Q. I have been married to my husband for 15 years. We were in college when we met and had no money in the beginning. Since college, he has continuously made more money than I have, and has inherited some money from a relative who passed away a few years ago. He never told me how much he inherited because he’s extremely private about that sort of thing. Our finances are completely separate.
I see how keeping things separate are an advantage to him, but I use most of my check to pay my half of the bills, and it’s occasionally a hardship for me. (Sometimes I’ve borrowed money from friends or family to make it work.) I believe he should pay a larger share of the household expenses because he makes more, but he thinks if I can’t afford my portion, I should either get a better job (I love my job and they can’t afford to pay me more) or cut back on personal expenses. I’m actually pretty careful and stick to my budget pretty well.
I know it’s different for every couple, but I thought that some married people put all their money in a household account and paid the mutual bills, and the richer one helped the poorer one out. I’m not trying to take his money from him, it just fills me with resentment that I feel like a poor, struggling person with a well-off husband. He has a much nicer wardrobe and an expensive new car, things I’d love to have. He has made it perfectly clear that inherited money is not a part of marital assets, but it feels oddly unfair. What do you think? Counseling is out of the question, since he doesn’t approve of “airing our dirty laundry.” If I wanted something, money for a gift or something for the house, he’d certainly buy it for me, but that’s not what I want. Even though I love him very much, I’m seriously considering leaving him. I’d almost rather be alone and broke, honestly.
A. There are so many ways to share expenses. Some couples split the bills based on how much they earn. Some married people have one bank account and pay for everything from the same pot.
I understand why some couples do less sharing — especially when they meet when they’re older or have children from another relationship. But in your home, it’s about something else. The two of you have very different philosophies about what it means to be married. You want to be a team, whereas he treats you more like a roommate. You say you go to friends and family when you need money. That means he doesn’t fall into those categories.
The therapy thing is also a major problem. Counseling for the two of you would be about a lot more than finances. How does he think you should resolve conflict and improve your relationship over time? Where is the compromise?
Please get therapy on your own, and ask him about seeing a financial adviser together. There are great family planners who can talk about how couples spend and save for the future. I mean, the future is a big part of this, right? What happens when the two of you get older?
Again, if he won’t join you for any help, get it on your own. It’ll make it easier to figure out whether you want to leave for the right reasons. I should say that this letter doesn’t make it sound like you want to take his money. You simply want a partner in all things.
I’ve been a CPA for many years and I have seen many, many financial situations. Your husband sounds about as bad as I have ever seen for been stingy and selfish. If he doesn’t change, you have to leave him. And maybe his inheritance is his separate property, but his earnings and savings aren’t. You would be much better off with alimony and a property settlement. MASTERMOU
Tell him you can’t afford the big fancy house with high bills anymore and you need to downsize. If he wants to live the rich lifestyle he needs to contribute more. CONCERNEDCITIZENONDUTY
The money piece would be a deal breaker for me and his refusal to discuss it would send me to a divorce attorney. Good luck. SURFERROSA
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