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My husband kinda doesn't share financial info. Any others out there?

post #1 of 65
Thread Starter 
Hey ladies,

Trying to see if there are any other couples out there where there is not complete transparency about finances between couples.

I am a SAHM, and my husband works.
He puts a set amount into a joint account every month and all our expenses come out of that.
He gives me an amount for myself every month.
The rest goes into a savings account only he has access to (I assume).

If I have any income (I do from time to time) I get to keep it all and don't have to spend it on bills, etc. He doesn't ask how much is my personal account.

I don't see his paycheck, I know roughly how much it is, but I don't really know how much is in our savings. I do know that my husband likes to save as much as possible (better than me!).

This is how his parents did it growing up and I think that's why he prefers this style. I *think* there is a belief that if you don't share the amounts, there is more blessing in it.

I am looking to hear from others where there is not complete transparency in finances. How do you do it? Does it work? Problems? How do you discuss them? etc.
post #2 of 65
You need to have a deep heart to heart talk and ask what is going on. You should have full knowledge of all matters and acess to accounts (unless jointly decided). You should also know what is on each others credit reports.


It might be the way he was raised, it might be a power play, it might be he is hiding other things. For your peace of mind and financial safety you need to talk about this with him. You would not have posted here if it wasnt bothering you. You may want others to say its ok, but I can guess most will not tell you that. Having no interest in family finances (or helping with the budgets) is NOT the same as no knowledge and no access to your joint property.



Good luck!
post #3 of 65
I don't think you need to change the way the accounts are set up if you're both comfortable with your system, but you DEFINITELY need to know where all the accounts are, what their balances are, and where all the money comes and goes. If anything should happen to your DH unexpectedly, you HAVE to know how to pay the bills and where the money was coming from so you can manage on your own. You don't have to keep tabs on everything every month if that's not your style, but you need to know if his "savings" account has enough of an emergency stash for a few months or $5. You don't want to find this out the hard way, trust me.
post #4 of 65
I echo what everyone else has said. This is core 'health' information - family financial health. I'd encourage you to talk to your DH about having a semi-annual or annual "board meeting" to go over everything.
post #5 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by swd12422 View Post
I don't think you need to change the way the accounts are set up if you're both comfortable with your system, but you DEFINITELY need to know where all the accounts are, what their balances are, and where all the money comes and goes. If anything should happen to your DH unexpectedly, you HAVE to know how to pay the bills and where the money was coming from so you can manage on your own. You don't have to keep tabs on everything every month if that's not your style, but you need to know if his "savings" account has enough of an emergency stash for a few months or $5. You don't want to find this out the hard way, trust me.

This, exactly. Though personally I wouldn't press for specific numbers, I would just ask for a ballpark as above (is there like 5 bucks or enough for a year?) and ask for *how* to access it (and be giving authority if necessary to the bank). I don't know that I would necessarily even check once I got the info on how to, but just definitely get the info on how to....and that's exactly how I'd approach the conversation with him initially to respect any values he may have about it, not be confrontational and just say your'e concerned that you're totally in the dark and if anything were to happen to him you and your and more importantly your kid would be up the creek, and that's not cool.

For instance, I don't know exactly how much $ my husband has in his personal accounts at any given time (I have a ballpark based on the money he has coming in weekly), but I do have the ability to access them. We pay bills from a joint account set up under my personal account, so he just transfers money from his account to mine every week to cover bills....but I *could* access his account if need be.
post #6 of 65
My dh probably could have written your post. We found it easier way early in our marriage if one person was in charge of paying bills, etc., and handling basic finance moves and that is me. We each have an account of our own, separate from our family account, where dh has an automatic deposit of what I would reluctantly call an "allowance" where I don't care how he spends it. I have my tiny work paychecks deposited to mine, and I save/spend it how I like.

Anyway. I wanted to write to say that I, as the $ person in our family, hold monthly/bimonthly "board meetings" so that dh knows exactly what page we're on, complete with our investment statements and loan statements, etc.

I post an index card on the fridge about every other day or so to let him know exactly how much is in our savings/checking and on our credit card.

