Separate Budgets - Talk About Marriage
Financial Problems in Marriage When financial times are tough, it adds to the stress we deal with on a daily basis. This section is for talking about how financial problems affect our relationships and ways to cope.

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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-05-2015, 08:47 AM Thread Starter
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Separate Budgets

Out of frustration and fear I've decided to keep a separate budget. He works full time and makes good money, I love my job, work 3/4 time and make quite a bit less. He buys anything he wants and is frivolous and doesn't keep track of what he spends and I am sure he spends more than he makes. My goal with my own money is to spend less than I make. I budget and save, it's tight. He puts 200 dollars into a joint account for me. So I get by on $1,700.00 a month. Car, school loan, clothes, personal, cats and half the groceries.
I've decided it's time for me to use some of my Roth IRA in 5 months-I will be 59 1/2-to boost my income and buy things I need and for a little more. He is cheap, anxious and scattered. I don't know where this is all going, but I am going to take care of myself and not let him control my life anymore. It angers me when he is so free and easy with his (our???) money, but he refuses to reel it in. Comments???

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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-05-2015, 08:56 AM
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Re: Separate Budgets

Do you have a non-Roth IRA/401k? If so, use that first even though you pay taxes on withdrawals. The Roth will grow tax free AND you pay no taxes on withdrawals so it is more advantageous to let that grow for as long as you can, if you can. Try to find out what debts he's got, as you may be responsible for them as well if he defaults, depending on the laws in your location.

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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-05-2015, 09:07 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Separate Budgets

At 59 1/2 it's tax free, isn't it? I have only $12,000.00 in my 401k. He has $420,000.00 in his 401K. I know what debts he has, it's not bad, but he always carries a big balance on a credit card that my name is on - I don't use it. He puts "everything" on his credit card for ease and hopes he can pay it off at the end of the month - which he can't.

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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-05-2015, 09:16 AM
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Re: Separate Budgets

The 401k isn't tax free at any age, but at 59-1/2 or older, you won't pay the 10% early-withdrawal fee in addition to tax.

Congratulations on taking hold of the reins insofar as yourself is concerned. You might want to check with an attorney as to how liable you are for his debts in the jurisdiction in which you live.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-05-2015, 09:24 AM
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Re: Separate Budgets

Instead of dipping into your IRA, especially a Roth IRA, you two need to sit down and agree on a budget. If he spends frivolously, you will get nowhere on saving for the future. Financial planners can usually help with this if you are using their IRA products. It's tough to stop someone from spending when you don't have control of the majoe part of the income. It's too bad that he doesn't realize how important it is for him to have more discipline with his money. Hopefully if he sees where controlling his spending will allow you to accomplish your goals he will agree to the budget.

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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-05-2015, 09:24 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Separate Budgets

Thanks for the "Congratulations" and positive feedback...I really needed that. It's good to know about not paying the early withdrawal of 10% on a 401K. We just have a HEC loan and he had to buy a new mower for $2500.00 and that's all. The HEC is $18,000.00 which he pays (that's why I don't get any more $$$)

I was thinking of closing the credit card and having him reopen a new one in his name only since he always has an unpaid balance of around $700.00.

He acts like the problem is my fault because I am low-income. He feels he doesn't have to give me any more money or be delicate toward me because somehow I think he sees me as a burden.
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-05-2015, 09:28 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Separate Budgets

I did take us to a financial planner 4 years ago and he refused to follow it. I'm not sure if he is confused or defiant. Your comment about having any control when someone makes a major portion of the income is VERY helpful!! That's kind of what I've been dealing with. My plan to use retirement is an attempt to have some control now.

I use the budget plan the financial planner gave us-it's easy and one of the best tools I've ever encountered.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-05-2015, 10:22 AM
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Re: Separate Budgets

One thing my wife and I always did (when she was working), I calculated our budget every month. We would both pay in our share (simple calculation, my share was my income over our total income and my wife's was her share over our total income). Once our budget was covered for the month we were free to do whatever we wanted with the money that we had left over (we keep separate checking accounts and would just pay in to our joint account for the budget). As my income grew beyond her I had a bigger share to contribute towards the house.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-05-2015, 01:22 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Separate Budgets

That sounds great Ellis and thanks for the advice. I've tried doing budgeting every possible way and he absolutely refuses to work with me. He just wants to do it his way. He has said, "Nobody is going to tell me how to spend my paycheck", and "I don't want to be poor", and "After I pay the bills there's nothing left".
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-05-2015, 01:31 PM
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Re: Separate Budgets

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Originally Posted by Midlage View Post
That sounds great Ellis and thanks for the advice. I've tried doing budgeting every possible way and he absolutely refuses to work with me. He just wants to do it his way. He has said, "Nobody is going to tell me how to spend my paycheck", and "I don't want to be poor", and "After I pay the bills there's nothing left".
If he makes more he should have to contribute more, he is selfish if he thinks otherwise ... sorry you are in such a position.

