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    • MSE Naomi
    • By MSE Naomi 6th Mar 18, 3:17 PM
    • 17Posts
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    MSE Naomi
    MMD: Should I pay more than my partner?
    • #1
    • 6th Mar 18, 3:17 PM
    MMD: Should I pay more than my partner? 6th Mar 18 at 3:17 PM
    This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks...

    I've been with my partner for nearly eight years and we've always split everything 50/50 (bills, meals out etc). But recently he brought up that I'm earning 25% more than him - so should I pay more?

    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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    Last edited by MSE Luke; 06-03-2018 at 7:42 PM.
Page 2
    • WorldTraveller
    • By WorldTraveller 7th Mar 18, 8:22 AM
    • 59 Posts
    • 64 Thanks
    My husband and I have a joint account which everything comes into and goes out of - at one point I earned more than him, now it's the other way around but that hasn't mattered. As well as the joint account we each have separate savings accounts which we pay into on a regular basis - that way we both have our individual pots of money as well as the general everyday money. It's always worked for us and we've never had any issues about money.
    • CiaraSherry
    • By CiaraSherry 7th Mar 18, 8:35 AM
    • 4 Posts
    • 8 Thanks
    Hell yes you should!
    I earn 28500 and my boyfriend earns 17000. If we paid equally for the household stuff, I'd never get to see him because he'd have ZERO money for fun stuff.

    Isn't it better to both have money for enjoying life, than one of you have loads and the other none? You are PARTNERS. Not two solo people who live together. It's not a competition, you shouldn't win by having more money. Its not their fault if they earn less. My boyfriend works in mental health. He deserves to be earning the most but the world is backwards. Paying more towards our rent is the least I can do.
    • LizzieFlorence
    • By LizzieFlorence 7th Mar 18, 8:40 AM
    • 3 Posts
    • 20 Thanks
    Yes you should. If the shoe was on the other foot I would expect him to contribute more. Speaking from experience a friend of mine had a similar arrangement but after a few years the inevitable happened and his earnings increased considerably and although the bills steadily increased with the cost of living her salary didn't and it left her with not much money left for herself. His attitude was that this was the arrangement they had entered upon and as they were partners 50/50 seemed right.( and by the way what was left out of his salary was his to do with as he liked) I assume by now you can see where this ended up. Fueled by resentment they are no longer together.
    • PasturesNew
    • By PasturesNew 7th Mar 18, 8:44 AM
    • 62,815 Posts
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    After 8 years these questions shouldn't be asked.... you're either in a couple, or not. If you are, get married; if not, split up.

    For the question: as somebody earning 25% more your aspirations and expectations about what you want, want to do - and how much is "reasonable" or "expensive" will differ greatly from the lower earning person.

    Your "cheap" is their "how much???".

    You need to be aware of when your spending expectations vary from your partners and learn to take it on the chin and pay for the company they will give you if you go to XYZ restaurant instead of grabbing a burger to eat at home.

    While somebody with more money won't mind spending their money on higher priced items/activities, if the other person feels forced into having it/going then they'll see it as a complete waste of their lesser funds under duress.

    If I've got £10 to last the month .... and you've still got £100, I'd not welcome you telling me to pay half because you want to visit a new restaurant that's "only £25 each", for a meal I don't need at a restaurant I've no aspiration to go to.

    Maybe if you only went 50/50 on things you agree on .... and you did the other stuff alone you'd appreciate the value of their company and dig a bit deeper.

    Even everyday utilities you won't appreciate the cost of as you're a higher earner so will have a more blase attitude to switching off lights, turning down heating, sitting under a blanket ... and they feel they're paying for your choices and not in control of their own costs.
    • JimmyTheWig
    • By JimmyTheWig 7th Mar 18, 10:00 AM
    • 11,652 Posts
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    Can you justify to them why you are entitled to have more money than them to spend on yourself each month? E.g. do they work part-time because they are lazy? Did they turn down a promotion because they couldn't be bothered? Do you do extra shifts at work while he sits around playing video games? If so, then I think the current arrangement seems fair.

    Or, if you are partners like you say, and you both work hard and it just so happens that he is in a lower paid industry than you are, or at a different point in his career, then why would you want him to have less to spend on himself than you get to spend on yourself?
    • DPS-2016
    • By DPS-2016 7th Mar 18, 10:08 AM
    • 15 Posts
    • 22 Thanks
    Personally speaking, and after being 'stung' on more than one occasion, I prefer to have separate finances. In fact, given my previous experience, I'd insist on it.

