Resistance to (Joint) Savings - 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 32 (permalink) Old 06-14-2017, 05:56 PM Thread Starter
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Resistance to (Joint) Savings

My wife and I get along great in most respects, and Iím very (!) attracted to her, although we have had and continue to have many difficult situations, mostly due to her ex, the father of her older son, who has apparently taken it on himself to make our lives as hard as possible. We have a son together too.

Thereís an issue though thatís dividing us and Iíd be interested in what other people think.

When we first got together over five years ago, I had a good amount of savings (about $60,000) and she didnít have much. Over the years I spent on the family and on her (including very significant amount of legal fees against her ex). This was particularly true when her mother (my mother-in-law) passed away about a year ago. I knew her mother left a significant inheritance behind, so instead of burdenning my wife so I took over all our expenses (both our usual, and those related to taking care of her motherís affairs) as I figured weíd settle up after we got through the bureaucratic matters needed to get her motherís bank account and properties.

As I result, I got the point where I had no savings of my own. Literally nothing. But to my surprise, my wife is very resistant to help me build savings. Itís true that our combined expenses are roughly equal to our combined income (including rent on her properties and return on investments with the liquid assets she inherited), so we donít have Ďleft overí money to spend, but Iíve tried to suggest that some amount per month (Iíve suggest 20% of my net salary, which is what is usually recommended for savings) to be saved for me, even it means that as a result some of of our expenses would need to be paid out of her savings
- which, now, with her inheritance, is quite large. To save 20% of my net salary would be less than 1% of her assets per year. Iíve even suggest that we could transfer it to a joint account, in which we would put savings for me and also some of hers. Sheís very resistant to agree to do this for any significant amount (the amount she suggests is more like 7% of my net salary, which is far below what is recommended - and recall, I currently have nothing).

Iíve found myself rather hurt by all of this. When I was the one with savings, I spent all my money for her (including, as I said, most of her legal expenses), until I had nothing. Now that her assets are more than a dozen times as much as I had to begin with, I canít get her to put aside any decent amount of savings in my name (or even in our names). When I said I had spent particular selflessly after her mother had died, she asked me ďWhat, did you expect to be paid back?Ē

On the one hand, I know partly why she is hesitant. Sheís afraid I may use the money one day to leave her. I canít say I havenít thought about it with the huge amount of problems her ex makes for us, but Iím not thinking of doing it, especially since we have a son together.

Of course, I realize (and she probably realizes) that it is true that having a savings for myself is an Ďinsurance policyí in case we would ever separate - just as some couples sign pre-nups - but that is very different than saying Iím thinking of doing it now. Itís like buying insurance.

But Iím still very hurt that sheís so hesitant to let me have a decent savings of my own, especially after I spent everything I had. I would have thought she would have been happy to pay me back part of what I spent, and then to let me save a decent amount also; but I canít get either. It feels like she wants to have me in a situation where I stay in the marriage because I donít have savings, and not because I want to.


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post #2 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-14-2017, 06:09 PM
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Re: Resistance to (Joint) Savings

Cut her off financially. Pay none of her bills, give her no money, remove her from any joint credit cards, etc. Until she is willing to put something into joint savings, and pay towards joint expenses, she is using you. Don't tolerate it any longer. Don't bother being hurt - fix it.

Love is an ideal thing; marriage is a real thing; a confusion of the real with the ideal never goes unpunished. - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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post #3 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-14-2017, 06:14 PM
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Re: Resistance to (Joint) Savings


well my thoughts are that especially as second time marriages you guys should have been smarter about getting pre marriage legal input and set up an agreement then. Did you even discuss issues about money and finances before getting married?

We possibly live in different countries but where I live the law is very precarious in some of these issues so MrH and I sought in depth legal advise prior to living together (here defacto comes into play after only 6 months of co habitation and we both have a lot to protect financially). The sort of legal agreement we have needs to be confirmed every few years to give it more legal strength. Even with all of this in place it is vital that couples understand if they are on the same page with financial issues pre marriage. TBH I would not marry someone who wasn't.

Why can't you just have your own savings account?
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post #4 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-14-2017, 06:45 PM
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Re: Resistance to (Joint) Savings

This should have been worked out before you were married. But from where you are, my recommendation:

All new income goes into a NEW joint account. All common bills (mortgage, utilities, food etc) are paid out of that account. This account can be linked to a NEW joint savings account. You have to agree on the savings rate for that account.

You each have your own "fun" account and get an allowance into that account from the main account. Each of you can spend your allowance on whatever you want.

