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    • MSE Naomi
    • By MSE Naomi 6th Mar 18, 3:17 PM
    • 15Posts
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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.

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    Last edited by MSE Luke; 06-03-2018 at 7:42 PM.
Page 5
    • minicooper272
    • By minicooper272 8th Mar 18, 10:29 AM
    • 2,124 Posts
    • 16,678 Thanks
    minicooper272
    The same dilemma is starting to rear its head between me and my OH. At the moment, he earns about £300 a month more than I do. We have a joint account, and both pay the same amount into it each month to cover flat expenses, and then have our own separate incomes to spend how we wish. I don!!!8217;t see an issue with it. He has more expensive taste than I do, why would I want to subsidise him buying Levis, while I am happy with M&S budget jeans? It!!!8217;s just a recipe for arguments.

    However, he!!!8217;s interviewing for a new job this week, with a big salary jump, and we had to discuss how his extra income will work. I actually don!!!8217;t want him to subsidise me, and I am comfortable on my income, however he!!!8217;ll now have more disposable income, and if I want to keep up, I won!!!8217;t be able to save anything for the future.

    I guess work out what!!!8217;s fair !!!8211; you don!!!8217;t need to split your extra 50/50. My OH wants a better broadband package (extra £10/month), so I will make him cover the extra, and he likes more heating, so I will ask him to cover an extra 10% on our gas bill, and maybe an extra £20 a month to food, as he has especially expensive dietary requirements.


    P.s. I've been with my OH 10 years. We have no plans to get married or have kids, nor to split up. The people who keep pressuring us to marry just put me off even more.
    Last edited by minicooper272; 08-03-2018 at 10:31 AM.
    • onlyroz
    • By onlyroz 8th Mar 18, 11:10 AM
    • 13,990 Posts
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    onlyroz
    onlyroz - by the time your husband retires will he have a pension (state or private)? If so he's not dependent on you is he? And I'm assuming you'll have some degree of solvency as a couple by then (e.g. bought house, no mortgage, very little debt).

    In my opinion, which I am entitled to, the basics (mortgage/rent/council tax/energy/home insurance/TV licence) should be equally split, if one of the partners can't afford that then they are living outside their means.
    Originally posted by fatrab
    Dynamics in a relationship change over time and your simplistic argument fails to address this.


    When I met my husband I was an impoverished student - there was no way I could contribute to half the bills on my meagre bursary. So should he have refused to let me move in and refused to marry me because I would be living outside my means?


    Now I am the higher earner and we would like for him to take early retirement. His income will halve - and by that point we will not quite be mortgage free and so it would be outside his means to continue to pay half the bills.


    Established relationships involve teamwork - and there are often swings and roundabouts over who is the higher earner at any one time. I am all for both parties in a couple to have their own money, but the amount pooled into the central pot for paying household expenses should not force one half of the couple into penury.
    • fatrab
    • By fatrab 8th Mar 18, 11:30 AM
    • 844 Posts
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    fatrab
    Dynamics in a relationship change over time and your simplistic argument fails to address this.


    When I met my husband I was an impoverished student - there was no way I could contribute to half the bills on my meagre bursary. So should he have refused to let me move in and refused to marry me because I would be living outside my means?

    Originally posted by onlyroz
    So you weren't in employment. We're talking about 2 adults in full time employment with not dissimilar salaries - not a hypothetical situation - so stop giving examples that aren't relevant.


    If you and your husband have agreed that he's going to retire early and you're going to assume a higher percentage of the bills then that's great and entirely up to you, I'm not going to tell you that you're right or wrong in doing so, in fact I think it's absolutely wonderful that you're prepared to do that for him. I'm going to semi-retire as soon as I pay my mortgage off but I'll still be paying my half of the remaining bills. I'll plan that expense into my future.

    I also note that you had no further comment when you failed to read my earlier post correctly but I get the impression you're not the kind of person who would admit they were incorrect.

    This thread is turning into an argument and life's too short for this nonsense.

    Best wishes
    Last edited by fatrab; 08-03-2018 at 11:52 AM.
    You can have results or excuses, but not both.
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    • maman
    • By maman 8th Mar 18, 11:55 AM
    • 17,919 Posts
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    maman
    This thread is turning into an argument and life's too short for this nonsense.

