1. Suze Orman: How to Split the Bills

    “How should we split the bills?”

    Suze says (on the Suze Orman Show which aired 2007/01/13) this is the most common question she gets from couples. (I’d have thought she’d hear “Should we have separate accounts, or joint?” more, but what do I know.)

    For most folks, the default answer to the bill-splitting quandary is 50/50. But Suze suggests that it’s almost never this easy (no kidding!). And that for couples where the two spouses earn significantly different amounts (which would be most couples, probably), splitting the bills 50/50 will almost always lead to resentment and frustration.

    Here’s the fictional household setup that Suze presented as an example:

    Partner #1 makes $7k/month.
    Partner #2 makes $3k/month.
    Household expenses total $3k/month.

    In the case above, Suze would suggest that the bills be split 70/30, rather than 50/50. This way, each partner/spouse is responsible for an equal percentage of the bills rather than an equal dollar amount. They don’t earn equal dollar amounts, so they shouldn’t pay equal dollar amounts.

    After all, paying $1,500 worth of bills (a 50/50 split) drains the $3k earner a lot more, percentage-wise, than it does the $7k earner.

    My first thought, of course, is that there are roughly four couples out there making $10k per month and spending only $3k/month, so the example is kind of flimsy in that regard. Numbers like that just ain’t happening for Joe and Jane Sixpack. Still, I recognize that it’s the math that matters.

    I’m all for fairness in relationships and finances, and Suze’s idea makes sense to me: Pay the bills in the same percentage that the household income is split. Still, I can already hear the uproar from the “But we’re married, and we’re ONE now!” crowd. “What’s hers is mine, and what’s mine is hers! The only percentage that matters is the one we’re paying on our Discover card!”

    And they have a valid case. Really, I think Suze’s point was meant more for non-married couples, but she wasn’t really clear on this. My advice, in any case, would be this:

    Just do what works.

    And if what you’re doing isn’t working, change it.


  2. 83 Responses to "Suze Orman: How to Split the Bills" ...

    1. On January 15, 2007 @ 8:45 pm,
      Golbguru wrote:
      #1
       



      I am glad about “Really, I think Suze’s point was meant more for non-married couples, but she wasn’t really clear on this.”

      Married couples doing that sounds pretty ridiculous to me :). But that’s just me…there may be couple who do that ..and I would be very curious as to why anyone couple would split stuff that way.

       

       

    2. On January 16, 2007 @ 12:52 pm,
      L. Marie Joseph wrote:
      #2
       



      I think to each it’s own!

      My husband and I do not do percentages.

      Percentages is just plain dumb! in my opinion.

      It sounds like more of a roomate plan.

       

       

    3. On January 19, 2007 @ 2:11 am,
      Anonymous wrote:
      #3
       



      I agree with Suze’s suggestion at the same time it depends on the couple whether they want to split or not. If any couple want to split the bills then this is the best way to do.

      Personal Finance Guide 101

       

       

    4. On January 19, 2007 @ 6:36 pm,
      Anonymous wrote:
      #4
       



      Are you kidding me…maybe for roommates, but not married couples. Marriage is a 50-50 thing. They have 7k and 3k incomes, they have a 10k family income and 3k family expense. All splitting the bills leads to is an easier split to the marriage.

       

       

    5. On January 22, 2007 @ 6:54 am,
      Jesse wrote:
      #5
       



      You’re asking for problems if you’re married and doing this. It’s like you’re only putting one foot in the water or something.

       

       

    6. On February 7, 2007 @ 6:40 pm,
      Anonymous wrote:
      #6
       



      This is a nice “technical and mathematical” solution but wouldn’t work in a solid marriage.

      Group together and set a spending plan is the best solution.

       

       

    7. On October 13, 2008 @ 11:04 am,
      Anonymous wrote:
      #7
       



      Suze’s % formula for splitting finances actually SAVED my marriage. Let me explain. I’ve been married for 5 years to a very sweet man, but his behavior around money is erratic and extremely difficult for me to accept. We had only one joint account for years and all of our income went into it and all bills were paid out of it. My husband is not as responsible with money as I am. For example, he has gotten speeding, parking tickets, and is often charged for overloading his luggage at the airport, etc. He just isn’t careful with his money at all. Also, he comes from a large family with lots of siblings and nieces and nephews and insists on buying them gifts for all birthdays and holidays and everything else under the sun, including when they lose their teeth! This has been killing us financially. I come from a small family, so I spend less on gifts. I also make more income than my husband and I was the one taking care of paying all the bills and balancing the checkbook and was frustrated with his irresponsible spending habits. We argued daily about his poor spending habits to the point that he went out and bought a motorcycle without telling me! He claimed he “thought we had the money”. Well, that was the last straw. Before considering a separation from my husband because our finances were so distressing, I finally used Suze’s advice to use our joint account ONLY for shared expenses (such as the mortgage and electric bill), we each contribute the same % of our monthly income PROPORTIONAL to how much we make as individuals, and then we each set up our own baking accounts to manage our own money for personal and incidental expenses. Now, we NEVER argue about money, my husband can spend as much as he wants on his side of the family for gifts and he can buy what he wants without me getting upset. As long as a part of his income goes into the shared expenses with my income….I am happy. He’s happy too now that we can focus on the more important things in our marriage, like falling in love again. Suze’s right! People first, then money. Her advice truly saved our marriage.

       

       

    8. On October 31, 2008 @ 5:13 am,
      Anonymous wrote:
      #8
       



      I don;t understand how the majority of you can say that this doesn’t work for married couples, that its a “ROOMATE” plan. The concept is a no brainer…..if I make 5K more than my wife, or vice versa, the one with the bigger salary should assume a higher percentage of bills. How doesn;t that make sense? For a person who makes 10K (monthly) vs a person with 4K (monthly) splitting 2K in bills at 1K each takes a bigger toll on the 4K income than it does the 10K income. Thats only fair.

       

       

    9. On March 11, 2009 @ 3:15 am,
      Anonymous wrote:
      #9
       



      To complicate matters futher enter into blended families, should one partner cover the expenses of the other partners children? is that fair? How would you offset that so that it is? That formula would work fine 50/50 for two people, but more tweaking would need done for 4 or more ie. two adults two or more children from either.

       

       

    10. On May 6, 2009 @ 10:46 pm,
      Anonymous wrote:
      #10
       



      I totally agree with Suze's formula b/c it enables a personal financial independence as well as at the same time it gives a fair share of financial responsibility for each person in marriage. For years, I was pouring my entire salary to our only joint acount, b/c my husband insisted this is the way I must compensate (keep up) my "fair" share to household bills b/c of his 3x higher salary than mine. Turned out, while I was financing our household with ALL my salary, he did "fill in" the remaing rest of budget to be paid, but w/a significantly smaller part of $ on his side -although he makes 3x more than I do , so he still had plenty of $ left to create a few nice & chunky personal accounts on his name only which he refuses to share with me , nor to even talk about them at all. Whenever I wanted to discuss a fair financial coverage/distributions for household basic items , he always said: " Fine, let's do it, but then you have to cover everything by fifty-fifty division, no matter how much (in my case, "little", I'd say-comparing to his $) you earn." So, folks, imagine this: if our monthly mortgage was ,(I simplified the figures,for easier calculating, here) say, $ 3K and my monthly salary was $2K, only, at that time , thus, by strictly 50:50 (w/o huge salary difference consideration on his part), I'd have to come up w/ $ 1.5K just for mortgage !(which w'd leave me with $ 500 left from my $ 2K salary. Then the remaining regular monthly joint bills (utilities, gas, grocery, etc.) would add up , e.g., to $ 2K. Since my hubby has insisted on 50:50 , then I 'd have to provide additional $1K (but remember I only had $500 left out of my salary). So how could I solve this ridiculous financial management scenario ? (maybe, by getting the 2nd job , or what ?) So far, I have always "caved in" , and I have been simply giving him my whole salary as I stated in the beginning.