    This isn't about being 'tight' or not spending money on a partner, this is about ensuring that direct debits and cheques don't bounce because someone decided to go on a spending spree with your card.

    But, back to the more general point, it should be whatever you feel happy and comfortable with - hopefully after discussing with your partner. I'd certainly not be bullied into doing anything one way or the other.

    What feels right? Trust your instinct - there is no universal right or wrong answer.
    • H1a3rt
    • By H1a3rt 7th Mar 18, 10:09 AM
    • 29 Posts
    • 22 Thanks
    Its up to you, every relationship is different.

    Me and the wife pay the majority of our salaries into a joint account. We keep the rest and do with it as we please. That way there's no "your not spending that much on a new bike / shoes" comments.

    • jellybrains
    • By jellybrains 7th Mar 18, 10:23 AM
    • 20 Posts
    • 30 Thanks
    My husband and I have a joint a/c for all food & bills etc. We know how much we need to pay into this each month and both pay the same percentage from our wages to get to this amount. Whatever we have left is our own.
    • newwiseman
    • By newwiseman 7th Mar 18, 10:37 AM
    • 5 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Oh dear!
    If your partner has even suggested this I would seriously consider whether you have along term future. If it is your idea that is a totally different matter. If you agree to split bills when living together it does not matter what the individual earns. If one wants to help the other out by paying more out of generosity as a friend/partner then fine, but it should never be expected.
    • Ashagill
    • By Ashagill 7th Mar 18, 10:47 AM
    • 48 Posts
    • 50 Thanks
    I have a similar situation. My partner and I have been together for nearly 10 years and we are unmarried.
    We have a joint account and I earn more than him.
    Every month we put in the same amount into the joint account and use it for bills, and I think this is fairest.
    However with meals out he often buys more than I do but we use the joint account most of the time.
    However as we are good communicators, sometimes if itís quite a lot more money/food, Iíll say we should pay for ourselves and he will usually agree.
    Same goes for if I want to buy stuff that he doesnít.
    Occasionally we will treat each other.

    The only way I would concede you spending more on bills is if you were able to work out how much more water or gas or electric you were using, but purely based on income? No. You should both pay half.
    "The thing about quotes on the internet is that you cannot confirm their validity." ~ Abraham Lincoln
    • John Gray
    • By John Gray 7th Mar 18, 11:01 AM
    • 5,201 Posts
    • 2,982 Thanks
    John Gray
    You should separate immediately, now that your partner is questioning the comparatively luxurious lifesttyle which you enjoy. What's the point in staying with someone who is so jealous and can contribute so little?
    • fourbunnies
    • By fourbunnies 7th Mar 18, 11:02 AM
    • 4 Posts
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    Yes you should. After 8 years I have to wonder why you haven't got married and why you don't have shared finances but are still splitting everything like flatmates. Do you have children?

    Oh wait, nobody's going to answer, are they?
    Originally posted by Red-Squirrel
    why should they be married? Not everyone believes in marriage or wants to get married. I also would never combine my finances with another person. Yes, I expect my relationship to last forever, but I think it's quite unlikely
    • fourbunnies
    • By fourbunnies 7th Mar 18, 11:04 AM
    • 4 Posts
    • 4 Thanks
    After so many years together you don!!!8217;t seem to be sharing your finances. Do you mean to stay together?
    Originally posted by Teacher2
    Because it's not always the right decision for everyone. I would never entangle my finances with someone else's. that doesn't mean we won't stay together
    • fourbunnies
    • By fourbunnies 7th Mar 18, 11:07 AM
    • 4 Posts
    • 4 Thanks
    After 8 years these questions shouldn't be asked.... you're either in a couple, or not. If you are, get married; if not, split up.
    Originally posted by PasturesNew
    why do they have to get married???
    • vacheron
    • By vacheron 7th Mar 18, 11:13 AM
    • 831 Posts
    • 764 Thanks
    When my partner and I first moved in together we split all the bills in proportion to our basic earnings for the first couple of years.

    If I earned 60% of our total income and her 40%, we added all the household expenditure together and split the monthly total 60/40.