    Best wishes
    Originally posted by fatrab

    You're right fatrab. Normally I wouldn't respond to these mse generated threads but I feel very strongly about this particular topic.


    Of course there is no simple answer to this. Without overly repeating myself, there will be times when one part of a partnership will have a particular reason for needing financial support, so I'm not convinced about arguments like maternity or impoverished students. Those are temporary things and only a small part of a long term relationship. Sadly there will be permanent circumstances too like disability or poor health but these aren't the general rule.


    I want to live in a world where men and women have equal opportunity and I'm sad to say that many women don't help this cause. Of course there are men who want to maintain the status quo but I see too many women who want to maintain the status quo too. Coffee shops are full of them.
    • onlyroz
    • By onlyroz 8th Mar 18, 12:15 PM
    • 13,990 Posts
    • 26,763 Thanks
    onlyroz

    I want to live in a world where men and women have equal opportunity and I'm sad to say that many women don't help this cause. Of course there are men who want to maintain the status quo but I see too many women who want to maintain the status quo too. Coffee shops are full of them.
    Originally posted by maman
    I'm all for equal opportunity. I'd love to see a world where child-rearing responsibilities and employment activities are shared equally between both parents. And so equal time and duration of paid parental leave after a child is born. Access to high quality and affordable childcare. And more opportunities for job shares and part-time work for both men and women without having to sacrifice promotion prospects. All of this is the norm in Scandinavian countries.


    But you do seem to be focussed on the idea that the only valid contribution a person makes to a household is how much money they bring in - and that unless you are bringing in as much as your partner you are somehow freeloading. What if you choose a career that is rewarding but offers low pay? E.g. a nurse married to a lawyer. Both have high stress high responsibility jobs but the lawyer might be bringing in several times the income of the nurse. Should the nurse be forced to live off bread and cheese and clothes from the charity shop while the lawyer eats lobster and wears Armani?
    • vacheron
    • By vacheron 8th Mar 18, 12:32 PM
    • 825 Posts
    • 760 Thanks
    vacheron
    When I met my husband I was an impoverished student - there was no way I could contribute to half the bills on my meagre bursary. So should he have refused to let me move in and refused to marry me because I would be living outside my means?
    Originally posted by onlyroz
    It seems some posters here consider a "partnership" as nothing more than two individuals sharing the living standard of the lowest wage earner who should "know their place" and not be allowed to enjoy anything better.

    Apparently if one partner could afford £400pm rent and the other £300pm to rent a £700pm property, the lower earner would be considered as "living above their means" by some here unless both parties paid £350 equally.

    The irony however is that the higher earner would also be "living above their means" whether contributing £400 or £350 because in both cases, without the contribution of the lower earner, the higher earner could not afford to live in a £700 property either!



    edit: I was also going to mention that many have only focused on paid work, but while writing you have summed that up on your post directly above this perfectly!
    Last edited by vacheron; 08-03-2018 at 12:37 PM.
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    • maman
    • By maman 8th Mar 18, 12:40 PM
    • 17,919 Posts
    • 107,283 Thanks
    maman
    I'm all for equal opportunity. I'd love to see a world where child-rearing responsibilities and employment activities are shared equally between both parents. And so equal time and duration of paid parental leave after a child is born. Access to high quality and affordable childcare. And more opportunities for job shares and part-time work for both men and women without having to sacrifice promotion prospects. All of this is the norm in Scandinavian countries.


    But you do seem to be focussed on the idea that the only valid contribution a person makes to a household is how much money they bring in - and that unless you are bringing in as much as your partner you are somehow freeloading. What if you choose a career that is rewarding but offers low pay? E.g. a nurse married to a lawyer. Both have high stress high responsibility jobs but the lawyer might be bringing in several times the income of the nurse. Should the nurse be forced to live off bread and cheese and clothes from the charity shop while the lawyer eats lobster and wears Armani?
    Originally posted by onlyroz

    It's more than money for me. It's about making use of all opportunities offered and making a contribution to society as an individual. It's those sort of attributes that would have attracted me to the relationship in the first place.