      P.S. I changed jobs as well as careers in the past in order to make more money, but b/c of his particular profession and career path, it is impossible to match his salary by mine. I am however still bargaining with him on this issue, and for my personal financial freedom; also my closest relative-confidante (and no, it is NOT my mother) noticed on her own what's going on, and is "diplomatically" trying to negotiate with him by trying to bring him to some (financial) senses , and husband refuses any counseling, I have also suggested; so I am now running out of ideas . On the contrary- I am actually getting pretty depressed. This has been going on like that for 7 years of our marriage . I have to ask him for 'allowance' if I want to buy a personal item, as I have no money of my own left from my own salary, and it is quite humiliating. I am starting to think, (and I am not the only one) that this is an emotional, mental, and financial abuse and a control issue from my husband's side.I do not even have money to retain a family lawyer as I am running out of coping mechanisms and getting into opposite -being more and more desperate as there is no improvement from his side.We are not big spenders-on the contrary: we buy only general brand food items, and generic prescription medications, we do not go on vacation, he refuses to buy gifts even for his parents, although he bought a nice and expensive foreign car for himself, but mostly drives my hybrid to save on gas, he doesn't want to invite anybody over as he w'd have to provide (and partially pay) for refreshments, he "canceled" our B-days, so he doesn't have to spend any money , etc. (and he gets upset if I insist on buying ,at least, a little something as a reminder for, or going out, for an anniversary). It seems to me as he is turning into a Moliere's main character "The Pennypincher"…. I am sorry, I got carried away – I am afraid this is other subject/issue, quite apart from a financial issue this Blog is about….. Have a nice day.

       

       

    11. On March 21, 2010 @ 6:29 am,
      Anonymous wrote:
      #11
       



      I'm confused. Normally I make a lil shy of $100k per yr. I have a two yr old and work PT 16hrs to care for her. we have furloughs now so I make $45k. My husband works from home and takes care of her. This yr he made$300k. He pays household bills. I pay food bills, cell bills, activities for our daughter and learning toys. I also provide health insurance to our family. I pay for my student loans and condo that I had before marriage. My condo is rented for $600 less than expenses. I live paycheck to paycheck. My husband keeps his earnings. He periodically makes comments about my lack of contributing more. I feel bad. Today I noticed I paid at least twice as much of our taxes. Now I feel annoyed, unappreciated, and resentful. To me, this financial situation is like 'roommates'. Everyone out for him/herself. It's sad. Why can't there b an easy obvios solution?

       

       

    12. On April 5, 2010 @ 1:29 pm,
      Anonymous wrote:
      #12
       



      "I'm confused. Normally I make a lil shy of $100k per yr. I have a two yr old and work PT 16hrs to care for her. we have furloughs now so I make $45k. My husband works from home and takes care of her. This yr he made$300k. He pays household bills. I pay food bills, cell bills, activities for our daughter and learning toys. I also provide health insurance to our family. I pay for my student loans and condo that I had before marriage. My condo is rented for $600 less than expenses. I live paycheck to paycheck. My husband keeps his earnings. He periodically makes comments about my lack of contributing more. I feel bad. Today I noticed I paid at least twice as much of our taxes. Now I feel annoyed, unappreciated, and resentful. To me, this financial situation is like 'roommates'. Everyone out for him/herself. It's sad. Why can't there b an easy obvios solution?"

      You did not read this story at all. This is not suggesting 50/50 or breaking the expenses by "you pay the house note, I'll pay the utilities". IF YOU MAKE 1/3 OF THE INCOME, YOU PAY 33% OF THE BILLS. This is not hard people, and there is nothing to resent your loved one for.

       

       

    13. On August 14, 2010 @ 5:48 pm,
      Bridget wrote:
      #13
       



      I live with my fiance and make more money than he does. I also have rental income from my property that I lived in before we joined in his house. I decided to subtract his paycheck from mine, and give him half of the difference and half of my rental income. This mean we get the same amount of money to spend every month.

      Thank, ALL the bills are pooled (including my student loan), and we split them equally. After that we get to split what is left over for personal spending.

      This was my idea, and I thought if we didn’t do it this way, I would feel resentful that I always had to pay for everything, and I am sure it probably wouldn’t feel good to him either.

      Even though I came up with the plan it is still a little difficult to think I am giving up what used to be a lot of extra monthly money, but I get a lot of benefit from the situation too, like a nice big house and a great husband that I love!

       

       

    14. On September 11, 2010 @ 4:31 pm,
      Kim wrote:
      #14
       



      I read #10 from May 6, 2009, and I am wondering why you are spending your time typing that instead of looking for a divorce lawyer! RUN!!!
      hMy husband and I have argued for our entire ten year marriage about the income and bills. I have recently opened my own account and want to split the bills. I feel they should be split proportionate to income and my husband, who makes over twice what I make, thinks it should be 50/50 and that it isn’t fair that he works harder/more to be “punished” by paying more! Now I am wondering if I should take my advice that I gave #10!

       

       

    15. On September 30, 2010 @ 1:08 pm,
      Anonymous wrote:
      #15
       



      I believe the 50/50 only works only as “roomates”. If the husband makes double of what the wife makes, the percentage is ideal. Needless to say the wife takes care of the house (including laundry, dishes, grocery/supply shopping, errands for the husband, everyday cleaning, cooking and etc).

       

       

    16. On October 15, 2010 @ 9:12 am,
      Anonymous spouse wrote:
      #16
       



      So….to those whom think this is a good method, what happens when your spouses income doesn’t cover his/her “30%” of all the bills? Does he/she take out a loan so that they can cover their 30% – NO of course not! That is why the best solution is a joint account. All the bills are paid and ultimately the higher earner covers much more than their 70% of the bills anyway. It would just be great if the spouse realized and appreciated that his/her spouse is paying much more then their fair share. If the method works for both, then I am all for it, as we used to use the % method until this exact issue arose. The trick is just getting your spouse to understand that you are a family, not a roommate (as some have mentioned).

       

       

    17. On November 8, 2010 @ 2:19 pm,
      Anonymous wrote:
      #17
       



      I don’t get why percentage method is considered “fair” hear. What someone spends does not have to depend on what they make whatsoever. I believe 50/50 is way more fair if you are splitting money to begin with. If lower-income person cannot afford to make their payment, that means the couple cannot afford that shared expense. It’s that simple. Clearly if the two people split up, the lower-income person could not cover such expense by themselves. In other words, if you consider two people living separately, say each will spend some amount X. If they lived together, there are plenty of savings in housing costs, food, taxes, etc that combined amount is less than 2*X. So, if one of people cannot cover their part of shared expenses – that means they could not survive on the own either, and that expense is just too expensive for the couple to begin with, unless the higher earner decided to “sponsor” it. But just because someone makes more money, it should not obligate them to pay higher part of the shared expenses.

       

       

    18. On November 9, 2010 @ 9:35 am,
      Anonymous wrote:
      #18
       



      Percentage method is totally UNFAIR! With split finances, people should pay according to what they spend, not how much they make. And since in marriage noone is going to count how much each person spends on bills / electricity / percentage of the house / etc, it only makes sense to split 50/50. If you think percentage based split is “fair”, how about the following situation:

      - spouse A does not work
      - spouse B works

      According to percentage method, B should pay all expenses and it’s fair. Now, it could be that A is unemployed and can’t find any work. Or it could be that A had so many assets before the marriage that they don’t need to work – they just live on withdrawing from their savings. Either way, they have no income and some savings (whether those savings are big or small). It makes no sense under either of these cases that A should pay nothing. 50/50 is the only split that makes sense. A should be paying 50% from their savings, until (and if) B decides they want to support them – and that’s what it would be – support.

      Clearly, it also implies all responsibilities around the household should also then be split 50-50 or in some “convenient” way for both spouses (not that one spouse having to do all the work around the house while contributing 50% of the bills).

       

       

    19. On November 14, 2010 @ 9:07 am,
      GA Peach wrote:
      #19
       



      Next week will be 4yrs my husband I have been married. Because my income has always been substantially higher than his and the home we live in I purchased before we married, the percentage method has always been used. Just because one method works this year doesn’t mean it will work next yr. Budgets/Expenses should be reviewed on a regular basis (quarterly, semi-annual, annual) because financial situtations can change just as frequently. If the % method is used, each yr the % method is reviewed, when the lesser paying spouse gets a raise their contribution % increases and the % of the higher contributer descreases. Its a method designed to adjust as your income changes. At some point, if the lesser contributing spouse consistently receives increases you can eventually reach a 50/50 of the bills. Our problem is that when my husbands income did increase, we did not re-evaluate and two yrs pass without increasing is contribution. I then discovered how wasteful he had been during this time and that he created debt. Of course the debt is in his name only, but whenever we want to vacation together or plan for the future (a new home in both our names) he has no savings to speak of. I then told him if he is going to waste his increases on nohting he should just contribute that money to the household. (throwing % out the window and used the 50/50) This has created a problem because he has the new debt and we have a baby on the way. I’m currently re-evaluating because a unhappy wife or unhappy husnabd doesn’t make a happy life. My income is increased at a pace much faster than his and other than the mortgage my debt is 0. What he contributes to he would not pay as a single man. He would not be able to afford it. But nor would his living conditions be as comfortable as they are now. 50/50 is for roommates, not husband and wife. We are SUPPOSED to take care of each other. The % method supports that idea.

