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    • MSE Sarah
    • By MSE Sarah 30th Nov 17, 1:32 PM
    • 119Posts
    • 63Thanks
    MSE Sarah
    Money Moral Dilemma: Should my husband contribute more to our finances?
    • #1
    • 30th Nov 17, 1:32 PM
    Money Moral Dilemma: Should my husband contribute more to our finances? 30th Nov 17 at 1:32 PM
    This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks...

    My husband and I have always split bills 50/50 and pay them from a joint account, despite him earning three times as much as me. We recently had a baby, so my earnings dropped significantly. I've claimed child benefit, which is paid into our joint account, but as my husband earns about £60,000 a year, he has to pay a 'high income child benefit tax charge' and says it should come from our joint account. Is this fair?

    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 4
    • Retro_Bunny
    • By Retro_Bunny 6th Dec 17, 3:59 PM
    • 626 Posts
    • 564 Thanks
    The only thing that should be split equally is a husband and wife's love for each other (and their children).
    Everything else is just stuff, including money.
    • hairyone
    • By hairyone 6th Dec 17, 4:00 PM
    • 2 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    • mouse118
    • By mouse118 6th Dec 17, 4:33 PM
    • 3 Posts
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    We are pensioners. I get more money than my husband. I make a larger contribution towards housekeeping than he does, which we agree is "right and proper", as my granny was very fond of saying. You can't force him but I would work out the percentage difference and ask him to consider it. That way he can't make an accusation of unfairness!
    • Lifes Grand Plan
    • By Lifes Grand Plan 6th Dec 17, 4:36 PM
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    Lifes Grand Plan
    Very surprised at all the "split proportionally" or "split 50/50" comments.... I guess i'm with the 'old school' everything we both earn goes into the JA and everything we spend comes out of there too camp...

    I don't get this "his/her money and my money" business. Does the higher earner have better foreign holidays and nicer meals out while the lower earner holidays in Butlins and eats out at McDonalds.... what about if one of you loses a job or is on maternity leave - do they run u a debt to the house for their share of the bills or do they get evicted.... What about when you go out for meals or buy Christmas presents, do those get split on a ratio and excel spreadsheets kept....

    Our house / family is a team and IMHO a team needs to put everything in together for everyone's benefit.

    Each to their own of course, even if I can't understand it.
    A big believer in karma, you get what you give

    If you find my posts useful, "pay it forward" and help someone else out, that's how places like MSE can be so successful.
    • Lifes Grand Plan
    • By Lifes Grand Plan 6th Dec 17, 4:38 PM
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    Lifes Grand Plan
    For all those saying that finances in a marriage should be combined and shared, I couldn't disagree more.

    When my wife and I first got married everything went into a joint account, but then when she stopped work to look after the children things didn't go well. Cash was really tight and she felt as if she had to ask permission to spend anything, saying that because I was the sole earner the finances were my responsibility.
    Originally posted by dmcc0
    How would it have been any different if you'd had separate accounts? She still wouldn't have been earning and would have required to be supported by you... as I see it, the exact same scenario would have played out either way....
    A big believer in karma, you get what you give

    If you find my posts useful, "pay it forward" and help someone else out, that's how places like MSE can be so successful.
    • romeroe
    • By romeroe 6th Dec 17, 5:00 PM
    • 32 Posts
    • 37 Thanks
    The whole idea of child benefit is for POOR people so why claim?! Especially if you have to pay it back!
    It could be the woman on high wages.
    We have a small joint account which we rarely use.
    My wife pays all the major bills as she earns more than me. We are in love so we share. Sharing does not mean 50/50. It means getting along and being happy. I pay small bills and we have done this for over 30 years!
    Originally posted by alggomas
    It used to be called Child Allowance, until it was renamed "benefit" and stigmatized as such. There is still an inequity whereby if a single earner family earns 60k they lose the CB whereas a double earning family earning 100k can keep it...but that is another matter.

    Anyway the main reason why you should claim is to get national insurance credits towards pension. You can even claim it at zero rate but keeping the NI credit.
    • ViolaLass
    • By ViolaLass 6th Dec 17, 5:50 PM
    • 5,356 Posts
    • 7,403 Thanks
    Originally posted by hairyone
    The door for previous centuries is over there.
    • Philjak13
    • By Philjak13 6th Dec 17, 5:54 PM
    • 3 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    In my view what is his is yours and vice verse.
    If he insists on itemising things and seeing you and his family as an invoice, you may as well charge him for 50% of the childcare costs.
    • Tanllan
    • By Tanllan 6th Dec 17, 6:46 PM
    • 4 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    My wife advised me when we married that what was mine was hers. That seems to work pretty well - I want to stay married.
    • XRAT
    • By XRAT 6th Dec 17, 6:52 PM
    • 190 Posts
    • 163 Thanks
    If you have to have personal finances rather than "family finances".., you are a family, right?
    Perhaps you should now view spending as a three way split, and since you are doing the minding enabling him to do the earning, he should cover the no income unit.
    • crmism
    • By crmism 6th Dec 17, 8:09 PM
    • 104 Posts
    • 63 Thanks
    Marriage expenses
    Just how tight-fisted and mercenary is your husband?

    There is no way you should contribute 50% of household expenses. My wife and I were in similar circumstances when our children were born, but at no time did I expect her to pay for anything out of her much smaller salary, which was paid into a different account. My salary went into a joint account, which serviced 100% of household costs. That's what a proper marriage is all about.

