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    • MSE Naomi
    • By MSE Naomi 6th Mar 18, 3:17 PM
    • 16Posts
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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.

    If you haven’t already, join the forum to reply!

    Got a money moral dilemma of your own? Suggest an MMD.

    This Forum tip was included in MoneySavingExpert.com's weekly email!
    Last edited by MSE Luke; 06-03-2018 at 7:42 PM.
Page 3
    • Gavin83
    • By Gavin83 7th Mar 18, 12:04 PM
    • 5,161 Posts
    • 8,392 Thanks
    Gavin83
    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
    It's really not about the quality of the relationship. I think more than anything it's an age thing with older people much more likely to completely pool their resources than younger people.

    In my relationship we have a couple of joint accounts (including savings) that we pay the same amount into each month and the rest of the money is ours. I like this method, I know what's mine and if I wish to buy something I can do so without having to justify it with another person. It probably helps that we've both always earned similar salaries. However if one of us earned considerably more I'd imagine we'd still do it this way, just with the person earning more contributing a bigger percentage to the joint accounts. Naturally if for some reason one of us wasn't working the person who was would support the other. Unless of course it was just pure laziness, but that's a different scenario.

    I appreciate people have different methods of doing things and I've no problem with that as long as it works for them. What is really annoying me is how judgmental people are in here. Some posters are labeling those who don't pool their finances or those who don't get married after 5 mins as being in a substandard relationship and I'm really not sure what gives you the right to do so. Maybe you're right, I'm sure every couple who've divorced didn't pool their finances and that was a contributing factor.
    • Gloomendoom
    • By Gloomendoom 7th Mar 18, 12:20 PM
    • 14,145 Posts
    • 18,734 Thanks
    Gloomendoom
    ^^^^ We sort of do it that way. We have our own bank accounts and a joint one that we hardly use. I owned the house before we were married so I just carried on paying the mortgage and the utility bills as I had before. My wife buys the food etc.

    Any other bills that come in tend to get paid by whoever opens the envelope. The system works for us with no need for spreadsheets or complicated algorithms. All money, wherever it is stored, is treated as a joint asset.
    Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.” - Mark Twain
    • onomatopoeia99
    • By onomatopoeia99 7th Mar 18, 12:36 PM
    • 4,280 Posts
    • 9,650 Thanks
    onomatopoeia99
    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
    Get married? Why? Because you say so?
    INTP, nerd, libertarian and scifi geek.
    Home is where my books are.
    • NaughtiusMaximus
    • By NaughtiusMaximus 7th Mar 18, 12:56 PM
    • 745 Posts
    • 1,758 Thanks
    NaughtiusMaximus
    Get married? Why? Because you say so?
    Originally posted by onomatopoeia99
    Indeed. Some people seem just can't seem to get their head around the idea that some of us don't regard marriage as an essential part of a long term committed relationship. I've been with my partner for 13 years and I know a few couples who've been together more than double that time without getting married. Aside from the joint mortgage we also keep our finances totally separate.
    Last edited by NaughtiusMaximus; 07-03-2018 at 1:05 PM.
    • fatrab
    • By fatrab 7th Mar 18, 12:59 PM
    • 861 Posts
    • 2,234 Thanks
    fatrab
    Personally, I think household bills should be an even split. Rent/Mortgage, council tax, gas/electric etc. You got into it together regardless of who earned what. It's a conversation that should've been had at the start if there was a difference in salaries back then.


    Lifestyle choices like cars, socialising, personal credit cards should be down to the individual. I wouldn't expect my wife to make a contribution towards my debt and we earn similar amounts. Sometimes when we go out I'll pay, other times she will.


    We've been together for 17 years, married for 4, and keep our finances completely separate. It works perfectly fine for us.
    Last edited by fatrab; 07-03-2018 at 1:11 PM.
    You can have results or excuses, but not both - Wannabe debt free by Dec 2022
    June's targets - Be 15st by end of month, 19/30 AFDs
    39 x £2 coins (#32)
    • NeilCr
    • By NeilCr 7th Mar 18, 1:08 PM
    • 1,812 Posts
    • 2,441 Thanks
    NeilCr

    I appreciate people have different methods of doing things and I've no problem with that as long as it works for them. What is really annoying me is how judgmental people are in here. Some posters are labeling those who don't pool their finances or those who don't get married after 5 mins as being in a substandard relationship and I'm really not sure what gives you the right to do so. Maybe you're right, I'm sure every couple who've divorced didn't pool their finances and that was a contributing factor.
    Originally posted by Gavin83
    Quite. Although it doesn't really annoy me - more surprise me. There is quite a bit of only my way is the right way on here.

