. Did he also save money in the same way?
    That being said, in think it's very unreasonable to expect everything to continue to be split down the middle in this way. Does that mean that should one of you be unemployed for some reason that you are expected to go into debt to fulfill your half of the bills? It just doesn't make sense.
    I think that a conversation needs to be had on how the money is dealt with, as otherwise it could cause real issues later. Marriage is an equal partnership, helping one another out and maintaining balance, not treating it like a contractual agreement.
    • problemcashback
    • By problemcashback 7th May 19, 8:16 PM
    • 260 Posts
    • 217 Thanks
    If this is a problem now just wait until one of you loses your job and the other is earning just over the benefit threshold and you get nothing after the first 6 months even if you have paid taxes for decades.

    Having to go cap in hand to your partner for any money to spend on yourself, prescriptions, eye tests.

    Glad we went with one bucket of money and have financial sense or it would be a total nightmare with only one of us working.

    Sad thing is there are to many in relationships in cases like this where it’s not straightforward and partners end up going without as the other one simply won’t help out.

    The benefit system is a mess especially for a situation like the one I described above but start out like you are and it will only get messy for you.
    Last edited by problemcashback; 07-05-2019 at 8:20 PM.
    • dadsgoneshopping
    • By dadsgoneshopping 7th May 19, 8:23 PM
    • 303 Posts
    • 3,240 Thanks
    I find these kind of discussions odd. Marriage is just about the biggest commitment you can make in life. You have agreed to share everything, whats yours is his and his yours etc.

    My wife and I have seperate bank accounts but ALL of the money is ours; not mine, not hers. It doesn't matter who earns what or puts in the most, From each according to their ability, to each according to their needs.
    • ddraycott
    • By ddraycott 7th May 19, 9:05 PM
    • 1 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    Seriously - you got married but didn't agree to share your finances? We have our own bank accounts and a joint one which all the bills come out of. Each month we both keep a fixed amount in our own accounts for some personally spending(the same for both of us regardless of wages) and EVERYTHING else goes straight into the joint account.
    Marriage and relationships are based on trust and respect, which includes sharing and working together to support each other through the good times as well as the difficult ones - its a two way thing not a mine and yours.
    • moonjooce
    • By moonjooce 7th May 19, 9:06 PM
    • 14 Posts
    • 25 Thanks
    Spending money each
    My husband and I split our income accordingly. He earns more than me. We transfer all but a fixed amount (300 each) into a joint account. The bills all come out of the joint account, any leftover at the end of the month goes into savings. The 300 each we are left with is our spending money to do with as we please. Sometimes we spend it, sometimes we throw a bit extra into savings, that's up to us as individuals. We are also having a baby soon and have saved up a bit for maternity. We will still do bills in the same way. We'll each be left with 300 spending money, though I will put less into the joint account whilst off work. I will have spent 9 (pretty miserable tbh) months growing a human and have been very very ill as a result. There's not much I can do about earning less whilst I will be on maternity and its a joint family decision to have kids so therefore we both input what we can afford. If that means I only input 100 a month to the joint account whilst I'm not working then that's what will happen - we have JOINT savings if we get short.
    • RockTheShack
    • By RockTheShack 7th May 19, 9:28 PM
    • 21 Posts
    • 68 Thanks
    of course he should! sit down together and work out the cost of hiring a full time nanny to do everything you're doing at the moment, that might help him understand the value you're contributing to your family while on maternity leave.
    • kiwi77
    • By kiwi77 7th May 19, 9:29 PM
    • 8 Posts
    • 11 Thanks
    I thought that perhaps sharing the way we dealt with finances during my maternity leave might help - our arrangements were different from yours, though, in so much as we have always joined all our finances into one account and each taking out a monthly pocket money allowance for ourselves to do what we want with (shoes for me, the pub/darts for him!). This continued right through maternity leave - all my earnings (maternity pay) kept being put into the main account for all expenses. We both kept the same 'slush fund' in our own account to have a little financial autonomy... just because I was not bringing in the same earnings didn't mean I was not contributing equally to the household - it was just in a different way. We found that as we were already running things this way, my maternity leave didn't really make much difference - we just cut our cloth accordingly.