    Your husband should think himself lucky that the welfare state today is much more generous to young families than it ever was.
    • michaels
    • By michaels 6th Dec 17, 9:10 PM
    • 20,697 Posts
    • 95,802 Thanks
    1) I think claiming and paying back child benefit triggers state pension entitlement so not claiming might well be a mistake.

    2) Those who split the bills 50/50 or in proportion to income do you also split the chores equally (perhaps based on some idea of their value) or else make a payment for any imbalance in chores done - for example 30 mins per day washing up - probably national minimum wage £3.75, 8 hours per day childcare for 2 kids probably the cost of a nanny so 50k pa etc?

    3) Once married any separation of monies will be entirely disregarded on divorce where within reason assets are split 50/50.
    Cool heads and compromise
    • happyinflorida
    • By happyinflorida 6th Dec 17, 10:06 PM
    • 695 Posts
    • 587 Thanks
    What's your husband doing with all his extra income then? Seems grossly unfair that he earns 3 times your salary and now even more as you've had a baby and are earning even less.

    No way should you be paying 50% of the bills.

    Personally I would never have married this man as his way with money is not good, IMO, so you should have sorted this all out before living together and getting married and especially before having a child with him.

    Now you are left with a low income and a skinflint and the extra burden of a baby which is enough to destroy any good marriage, let alone a bad one!! lol

    You need to sit down and have a serious talk about this, when the baby is asleep so you can talk without interruption.

    It is not fair that he's got such a high income and is not paying much towards bills.

    It's even more concerning that he's wanting his tax to come out of joint income, especially in view of the fact you've had a baby and have little income now.

    Are you paying for the babies things?

    What contribution is he making apart from 50%?

    I'd charge him for childcare if this is his attitude!

    Good luck, sounds like you'll need tons of it!
    • tgroom57
    • By tgroom57 6th Dec 17, 10:15 PM
    • 1,298 Posts
    • 12,664 Thanks
    We recently had a baby, so my earnings dropped significantly.
    Did your husband's earnings drop by the same percentage? Or at all, even?
    The Child Benefit is for you and the children, and he should man up and relieve you of paying the (household) bills. I wonder if your reduced salary plus Child Benefit is equal to what you were earning before. At the very least, any drop in your income should come off what you pay into the joint account- so if your income is £50 lower after the birth then you pay £50 less into the joint account.
    And- if you're paying the Child Benefit into an account and then handing it back to HMRC then you can't really include the Child Benefit as part of your income in the above calculation of what to pay into the joint account.

    "Fair" is not the same as "equal".

    Congratulations on your new arrival.

    • LaurelOakwood
    • By LaurelOakwood 7th Dec 17, 7:40 AM
    • 11 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    What does "marriage" mean to you both?
    When my husband & I first moved in together we worked out our costs based on our different wages & he paid more because he earned more.
    Now we're married & homeowners we just have "our money".
    We have kept separate accounts because it makes it easier to buy presents & not give away the surprise before the occasion, but apart from that we're equally committed to us & all our money is ours.

    I would suggest you both need to have a good long think about what a marriage means to you both & discuss your thoughts without judgement. Now you have a child to consider it might be time to put aside your individual claims on your joint funds...
    • Sean1875
    • By Sean1875 7th Dec 17, 9:53 AM
    • 1 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    What about if the wife constantly spends beyond her means on rubbish she doesn't and we don't need? Whenever there's any kind of sale or discount on. Racking up hundreds on store cards and credit cards etc.

    We split house bills 50/50, but my income is probably around double/triple what hers is. I think this is the best way for us as it means all the responsibility for saving money towards a house falls to me and I'm also extremely tight with outgoings which helps!
    • mailmannz
    • By mailmannz 7th Dec 17, 11:47 AM
    • 290 Posts
    • 176 Thanks
    Things have worked out that I pay all the house bills (mortgage, power, insurances etc) and the wife covers the day to day costs (food and so on).

    Works for us. We've never had a joint account though.


    • minicooper272
    • By minicooper272 7th Dec 17, 1:37 PM
    • 2,124 Posts
    • 16,678 Thanks
    At the moment, my partner and I pay 50/50 into a joint account for bills & mortgage, although he earns about 20% more than I do. Itís absolutely fine for us at the moment Ė he spends more than I do, so it also protects my money. If we had a kid though, and my income went down as yours has, I would review it and arrange something more proportional (base on a proportion of free income after youíve deducted commuting costs & other essentials). Make sure when you go for something proportional, that you still allow yourself some money to enjoy yourself with.

    I understand why people want to keep finances untangled, but kids change everything. If you were to split, heíd be forced to top up your income through child support payments, and I donít see why you should be worse off while in the relationship.
    • minicooper272
    • By minicooper272 7th Dec 17, 1:50 PM
    • 2,124 Posts
    • 16,678 Thanks
    This isn't actually a person asking for their own benefit, it's an mse made up question. Waste of time. Better off helping those who have posted actual queries.
    Originally posted by 74jax

    I actually sent a money moral dilemma to the MSE team, and it was published the following week word for word. They are real questions asked by real people, but I do love the fact that someone takes time every single week to complain about what a waste of time they are!
    • blitzboy
    • By blitzboy 7th Dec 17, 1:53 PM
    • 449 Posts
    • 248 Thanks
    As with many others above, we have a joint account and everything goes in and out of that. We're quite controlled with our spending but if either of us want to buy something for more than a trivial amount we just discuss it and almost always agree.

    If you're married, or living as though you're married, then everything belongs to both of you as far as I'm concerned. I wouldn't want it any other way just because I earn more.
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