Her money stays separate - for now. If you manage your money well, she will become comfortable with the idea that you are in this together and will allow her separate savings to be combined into a joint account.
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post #5 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-14-2017, 06:54 PM
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Re: Resistance to (Joint) Savings

You should have had this conversation before (or at least during) your savings were getting drained. Can't believe it didn't come up. She should have been saying things like, thanks so much for helping with blank, blank, blank, I will pay you back with the inheritance.

If you can show her what you spent on her and her mother's affairs, then she should be paying you back. Not contributing so much per month.

Should be as simple as, Hey, you came into the marriage with $60,000 and I contributed nothing. Now that I have this inheritance, here is your $60,000 back.

If she isn't willing to do that, then she isn't being a partner. She has been using you.

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post #6 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-14-2017, 08:07 PM
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Re: Resistance to (Joint) Savings

Send her a boll for the money you spent directly on her issues with legal....and then once she pays that, keep it separate from then on.
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post #7 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-14-2017, 10:26 PM
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Re: Resistance to (Joint) Savings

Let me take a stab at this one, though I haven't thought it through completely.

There's His Money, Her Money, and Joint Money in any marriage. There are His Expenses, Her Expenses, and Joint Expenses. You went into the marriage with a lot of savings, while she had none. She also brought in a large repetitive need for money to deal with her legal issues, which are Her Expenses, not Joint Expenses.

She treated His Money as Joint Money. You did too, without any worries. You were even very generous in fronting the money for her late mother's expenses, which were your wife's obligation (or her mother's estate's obligation), not yours. You were viewing all the assets as Joint Money, but she was not. She was looking at your money as Joint Money, and Her Money as Her Money.

Now she has inherited a very large amount of money, she wants to keep it all as Her Money. Basically, when she had no money she wanted all assets to be available to her for her obligations as well as for her enjoyment (lifestyle). Now she wants to keep all assets as Her Money.

This just seems very selfish and uncaring. She should be willing to pay back all of her legal fees and whatever was fronted for her late mother's expenses, as those are clearly Her Expenses, not Joint Expenses. As far as your money which was spent on joint expenses like housing etc, I think that money is not something you can ask for back.

But, you should not be now paying more than 50% of family expenses. I would also not pay for her son's expenses for things like a car, college, expensive musical instruments, etc. If she is receiving child support from her ex, there should be some allocation of it into the family expenses. She should pay more than 50% of the mortgage, groceries, health insurance, etc because she is getting money from the boy's father specifically to pay for those items.

In terms of basic finances, you should be putting at least 15% of your gross pay into a retirement account of some sort. She doesn't have to because she has almost enough from her inheritance to fund a retirement. She may need to save 5% or something like that, but not as much as you.

I think the divorce angle may be on her mind but you can sidestep that by perhaps bringing all of this up in terms of an overall financial plan as well as how it seems she is being cheap or selfish by keeping the large inheritance after having depleted all of your life savings.

Dave Ramsey has a good book and a good financial planning class called Financial Peace University which you can take locally. It could be a good framework to use to approach your wife. I am also a big fan of Tony Robbins' book "Money, Master the Game" as an addition to Dave Ramsey's stuff.

Her inheritance is legally hers as long as it is in her name. She should keep it in her name, too. But, she is wrong to not be reimbursing you for all the money you used to pay for HER expenses. She should give you whatever that amount is for you to put back into your own name, separate from her. This way you retain the assets you brought into the marriage, and she retains her inheritance, in case of divorce.

Also, with that amount of money and probably some life insurance, she needs some very good estate planning. I have a trust, which protects my estate and ensures it goes where I want it to. When there are kids, ex spouses, etc, it is important to have a trust done by a good local attorney (not an online form) who specializes in estate trusts. It will cost about $1k to $2k in lawyer fees, which is well worth it to keep her ex from getting hold of the money or her kids blowing the money if they inherit it at a young age.

Last edited by Thor; 06-14-2017 at 10:34 PM.
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post #8 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-14-2017, 11:05 PM
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Re: Resistance to (Joint) Savings

I think that you should just tell her that yes, you expect to be paid back for the expenses for settling her mother's affairs. That money is supposed to come out of her mother's estate. So yes she needs to pay you back.

What percentage of your joint income is she bringing in?

You need to be able to save money. If she will not come to an agreement on some plan that allows you be build up savings, then I think you need to separate your income and only pay for a percentage of monthly expenses.

For example there are 4 people living in your home. That means mortgage is divided 4 says. She needs to cover the 25% for her son. Then you and she split the remaining 3/4's according to the percentage of income that each of you makes.