    But you're right. we don't live in this Utopia yet. To use your example, why society seems to value (financially) lawyers more highly than nurses is another argument for another day.
    • Gloomendoom
    • By Gloomendoom 8th Mar 18, 1:09 PM
    • 13,957 Posts
    • 18,377 Thanks
    Gloomendoom
    I want to live in a world where men and women have equal opportunity and I'm sad to say that many women don't help this cause. Of course there are men who want to maintain the status quo but I see too many women who want to maintain the status quo too.
    Originally posted by maman
    All very laudable but I am at a loss to see how labelling one member of a couple that share everything equally regardless of income as "kept" is going to achieve that.
    “Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.” - Mark Twain
    • Red-Squirrel
    • By Red-Squirrel 8th Mar 18, 1:12 PM
    • 2,671 Posts
    • 7,151 Thanks
    Red-Squirrel
    In a situation where a married couple with differing salaries want to go on holiday, how would you suggest that they go about it? Should they each go on separate holidays, one cheaper than the other, or should the lowest common denominator be used and both go on the cheaper holiday together?
    Originally posted by Gloomendoom
    Or going out for a meal, does one go to a nice restaurant and the other to KFC and then they get together afterwards and compare notes?

    Or if they want to go the theatre, one gets a lovely view from the stalls one is on the cheap seats in the gods and they meet up in the interval?
    • Red-Squirrel
    • By Red-Squirrel 8th Mar 18, 1:19 PM
    • 2,671 Posts
    • 7,151 Thanks
    Red-Squirrel
    You're right fatrab.

    Of course there is no simple answer to this. Without overly repeating myself, there will be times when one part of a partnership will have a particular reason for needing financial support, so I'm not convinced about arguments like maternity or impoverished students. Those are temporary things and only a small part of a long term relationship. Sadly there will be permanent circumstances too like disability or poor health but these aren't the general rule.
    Originally posted by maman
    What about the fact that some jobs just always will pay less than others and those jobs are still pretty vital and somebody needs to do them?

    I know of doctors married to nurses, pilots married to flight attendants, teachers married to teaching assistants and several other combinations like that. In some cases the man is the higher earner, in others the woman, and in several cases they are the same sex.

    I think we can agree that all of those jobs are valuable, so surely you can see that unequal earnings can be something that lasts throughout the entirety of a relationship/marriage?
    • Gloomendoom
    • By Gloomendoom 8th Mar 18, 1:19 PM
    • 13,957 Posts
    • 18,377 Thanks
    Gloomendoom
    It's more than money for me. It's about making use of all opportunities offered and making a contribution to society as an individual. It's those sort of attributes that would have attracted me to the relationship in the first place.
    Originally posted by maman
    You can make a valuable contribution to society without having to earn a penny. In fact, if you have a partner that is happy to support you, you probably have more opportunities than if you were trapped in some mundane job just to make sure your ability to pay your share of the bills matches your partner's.
    Last edited by Gloomendoom; 08-03-2018 at 1:55 PM. Reason: Repetition
    “Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.” - Mark Twain
    • JimmyTheWig
    • By JimmyTheWig 8th Mar 18, 1:49 PM
    • 11,623 Posts
    • 11,232 Thanks
    JimmyTheWig
    I'm all for equal opportunity. I'd love to see a world where child-rearing responsibilities and employment activities are shared equally between both parents. And so equal time and duration of paid parental leave after a child is born. Access to high quality and affordable childcare. And more opportunities for job shares and part-time work for both men and women without having to sacrifice promotion prospects. All of this is the norm in Scandinavian countries.


    But you do seem to be focussed on the idea that the only valid contribution a person makes to a household is how much money they bring in - and that unless you are bringing in as much as your partner you are somehow freeloading. What if you choose a career that is rewarding but offers low pay? E.g. a nurse married to a lawyer. Both have high stress high responsibility jobs but the lawyer might be bringing in several times the income of the nurse. Should the nurse be forced to live off bread and cheese and clothes from the charity shop while the lawyer eats lobster and wears Armani?
    Originally posted by onlyroz
    The sort of (rare) post I want to be able to "thank" more than once...
    Spot on.
    • sporkafife
    • By sporkafife 8th Mar 18, 9:18 PM
    • 4 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    sporkafife
    I'd say yes, it just seems fair to me. I earn pretty much exactly double what my girlfriend earns, and therefore I find it fair that we split bills into a 2:1 ratio. That way we both pay exactly the same proportion of our income.