       

       

    20. On November 14, 2010 @ 9:35 am,
      GA Peach wrote:
      #20
       



      one last thought…in the case of income loss (no salary or unemployment ins chk), the earning spouse should pay, must pay 100%. If a spouse is a trust fund baby or small savings, 50/50 split. income is income. if trust baby is considered rich, they pay 100%.everyone should be working if physically/mentally able. by expenses i mean houeshold bills. debt in your name, you pay. trips to nail shop, you pay. your personal care expenses you pay your own.

       

       

    21. On November 21, 2010 @ 8:10 am,
      Anonymous wrote:
      #21
       



      To GA Peach: if higher-income person wants conditions that are more comfortable than lower-income earner can afford, then yes, higher-income earner should pay more. Actually, let me rephrase this – if ANY one person wants conditions that are more comfortable than their spouse feels they can afford, then the first one must pay more (even if they make less money)… because after all – that’s what they want or insist on, etc.

      But if both are comfortable with common expenses, 50/50 is the most fair method, not the percentage one.

      % or 50/50 method are both about finding some way to split expenses. Neither one means you care for your spouse more or less. If you want to make that argument, just share everything and take of each other in that way; if you view financial support as part of “true” caring for your partner. But once you start having some accounts as “mine” or “yours”, paying for expenses should be based on what you actually consume, not how much you happen to earn or withdraw from you savings accounts.

      P.S. Your statement that once someone has something in savings account, they should switch to 50/50 contradicts your own situation – you clearly have some savings and your husband does not. So according to your own statement, you should switch to 50/50 method…

       

       

    22. On December 12, 2010 @ 10:20 am,
      M in NE wrote:
      #22
       



      I have a question – what about a blended marriage? Then how do you split the bills and consider it “equal”? Here’s the situation – my 17 yr. old daughter from my previous marriage lives with me, my fiance, and OUR 3 yr. old son. My two older boys come here on the weekends and 6 weeks in the summer. His daughter is supposed to be here on weekends and during the summer, but hasn’t in the last 6 months (she’s a teen – long story). Right now we have a joint checking for household bills and groceries that we each put 50/50 in. He has been paying the mortgage, taxes, insurance on house, and our son’s daycare expense. We both work 40 hours a week. I pay for my and my daughter’s vehicles (and she pays for most of her vehicle expenses). He gets upset and says that I should probably pay more for the water & electricity, because of my daughters laundry (although she only washes 3 loads a week-small loads!). He claims our son for taxes, I claim my daughter. I feel that we should probably add the house payments and daycare to the joint checking account for bills, and I therefore pay my approximately 33%, but then I don’t know if that will leave anything left over for me for basic things like vehicle expenses (gas, oil changes, insurance, repairs), and other basics, like hair care, makeup, etc. It’s a very difficult situation. Oh, and then there’s the fact that “my” vehicle gets used as a family vehicle – so then shuoldn’t he be liable for part of the expenses? If anyone has any ideas, please let me know.

       

       

    23. On January 1, 2011 @ 6:39 pm,
      GAJANE wrote:
      #23
       



      My son just recently got married. My son’s wife basically lived with us for 8 years. She was very aware of his income and school loans. She makes twice as much as him. They have separate accounts and they split the bills 50/50. My son is not making it at all and will not (because of pride) talk to his wife about this situation. Could you help in giving me advice as to how to talk to him.

       

       

    24. On February 13, 2011 @ 1:05 am,
      Danni wrote:
      #24
       



      I don’t understand how you guys and girls can say that this is a “roomate” plan? This is why so many people end up getting divorced and end up with one person walking away with their life in financial shambles. When you are married it does not mean the person with the most income should pay for the majority of the living expenses! This is why so many couples lost their homes, cars and everything else when the economy went downhill. If you live off the highest income in your home you are setting yourself up for failure. If the person with the higher income loses their job in a market that is not hiring you will have too many open lines of debt for the person with the lowest income to handle. Trust me I just watched it happen to several of my clients and day after day I watched their families fall apart. Some people were on the street because they did not live within a comfortable range of BOTH incomes! This is exactly what this plan will prevent. Use it learn from it and stop living above your means.

       

       

    25. On February 16, 2011 @ 11:56 am,
      jen wrote:
      #25
       



      I think this is a great plan. I am married and when we both have an income, I’d rather pay a percentage rather than half or more of my paycheck; as people want to have leftover money to spend on personal items; especially if your accounts are separate. so you can’t say “i paid all the bills and you are spending more money than me on clothing, toys, hobbies, etc.”

       

       

    26. On February 16, 2011 @ 11:59 am,
      jen wrote:
      #26
       



      also, we are living paycheck to paycheck with no trust funds or savings income.

       

       

    27. On February 19, 2011 @ 8:31 pm,
      Mark wrote:
      #27
       



      First things first. Anyone who marries someone that earns much much less than them is taking a BIG risk when you look at the court system. It is better and less risky to marry someone closer to your income level if you earn a high income.

      Having said that, Suzy’s method is the method that me and my wife use. We split the bills 60/40 and we each have our own bank accounts and one joint account. We have been married over 10 years so this method seems to work. We have one child but pretty much split all of the activities and appointments for our child since I have more flexibility and a much shorter commute to my job.

      We never thought of it as a roommate plan and it was discussed before we walked the aisle.

       

       

    28. On April 1, 2011 @ 7:14 pm,
      moe miller wrote:
      #28
       



      Well i have a different situation,see my husband pays the homeowner insurance and had my name tooked off the policy, but i have contents in the house and i know that we suppose to be as one, but he’s unfair when it comes to money. We recently had a fire and the curtains needed to be clean and he wouldnt give the amount that the insurance company gave for the curtains. So i wanted to know can i get insurance of my own so that the things purchase would get replaced?

       

       

    29. On April 9, 2011 @ 12:11 pm,
      Forum - Finances....what is fair? wrote:
      #29
       



      [...] Man, struck a chord. Same thing–AH totally irresponsible with finances, so I too have had my own account and pay the bills. Since I've gone on my little separation, I've ignored bills that don't affect me or my credit rating. I figure if they turn off the heat, he'll pay it. So that's what's happened. The wireless phone service got shut off, and he had to pay it. Man, what a stink! He sent an email to the whole family (a couple of our kids are still on the family plan–it's only $30 extra), complaining about "I can't pay these bills"–what? ONE bill? So when we talked on the phone and he was b*tching and complaining, I said, "Yeah, some bills are really painful to pay. I know how you feel. You know what bills are painful for me? The leasing and commercial loans" (Those are his business bills that I pay because their on my credit and the house is attached to them). That shut him up, and he even said sheepishly, "Yeah, we should talk about that." I'm not holding my breath. Anyway, if you're looking for a "fair" and objective resolution, try Suze Orman's plan–except don't have a joint account. I'm kind of doing that. Suze Orman: How to Split Bills @ MoneyMusings.com [...]

       

       

    30. On April 25, 2011 @ 8:41 pm,
      Elizabeth A. wrote:
      #30
       



      How would you suggest the household expenses be split in the case of a second marriage where:

      - I (the wife) own a home (still paying a mortgage on it)
      - have 2 children aged 16 and 13 from previous marriage
      - have a 9 month old from this marriage
      - he has 2 children from previous marriage aged 15 and 11 who do not live with us

      This is causing alot of grief and a possible breakup.

      Your valuable advise appreciated!

       

       

    31. On May 16, 2011 @ 2:39 pm,
      Jennifer ONeil wrote:
      #31
       



      I ready about this procedure before and me and my boyfriend are going to start it. We are both going to contribute the same amount every pay period into a joint account for the (major bills – rent, electric & water) and then this way we are sure that they get paid. We will them be responsible for our own individual bills.

       

       

    32. On May 26, 2011 @ 1:48 pm,
      Anonymous wrote:
      #32
       



      My husband and I have separated finances recently due to some common frustrations and he recently heard Suze talk about this method on TV. I feel that it is fair, with some exceptions. I earn significantly more money and as a result I incur a greater share of the tax burden as well as some expenses specific to my job – suits, drycleaning, business lunches. He wears his regular clothes to work while I have an entire separate wardrobe and shoes to maintain, at great expense. I think the formula needs to be adjusted for net income minus any expenses that are incurred because of the position you have at work.

