Finances - how do other partners do it?

  • BCSwimmer

    Posts: 209

    Nov 01, 2011 1:59 AM GMT
    I am curious about the different methods that you use (or have used in prior relationships) for determining finances in your relationship.

    Many years ago I read, in a financial planning book, a suggestion to use the "communist" approach (which works for relationships but not so well for governments) which is of course "from each according to his ability and to each according to his need". So if one partner earns 25% of the household income he pays 25% of the household bills (so that the other partner earning 75% of the income pays 75% of the household bills).

    However I've met a number of couples over the years that use different methods - such as 50/50 for everything. This can be difficult when one partner is earning, say, 2 or 3 times the income as the other. One set of our friends tried this but the partner earning less could never afford to go on vacation with the other partner and was struggling to pay his half of the bills while the partner earning more was living quite comforatably and was able to buy pretty much anything he wanted. In my opinion this approach doesn't work so well in a successful relationship.

    Also It was recommended in the book I referenced above that you only do this with respect to shared household expenses (for which you use a joint account) and that you retain seperate individual accounts for the balance of your funds as discretionary spending (to avoid "jealousy" of one partner trying to save for something while the other one is buying something with "our money" that the other partner doesn't feel is necessary.

    However I've met a number of couples that co-mingle all of their money into one shared account and still others who don't have a shared account at all.

    What strategy have you used (or do you still use)?
    Did it (does it) work for you?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 01, 2011 2:30 AM GMT
    Interested to see people's opinions on this. I think I'd lean more towards separate accounts, just because I feel control over my finances is better maintained that way. And you don't have the "Oh what can we do with that extra cash you saved this year???", if they don't quite know whatcha got. It depends on the partner, their situation, mine, and the length of the relationship too.


    I do like the idea of separate accounts in conjunction with a joint account to settle living expenses though.
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    Nov 01, 2011 2:38 AM GMT
    Over 34 years we have maintained our individual accounts, but each month we pay into a joint account according to our incomes. It has been fine, no problems ever.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 01, 2011 4:45 AM GMT
    My partner makes way, way more than I. We do have seperate bank accounts, but a joint credit card. He pays for the majority of the house hold with the exception of groceries, pet supplies, etc.

    Being that my income is less, I do my part by doing all the yard work, house repairs and up grades, cleaning. Sometimes we both do laundry. Depends on our schedule.

    When the baby comes, I'll be mister mom and cut my work down to part time.

    So far, so good. I do wish I could financially do more, but I could never afford the type of house we live in. My salary would just cover the mortgage. icon_confused.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 01, 2011 4:46 AM GMT
    you people have partners? icon_sad.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 01, 2011 4:51 AM GMT
    CHIdude saidyou people have partners? icon_sad.gif


    I thought you and MrPolish are getting married icon_razz.gif hah (salt to the wound)

    this topic is actually very interesting, I would love to hear people's opinion on this. Might come in handy in the future when me and MrPolish move in together icon_razz.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 01, 2011 4:52 AM GMT
    benz72 said
    CHIdude saidyou people have partners? icon_sad.gif


    I thought you and MrPolish are getting married icon_razz.gif hah (salt to the wound)

    this topic is actually very interesting, I would love to hear people's opinion on this. Might come in handy in the future when me and MrPolish move in together icon_razz.gif


    Thanks for rubbing it benz! icon_cry.gif
    MrPolish is just so good looking its incredible... he's my new crush, but dont tell him icon_wink.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 01, 2011 4:54 AM GMT
    CHIdude said
    benz72 said
    CHIdude saidyou people have partners? icon_sad.gif


    I thought you and MrPolish are getting married icon_razz.gif hah (salt to the wound)

    this topic is actually very interesting, I would love to hear people's opinion on this. Might come in handy in the future when me and MrPolish move in together icon_razz.gif


    Thanks for rubbing it benz! icon_cry.gif
    MrPolish is just so good looking its incredible... he's my new crush, but dont tell him icon_wink.gif