I have a spreadsheet in the back of our "family finances" folder that details every bill I pay, every month, and tells when it has to be paid and exactly how: what the website is, what my online password is, where the money comes from, etc. That way, if anything ever happened to me, he would know how to do it. There's a checklist there that I use each month to pay bills so that either of us can always see what the amount is for cable, let's say, and how much it is/when it's due. When it's paid/automatically deducted, I note the date on its line.

My point is: in our marriage, there is one of us that handles all the day to day stuff. I think it would get messy if we both tried to do it. However, I feel that complete transparency is the way to go with it. Financially (and in all ways), I want us both to be on equal footing.
post #7 of 65
ITA with pp's. It's not necessarily a bad thing, if it's working for you all, but you do need to know and be able to access all accts. Not to scare you, but my FIL passed away unexpectedly a few years back. FIL handled all the finances, and MIL had no idea about debts, savings accounts, life insurance nada. Not only did she not have that information, but she also did not have the skills to manage those finiances (and no inclination to learn). It's a terrible situation to be in.
post #8 of 65
We are like this in a sense

I am terrible at financial stuff (no excuse there, but I will admit it) so as a stay at home mom I gave him total control over that. Most of our bills are paid automatically, and he puts money into an account for me monthly for all expenses I need for the house (food, clothing, fun stuff..) That said, I am aware of how much money we have, and all our accounts. I think it's important to know how much you have, but I am okay with DH having handling the financial stuff
post #9 of 65
We're getting to finances in our marriage counseling and the two core beliefs our therapist has left us to ponder are 1) the concept that all money is OUR money and 2) total transparency. Money can either be a very unifying factor in a relationship or a very devisive one. It sounds like things are "ok" as is. However, like other posters, I would encourage you to become fully informed. What would you do if something suddenly happened to your dh? Would you even know how to access the savings account? Do you know whether you are identified as an owner of the account or would you have to jump through some as yet to be identified hoops to access it?

I actually earn and manage the money/finances in our relationship. I have provided dh with all log in names and passwords and keep our bills in a folder or notebook he can access upon his choosing.
post #10 of 65
Have you asked him about your finances? Where money goes? What savings goals? What his money flow looks like? Do you feel comfortable asking him to 'open the books' and share with you?
post #11 of 65
DH pays the bills, but I have access to all the accounts and know roughly (within $100) what's in them. I WOH. I work per diem, but if I did work full time, I'd make more than DH. If money is tight, I will check to see if there is enough money before I spend large amounts. We use to have separate accounts, but since we've had joint ones, we are much more careful with money.

I wouldn't be okay with being a SAHM and not having access to all the money. That is my issue, but I'd feel much too vulnerable. DH has never given any reason not to trust him, but my dad and my ex weren't honest about money.
post #12 of 65
When we first married my husband wanted to be in charge of all the finances, but I (gently) fought him on it and now I pay all the bills, balance the checkbook, am aware of/have a say in all our investments, etc. Like the other PPs, I have an easily accessible system that my DH can see at any time. It took us a couple of months to get into the groove and there were some disagreements along the way, but now he's thrilled that he doesn't have to deal w/ the PIA minutia of our finances.

The irony is that my husband has an BA in accounting and an MBA in finance, but as a SAHM I felt very strongly that I needed the security of knowing our financial situation. It also just makes sense--I direct and spend the majority of his take-home pay (groceries, kid activities, etc) so I need to be aware of our larger budget and spending goals.
post #13 of 65
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for the great responses. I really like the idea of scheduling a meeting with DH about finances in general. I think I am going to do that and bring up this issue as one of the things to discuss. I do feel left out and I do wish that there was more transparency when it comes to our money. However, like newbymom05, I think it will be a bit of a struggle at first to get him to comply. He has a Finance background, and was also raised in a home where his father was very private about money and didn't share info with his mom. So kind of an uphill battle here. I think the reason I have been avoiding this issue is that I have been kind of "keeping the peace" in our marriage. This is a *very* sensitive issue for him, and the way it is is mostly working for us, so I didn't want to rock the boat. I know this is NOT the financially safe move as a woman (I've read "Smart Women Finish Rich"), especially if something were to happen to him, but to be quite honest, in reality, I am not willing to create chaos in my marriage over this disagreement. This is going to have to be one battle that I fight slowly and strategically.