    Easy example, I earn £1000, she earns £500. The bills are £900. I pay for £600 of them (leaving me with £400) and she pays £300 (leaving her with £200). Yes, I pay double what she pays towards the bills, but after that I have double what she has as disposable income. This seems fair in every way to me, I still get my "reward" for earning more as my disposable income for every month is higher, but it's fair because it's higher in proportion with my wages.
    • steph2901
    • By steph2901 9th Mar 18, 10:53 AM
    • 302 Posts
    • 188 Thanks
    steph2901
    Me and my husband pay all the household bills 50/50 but keep our own bank accounts and have nothing else joint apart from the house. It works for us.
    • ButterflyLC
    • By ButterflyLC 9th Mar 18, 11:14 AM
    • 47 Posts
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    ButterflyLC
    This all depends on what you actually do. Is there an agreed sum that goes into a bank account for household bills, food, entertainment and the like? And do you have a personal allowance that depends on what's left over from your own salaries? If that's the case, then IMO yes you should contribute more. I earn much more than my husband and our money is pooled rather than splitting it. There is no my money your money in our house. You do what works for you but it has to be fair.
    • XRAT
    • By XRAT 9th Mar 18, 11:55 AM
    • 190 Posts
    • 163 Thanks
    XRAT
    Are you 25% more capable than him?
    Perhaps he should ask for a pay rise?
    • blitzboy
    • By blitzboy 9th Mar 18, 2:32 PM
    • 449 Posts
    • 248 Thanks
    blitzboy
    Once we moved in together 'my' money and 'her' money became 'our' money. I don't really get the whole 50/50 splitting and separate bank accounts as a couple, each to their own I guess.


    I earn a fair bit more but I'm happy to share this equally, if either of us wants to make a significant purchase we just discuss it and decide whether to do it or not. If we want something small we tend to just get it, within reason. Worked well so far (since 2006).
    • Gloomendoom
    • By Gloomendoom 9th Mar 18, 2:52 PM
    • 13,957 Posts
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    Gloomendoom
    Once we moved in together 'my' money and 'her' money became 'our' money. I don't really get the whole 50/50 splitting and separate bank accounts as a couple, each to their own I guess.
    Originally posted by blitzboy
    If you both regard all money as "our" money, surely it doesn't matter where it is kept.

    It isn't possible to have a joint ISA, for example.
    “Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.” - Mark Twain
    • blitzboy
    • By blitzboy 9th Mar 18, 3:10 PM
    • 449 Posts
    • 248 Thanks
    blitzboy
    If you both regard all money as "our" money, surely it doesn't matter where it is kept.

    It isn't possible to have a joint ISA, for example.
    Originally posted by Gloomendoom




    Yes, I think you've missed the point of the post. It is all regarded as 'our' money so is all treated the same, I'm not talking about where it's kept in particular, just our attitude towards it.


    In terms of where it's actually kept, yes we have savings accounts in our own names for exactly that reason, but these are both topped up at the same time and kept level. I was referring more to the current account for general income and expenditure, our wages both go in, the bills all come out, we buy our 'treats' from there and top up our savings equally.


    If we did ever separate (not that I expect to) I'd fully expect to split everything up to that point equally despite me earning more of it as we're living as a couple and it just seems the right thing to me.
    Last edited by blitzboy; 09-03-2018 at 3:13 PM.
    • Fireflyaway
    • By Fireflyaway 11th Mar 18, 7:46 AM
    • 1,741 Posts
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    Fireflyaway
    It might be that finances change through the relationship. When I first moved in with my now husband, we paid the same amount each into a joint account to cover bills. Now 15 years on with a child and other joint responsibilities we work it out on the basis that we have the same spending money each after bills are paid. That means he contributes 3 times what I do. We earn different amounts but it 'our' money. Its all put towards things we both use / enjoy. There have been times he has given me money for things if I'm short and the other way around. At one point I earned more but now he does. Finances often evolve in time.
    In a very new relationship I'd stick to paying equal shares.
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