Splitting Expenses and Income- SAHM married 20 years - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 17 Old 04-19-2014, 05:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Dh and I have been married 20 years and always shared money and accounts fully (except to say we each get discretionary money each month as a budget category).  I am a SAHM and homeschooling mother, dh is a public schoolteacher.  Recently we purchased a house with help from my parents, paid off HIS school loan and fully funded our small emergency savings account.  We are moving in the right direction- finally- and debt free with the exception of a new mortgage.

 

So while I never benefitted financially from my parents in the past, they have now set up the legal framework for a trust- in my name.  The funds are actively managed and pay out quarterly at a small percentage.  We are not talking about a large sum of money at least for the time being.  

 

So DH is angry because the trust is in my name only, and that I have not told him details of the trust (like the crummey letter, etc)- I just have nothing important to share.  This ends in him wanting to separate accounts and funds.  

 

So my question:  how does separating income and expenses work in a marriage with one income?  I'm guessing that I'd need to get some of his income as pay for my work in the home- like he is paying a nanny, chauffeur, teacher, cook.  My job has to be compensated for out of his income, right?

 

How well does this work in an already established marriage?  With little kids and only 1 income?  How do I account for any Trust money then?

 

Trust money could be split- but also DH contributes to a pension and social security and an annuity- all of which only have his name on them unless he deceases.  I have no retirement funds, no investments, no social security and also no life insurance.  

 

To me, this seems like a ludicrous idea, one that ends in resentment, tit for tat , and all sorts of potential dis-ease, but I want to vet it fully before reacting (had to do some deep breaths and counting on this one).  I truly want to know if couples split incomes/expenses how that works typically.  

 

All ideas welcome.


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#2 of 17 Old 04-19-2014, 10:17 PM
 
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In what way are the trust funds distributed? Into your shared accounts, where you both decide how to spend the money? If so, I can understand your family's rationale and think DH is out of line. If the funds are distributed to you personally, for your independent discretionary use, than I think he has a legitimate belief.

 

As an aside, you and DH should be doing a better job of preparing for your retirement. If you were to divorce or if he were to die, you would in fact be entitled to a portion of his pension. SS# and annuity depends.

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#3 of 17 Old 04-20-2014, 07:38 AM
 
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Your dh suggesting splitting accounts seems pretty spiteful... especially without discussing what you might do with the trust fund money, first. Does he have some underlying issue with your parents?

 

You could invest the money for retirement under your name. How could he not think that's fair when he is doing the same? Even if he were to die and you were to get his benefits, there would likely be a delay that could leave you in the lurch and unable to pay bills for a time. Money under your name is protecting his wife and his children should something happen to him. Does he really want you to be unable to pay the mortgage or buy his kids food while you grieve and get paperwork sorted out???  


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#4 of 17 Old 04-20-2014, 08:15 AM
 
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How does splitting expenses work in a marriage with one income? It doesn't. It means that one person has no money and no entitlement to money, and only half the bills get paid.

Your parents have every right to set up a trust just for you. I think it's also reasonable for your husband to expect that you'll share information about the trust, and that you'll discuss the use of the money with him. (If you don't feel comfortable doing that, this problem isn't really about money.) There's a legitimate discussion to be had about what happens to the trust money - does it go into joint accounts? Do you want to set it aside for retirement or education? Whats the plan? But unless the trust is expected to pay you an amount roughly equivalent to his salary, into accounts controlled by you alone, suddenly going Dutch on your entire life makes no sense.
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#5 of 17 Old 04-20-2014, 09:16 AM
 
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I agree that it does not seem fair that his salary is for the household and your money is just for you.

 

Without getting into whether things *should* be this way or not, my husband and I maintain separate accounts and have done so for 18 years out of our 23-year marriage.  He makes significantly more than I do.  We split bills according to a percentage of our income -- if he makes 75% of the total income, he pays 75% of the bills.  This works for us and money is generally not an issue in our marriage.

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#6 of 17 Old 04-20-2014, 12:17 PM
 
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I have a few questions before making any sort of judgements on either party:

 

-Are you putting the money from the trust towards the communal family fund, or treating it as extra "fun money" for yourself?

-Does your husband know exactly how much money you get out of the trust and when?

-Does your husband disclose all of his financial information to you?

-Is there a reason you aren't sharing all of the information about the trust?

-Was this idea said out of anger, or seriously and calmly discussed?

 

Every time I've seen a one-income family that doesn't pool the money, the SAHP might get a small allowance like you do now, but ultimately only got money to cover groceries and that sort of thing. Of course, generally when I see this- it's an abusive relationship where the SAHP has to desperately figure out  how to save up scraps here and there to get out.  Not the best relationship model.