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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-05-2015, 05:06 PM
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Re: Separate Budgets

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Originally Posted by Midlage View Post
Out of frustration and fear I've decided to keep a separate budget. He works full time and makes good money, I love my job, work 3/4 time and make quite a bit less. He buys anything he wants and is frivolous and doesn't keep track of what he spends and I am sure he spends more than he makes. My goal with my own money is to spend less than I make. I budget and save, it's tight. He puts 200 dollars into a joint account for me. So I get by on $1,700.00 a month. Car, school loan, clothes, personal, cats and half the groceries.
I've decided it's time for me to use some of my Roth IRA in 5 months-I will be 59 1/2-to boost my income and buy things I need and for a little more. He is cheap, anxious and scattered. I don't know where this is all going, but I am going to take care of myself and not let him control my life anymore. It angers me when he is so free and easy with his (our???) money, but he refuses to reel it in. Comments???

This is how I setup the finances for Mrs.CuddleBug and I.

- we both have our own original bank accounts (joint spousal)

- we both have our own credit cards (joint spousal)

- we both have our own cars

- I have BCAA Premier that covers both of us

- we both have our own cell phones

- both both have our own monthly bills to pay

- share of bills paid on who makes more money, so its fair and equal

- Mrs.CuddleBug can buy whatever toys she wants as long as she pays her share of the monthly bills

- I can buy all the toys I want as well as long as I pay my share of the monthly bills


We never fight about money, who bought what, I need the car to go out, etc.

I setup our finances this way because I wanted Mrs.CuddleBug to be my equal in everything and independent. Since I'm more aggressive, I do the finances and make sure all bills are paid early.

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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-05-2015, 10:59 PM
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Re: Separate Budgets

Midlage, I'm a guy in a somewhat similar situation in some ways, though not as extreme. My wife is spending some significant money on things I don't agree with. Meanwhile I am very concerned about retirement. If things all go to plan, and if we don't get divorced, we'll be ok. But if one of us loses our job, or if something else unexpected happens, we'll be in bad shape. Divorce will leave me with a serious deficit for retirement.

So we have agreed to go to separate finances.

But here's the rub: Finances can never be really separate unless they are completely separate. Whatever one person does will absolutely have an effect on the other.

Let's imagine you save up $100k in the next few years. That money will benefit your H. Let's say he spends money like mad, and never grows his savings beyond what he has now. Your future financial security is harmed by it. Let's say you want to go on a trip when you're retired, or buy a second home, or help one of the kids with a down payment on a house. If you both have solid finances, those things can be possible. But if one of you has been irresponsible, those things are not possible even if the other person has been careful with their money.

As long as you are married, eventually your individual finances will affect the other.

I see two issues with his attitude. One issue seems to be that he doesn't need to worry about money in the future. The other issue is he thinks of you two as separated, not as a team.

You can try to scare him about the future. Dave Ramsey offers Financial Peace University, which is a couple's financial course. They cover budgeting, planning, retirement, and financial awareness. I think he needs to hear it from other than you.

His seeing you two as separate rather than as a team is bothersome to me. He doesn't need your money very much, though he certainly does benefit from it because you are contributing to the family expenses. Without you, in his mind, he probably doesn't see a big financial hit to his lifestyle. It may be somewhat factually true, too. But this is a totally un-team view. It is self centered and callous. I'm not sure how you change him on this one. To me it is a serious relationship problem that he is taking a controlling or superior power position over you due to the income differential.
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-05-2015, 11:07 PM
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Re: Separate Budgets

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Originally Posted by EllisRedding View Post
If he makes more he should have to contribute more, he is selfish if he thinks otherwise ... sorry you are in such a position.
Room mates pay equal shares not based on their incomes. To me, separated finances in a first marriage indicate a room mate arrangement. Separation means whatever one person does, good or bad, with their own money will neither benefit nor harm the other.

But then I am the kind who thinks of the money as ours, not mine and hers. I also think we should be operating as a team when it comes to purchases. Since all of the money is ours, half of the money my wife spends on shoes or makeup is my earnings. But half of what I spend on a new guitar is from her earnings!

Which is why we need to be a team. If one of us f's up the finances, the other will suffer eventually. The budget, and ground rules on how much can be spent without first discussing it with the other, are critical.

It comes down to the Rule of Joint Agreement.

OP and her H are operating as 2 separate individuals living as room mates. I hope OP isn't doing her H's laundry, cooking his meals, or cleaning his half of the house.
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-06-2015, 05:12 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Separate Budgets

Thor, I've never thought about the point you made that he doesn't need my money therefore he does what he wants. That's something to ponder. I am scared that he is monopolizing my future. I am also tired of arguing and trying to get him to see things differently. I don't think I can ever get him to have a budget, save money and behave equitably in the marriage. The steps I'm taking now are small and I think I will eventually have to involve a lawyer. Since I am tired of working so hard and subsisting on my income while he enjoys a lot of costly things I think I will withdraw some money from retirement and start to have something meaningful and or fun in my life again.
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-29-2015, 06:03 AM
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Re: Separate Budgets

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Originally Posted by Midlage View Post
Thanks for the "Congratulations" and positive feedback...I really needed that. It's good to know about not paying the early withdrawal of 10% on a 401K. We just have a HEC loan and he had to buy a new mower for $2500.00 and that's all. The HEC is $18,000.00 which he pays (that's why I don't get any more $$$)

I was thinking of closing the credit card and having him reopen a new one in his name only since he always has an unpaid balance of around $700.00.

He acts like the problem is my fault because I am low-income. He feels he doesn't have to give me any more money or be delicate toward me because somehow I think he sees me as a burden.

He sounds abusive IMO.
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