    We don't live together so no question of pooling or worrying about bank accounts. We both pay our own way (and manage our own day to day finances) but I have quite a bit more disposable income than her so I sometimes pay for things like theatre tickets/gigs etc which she just couldn't afford. A couple of tickets to the O2, a meal out, hotel and train tickets can get expensive.

    When I was married we had a bills account which we both paid into and then our own accounts for what we wanted to spend money on . Then she became too unwell to work so had to take ill health retirement. By which time I had a reasonably well paid job so I paid the bills and retained the rest of my salary. She had an ill health pension for herself.

    Worked for us. Might not work for others but that's good. I wouldn't say it was the right way to do it - but it was the right way for us.

    As to getting married after eight years or splitting. I'm gobsmacked. Most sorted relationship I know is a couple who've lived together for 30 years since they were 18. Not a wedding in sight!
    • Andu
    • By Andu 7th Mar 18, 1:10 PM
    • 3 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Andu
    We've been together 20 years, have 2 kids and a house, and we have separate finances. We don't believe in marriage so will never marry. He used to earn more than I do, now I earn twice as much as he does. We still split bills and kids' stuff 50/50, everything else is up to each of us. If he wants a gadget I don't want then he pays, if I want to go somewhere he doesn't want to pay for then I pay. Works for us and we never have any arguments about finances.


    50/50 seemed fair to me when I was earning less, and still does now I earn more. If he didn't earn enough to afford what he wanted then I might suggest I pay more though, but since he earns a decent wage and actually has more savings than me I think this is fine and so does he.
    • Gavin83
    • By Gavin83 7th Mar 18, 1:31 PM
    • 5,161 Posts
    • 8,392 Thanks
    Gavin83
    The system works for us with no need for spreadsheets or complicated algorithms.
    Originally posted by Gloomendoom
    I have a spreadsheet for my own finances, I find it helps me manage my outgoings each month.
    • onlyroz
    • By onlyroz 7th Mar 18, 1:34 PM
    • 14,049 Posts
    • 26,882 Thanks
    onlyroz
    Personally, I think household bills should be an even split. Rent/Mortgage, council tax, gas/electric etc. You got into it together regardless of who earned what. It's a conversation that should've been had at the start if there was a difference in salaries back then.


    Lifestyle choices like cars, socialising, personal credit cards should be down to the individual. I wouldn't expect my wife to make a contribution towards my debt and we earn similar amounts. Sometimes when we go out I'll pay, other times she will.


    We've been together for 17 years, married for 4, and keep our finances completely separate. It works perfectly fine for us.
    Originally posted by fatrab
    What if your incomes change later in the relationship? E.g. one of you goes part time after having kids? Or one of you retires? Or one of you becomes sick or disabled? Or one of you has a windfall, or becomes mega-famous? Or one of you runs a business which fails? Or gets made redundant and struggles to find new work? Should you still carry on contributing 50:50 if the income disparity becomes large? And so the one with all the income can buy themselves whatever toys and treats they like while the other can't afford a take-out sandwich?

    I'm all for maintaining separate finances but it's unfair if one of you ends up with significantly more disposable income than the other.
    Last edited by onlyroz; 07-03-2018 at 1:37 PM.
    • WibblyGirly
    • By WibblyGirly 7th Mar 18, 1:37 PM
    • 383 Posts
    • 682 Thanks
    WibblyGirly
    I expect this to become an issue in my relationship but in the opposite way. I'll be earning more than my partner and would like pay proportionally according to wages so we both have the same left over money however he is adamant about staying 50/50.
    • Froom2
    • By Froom2 7th Mar 18, 1:39 PM
    • 106 Posts
    • 65 Thanks
    Froom2
    My partner and I split bills and housing cost proportionally with salary.
    Food and other living expenses are split 50/50.