       

       

    33. On June 3, 2011 @ 10:19 am,
      Scott wrote:
      #33
       



      After reading these comments, it’s no wonder the divorce rate is climbing higher all the time. You people put so much effort and thought into what’s ‘mine’ and what your spouse is taking from you. Good grief. It’s marriage. You guys just need to sit down with each other, put all the money in a joint account, and selflessly love each other with your money. The decisions you make are for you both. So stop treating it like he has his and she has hers (or to use more inclusive language he has his and he has his or she has hers and she has hers). What happened to the word ‘ours’?

       

       

    34. On June 7, 2011 @ 1:59 pm,
      Lucy wrote:
      #34
       



      Elizabeth A:

      Your bills are now both of your bills. If he agree to marry you, he knew that kids cam along with it. So add up all of your bills: the expenses for the kids that live with you and the child support for the kids that don’t, the house you both live in, the food you all eat, etc. Then divide it based on these percentages.

      For those of you hand-wringing about not loving eachother enough to combine finances: I like buying dresses and not having to clear it with my husband. I like buying him presents in secret. I like not worrying that he tapped into our needed money because we bought a video game. If I need him to cover expenses he will. If he needs me to buy him lunch I will, without resentment. This is just easier for us.

      For those who think you should split 50/50 regardless of income: What a great way to create deep-seeded resentment between you and your spouse. If at the end of the month my husband has a ton of money left over to buy himself toys or go out with his friends and I’m scrimping and saving for a skirt from H&M, I’m going to feel pretty cheated in our relationship.

       

       

    35. On June 28, 2011 @ 5:14 am,
      Randy Ansari wrote:
      #35
       



      Hey guys,

      You can use a web-app like http://www.Wesplit.it to keep track of shared bills and expenses. I’ve been using it for a few months now and its really simple to use and moreover its free as well! Give it a try and it will definitely help you out!

      R

       

       

    36. On August 10, 2011 @ 11:24 am,
      Andrea wrote:
      #36
       



      I totally agree with Suze’s method. It prevents resentment down the line. Even if you SAY it won’t bother you, it will creep up eventually in the 50/50 method. The percentage method that Suzette is talking about just makes sense. My fiancee and I use it with just a little math and talking. It’s not a big deal and it actually makes things easier. And here’s the important thing: you only put your percentage of the monthly bills into the joint account. If we need “X” amount of money a month for our mortgage, our electric bill, our groceries, our pet supplies, our dinners out on the town, etc, then we each put our percentage into our joint account and use that. If either of us wants to take the other out on a special date and pay for it, we do it w our own money from our own separate checking account. We also buy the electronics we want (I.e. Kindle, IPad, stereo, etc) with our own money, and things like CDs and clothes. We have two cars that we ride in equally. We pay for gas out of our joint account, and she pays for her car payment out of her own money, since I have already paid off my car. It’s really not that difficult. And it takes just a few minutes of sitting down, turning off the distractions, and talking about your joint goals and a budget, and how you’re going to maintain that together.

       

       

    37. On August 26, 2011 @ 9:27 pm,
      Alona wrote:
      #37
       



      I totally agree and love Suze’s formula. Husband and wife have different needs and spending habits, some are good with saving money and some are not. If a partner manages the budget and the other one gets an allowance monthly and does not see the monthly expenses, more likely the one that manages the budget will not get a budget for her allowance will go back into the general fund to be able to manage the bills. My husband and I will be retiring soon and I will follow Suze’s
      method this time, that way I can enjoy life and not worry about managing bills. My husband can do what ever he wants with his pension as long as he pays his share for our monthly bills and he takes care of his own expenses like golfing, dining out with his friends or giving gifts to his relatives and I will take care of my own personal expenses too.
      Thanks to Suze, love her show and I watch it every Saturday and bought some of her books too. I was able to help a lot of friends, co-workers and my kids now are ages 30 and 31 always ask me first for advice before they purchase anything. They call me Jr. Suze.

       

       

    38. On September 6, 2011 @ 12:50 pm,
      Heidi wrote:
      #38
       



      I have been married 25 years, and I have been through alot financially with my husband. I have been a stay at home mother, earned more than him, earned less then him, he has been stay at home father (unwillingly) and we currently earn almost equal amounts. There is only one way to do thing financially. No 50/50, 70/30, nada, no, no way. A joint account. All the bills are paid, all the groceries are purchased, all the kids needs, all regular things such as hair cuts and all home and car repairs, tags etc are taken care of first, then anything that can be put into savings is done, then if there is a major family/home purchase wanted or needed is discussed and made or not made, then anything that is left is split for purchases that are individual wants. If you go out to dinner together that comes out of joint funds, unless the spouse it taking you out for birthday or something special. If you put everything together and split the leftovers equally there is no room for resentment. If my husband wants or needs something extra and I don’t I am just as likely to give my spending money to him, he will do the same for me. If money isn’t a tool, it becomes a weapon. Money is the least important thing to us, it pays the bills and buys the food, we have some for fun things that we do together. Yes sometimes we still argue a little about it, but in the end we still have to pay the bills. We do it together and that is what matters.

       

       

    39. On September 8, 2011 @ 5:18 pm,
      Tracy wrote:
      #39
       



      Actually, this is great, however change the 70% to 30% because 7000/10000 is 30%… Therefore, both parties are only paying 30% of their net pay. Great advice Suze…

       

       

    40. On September 8, 2011 @ 5:25 pm,
      Tracy wrote:
      #40
       



      Oops disregard, last post; See example below.
      Income $10000
      Bills $3000
      Spouse 1 = $7000
      Spouse 2 = $3000
      3000 bills/10000 total income = 30%
      7000 spouse 1 income*30% = $2100
      3000 spouse 2 income*30% = $900

       

       

    41. On September 19, 2011 @ 11:52 am,
      Shanna wrote:
      #41
       



      I think this is great! I make a lot more than my husband and the last thing I need him to feel like is a failure because he can’t pay 1/2 the bills. He just gives me the check! I spend it as shopping $ and I pay all the bills. That was not fair to my husband!! I did the percentage thing and gave him a little something back. He’s not a total sam sausagehead I know about his secret account but I will keep that to myself! He deserves more!!! Thanks Sue!

       

       

    42. On September 22, 2011 @ 5:28 pm,
      Barb wrote:
      #42
       



      I think this would be the best scenario for my husband and myself. I have been a stay-at-home Mom for years and now I have a new job making about 30 percent of the household income. He will have lots more spending money than I will and there’s not much chance he will share. But, over the years I’ve had to beg to get the simplest of needs-like glasses as I’m severely nearsighted. You would have thought the $100 co-pay after years of wearing scratched glasses was asking him for his entire retirement account.

      I really can’t wait to get to work. Even if I just have $20 per week left over, it’s $20 he never would have given me.

       

       

    43. On October 2, 2011 @ 8:58 pm,
      Financially Frustrated wrote:
      #43
       



      I searched this issue for some solutions. Appears I’m in good company. My husband didn’t have so much as a savings acct when we began dating. When we became serious and planned to marry, I helped him get his financial house in order. When I came into large amts of $, I would add to his primary savings, which was joint. He was so appreciative of that that we joined all of our accts before we were married – had our own primary accts that we used but all being joint. Well, after three short years of marriage and he’s making more income, he has forgotten all about his humble beginnings. Let’s not forgot that I single-handedly put his portfolio together, searched for jobs, filled out the applications and everything besides went on the actual job interview for him; but now he’s big time. We recently moved out of the house I had already acquired before our marriage and into a larger house with a heftier mortgage. I’m a commissioned employee. My commissions have decreased because of the increased responsibilities I’ve taken at home — one significant duty is taking care of his son who recently came to live with us. He got mad with me and opened up separate accts and only puts the $ for the mortgage in the joint acct. He now wants to split bills 50/50 when that’s not even the way we began. I’m spending all of my income on the other household bills, groceries, toiletries and personal bills – like credit cards that I’d had paid down until he was out of work a couple months and we ran them up with our living expenses, paying insurance etc. He’s forgotten all of that. He’s never established credit so he didn’t have any. We’re only in this house due to my savings and credit along with his “increased income.” I didn’t even have $ for gas to travel to work last week. I had to borrow $ from a friend because hubby said he didn’t have anything. I knew that was a big lie. I walked in on him checking his acct & verified my suspicions. He’s hoarding his $. Only reason I’m struggling so bad now is because he hasn’t even paid me back $ like he promised when I helped him out several times for big ticket expenses. I don’t believe in married couples borrowing from each other, but I really didn’t have it to give because it was acct’d for. I feel like I’ve been taken cold stone advantage of. Split 50/50 when he makes more than me and I do more than him???? That’s a joke. I get up and fix breakfast and lunch. He comes home to dinner and a clean house every night. You’ve got to be kidding me. I’ll divorce him and get a ROOMATE before I do that….