However, I didn't specify in my original post these details: Yes, I know which accounts he has and where. I know where his savings account is. I know I am listed as the next of kin (if he dies) on the account, but I am NOT listed as an account holder. I know where he has an investment account and what companies he is invested in. But I don't have access to these account or know the balances (my biggest issue).
post #14 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by youngspiritmom View Post
However, I didn't specify in my original post these details: Yes, I know which accounts he has and where. I know where his savings account is. I know I am listed as the next of kin (if he dies) on the account, but I am NOT listed as an account holder. I know where he has an investment account and what companies he is invested in. But I don't have access to these account or know the balances (my biggest issue).
Perhaps you can request to just know the log in info, instead of being a joint account holder. So you could view, but not make changes?
post #15 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by youngspiritmom View Post
Thank you all for the great responses. I really like the idea of scheduling a meeting with DH about finances in general. I think I am going to do that and bring up this issue as one of the things to discuss. I do feel left out and I do wish that there was more transparency when it comes to our money. However, like newbymom05, I think it will be a bit of a struggle at first to get him to comply. He has a Finance background, and was also raised in a home where his father was very private about money and didn't share info with his mom. So kind of an uphill battle here. I think the reason I have been avoiding this issue is that I have been kind of "keeping the peace" in our marriage. This is a *very* sensitive issue for him, and the way it is is mostly working for us, so I didn't want to rock the boat. I know this is NOT the financially safe move as a woman (I've read "Smart Women Finish Rich"), especially if something were to happen to him, but to be quite honest, in reality, I am not willing to create chaos in my marriage over this disagreement. This is going to have to be one battle that I fight slowly and strategically.

However, I didn't specify in my original post these details: Yes, I know which accounts he has and where. I know where his savings account is. I know I am listed as the next of kin (if he dies) on the account, but I am NOT listed as an account holder. I know where he has an investment account and what companies he is invested in. But I don't have access to these account or know the balances (my biggest issue).
His investment accounts were my final frontier, lol. I still don't have much say in his 401, but that's fine since I have my own IRA. That's how I got on all his accounts, basically--I started a bond IRA for myself w/ some of our tax return before the market tanked, and he was so outraged that I hadn't put it in his 100% stocks 401 that he encouraged me to start watching the market and playing around w/ his Ameritrade acct.

Slow steps for sure. First it was phone calls to work, "How about XYZ" and discussions at dinner, and of course I always wanted to actually make the trade during work hours, necessitating he come home and log in, etc. so he eventually just gave me the info rather than deal w/ it It also helped that my first few picks were winners. I also think for my DH it was a matter of trust. His own mother was kind of flaky and had nothing to do w/ finances, so I think at first he was secretly afraid I'd buy magic beans or something.
post #16 of 65
I'm going to be the only one who probably thinks this way, but I wish that I were in your shoes. To be honest, I wish I did not have the weight on my shoulders of worrying over our finances. I wish he would just give me a set amount of money to spend on groceries and other expenses each month and he figured out the rest. Currently, it is just too easy for me to go over budget and spend money we don't have. But, even if I didn't overspend, I'd rather just worry about my day to day affairs and not spend time thinking about the next paycheck or how much (or how little) savings we have, etc.

ETA: For me this is very much a trust issue. I trust my husband unconditionally about everything, otherwise I wouldn't have married him. I also know that he has mine and my family's best interests in mind and would never knowingly do anything that would hurt us. In fact, even our current set up where I handle everything financial is because *he* wanted it this way since I have an accounting background and he knows I'm better at figuring these things out.
post #17 of 65
That would be an absolute non-starter for me. I would be fine if dh wanted to pay the bills, but all our accounts are joint accounts, and nobody but nobody would decide how much to "give" me out of the family money. I am not a child. I am an equal adult partner in the relationship. How we budget is entirely a joint decision.

I happen to work out of the home, and dh and I earn about the same amount. But that's immaterial. It is still family money no matter who earns it.