    I strongly recommend you have a conversation with your husband/child's father about setting up such an arrangement - you are a family now, the child is equally yours ... to run your finances as if you are temporary flatmates only seeks to undermine your own financial stability. A financially unstable household is not the best environment to bring up a child .... circumstances change (eg perhaps one day your partner might be made redundant - you would not then expect him to pay the same amount to household costs ... you are equal partners in the household benefitting equally and wouldn't make him go without just because he wasn't earning, right?). This approach is really beneficial for so many reasons ... things like paying for childcare. it avoids a conversation around who pays for it .... it's a household cost (just like the gas/Council Tax that needs to be paid which comes out of the household account - which if funded by BOTH parents because the child is BOTH of yours.
    You need to be able to have an honest conversation with your husband about what the best way to manage your finances is to ensure equitable financial stability for you as individuals and as a family. Your being on maternity leave should not penalise you ... you might just find bringing your finances (no matter whether they are very uneven or not) might bring a shared purpose to how you run your home ... you are more of a force working together than doing things your own way/separately.
    • ButterflyLC
    • By ButterflyLC 7th May 19, 9:42 PM
    • 50 Posts
    • 53 Thanks
    What? Is this an actual dilemma? Surely you enter into a discussion about children before you have them and make a decision about money/mat leave/childcare then? I am the higher earner and I went on maternity leave last year. My husband and I agreed we'd be tight but we would work it out. There was no discussion of my choice to stay off so he could spend all "his" money on whatever he wanted and "my" money was for essentials. It's "our" baby so it's "our" money. What happens when you don't have enough to pay the mortgage or food? Does he still go to the pub with "his" money as its "your" problem?

    Also is 23k not enough? I had an extra 1 months salary as a buffer and we were absolutely fine on SMP and my husbands salary. We went out a lot and that buffer lasted until I went back to work.
    • Caz3206
    • By Caz3206 7th May 19, 9:44 PM
    • 2 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    There's a lot of judgement on other posts which i don't find helpful or fair.

    To my mind, funding children is a joint endeavour, much more than other parts of relationships. You need to find a fair and equal balance to your finances so your child is raised how you both want and you don't end up in a resentment filled relationship.

    Does your husband know you saved this income from your own salary? I think you've perhaps been making a few too many isolated financial decisions with regard your child. I would have discussed my saving plan with the father before starting. He may have contributed.

    Now that you're in this position, I would definitely discuss what you did, why, and the impact it's having on your life.

    I hope you can find a solution that works for your family. You'll learn a lot by having this chat.
    • Doodles
    • By Doodles 8th May 19, 5:49 AM
    • 337 Posts
    • 624 Thanks
    I am at a loss to understand why you alone had to save money to cushion the blow to loss of earnings. You are husband and wife, and planned the baby. You both should have saved money.

    Feels to me like you just went from a practical thought process of putting money away to buffer the loss of earnings, but its now that the emotional side of it comes into it where you step and think what has your husband has contributed to help.

    Given the 23K is there, use it as you need but I think you and your hubby needs to be on the same page with finances going forward.
    We are in Transylvania, and Transylvania is not England. Our ways are not your ways, and there shall be to you many strange things.

    Dracula, Bram Stoker
    • phil1edinburgh
    • By phil1edinburgh 8th May 19, 6:02 AM
    • 9 Posts
    • 6 Thanks
    Wow ? I see problems ahead
    Older generations had the husband as the 'bread earner" and the wife as a 'home maker'. Times are different and having separate finances with a joint account to pay household bills is common - but when deciding to have a baby the financial division should have been changed and husband paid more into the bills. I worry about who buys the things baby needs - you?
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