       

       

    44. On October 2, 2011 @ 9:11 pm,
      Financially Frustrated wrote:
      #44
       



      #38 your situation is exactly how I envisioned marriage. We even discussed it in premarital counseling. I think my husband just agreed with everything to get me to say, I do. He had no intentions of abiding by anything. I’ve been hoodwinked, bamboozled, run a muck, led a stray…..

       

       

    45. On October 25, 2011 @ 4:27 pm,
      Heather wrote:
      #45
       



      This actually helped our marriage. Of course when we were first married, we pooled all of our money together and over time we acquired more expenses and had a few children. Money got tighter and tighter and we were both resenting each other about not having a personal cash allowance. I always paid the bills and gave him money for gas and that was it…but in his mind I would squander the rest away. He didn’t realize how quickly money can be gone, especially when you get paid once a month. We were on the verge of separation when we decided to try out separate accounts. He makes more but we worked it out to be at the end of the month we both had the same amount in extra cash. We both actually have savings accounts and have the ability to sometimes surprise each other with gifts. It has been the best decision we have ever made. Not everyone is the same…not all couples can manage to live happily with the mentality of “whats yours is mine/mine is yours” You have to do what works for you!

       

       

    46. On October 26, 2011 @ 12:33 am,
      Robert wrote:
      #46
       



      The real problem in dealing with finances in marriage is that each person can have different priorities. My wife feels that she and our kids need 2 – 3 times as many clothes as I feel is necessary. Even with getting good bargains, she feels it is more important to have a lot than I do. At the same time, I’m sure she can’t see why I need a new “toy” (guitar, etc). She is college educated and has refused to seek a better job or to work full time. Keep in mind I make 85% of the household income. I work from home and the “kids” are teenagers. We are slowly working out the issues, but my point is that when there is disparity in incomes, it is easy to have issues with finances. There must be transparency and communication (agreement to philosophy in setting budgets). In the end, marriage is imperfect as humans are. Just be glad you’re not single and paying a lot more in taxes.

       

       

    47. On November 1, 2011 @ 10:53 am,
      enigma1364 wrote:
      #47
       



      I have read all of the comments and feel that as a couple you stand together and divided you fall, in everything. A marriage is a UNION of two people for one purpose. You should support each other in good times and most definetley in bad. For someone to shrug off a spouses concerns about them not being able to pay the bills thay have been assigned and let them use a credit card to get by each month is cold, callous and in my mind NOT a marriage. I feel the bills should be paid from a pooling of incomes, and what is left is for both to enjoy, together and without question. It amazes me that marriages can and do exist with a situation of this is mine and thats yours, as a society, have we become so paranoid, so materialistic and so greedy that we have to protect “what’s mine”? anything less is a friends with benefits arrangement.

       

       

    48. On December 12, 2011 @ 2:16 pm,
      Alexandra wrote:
      #48
       



      My question: I married a man who owns his own home and has 3 children. His mother lives with us; she is 70 years old and is no help around the house. Recently, my husband’s 16 year son moved in wih us permantely. The boy’s mother refused to pay child support and if my husband choses to, he will need to have to request from the court child support for that one child, meanwhile he is a very good Father pays his child support for the other two children and always get the necessary extra and luxuries.

      However… My husband feels that I should be paying 1/2 of the entire bills of the house. The house is not mine and really every child, plus his mother has their own room. The house is at maxiumum capactity. I spent the last 3 years cleaning, organizing, decorating, etc., I give my husband about $1100 a month (this includes groceries, utlity, etc). I pay for the annual car insurance.

      His mother never worked so has a limited income. My parents always worked and my family nor I are a financial burden on my husband, ie. I give my husband money, he does not support me or even pay for a manicure of mine. I have a house-keeper that I pay for and do most of the cooking.

      I don’t feel comfortable inviting friends or family to the house because his kids/mother; feel very territorial. It’s uncomfortable but I have accepted my fate. I explained to my husband that his responsible for his own mother and children; that I do not have to incur their expense. It has nothing to do with me. I was overly generous at one point and when I felt I was over-spending and wanted to discuss it with my husband, he called me a liar and now requires a monthly sheet to make sure how much I spend. He wanted a pre-nup two weeks before our wedding mostly to secure his house. I feell used and the only thing my husband complains about me is that I don’t give him enough money. Any advise. Btw, we make an equal amount.

       

       

    49. On December 14, 2011 @ 3:49 am,
      Glenna Goodwin wrote:
      #49
       



      Dear Suzie,
      Help! This is a second marriage, I am 82 & he is 79. Each of us have in excess of a million dollars in assets, however, he has more than I do and his income is greater. I will lose $7000 the first year because of the decrease in S.S., he has said he will put the difference in an account for me but if I sell my house and put the money on interest then I should put that interest into this account or if I rent it anything above my expenses should go into this account, reducing or possibly eliminating his money in the account. He also expects me to pay for half the wedding and the honeymoon and pay half of the expenses at his house, where we will live. Since he has more money than I do in assets and income I think I should not have to pay half of anything. I really thought he was paying for the wedding and honeymoon so this comes as a surprise to me. If I didn’t have this very nice engagement ring from him I would call the whole thing off but I feel bad that he wouldn’t get the money back for the ring that he paid for it. I am concerned about spending out of my principal because there is always this not knowing how much I will need until I die. Please help us find our way. Thank you. Glenna

       

       

    50. On January 25, 2012 @ 4:30 pm,
      mae wrote:
      #50
       



      My husband and I both pay our own personal bills such as charge accounts. My husband makes $4500 a month which includes social security, pension, part time pay. He also has a lawn service which he says that is his money to buy the things he wants and is not included in the $4500. I have $2500 coming in total which includes social security and pension. With his salary I should not have to pay any household bills since I am responsible for washing and keeping his clothing clean for his part time and lawn service job. All household chores are done by me(cooking, cleaning, washing, ironing,book keeping, painting, shampooing carpets,ironing,etc.He still wants me to pay half of our $2100 a month bills.We sat down and worked out a plan where he will pay 80% of the bills while I will pay 20%. It leaves him with over $3000 left plus whatever he makes from the lawn service. I have approximately $2050 left. And he still does not like this method. I told him I should not be living like a pauper while he lives the rich life. We are married and should have each other’s back.

       

       

    51. On March 5, 2012 @ 8:55 pm,
      Tina wrote:
      #51
       



      I am about at my witts end on this issue. My husband also wants us to split bills 50/50 regardless of income. He insists that nothing else is more fair. I hate it, it’s very stressful for me but he does not care what I think. I am afraid it has us on a one way track to divorce court.

       

       

    52. On March 7, 2012 @ 1:26 pm,
      Ashley Sovie wrote:
      #52
       



      I don’t think anyone is going to have the RIGHT answer here… there is probably more than one right answer depending on the couple. It’s what works best for YOU. The number one issue most married couples fight about is money so while some people may be able to lump all of their money together, others may not feel so comfortable with that. Personally, my husband and I fought over money constantly when we had a joint account. I was so mad he was burning up money buying cigarettes and he was angry I was buying 4.00 coffees so we split up our accounts and for a couple of years we’ve divided the bills 50/50. That really is no longer working as we can now see that in doing this he can make 105k a year and pay bills with ease, and I make 60k a year and struggle. It does cause resentment. Especially when I’ve had the opportunity to take better paying jobs but he relies on me to take care of the kids in the evenings so he can work his crazy hours to make commission. We are now doing the percentage way of paying and I feel like this is completely “fair”. It works for us. But each couple is different. Nothing is set in stone people, try one way and if it doesn’t work do something else.

       

       

    53. On March 18, 2012 @ 1:30 am,
      Kary Pastick wrote:
      #53
       



      Thanks for this. Always nice to hear ideas from Suze.