You might want to see a financial planner who can help you come up with this kind of plan in detail.

I completely agree with her that she needs to keep her inheritance separate. But she should pay you back for her legal fees for her son and for the cost of settling her mother's estate.

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post #9 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-15-2017, 12:24 AM
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Re: Resistance to (Joint) Savings

It might be a legal issue. Here, if you get an inheritance it is not marital property. If any part of the inheritance is mingled with marital funds things start to get murky. Depending how it's done, mingling any inheritance money might make all inheritance money marital property and subject to 50/50 asset division in a divorce. She may be avoiding putting any of the inheritance into a joint account because she doesn't want it all to become marital property.

Whatever reason she has, I, too, think you should tell her you expect her to pay you back her legal fees and the fees related to her mother's passing. She doesn't have to mingle the money to do it, she can just write you a check and include why on the notation line.

Follow the evidence where it leads and question everything.
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post #10 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-15-2017, 06:24 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Resistance to (Joint) Savings

Thanks for all the replies. I should clarify (although I wrote it) that currently, our expenses are roughly equal to our joint income. I imagine this will change in the future (she is currently studying, not working, and my pay will increase with rank and seniority - I'm an assistant professor in the UK, just started, salaries not at the beginning.)

So, it is true that I am expecting effectively that she either give me a little money for my own savings now (out of her extensive savings) or, if you want to look at it differently, that she currently pay a larger part of the bills (like I did for the past years, not to mention legal expenses and all).

My question is basically does this arrangement - where, effectively, for a few years, she's giving me something out of her inheritance (as I said, it can be into a joint savings), in light of that I spent all my savings on her/her son/our son/wrapping on her mother's affairs?

PS. Yes, you are right we should have spoken about these issues before. I just didn't imagine she would be resistant...

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post #11 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-15-2017, 06:46 AM
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Re: Resistance to (Joint) Savings

In retrospect, now you know you should have discussed money matters with her before you got involved (married). It's a lesson learned, consider it as such.

I agree with others. You need to state clearly that yes, you expect to be paid back or paid for certain things by X date. If desired you can offer her a payment plan, as long as you enforce it.

I owed my mother half a year of college tuition, because it was agreed before I even started as a lesson to learn to value the cost of education. I had no issue with the agreement, after all, half a year of tuition doesn't come close to the years of payments prior, and she offered me a payment plan of 3 installments, which I delivered on time. The fact is, she wasn't afraid to state clearly that it was her expectation, then she followed up 10 years after I had graduated and had my own savings accumulated.

I put myself through grad school, paid out of pocket. I never asked her for money, although I told her that instead of birthday/Christmas presents she should donate that money toward my grad school fund, which she has done.. A couple hundred here and there, which has paid for textbooks.

I suppose the point I am trying to make is that your wife likely never had much and now wants to keep it for herself. She's likely never felt indebted because she was never called on to pay back what was given to her. I personally cannot stand knowing I owe someone money, even $1. Even to my husband... Which he laughs at because he believes all money in a relationship is fungible. I must pay it back immediately.

Maybe your wife doesn't feel the same. Maybe she has assumed that you're there to provide and she does not owe you. It's for you to clearly state your needs in this relationship and then make a decision on what you will do based on her reaction.

"If you deliberately plan on being less than you are capable of being, then I warn you that you'll be unhappy for the rest of your life."

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post #12 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-15-2017, 06:50 AM
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Re: Resistance to (Joint) Savings

maybe this is why she divorced . shes a selfish person she accepted your help and doesn't want to pay you back.

I give her one more chance to square up with you and then I would get my ducks in a row.
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post #13 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-15-2017, 07:23 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Resistance to (Joint) Savings

No, I can tell you for sure that her ex is a's only because she was young an inexperienced that she didn't leave sooner. He left shortly after their son was born.
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post #14 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-15-2017, 07:36 AM
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Re: Resistance to (Joint) Savings

Keeping a separate account as "insurance" in case you divorce means that you are not actually committed to the relationship. You are already setting up an exit strategy because you are not married in your heart.
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post #15 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-15-2017, 08:37 AM
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Re: Resistance to (Joint) Savings

To me it sounds like you had "your" savings right along. It was "your" money, not joint or shared. You were nice enough to pay legal and mother's bills, but you always considered that money "yours".

Now she has money and is doing the same thing. It's "her" money, just as the $60K was "your" money.

Should she repay you for the $60K you spent on her legal bills and her mother? Yes. But beyond that you have already established that there's "your" money so you can't fight her for "her" money.
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