    LOL get a napkin, your drooling again. LOL I dont think I need to, *he knows*
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 01, 2011 4:57 AM GMT
    benz72 said
    CHIdude said
    benz72 said
    CHIdude saidyou people have partners? icon_sad.gif


    I thought you and MrPolish are getting married icon_razz.gif hah (salt to the wound)

    this topic is actually very interesting, I would love to hear people's opinion on this. Might come in handy in the future when me and MrPolish move in together icon_razz.gif


    Thanks for rubbing it benz! icon_cry.gif
    MrPolish is just so good looking its incredible... he's my new crush, but dont tell him icon_wink.gif


    LOL get a napkin, your drooling again. LOL I dont think I need to, *he knows*


    He knows??????? icon_eek.gif
  • Webster666

    Posts: 9217

    Nov 01, 2011 4:59 AM GMT
    One partner was a spending fool.
    I got him to work overtime, sign over his paycheck to me, and I paid off all of his bills.
    At the same time, I contributed my share (half) of all the regular expenses, such as rent, food, utilities, etc.

    Another partner made 4 times as much money as I did. Plus, he didn't want me to work overtime, so that I could spend more time with him. But, it created a situation where he resented paying my share for dinner out, vacations, etc. If the situation had been reversed, I would have gladly paid his way.

    One boyfriend of several years wouldn't spend a dime on anything. That's the reason we finally broke up. If I could have afforded it, it would have been fine. I still think of him as the one great love of my life.

    From my experience, nothing has worked.
    Ideally, both guys would make about the same amount of money and spend about the same amount of money.

    BTW, I would never have a joint account with anybody.


  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 01, 2011 4:59 AM GMT
    CHIdude said
    benz72 said
    CHIdude said
    benz72 said
    CHIdude saidyou people have partners? icon_sad.gif


    I thought you and MrPolish are getting married icon_razz.gif hah (salt to the wound)

    this topic is actually very interesting, I would love to hear people's opinion on this. Might come in handy in the future when me and MrPolish move in together icon_razz.gif


    Thanks for rubbing it benz! icon_cry.gif
    MrPolish is just so good looking its incredible... he's my new crush, but dont tell him icon_wink.gif


    LOL get a napkin, your drooling again. LOL I dont think I need to, *he knows*


    He knows??????? icon_eek.gif


    .... someone has been hitting the tequila, hard. After what happened last night, I'm pretty sure he knows. But there is only one way to find down, message him and say something cute icon_razz.gif I'm sure he would be glad to hear from you
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 01, 2011 5:19 AM GMT
    Webster666 said...

    One boyfriend of several years wouldn't spend a dime on anything. That's the reason we finally broke up. If I could have afforded it, it would have been fine. I still think of him as the one great love of my life.

    From my experience, nothing has worked.
    Ideally, both guys would make about the same amount of money and spend about the same amount of money.

    Dude, that sucks.

    My father is obsessively cheap because of his experience growing up in a blue-collar neighborhood. But, I have far less patience after he waited until DVD recorders came on the market and I moved out before finally buying a VCR.

    But, we never went hungry as kids.

    I had to dump the love of my life because his income was several times mine and he just didn't want to stay in town on a weekend. He texts me about what a great time he's having.. Umm... Okgbye. I have my own deadlines and too much airport time would actually wear me out.

    Had a coworker married to a CPA. So, he got an allowance. Her career depends on her credit score, she pays the bills. He knows what his role is and to schedule his work for a balls-out 2 week vacation starting April 16.

    They still have equity. So, he just goes along with it...especially since college starts soon for the both kids.
  • jmanorlando

    Posts: 205

    Nov 01, 2011 6:18 AM GMT
    I think several things come into play.

    I one partner already owns the house and someone moves in then that partner needs to determine what is fair 50/50, 75/25 etc... If they buy it together I have to say 50 / 50.

    My relationship tends to be 50 / 50 when we go out and travel, but if I wan tto go to a concert or do something unique I pay and if he wants us to do something to his liking he tends to pay.