       

       

    54. On March 21, 2012 @ 11:35 pm,
      Lcruisader wrote:
      #54
       



      Using Suze’s plan, how would unexpected expenses get paid for? If the air conditioner breaks in dead of a hot summer for example on the family home? Or expenses for a first child? My reasoning concludes: use Suze’s formula, but exaggerate the percentages so each spouse gets less to ‘play with’ and more goes into the joint account for the family and unexpected. Well, what what do you think?

       

       

    55. On March 31, 2012 @ 1:50 pm,
      none wrote:
      #55
       



      The problem here is that many people commenting don’t understand basic math. This is obviously the fairest approach, mathematically speaking. It is quite the opposite of the roommate situation. Whether or not my roommate works he is expected to come up with his HALF of the rent and utilities.

      When you’re in a relationship you’re expanding that to include income as well as expenses.

      To the people arguing you should pool your income and go 50/50, quit arguing. You’re saying the same thing. In the example above if you pool your income you get 10K, with 3K bills paid. The math is the same. Relax people.

       

       

    56. On June 5, 2012 @ 8:56 am,
      Trevor Phillips wrote:
      #56
       



      I thought I was doing a percentage split with my wife (I earn £41000 a year, she is self employed and her ‘company profit’ was £14000 a year). My take home pay, after taxes and pension, is £2356 per month. My wife’s ‘company profit’ take home was supposedly £1166 a month and we worked out a percentage split of £1190 to £595 with the contributions. It turns out her figure was much less than she actually takes home (calculated by her accountant as a taxable figure). She has actually been taking home £1650 a month. I feel utterly conned, but she sees nothing wrong with this. I have really struggled over the last few years and this is almost the final straw. If she paid 50/50, she wouldn’t make it financially, I have always favoured a percentage split as this seems fairer- but only if a self employed partner gives an honest figure that they earn!

       

       

    57. On June 14, 2012 @ 9:56 am,
      Lizzie wrote:
      #57
       



      I agree with what several people have said – it’s whatever works for each couple. I have been married for 2 years and I take home about double what my husband does, but I also have considerably more “non-household” outgoings than him, mainly to do with bringing up a daughter by myself, who is now at university but also other things like petrol (I commute) and clothes. I have used a similar percentage calculation to work out what would be fair to both of us, adjusted slightly to take account of my extra outgoings. It works out that I pay about 60% of the shared household bills and he pays 40% and I pay for my daughter’s rent etc. separately. I probably end up with slightly more spare cash each month but I think it’s fair in the circumstances. At any rate, it’s working for us – neither of us feels resentful that one person is paying too much or too little.

       

       

    58. On July 13, 2012 @ 3:38 am,
      jan wrote:
      #58
       



      I think this is useless if couples have joined their income, which is the usual practice here in philippines. But for me, I have already thought of this before i’ve read this ( my husband and i are math majors btw). we haven’t joined our incomes yet so that we have our own money to spend at our own discretion. As long as the couple agrees to this kind of arrangement, there’s no reason for conflict. I’m using this formula

      x =budget or bills/(income_husband+income_wife)

      the x gives the fraction. just multiply this fraction to your income to know your share/contribution. Equal percentage is fair, the other is not.

       

       

    59. On July 14, 2012 @ 12:52 am,
      Candy Race wrote:
      #59
       



      It is taking me time to read through the comments. But this whole conversation is perplexing. I get the percentage thing. But what about the additional expectations of the women cooking, cleaning, laundry and provide wifely duties such as to pleasure their man?? Does all that get cut into half too? I am still sorting this out in my head. Also, so now that you have your own bank account and after you pay your share then what do you do with your money? Just let it accumulate? What about retirement? In the end should a divorce happen the courts are going to split it anyways. So why have diff accounts? I get having money for gifts and simple pleasures but what else can you do with it?

       

       

    60. On July 26, 2012 @ 8:44 am,
      Heather wrote:
      #60
       



      I am moving into my boyfriend’s existing home. We each have 3 children from a previous marriage. The only difference is that his children are older and do not have child care expenses. I have child care expenses for my two youngest. Both of us get child support for our children (He has full custody as well). He makes $56,000/yr, I make $35,000/yr. Do I include my child care expenses as part of the household expenses because it will be pulling away from my percentage of expenses/income? I do not expect him to pay half of my child care expenses, but I will not be able to afford as much shared household expenses if I do not have it as part of my percentage. Any advice on what to do?

       

       

    61. On July 30, 2012 @ 7:10 pm,
      Madeleine wrote:
      #61
       



      I am currently thinking of moving in with my girlfriend. She is slightly older then me and makes more money. Our combined income is high, over $200,000 a year. However we live in a very expensive city. I want to move to a more affordable apartment then the one she currently lives in, since I am not comfortable paying half the rent. She does not want to move. She loves her neighborhood and her apartment is pet friendly etc. I was already feeling resentful of paying half the rent. Though she makes more money then I do (65/35) she has college debt and consumer debt which I don’t have. More than that, I tend to be more inclined to save money then she does. For the most part we divide household duties equally, I do the cooking and she does the cleaning etc. Suze’s advice is the perfect solution. I don’t have to worry every time she buys an expensive purse and she doesn’t have to worry if I go out to dinner with friends. I think an added benefit of this is that it makes you budget. As young professionals, we tend not to dwell on our household budgets as much as married couples, or couples with children. It forces you to examine and discuss how much you spend on groceries, eating out, rent etc.
      I understand this doesn’t work for everyone. As I said we have higher than average incomes, so the issue of being able to find a reasonable place to afford to live etc isn’t an issue. If we were only making $50,000 a year combined it would be a challenge and the percentages might need to be adjusted in order to meet basic expenses. We also both work at relatively high paying jobs. As I am younger I can expect my salary to continue to increase while hers will probably remain the same for quite a while. We can revisit each year and adjust the formula.
      That being said there are a couple situations where I don’t think percentages will work:
      ONE ADULT DOESN’T WORK (Because they stay at home with the children or because they are unemployed, this requires another financial solution).
      YOU HAVE A MIXED MARRIAGE (As many of you pointed out, deciding what is a shared expense and what is a personal expense requires you to speak to your spouse and potentially come up with a different formula or arrangement).
      YOU ARE STRUGGLING TO MEET BASIC EXPENSES (As I mentioned earlier, if you are unable to pay basic bills using this method you need to come up with another solution).

       

       

    62. On August 1, 2012 @ 1:06 pm,
      Blended Family wrote:
      #62
       



      I think the percentage idea is the best option for those couples with “out-of-the-box” lives. I’m dating a man with three children which he has 50% of the time, and the first two he is paying minimal child support to their mother and the youngest he is paying 50% of daycare. I have no children. That being said, I ABSOLUTELY AGREE that we each should have our own single banking accounts, but also sharing a mutual joint account based on percentages of our income. This way we are both pooling together our money for the expenses that would accrue out of a “normal” first-time marriage with no children, just a husband and wife combining their lives together.

      THIS IS WHY YOU HAVE TO DO WHAT WORKS FOR YOUR SITUATION!!! Because each couple brings different aspects of their lives together as one. Not everyone has children, not everyone is working, not every couple makes the same 50/50 amounts of income.

      My Example:
      Spouse1 makes $125,000
      Spouse2 makes $75,000
      Total combined income (annually) $200,000

      $125,000/$200,000= 62.5%
      $75,000/$200,000= 37.5%

      Therefore, if your monthly expenses of the mortgage/rent, utilities and anything else you mutually deem appropriate as a mutual expense total $4,000 then:

      Spouse1 pays $2,500 per month out of their $125,000 leaving Spouse1 with $7,900 per month ($125,000/12… minus $2,500) to spend any which way they need or want to outside of the mutual expenses

      Spouse2 pays $1,500 per month out of their $75,000 leaving Spouse2 with $4,750 per month ($75,000/12… minus $1,500) to spend any which way they need or want to outside of the mutual expenses

      On another note, you could absolutely both add in an extra percentage amount for future expenses (emergency HVAC, unemployment, expecting a child, vacations, etc.). You could also just build up amounts in your own separate accounts and use that based on your own mutually agreed judgment of what works best for each specific situation (i.e., emergency HVAC could be split using the percentages, while a vacation could be split 50/50).

       

       

    63. On August 23, 2012 @ 7:01 am,
      Laura wrote:
      #63
       



      I actually find this way of doing it incredibly unfair. The only way that it would ever be fair is if income was directly, and linearly, tied to effort. If that were the case, most people in developing countries should be millionaires by now.