    I earn more than him, and this was my suggestion. I felt that if I asked him for 50% of the bills and housing I would feel that I was unnecessarily hindering his ability to save.

    At the end of the day, I felt that this was what I needed to do to feel like we were fair. When I suggested it to him before he moved in with me, he was surprised and commented 'thats.. actually really fair'. I like the combination of splitting the basic things proportionally and the food etc 50/50. Because we eat about the same amount!!

    But I agree with what others say - find what works for you, and what you're comfortable with. Every couple will be a bit different.
    • fatrab
    • By fatrab 7th Mar 18, 1:52 PM
    • 861 Posts
    • 2,234 Thanks
    fatrab
    What if your incomes change later in the relationship? E.g. one of you goes part time after having kids? Or one of you retires? Or one of you becomes sick or disabled? Or one of you has a windfall, or becomes mega-famous? Or one of you runs a business which fails? Or gets made redundant and struggles to find new work? Should you still carry on contributing 50:50 if the income disparity becomes large? And so the one with all the income can buy themselves whatever toys and treats they like while the other can't afford a take-out sandwich?

    I'm all for maintaining separate finances but it's unfair if one of you ends up with significantly more disposable income than the other.
    Originally posted by onlyroz
    Well it's funny you should mention that as my wife is currently on maternity leave and will be going back to work part time. The bills still need to be paid and the bank aren't going to reduce the mortgage payment just because we've had a baby are they?

    It's called planning, living within your means and accepting the ups and downs of life. Of course if one of us was made redundant the other would take up the slack until alternative employment was obtained, that's called supporting each other. I'm currently paying all the bills while her earnings are reduced. When she starts earning she'll start contributing again. It's not a difficult concept.
    Last edited by fatrab; 07-03-2018 at 1:56 PM.
    You can have results or excuses, but not both - Wannabe debt free by Dec 2022
    June's targets - Be 15st by end of month, 19/30 AFDs
    39 x £2 coins (#32)
    • fatrab
    • By fatrab 7th Mar 18, 2:04 PM
    • 861 Posts
    • 2,234 Thanks
    fatrab
    .. however he is adamant about staying 50/50.
    Originally posted by WibblyGirly

    Completely agree with your OH, you got into it together 50/50 so why should that change if you're now doing better for yourself? You'll be able to pay for holidays, have a nicer car or save more money for the future but you shouldn't be expected to pay more, or less, for the same roof over your head as your partner.
    You can have results or excuses, but not both - Wannabe debt free by Dec 2022
    June's targets - Be 15st by end of month, 19/30 AFDs
    39 x £2 coins (#32)
    • onlyroz
    • By onlyroz 7th Mar 18, 2:06 PM
    • 14,049 Posts
    • 26,882 Thanks
    onlyroz
    Well it's funny you should mention that as my wife is currently on maternity leave and will be going back to work part time. The bills still need to be paid and the bank aren't going to reduce the mortgage payment just because we've had a baby are they?

    It's called planning, living within your means and accepting the ups and downs of life. Of course if one of us was made redundant the other would take up the slack until alternative employment was obtained, that's called supporting each other. I'm currently paying all the bills while her earnings are reduced. When she starts earning she'll start contributing again. It's not a difficult concept.
    Originally posted by fatrab
    So while your wife is living off maternity pay you still expect her to stump up for half the bills? When I was on maternity leave I got something like £120 a week, which wouldn't have come close to covering half the bills. I'm glad that my husband was more reasonable than you.
    • frugalwin
    • By frugalwin 7th Mar 18, 2:08 PM
    • 2 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    frugalwin
    I'd personally say you need to consider a bunch of other factors, with income coming perhaps third or fourth:
    - What are your financial goals? What are his? How well do they align?
    - Which one of you (if any) is driving any lifestyle inflation?
    - Are there extenuating circumstances that result in the lower wage? (e.g. maternity, sickness, caring for a family member).
    - And finally, yes, the wage disparity.