    We basically try to keep things balanced and if something gets really one sided then the other tends to offers to contribute or step up and cover the next event.

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    Nov 01, 2011 6:27 AM GMT
    Yeah, I find the communism approach you outlined works best. From my perspective (the guy with his name on the lease and utilities), I'd rather have someone helping a little bit then absolute equity.

    I really like keeping finances separate though. It was a big sticking issue for my last boyfriend, and our differing financial philosophies (mine: I have 20, lets spend 19... his I have 20 lets save 15).
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    Nov 01, 2011 11:59 AM GMT
    Our finances are almost completely commingled and have been since a couple of years into the relationship. I have a much higher paying job, but the bf has made us lots of money in investments. It works out.

    I think of it as one if the things that works like a marriage substitute and helps to keep us together. Walking out the door is never the easiest solution to any given problem.
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    Nov 01, 2011 12:09 PM GMT
    OK, well what we do works for us and is fairly simple. I earn a bit more than my partner and have less outgoings (I don't have a student loan to pay back and I don't have as much of a commute so my petrol bill is less) so I tend to contribute more to the joint account each month. From the joint account we pay our mortgage and all bills.

    For food shopping, we pay on the joint account but split it and pay into the joint account half each. We did work out exactly how much each of us should pay for a long time, based on what we ate, as some things only I eat and some things only he eats, but it usually worked out about equal so we just split it now, unless one of us gets something obviously more expensive as an extra.

    Whatever we have left is our own money to spend or save as we wish, although I'm going to set a target of saving at least £400-500 between us each month for the next few months for some home improvements. I'll probably contribute a little more to this, say if I set the target at £400, I'll pay in £250 and he can pay in £150.

    I do also treat him to the odd thing, like sometimes I will pay if we go out, or I will buy him a CD I know he wants, or maybe an item of clothing I see that I want to get for him. It works out absolutely fine and we never have arguments about money, I also don't mind paying a little more because like I said, I have slightly more 'disposable' income anyway.
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    Nov 01, 2011 12:30 PM GMT

    I'm in a similar situation to Pure. I have a higher income than my boyfriend. We keep separate accounts, and I pay the bills including the mortgage. We just figured out how much (on kind of a percentage-of-income basis) his contribution is and he just gives me a check every month. Kind of like rent, I guess, but it seems simpler than maintaining all those bank accounts. We don't really have an attitude of "my money, your money," and any large-ish purchases one of us makes is discussed with the other even if we're paying out of our own money.

    It's worked for us for seven years.

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    Nov 01, 2011 1:01 PM GMT
    With my current and late partners it was roughly 50/50. Easy, because we each earned close to an equal amount. I learned not to co-mingle funds, though, because of the legal entanglements I saw other gay couples suffer, either from the government or from relatives.

    Our formula has been to each separately pay the same recurring household expenses, from our own accounts, a kind of roommate arrangement. Plus I tend to make the big purchases. We never do a tally sheet, just a rough estimation that things are about equal. Rough parity is best in my book, and partners shouldn't audit each other.

    I also dislike to handle money, so I prefer that all daily public expenses, like restaurants and bars, be managed by him. And both of my partners have seemed to like being seen as the one who pays, whereas I couldn't care less if I'm misperceived as the "kept man."

    Yet among our friends my current partner is totally straightforward, and at dinner when he takes his card out to pay he'll joke that I just transferred money to his account so he could afford it. An eccentric arrangement, to be sure, but it works for us.
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    Nov 01, 2011 3:04 PM GMT
    This whole thing about finances and money is really an issue about shared values. Any way a couple decides to handle their finances is ok as long as there is a mutual agreement upfront based on those shared values and they realize that, over the long term, financial conditions tend to change. They have to be ready to make adjustments and be flexible with each other.