      In the case described above, spouse A gets about $5000 per month to spend, whilst spouse B gets about $2000.

      Take, for example, the case of my fiance and myself:

      *We are from different (both highly developed) countries. Through moving, I am likely to take a paycut of 30-50% and pay multiple thousands of dollars in upgrading my qualifications to make them recognised in his country, as well as paying significant visa fees.

      *When I first move, due to visa regulations, I cannot work for the first few months. This means I would effectively get $0 personal money for this time. How do I buy personal products etc?

      *After those few months, when I am able to get a job, I will be the main breadwinner, as he will be in school, on a small stipend. Why does he deserve less money from our finances because he is working to build a better life for us and our future children?

      *During this time, I will be postponing grad. school (although I am currently doing some part-time) so that I can go out and earn money to support us. This will affect my future earning potential, as I will graduate many years later. Why should I be punished for doing what enabled my family to be in a better financial position in the future?

      *We hope to have children in the next few years. Because of our specific circumstances (not gender related!) we have decided that
      I will be the parent to take parental leave (and, if possible, stay at home for a couple of years once he is finished with school). Does this mean I deserve no money for being home looking after OUR children? Statistically, when a woman stays home, it affects her future earning potential. Why should I get less money than my spouse, both when I’m staying home when the children are young, and when I re-enter the workforce, because I did the work of looking after them? What if one if us decides to work part time so the children have a parent to come home to? Does that parent deserve less spending money?

      We have decided instead to have a joint account for bills, and split the rest equally. So many factors involving the other spouse come into play that it would be completely unfair to reward the spouse who happens to have more opportunities at different points to be developing earning potential.

       

       

    64. On September 14, 2012 @ 10:17 pm,
      sandra wrote:
      #64
       



      Laura, for someone who is about to get her masters, you are not thinking very logically. Percentage is the fairest way to manage finances.

      If a partner is earning 0 income, then they should be expected to contribute 0 (unless you saved up for this situation before, and you are using your savings as a monthly stipend). If that stipend is 10% of the total household income (your partner is making 90% of the money), then you should pay 10% of the household expenses.

      What is considered household expenses? Are your moving costs, visa, etc expenses supposed to be included? TALK TO YOUR PARTNER ABOUT THAT. If you come to an agreement, then it will be considered fair by both of you.

       

       

    65. On September 27, 2012 @ 12:30 am,
      John wrote:
      #65
       



      @”Blended Family”, in your example, you are following Suze’s formula — each partner in your relationship is paying 24%. :)

       

       

    66. On October 2, 2012 @ 9:16 am,
      Sick of the Whining wrote:
      #66
       



      Option B or C works for me, which we use a combination of both, we take some bills on personally, and we split some bills 50/50. I don’t think that the percentage method or the joint account plus personal account methods are fair to the higher earner. Hear me out. I’m all for sharing my money with my spouse. If my spouse ever needs money from me, I give it up with no question. The problem with the percentage method and the personal/joint account plus equal spending money methods is this…Spouse A is the higher earner who makes $80,000 per year. Spouse B is the lesser earner who makes $60,000 per year. Why does Spouse A earn more money? Spouse A went to college and then grad school, with the hopes of one day earning enough money to not only provide for a family, but also to enjoy some of the luxuries that life has to offer. Spouse B decided nah–grad school is not for me, I’m satisfied with my $60,000 a year income which I can comfortably live off. Why should Spouse A be penalized by paying a larger percentage of the household bills, leaving Spouse A with less money to spend or invest the way Spouse A wants, simply because Spouse A fell in love with and married Spouse B who has no desire to ever earn more money? I see people on here talking about what is fair. That my friends, is totally unfair. Spouse A is limited to living off of the same disposable income as someone who did not work as hard as Spouse A in order to be able to afford to splurge on some things. As long as Spouse A is responsible for the household and puts in his/her part and makes wise investments choices to benefit the future of both spouses, then Spouse A should be allotted a larger portion his/her own money that he or she earned because Spouse A earned it when Spouse A worked hard…Spouse A should be allowed to buy a little more than Spouse B. If Spouse B wants to buy more stuff or wants equal disposable income, then Spouse B needs to implement a plan to go back to school or become more ambitious in seeking a higer paying job. Any other plan is similar to redistribution of wealth, penalized more for making more. Geez.

       

       

    67. On October 4, 2012 @ 10:25 am,
      Annabel wrote:
      #67
       



      My situation is a bit different. I have (at their invitation) moved in with my daughter and son-in-law. She is the money manager for the household. At first we decided to split the bills 3 ways. I am on DIability, my check each month is $1086. I know the cost of rent, but most other expenses are unclear. I don’t know how much either of them makes, but I’m sure it’s a great deal more. Afterpaying my part, I am. left with about $130 to take me thru the month. From that I must pay all personal expenses, prior debts (mostly medical), medications, gas etc. No entertainment, no cable, no shopping, no personage food likes. How do I present my request for percentage sharing without alienating my kids and building resentment and discord in our otherwise wonderful living arrangement?

       

       

    68. On October 10, 2012 @ 2:09 pm,
      Kim wrote:
      #68
       



      My husband and I have a two year old boy and while my husband is at work 80 hours a week making a career, I am taking care of our son most of the time. I am about to finish my PhD and have been living on scholarship the past four years, which was great as it allowed me to write my PhD for two days and care for our son. At the same time, I could have been done with the PhD much earlier (if we would not have had a child) and could have been an assistant professor by now earning much more.

      We’re going through a crisis at the moment and because my husband is angry he insists to split all the bills 50/50. I don’t have a job, no stable income and my scholarship is only until the end of the year. Our son is in daycare only two days a week so I have just two days to look for jobs and finish my PhD. My husband often works weekends, so it very often comes down to me taking care of our son five days in total (3 weekdays and 2 weekend days). On top of that I am doing ALL the household chores, shopping, cooking, cleaning, organizing finances, social outings etc. as aside from work (he is a doctor), there is no time for anything else. I don’t think it is fair at all to divide the bills 50/50, not at least until I am able to work and earn more, but he says I should stay home full time so we don’t have to pay for child care. I tell him he should actually be paying me for taking care of our son as I am not able to make a career right now. I love my job and would love to work 4 days a week, but right now this is not possible. I don’t know if I should just stop trying to have a conversation with him about it and live on my savings (that I had built before we got married) or if I should push harder.

      I prefer not to work full-time so I can have 1-2 day week days with our son, but I am getting scared we might end up having a divorce and that I won’t be able to provide for him and me simply because I have been delayed so much in getting my own career going.

       

       

    69. On December 30, 2012 @ 11:38 pm,
      micky wrote:
      #69
       



      I am getting married in the next few months and need some advice.
      He think I should contribute 1/3 of all household expenses. We both each own a home and still paying mortgage on them. His mortgage is $2715 per month and mine is $625 per month (is now become renting property). My income is $50K less than his.

      My question is: Is it fair for me to pay 1/3?

      Your advice is appreciated!

       

       

    70. #70
       



      [...] based on what each partner contributes to the household income. You can read about it here: Suze Orman: How to Split the Bills Suze on How to Split the Bills with Different Incomes You said he's offered to pay more anyway, [...]

       

       

    71.  



      [...] Here is a financial resource from Suze Orman that you can use if you are concerned how to manage your money matters as you share a life together with the significant difference in earned [...]

       

       

    72. On March 19, 2013 @ 5:03 pm,
      Missy wrote:
      #72
       



      The relationships seem to be room mates or business partnerships. Where is the love?

       

       

    73. On April 1, 2013 @ 8:34 am,
      Dawn wrote:
      #73
       



      My situation is a bit different & any input would be appreciated.
      We are 50′s & my B/F has 23 yr old (college & PT employment) & 15 yr old living with him unexpectedly. I will sell my house because it’s not big enough for all of us & we are going to rent together. I make $20,000 more annually, he receives no financial help from the mother, my kids are grown & financially stable.
      Do I contribute 1/2? OR should all expenses be divided equally with him responsbile for 3/4 of the main household expenses?
      How much do I contribute financially to his children?

       

       

    74. On April 7, 2013 @ 10:00 pm,
      Amber wrote:
      #74
       



      My fiancé and I have a similar set-up to what’s mentioned in this post, except that we don’t use percentages exactly. He makes around $400 or so more a month than me, so he covers the biggest bill: rent. I cover electricity, cable/internet, car insurance, washer/dryer rental, and groceries. All of that added together is still less than what he pays out (not by a ton, though). He does help out with groceries when he can, but he has other bills of his own that he pays (cell phone, some credit card debt, etc). We’re usually tight on funds, but we like our agreement and make it work. We don’t argue about money, and that’s a plus in my book.