Money is very important in a marriage. Secrets are very bad in a marriage. I can't see how combining the two isn't a recipe for somebody to get very badly hurt, and chances are excellent it's not going to be the one who has their name on the bank accounts.
post #18 of 65
My DH and I don't have complete transparency. He pays the mortgage and one daycare, I pay the bills and the other daycare, but we don't have a joint account. (We've talked about starting one, just not gotten around to it.) We're each responsible for our personal expenses (credit cards, cell phones, etc.). I know what banks he has accounts at, and I have a vague idea of how much he has in cash accounts (too much, IMO - he needs to invest, and so I have told him). I have a vague sense of what his salary is. We file a joint tax return, though, so my not knowing is because I'm not worried about it - I could look it up, no prob. I don't know if DH has the same sense of what I make and have, I can't recall him asking.

This works for us. I don't know why it works - I understand that the lack of transparency should be making us nuts. But honestly, we're okay. I tried to pull together some information on household expenses the other month (trying to see how much we're spending on childcare and other stuff, to see whether we should reconsider anything), and DH was happy to answer my questions and get me his info. I showed him the results, and asked for comments and got back "that looks about right."

I know we "should" share more, and when we've needed to (when I've needed money or when he has), we have. In general, I like being the person in control of my own money, not having to justify myself to DH when I buy things, and he appreciates the same. I think that if we didn't generally have enough money, this system would be an absolute non-starter. If one of us was staying home, or if our expenses were a higher percentage of our total income, this would not work. If we weren't both comfortable with this, it wouldn't work either.

Just to say: it can be a functional system. It's not always bad.
post #19 of 65
Thread Starter 
The range of responses here are so interesting. To me, it seems that the most important issue (from a marriage standpoint) is that both spouses agree with the system, no matter what it is. However, from a financial standpoint, to me, it seems like the importance of transparency is a no brainer.

My problem, I suppose, is that only ONE of us (DH) really approves of the system. I'm kind of left having to "work on" my husband slowly to get him to change.

To be honest, my personal views are VERY close to EFmom when she said

Quote:
Originally Posted by EFmom View Post
That would be an absolute non-starter for me. I would be fine if dh wanted to pay the bills, but all our accounts are joint accounts, and nobody but nobody would decide how much to "give" me out of the family money. I am not a child. I am an equal adult partner in the relationship. How we budget is entirely a joint decision.
....but when push comes to shove, I really can't make my husband see it this way. He doesn't agree to put my name on the account. And he receives the paycheck, and decides to give me money. I can't wrangle control from him, and despite my slow attempts to "work on" him, he hasn't budged. Even if I tell him "I'm not a child, it's family money, budgeting should be a joint thing, it's financially safer to have both names on our account," he doesn't agree. And therefore keeps things as they are.

Power struggle? Maybe. But I really truly love my DH. A lot. And I 100% trust him. He is generous. He is honest. But he is just not transparent with money.

I can't just create chaos in our marriage/home life because I feel that he is not sharing and treating me like a child. What can I do? Kick, scream, divorce him? No way. And I really don't know how else to get him to change his mind. In "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" the woman says "A man may be the head of the family, but the woman is the neck, and the neck can turn the head whichever way it wants." Sounds nice. But it doesn't work for me. So, I just opt to keep the peace. So I think that is why things stay as they are......
post #20 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by youngspiritmom View Post

Power struggle? Maybe. But I really truly love my DH. A lot. And I 100% trust him. He is generous. He is honest. But he is just not transparent with money.

I can't just create chaos in our marriage/home life because I feel that he is not sharing and treating me like a child. What can I do? Kick, scream, divorce him? No way. And I really don't know how else to get him to change his mind. In "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" the woman says "A man may be the head of the family, but the woman is the neck, and the neck can turn the head whichever way it wants." Sounds nice. But it doesn't work for me. So, I just opt to keep the peace. So I think that is why things stay as they are......
Well I've been in arguments with my husband that I didn't win. But he's always been willing to listen to me, particularly if he understood how important it is to me. I'm more important than his favourite system.

I might suggest some counselling or talking together with a trusted advisor about this. Keeping the peace is great on small things, I think - but for me anyway and it sounds like for you, this is a pretty big thing.
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