 

Keep in mind that if you were a nanny/chauffer/chef, you'd be expected to pay for your own living expenses, may have to pay for your own health insurance, etc. Some business expenses are covered by them as well (toys/activities, car costs, utensils, it depends on the contract). So if you want to go the way of demanding income- be prepared for that income to have to go towards your share of the rent/utilities/medical, etc. Which is basically a far more complicated way of doing what's already happening (your husband's income, ultimately, would still pay for all that- just now it has to go to you first) that is likely going to blow up spectacularly and lead to hurt and resentment. I don't even want to know what your taxes will look like...

 

Honestly, I'll be very concerned if you two can't work this out easily. This is not something that should risk tearing a relationship apart, but it looks like it's where you two are headed.

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#7 of 17 Old 04-20-2014, 12:54 PM
 
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I kind of agree with the consensus in this thread. Going straight to splitting would be weird. Have you had disagreements over how to handle your money before? When we say you don't get much income from the trust, does your husband agree it's an inconsequential amount and is just upset on principle, or does he think it's sufficiently high that it should become part of a household fund? I wouldn't fuss about my husband getting a random $20 here or $50 there that he considers just his own, but if it was a routine amount that could do something for our family, I'd be bugged by him not wanting to share it. 

 

i agree with the others that you should have retirement funds etc. in your own name. Not sure what life insurance has to do with it. I wouldn't expect there to be insurance on you (which would pay to your husband) but there should be insurance on your husband (which would pay to you), in case something happens to him. If you're using life insurance as an investment, as opposed to carrying term only, that may not be the best of all available investments . 

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#8 of 17 Old 04-20-2014, 01:54 PM
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Even if you find it boring, give him the details of the trust.  Then he will feel like you trust him.  (pun intended.)   Can you get his name added to the trust?  Is there a reason you wouldn't want to?  

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#9 of 17 Old 04-20-2014, 04:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all for your thoughtful initial responses. This question is clearly loaded- on many levels. There are so many questions I have about financial planning, etc, and only some of those are tied to this issue of a potential income from a trust. We are trying to work our way through paying off debt and gathering joint emergency savings, applying for life insurance (which I have been denied), getting our own wills in order, etc. This trust is just one piece.

 

I think if I was mature, I would use initial funds for a personal emergency fund of 3 months living expenses. I would then put money into an IRA in my name.

 

To begin to answer some of your questions:

 

1) There has been NO PAYOUT to date from a trust in my name. So- I do not know how those funds will be used over time, we have not discussed it mutually and that is not because we do not communicate, we do, it is because all of this is new to me- only a legal framework not funded yet. We could speculate till the cows come home, but the reality is we have no idea how much this income could be annually and I am not sure anyone does, including those funding it. Right now it is 0. I have not wanted to consider it much for various emotional and practical reasons.

 

2) No one can be added to the trust. It is irrevocable and not mine to change.

 

3) We make joint decisions on spending money- always have. We have never had separate funds, except our $40 fun money monthly so I can buy or save as I wish without having to explain and vice versa.

 

4) All money gifted to us in the past has been spent mutually on household things and debt.

 

5) 4evermom- I think if there is a psychological motivator here, it is possibly just that he is wanting power and also that he may be jealous since his parents have not helped him/us. Who knows.

 

6) Sillysapling: I think I have answered some of your questions- there is really no information to share- he does know about it, we have talked about it and all that it may mean or does not mean, he knows my approach to it, he knows we can’t bank on it. There are no other details to share.

 

7) JudiAU- I’d like to hear more about your statement that we should be doing “a better job” preparing for retirement. I am sure that is true- I need an IRA (cashed it in when we had first child).

 

I value the thoughts about the slippery slope of splitting expenses- I could get paid but then need to pay room and board (which of course I would do if I paid 1/2 the bills). I was simply curious how it would work- if it would work. I wanted to contemplate the situation before I scoffed at it. My initial thought was that there is no way that could be a good thing for us, but I truly wanted to see how it works in families who go that route.


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#10 of 17 Old 04-21-2014, 11:21 AM
 
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Okay, so the trust sounds like it's basically an estate planning vehicle for your parents, and how much goes into it will depend on a lot of unknowns. Right now, there is nothing there.

There's no reason not to show your husband trust docs, but he should not be agitating for changes to the trust. His asking to split expenses because of the trust is akin to him suggesting you split expenses because you might, eventually, inherit something if your parents die before you do.

I sort of think there's more going on here than money, but I have no idea what.

My husband and I have badly integrated finances. Before we had kids, we sometimes sat down and squared things up - added up all the expenses, figured out who had paid more, and cut each other checks for the difference. We did not have equal incomes, and it only worked because we didn't have kids, and it felt pretty gross. We stopped doing iit well before the kids were born. I don't recommend it.
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#11 of 17 Old 04-21-2014, 11:35 AM
 
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I agree that it sounds like there's more going on.... maybe they aren't as financially stable as the op thinks and he's been hiding something like a paycut? This response just doesn't make sense otherwise.