       

       

    75. On April 11, 2013 @ 11:48 pm,
      Carla wrote:
      #75
       



      For the past twenty years my husband I have both worked and we have joined all of our monies regardless of who made what. (Throughout the years, sometimes he made more and sometimes I did). After I pay all of the bills and put aside the agreed upon amount for savings and our retirement, we split equally what is left to do with what we please. Any purchases coming out of our joint savings account has to be approved by both of us. No one can go in there at will and take out whatever he/she pleases. Since we started this, I can sincerely say we have never had a disagreement about money.

      This has worked well for us because we don’t have a lot of unequal debt. Also, we have mutual love, respect and trust for the other and know that we would not hurt each other financially.

       

       

    76. On April 28, 2013 @ 9:24 am,
      Brent wrote:
      #76
       



      First things first:

      #10, I realize it is now almost 4 years after you posted your story but i’d like to second the response from #14 that said RUN. …so, yeah, I hope you ran. …about 3 1/2 years ago.

      All of you that said something along the lines of ‘where is the love’, ‘splitting money is not marriage’, ‘married means joint everything’, etc. are either not married or are lucky enough to have married someone that shares your philosophy on money and finance strategy. Please realize that not all of us are as lucky and stop gloating already.

      Anyone whose spouse demands a 50/50 split (or heck ‘demands’ anything for that matter) without at least trying to be reasonable and discuss it should probably consider running like #10 should.

      Those of you with the blended family question of ‘how much should I pay for my spouse’s kids’ needs?’ and ‘how much should I ask my spouse to pay for my kid’s needs?’ I say to lump it into the rest of the shared expenses, and if they have a spine they will happily agree. I’m sure they had an idea that the children were in the picture before you got married, right? they should have understood that it is a package deal.

      #66: I can follow your logic to a point, but that only works in situations where spouse B intentionally stopped advancing their education and/or career and when spouse B is content with their income. I suppose then that spouse B would probably not care if spouse A spent/invested money that A had earned, so the point would be moot anyway. the problem with that and the idea that it is ‘unfair’ to spouse A is that rarely does spouse B willingly stop advancing their career. a spouse cutting back hours or giving up work entirely to take care of children is not really the same as saying “nah, 60k is plenty for me”. In the case of the rare event that it was willing, i’m saying that spouse A probably knew what he/she was getting into when they got married, and shouldn’t look at it as being ‘penalized’.

      My situation is like many listed here, somewhat difficult and not really a candidate for most of the budgeting methods that have been discussed here. All kinds of ideas sound great and should work on paper, but the human element gets involved and everything then gets all muffed up. I am now thinking of different ways to get my spouse to remember what being responsible with money means. I would like to continue to have one account and to be honest I never really consider doing it any other way until recently, when my spouse’s spending starting getting ridiculous, but i’m starting to think that is a pipe dream. I am going to discuss the percent idea soon and see what the spouse thinks, I guess, but who knows if that’ll work. the problem at my house is communication. I may as well tell the dog that we need to talk about major purchases PRIOR to making them and that we should address bills together weekly, for all the good it has done me to try to get my spouse to communicate with me.
      my latest ideas are:

      1- Keep the joint account and practice financial unity, with the exception of one low-limit credit card that the other cannot view statements for for each of us, for gifts for each other and such
      2- Three accounts, one each and one joint. split the bills by the percentage method which are paid from each personal acct, and put a decided upon amount(this could be a fixed number for both or a percentage– i’m not really sure yet) in the joint each month for ‘together’ expenses.
      3- Three accounts as before, only with this idea we split the bills to a point that we have the same amount remaining, which equals the same number contributed to the joint expenses and the same amount to pay for our individual mad money accts.

      I’m currently leaning toward number three. it is less fair for the bigger earner, but i’m thinkin it will be better for the overall happily ever after part.

      Feel free to tell me what any of y’all think, even if it is that I am a dummy.

       

       

    77. On July 12, 2013 @ 12:45 pm,
      Mark wrote:
      #77
       



      My girlfriend and I are having arguments about this same thing. We broke up a while ago and we had setup child support payments (one 2 yr old together). We had it set up so we could make sure everything is documented. Well, we decided to give it another try (for our family) and we are running into arguments. The state says even though we are together, they cannot stop the support. what she wants is an even 50/50 split of the bills moving forward. she wants me to pay 50/50 even though she is getting child support on top of that. Her explanation is that I should not take into account the child support because that is for our son. Am i wrong here when I say it should be more like 30/70 or something like that since I am paying support? If I am wrong I just need to understand as I feel I am getting ripped off but know that sometime I can be stubborn and just need to hear it from outside advice. thanks.

       

       

    78. On February 3, 2014 @ 2:17 am,
      Amnando wrote:
      #78
       



      I wish I knew this a long time ago. My otherhalf made $41,000 last year and I made only $19,000, so he’s making more than double of what I make and we were splitting bills 50/50. I was living paycheck to paycheck and trying to make ends meet. I had two jobs and and I was hardly home and tired from working both jobs trying to pay my bills. This formula made PERFECT sense. He had so much money left over from his checks that he ate out every day and would splurge on anything that he wanted. When it came to birthday presents for familiy or Christmas, I could only afford birthday cards. Sometimes I couldn’t. Because of this formula, I have extra money. I’m not stressing about paying my bills now. I don’t have to use grace periods when paying the bills. Since I have the extra money, I pay them right away. I totally recommend this formula.

       

       

    79. On February 8, 2014 @ 8:51 pm,
      Mesa Crates wrote:
      #79
       



      Really does any of it matter? Women control the finances. They always do.
      And with men biologicall having the obligation to cater to woman, its all to easy for that to be taken advantage of.

      People need to just focus on not fighting or being mad about anything.

       

       

    80. On March 3, 2014 @ 7:26 am,
      Dale wrote:
      #80
       



      #77. Hope you don’t let your GF play you. If I were you, child support would need to be terminated immediately. And in the meantime, I would subtract the child support amount from the percentage of cash I’m allocating for the bills and let her use the Child support to pay your part of the bills when she receives it. Especially, if you are paying through the courts. If she doesn’t think that sounds reasonable, you guys need to end it now. She is being selfish. This not YOUR SONS money. He should have money when you are at risk of jail time if you should get behind? She can’t have it both ways or have you hemmed up for child support and be in a relationship and living together. I wouldn’t go for it. Child support is supplemental income to care for the child as if both parents are in the home. And in this case, both parents ARE in the home. She is just trying to throw more of the financial responsibility on you. Perhaps punishment, or fear of you guys breaking up again. Maybe she knows you’re just a sucker. Some women like to play these games. And say its about “the kids” when its really about them. Don’t be a pansy and stand your ground. You both should be willing to do what’s fair and best for your family. Who’s idea was to set up child support for “documentation” purposes? Hers? That’s about the the dumbest thing I ever heard. Now the state is easily in your business.

       

       

    81. On March 3, 2014 @ 10:44 am,
      Dale wrote:
      #81
       



      #77 I also noticed that the state is saying that they can’t stop child support. Is she getting food stamps or some other assistance? Otherwise, I’ve never heard of that. More reason why I would’ve never volunteered for child support. Once, they have you that’s it. If that is in fact what you did? It seems like you may need to get married. So if you are trying to make it work. I would A) take one for the the team (or your son), for now, and just give her the money. or B) if its cheaper for you to live separate, move out. Because if you take one for the team now. there is a likelihood that your contribution won’t change once you are married. C)combine your income and make child support one the household bills that you pay jointly. Nobody wins and she should share the responsibility. In the end the money all ends in the same place. When you guys get tired of that, you may decide to get married and eliminate child support all together.

       

       

    82. On March 26, 2014 @ 2:05 am,
      7 wrote:
      #82
       



      In response to #77.. include the child support you pay in the household bills then. If she does not agree, she doesn’t have your family’s (nor your) best interest at heart. I could NEVER be with someone that illogical. MOVE ON. File for visitation through the courts and continue to strengthen your relationship with your child.

       

       

    83. On March 26, 2014 @ 2:07 am,
      7 wrote:
      #83
       



      *Sorta what Dale said.. LOL

       

       

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