    As the higher earner I felt this was fair as we were both working the same amount of "hours" or "effort" for our heat, food, the roof over our heads etc. and we both had the same percentage of our salary left over for whatever we wanted to do with it.

    Any extra overtime/bonus etc, was ours to keep in recognition of the extra effort that was put in. If one of us received a 10% wage rise, they would pay 10% more towards the bills, but also had 10% more disposable income left at the end.

    If one person were to lose their job, the system would still work as it would effectively switch to 100/0 during that period.

    Eight years later, married with a house and child and everything is mixed together as the commitment is well established.

    To me, splitting 50/50 is unfair as the wage someone gets rarely reflects the effort they have put in to earn it.

    Imagine a financial controller earning £100K was married to a labourer or cleaner assistant earning £15K. Why should one person have to scrub toilets or carry bricks for a whole day to pay for the electricity they use to watch TV together in the evenings when the other only has to spend one hour typing some figures and equations into a spreadsheet?
    Last edited by vacheron; 07-03-2018 at 11:19 AM.
    ē The rich buy assets.
    ē The poor only have expenses.
    ē The middle class buy liabilities they think are assets.
    Robert T. Kiyosaki
    • basilisksam
    • By basilisksam 7th Mar 18, 11:21 AM
    • 2 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Just do it
    My wife and I have always had separate finances but a joint account which we pay into for housekeeping, including the mortgage when we had one. We've been together over 30 years and in the early days she was earning more than me so paid more into the joint account. Later I was earning more than her so I paid the bigger share.

    We were both married before and that's why we initially went for keeping separate finances to ensure our independence. It certainly has no implications for whether we stay together, it just seems a fair way to deal with money. We also had a pre-nuptial agreement (though at the time there may have been a question over it being legally enforceable). These arrangements were always discussed and seemed like sensible planning. What's the problem?
    • maman
    • By maman 7th Mar 18, 11:22 AM
    • 18,004 Posts
    • 107,724 Thanks
    If my partner wasnt prepared to share everything they had with me I would feel there was something wrong in the relationship. Do you have different attitudes to spending and saving and if so can you reconcile these or will your relationship be at risk from this long term?

    If you agree that major spending decisions are taken together then you should share what you have with anyone you love.
    Originally posted by buzzard

    I know my DH would be prepared to do that for me (as I would with him), that doesn't mean he has to do it daily or that I want him to. For me that's a bottom line scenario if for whatever reason one of us unexpectedly needed support. Fortunately that's not every day living.

    DH and I are just coming up to 41 years together and we've never had joint finances. We've always paid 50:50 into an account for joint bills and the rest is ours to do as we wish. Fortunately we do have similar attitudes to money so there is no friction. Over time we have earned slightly different salaries but that's not the issue.

    I think if couples make a joint decision that will affect the other financially (such as having children or returning to full time study) then I could accept there needs to be some sharing of finances for a defined period. Similarly if something unexpected happens like illness or redundancy but generally speaking it's not for me. I know I would feel subsidised if my DH was bailing me out financially. I've never had any ambition to be a kept woman.
    • REJP
    • By REJP 7th Mar 18, 11:35 AM
    • 43 Posts
    • 46 Thanks
    Does your partner contribute towards your income tax on your higher wages?
    I was married for 59 years before my wife died. In all that time we had an agreement on sharing income and bills, ran the household bills on a budget, lived within our means and raised three children. Yes sometimes times were hard, such as in 1973 when inflation topped 15%, but we shared the difficulties.
    Presumably your extra income pays for treats etc? Is your partner penniless after contributing to the household bills? On another point in the news these days, who pays for your necessary unavoidable female sanitary products? Bet he does not.
    • Mjkpio
    • By Mjkpio 7th Mar 18, 11:42 AM
    • 49 Posts
    • 13 Thanks
    If you have to ask then no!

    I willingly contribute a bit more to the mortgage, savings and other bills because I earn more than my partner of 10 years. I do it because we're a couple, we share and pool most savings. It's just part of being in a long term, sharing relationship!

    Also, this will never be read or replied to will it!!
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    • onlyroz
    • By onlyroz 7th Mar 18, 12:02 PM
    • 14,054 Posts
    • 26,888 Thanks
    Yes, I think you should contribute more. Whether that's paying a larger proportion of the household bills, or paying for more of the groceries, or using your extra to fund things like family holidays or meals out, is up to you to figure out.
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