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#12 of 17 Old 04-21-2014, 12:01 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariahsmum View Post
I think if I was mature, I would use initial funds for a personal emergency fund of 3 months living expenses. I would then put money into an IRA in my name.
 

 

An IRA in your name would be a good idea.  But would it be okay with you if your husband had a "personal emergency fund" of his own?

 

As I posted above, I think separate finances can work well in a marriage. (I'm NOT advising that the OP and her husband should separate their finances, just saying that it can work if it's what both spouses want.)  But if you choose to have joint finances, which it seems like you do, it seems unfair that you control the trust income and your husband continues to put his paycheck into the joint account.


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#13 of 17 Old 04-21-2014, 01:41 PM
 
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I don't think there's a such thing as a joint IRA. My husband and I each have IRAs in our own name. But when we get money we want to put in an IRA, we split it evenly between the two. It doesn't seem quite right to do it another way, even though we obviously don't plan to divorce and we plan to both use the money from both IRAs. We have never had incomes that were equal and for most of our marriage they haven't even been close, so splitting would be weird. Before we were married (and at that time our incomes were the closest to equal that they have been), some bills were in his name and some were in mine, and if one of us had paid a lot more than the other, we tried to even it out by the other spending more on groceries or whatever. But then we integrated our finances when we were married and have done so since. 

 

I think it might be a good idea for the OP and hubby to both sit down with a financial advisor to get their investments sorted... and maybe a marriage counselor if he is getting really bent out of shape about this trust and not discussing it with her, because it sounds like there might be some underlying issue. 

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#14 of 17 Old 04-21-2014, 04:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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In COMPLETE agreement that there is some other issue.  We do have a financial advisor and are in the midst (for the last year) of sorting things out with our debts/budget/priorities and goals.  I truly just wanted to get a read on how others might see this and how it works to separate income and expenses in our situation.  I could not imagine it was a good plan, but wanted another perspective on it.  I think I've got it.

 

Since I have two kids, no job, and am dependent on DH, I believe in Suze Orman's recommendation for all women to have their own personal account just in case.  Dh is a wonderful man and I am never fearful of something happening, but things do happen and if they did, I'd want some cash in my own account that I could access in case I needed to get on my feet with my kids suddenly.


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#15 of 17 Old 04-25-2014, 12:31 PM
 
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In our house money is joint but I do have a separate account in my own name that my small paycheck goes to. While this does give me money of my own if something happened it is part of the family money. All our money is family money although it may be in different places. Here's how it works for us: dh makes the majority of our money and it goes to a joint account that pays bills and household expenses. My small paycheck goes to an account in my name and is our "extra" money. This money gets used to make debt payments on things like medical bills and my student loans. If there is some not needed for that kind of stuff then it is used for our to do list... buying fencing for animals, tire for the car, eating out, new clothes, etc. We don't have any money that isn't accounted for and although my money goes to a separate account dh knows about it and how much goes in it or is in it currently. Honestly I deal with all our money. Everything goes into the accounts and I pay out all the bills and expenses. If dh comes up with something that needs to get done (if it's something he needs like for him or his truck or something he thinks we need to do) he tells me about it and I budget everything in. I keep an ongoing list of needs and priorities other than our regular expenses and we discuss order of importance and how to spend the X number of extra dollars this check, month, whatever. It works for us.


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#16 of 17 Old 04-28-2014, 08:01 PM
 
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Would things feel different if you guys start talking about "our" money for everything?  DH and I have joint everything except registered retirement funds, but even that is our money.  We never use mine or yours when it comes to any income, expense or even birthday gifts.  My (possible) inheritance from my parents or his inheritance will be our money, too.  Things have worked out fabulously for us.  I don't see why your DH has to go the difficult, headache inducing way of separate everything.  I think he's just cranky for a bit.  Talk to him nicely when he's calmed down, about how you're one unit and inseparable should do the trick.

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#17 of 17 Old 05-01-2014, 10:01 AM
 
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My DH and I both work. We have been married for 19 years; in that time, I didn't work for one year (right after the birth of our third child in five years). He was in and out of work for about 3 years. Right now, we make almost exactly the same income. We have never really argues about money. I mean, we feel like we never have enough, of course, but we don't argue about who is paying more or putting more towards something. When I was a SAHM for that year, it was not an issue. When he was unemployed and I was working a boatload of extra hours to bring in more money, it wasn't an issue.

 

My dad is pretty well off. While there is no trust that pays out right now, dh and I both know that when my dad passes away, I will inherit a pretty large sum of money. I know this because my dad has told me this. The money will not go to both dh and I- just me. This is not an issue, and won't be, because we are a team in pretty much everything we do. I'm hoping my dad is with us for a long time, but he is 72, has already had bypass surgery, and just took a horrible fall on Monday. What I do with the money depends on where we are in life, but it will be used to make BOTH of our lives better, and the lives of our kids.

 

Even though only your name is on the trust, it seems very odd for your dh to have this reaction.

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