    We both came from middle class families and our parents were young teenagers and young adults during the Great Depression. They passed along to both of us the value of money and along with that the importance of saving, shopping and having the right perspective between wanting something and the reality of what can be afforded. We are both of the far left politically so we chose a commune approach to our finances,

    When we first met, I was working as a professional, he was in labour, so I earned more than he did. Also, my finances were in a better condition. I already owned a home and had a considerable savings. He had some savings. Obviously, when we bought our first home, I contributed the most but this did not bother me because I was very committed to our relationship and I felt he was too. When he lost his job, I helped to put him through school and paid for all our expenses.

    But, as I said, conditions change. Much later, when I was interested in retiring early, it was his income that supported us in a majority way. We never kept track of any of these expenses along the way. Neither of us has a need for a great deal of money or credit from the other.

    He is my equal partner in every way. We have been together for almost 21 years.



  • Latenight30

    Posts: 1525

    Nov 01, 2011 3:12 PM GMT
    My guy is a Flight Attendant and so I handle the paying of the bills. He gives me a set amount out of each of his checks a month to cover bills. The rest of the time, food and eating out, we split, not always equal but we work it out.
  • wander2340

    Posts: 176

    Nov 01, 2011 3:19 PM GMT
    I have never understood this concept of keeping separate accounts when you are supposed to be in a committed relationship. Obviously, it has to be that way at the beginning but if you are married (or at least consider yourself to be) how can you still be living separate lives from each other (at least financially)?

    Our finances have been co-mingled ever since before we had our commitment ceremony back in March of 2002. I used to always make more than he did but now he makes more. No big deal. We have always put all our income into one account and that is the account we use to pay all of our family expenses. We talk about our budget as a family not as 2 separate individuals.
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Nov 01, 2011 3:20 PM GMT
    Depends on what is considered. With things like meals and activities, we tend to split 50/50 and try to do the same with gifts.. keep to a reasonable amount of money and have it comparable.

    We have a long distance relationship, but the house I reside in is considered "our house".. and he helps me with the bills (even though he doesn't either have to, nor do I need it). The finances there are about an 80/20, but his contribution is more based on the fact we perceive it as "our house"... however if we got a divorce, so to speak, I'd end up paying him
    for some of his financial input over the years.
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    Nov 01, 2011 3:24 PM GMT
    I pay all the bills and we use a Google spreadsheet to track expenses. Every month I give him a statement. We discuss major purchases and determine how to pay for them, either by who can afford it at the moment or to whom it is important. I agreed to go 50/50 on the flat screen TV even though I don't really watch it much, and he goes on vacations he could do without because it keeps me sane.

    The one lopsided category is entertainment. He is a homebody and would just as soon not have a busy social life. I tend to be the one dragging him to things more often than vice-versa, and so our rule is the person who wants to do a particular activity picks up the tab... similarly we each pay for our joint gifts to our own family members, and the person whose friends we're going out with pays our share of the bill.
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    Nov 01, 2011 3:29 PM GMT
    wander2340 saidI have never understood this concept of keeping separate accounts when you are supposed to be in a committed relationship. Obviously, it has to be that way at the beginning but if you are married (or at least consider yourself to be) how can you still be living separate lives from each other (at least financially)?

    Our finances have been co-mingled ever since before we had our commitment ceremony back in March of 2002. I used to always make more than he did but now he makes more. No big deal. We have always put all our income into one account and that is the account we use to pay all of our family expenses. We talk about our budget as a family not as 2 separate individuals.



    It's a simple answer: Your values are different from other people's values. I don't really understand the need to have a commitment ceremony, but nonetheless I get that people have them to satisfy some kind of need to "tie a knot." That's fine, different set of values. The OP asked for examples of how other people do it, not for value judgments of people who do things different from how you do it.

  • Jwusn

    Posts: 35

    Nov 01, 2011 3:37 PM GMT
    My partner make 4 times what i do so he pays a lot of the bills then i take care of groceries and the like also I'm going to school so when i get my degree i will have more to contribute. We dont argue over it i do what i can and he knows how much i get paid so he knows how much i spend on "us" and at the same time i know how much he makes and dont ask for anything i cant afford on my own. We do keep seperate bank accounts but we both chip in what we can according to how much we make.