    For example, if you, the higher wage earner, are fine with working to state retirement age, and want all the trappings of modern life (new cars, detached 5 bedroom house, etc.), but he is naturally more frugal and would like to work towards retiring at 55, is it really fair for him to have to pay half towards running a household that he may deem excessive? The amount he can save for retirement is already less than you, and by keeping up with the Jones's you would make his goal unachievable in order to sustain a lifestyle only you want.

    On the other hand, if you are aspiring to retire early and are frugal by nature, and he were driving the lifestyle inflation, I'd argue that he should put his money where his aspirations are and pay for the nice things he wants - perhaps even more than 50%.

    If your goals are aligned and you want similar lifestyles things get a lot easier. It doesn't matter who pays what, because you're aspiring to retire together, and both of you are equally bought into the cost of your life. Whether you combine finances or not (we haven't) is irrelevant, because you're a team working together towards a common goal. If you don't combine finances, then perhaps a proportional contribution to the running expenses would be helpful, as he would have the same proportion of his earnings as you have of yours to spend as he wishes or direct into his investments. I'd only bother with this is the wage disparity were high though, for example if my wife goes on maternity leave.
    Last edited by frugalwin; 07-03-2018 at 2:12 PM.
    • fatrab
    • By fatrab 7th Mar 18, 2:11 PM
    • 861 Posts
    • 2,234 Thanks
    fatrab
    So while your wife is living off maternity pay you still expect her to stump up for half the bills? When I was on maternity leave I got something like £120 a week, which wouldn't have come close to covering half the bills. I'm glad that my husband was more reasonable than you.
    Originally posted by onlyroz
    You clearly didn't read my reply properly.


    I'm currently paying all the bills while her earnings are reduced. When she starts earning she'll start contributing again.
    Originally posted by fatrab
    Last edited by fatrab; 07-03-2018 at 2:13 PM.
    You can have results or excuses, but not both - Wannabe debt free by Dec 2022
    June's targets - Be 15st by end of month, 19/30 AFDs
    39 x £2 coins (#32)
    • Hol55
    • By Hol55 7th Mar 18, 2:11 PM
    • 5 Posts
    • 8 Thanks
    Hol55
    As a matter of principle I don't think the simple fact that you earn more means you're obliged to pay in more. A 50/50 split is a perfectly fair way to go about things when both of you are earning a full time wage. You do then need to budget to what the lower earner can afford - so higher earner doesn't get to insist on more expensive packages etc unless they are willing to pay in more - but it's a pretty clean way to run things.

    But then so long as both of you are happy and agreed on it, then any split is fair. There's no single way to handle finances in a relationship and people should do whatever best suits them and their partner. (And life can always throw up circumstances like illness etc where one of you has to pay in more). it's far more important that both of you communicate about and are agreed on your approach than that you subscribe to some set idea about what should or shouldn't be done.
    Last edited by Hol55; 07-03-2018 at 2:16 PM.
    • Andu
    • By Andu 7th Mar 18, 3:06 PM
    • 3 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Andu
    We split 50/50 but whilst one of us was part-time to look after the kids, the other would 'pay' them a percentage of their salary (a bit like paying for childcare I guess although of course it's not like that in a relationship), and then it's still 50/50 from each 'salary'. If one was made redundant or ill we would do the same thing.
    • Bristow
    • By Bristow 7th Mar 18, 3:41 PM
    • 21 Posts
    • 31 Thanks
    Bristow
    When we got married, in 1974, we agreed we would have a joint bank account and our money. For the first 20 years of our married life, he earned more than I did. For the next 20 years, I earned more than he did. And so what - it is our money.

    If you have been together for 8 years, commit to each other and get married. If you don't want to marry just agree that you will share everything and whatever you have is shared jointly.

    If you don't feel confident enough to do this, then split as you clearly don't have any confidence in your partner.
    • Andu
    • By Andu 7th Mar 18, 3:54 PM
    • 3 Posts
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    Andu
    "If you don't feel confident enough to do this, then split as you clearly don't have any confidence in your partner."


    What does it have to do with confidence? Aren't two partners allowed to have different ideas about money? Shouldn't they be allowed to make their own decisions about money? Do you do everything together 100% of the time?
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