{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "My boyfriend of 3 years makes about 2.5x my salary (I also have student loans and he doesn’t). He thinks we should continue splitting expenses 50/50 (rent, groceries, date nights, etc). This is someone I plan on marrying, and I’m financially savvy but feel like I’m SO behind with my means/money goals compared to where he’s at. \n\nCurious to know how others approach shared expenses with their SOs? I’ve gotten a lot of mixed advice on this from friends and would love to hear more opinions.", "post_id": "5f20bc4c69bded00209dc41a", "reply_count": 136, "vote_count": 14, "bowl_id": "5976222cab932800101a9ca4", "bowl_name": "Women in Advertising" }

My boyfriend of 3 years makes about 2.5x my salary (I also have student loans and he doesn’t). He thinks we should continue splitting expenses 50/50 (rent, groceries, date nights, etc). This is someone I plan on marrying, and I’m financially savvy but feel like I’m SO behind with my means/money goals compared to where he’s at. Curious to know how others approach shared expenses with their SOs? I’ve gotten a lot of mixed advice on this from friends and would love to hear more opinions.

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My partner's income is less than 1/3 of mine (he started a new career path about a year ago) and has debt. I just paid off all of my debt. Hopefully not forever but for now I pay for most activities and all takeout. Separate rent, separate groceries. We have diff apts but are basically cohabitating during COVID. He has tons more free time though and is way more available to do chores type stuff for me so he often picks up my groceries, runs errands, makes lunches during WFH takes care of the dog etc. I'm still struggling with it but I try to remember it's not forever and he contributes more time to helping me get through my days and has greater emotional bandwidth. I also remind myself that if I end up in this situation I hope he'd help me through in the same way. I agree with everyone on this thread saying it should be a percentage of your income. If that feels too mathematical find things you can each agree to solely contribute to. Like it's understood I always get the takeout and he picks up whatever groceries I can't get in my produce box. He gets really hung up on the percentage and feels like it's focused more on an even split vs supporting eachother and he handles enough of the other work around the house and annoying errand type things that I feel okay about it. I would have a real conversation about how you feel you contribute based on what you have percentage or items.

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I made more than my ex husband, but his company paid for our housing so I paid for things like our honeymoon and fun stuff. My precious boyfriend made a lot more than me and I was paying a lot in student loans, he paid more rent and often paid more for fun stuff or bought dinner so I could pay down my loans. My current boyfriend and I made the same amount pre covid and we both bought a lot of things together, although he would more often pay for dinner and what not. Right now we are living together and he owns his house, I am out of work but have more than enough savings to pay him rent - but instead I don't pay for any house bills and save my money I'm getting from unemployment. Instead I pay for all the groceries and most of the food if we eat out, which we don't often. We did a side project together and got 2k as part of the payment, we spent 1k on paddleboards and the rest went into our joint account (we just got one of those to get me on his health insurance) - so basically it's a balancing act. If he is weird about money you should really talk about it, finances is a hug cause of break ups. Ultimately its his decision what to do with his money, but if this is a forever thing he can think of supporting you in these endeavors as supporting both of you because it would help you get out of debt and have more money to contribute to things in the future. Your debt is kinda his debt if you decide to be partners

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If he insists on splitting 50/50 then you have every right to insist on a lifestyle that is within your means. This may mean a cheaper apartment and cooking in.

likesmart

Precisely this. When my BF and I first moved in together and were selecting a place, he was selecting places far beyond my comfort level at the time (he came from an affluent family and already made more than double my salary)—I told him if he wanted to go above X amount he would need to cover the difference. He agreed that was fair. If the expense is outside of your means, put it in his court to cover it or pass.

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He’s your boyfriend. Everything should be split until you are married, and then, I’m 100% for complete combining of finances, but not before. Married is a commitment to the same goals and that person for life. A boyfriend is a boyfriend.

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We split on pro rata basis. We are at similar levels but he makes a lot more. So we split in the same ratio as our incomes. Seems fair. It comes to around 60:40

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I would talk to him about doing it as ratios of your salary. Explain that you want to pursue some of your money goals too. There’s tons of articles out there on this so he can read about it and see that it’s the recommend way.

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This is how my boyfriend-turned-husband and I have always done it, and this is the only fair and equitable way to do it. 50/50 is not fair and equitable when it effectively taxes one partner at a higher rate than the other.

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Check out Suze Orman's advice on this in her Book for the Young, Fabulous and Broke. In a nutshell, she suggests that couples sacrifice equally as percentages of their income, as opposed to splitting things 50-50. Idea is you both feel equal power in the relationship, no one resents the other for the relationship.

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Every couple is different but for me everything became one pool when I got married. And It’s nearly impossible to do anything but that once kids are in the picture. Unless you had a Prenup before marriage that’s how things will end anyway - one pool split. That’s the way it goes.

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I have always made much more than my husband and we dated for 6 years prior to getting married. We did a more realistic split based on our incomes. I actually have always paid all of our rent and utilities bills. We pay our own credit cards, car payments, insurance. I pay for most of the food, but he cleans the house and does most of the tasks around the house, which I find to be a fair trade off. You just need to split everything fairly and in a scenario where someone is financially more well off than the other, 50/50 isn't fair. If he doesn't budge on it, that's a huge red flag for a lasting relationship. Not being on the same page financially can ruin a marriage, especially if one of you doesn't feel supported when it's a fair expectation.

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My husband makes a lot less than me. (He’s an artist) When we started living together, we added up salaries for total and divided his portion by the total, which came to 25%. So, he paid 25% of rent and other expenses and I paid the 75%. That felt fair to us and we still use this approach even now that we are married.

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When we first started talking marriage I said, “you know my family is going to insist on a prenup for the family property if we ever get married,” so it was brought up long before he proposed. I’m older, make more money, and had been married previously. I told him I wanted to make sure the prenup was fair to both of us so we jointly discussed the key points in it and also each got separate lawyers to represent our interests, detail any alimony (only kicks in if there are kids), etc. talking about it EARLY made the whole process and expectations pretty chill. I think everyone should do it regardless of situation tbh.

When you are ready to combine finances something that worked for us is setting up direct deposit into three accounts: Individual checking account 1 Individual checking account 2 Joint account Do budgeting to decide savings, vacation and other goals. Determine a modest monthly amount that allows you each walking around money. Enough that you can make day to day decisions and also enough that (with reasonable budgeting) it can slowly accumulate. For us when we started this it was $500 per pay period, which got direct deposited into each of our individual checking accounts. The remainder direct deposited into our joint account. All bills paid out of the joint account (adhering to budget) and was further siphoned to our bigger joint purchases that we decided on together. But it also meant we had a bit of money in our own control so that, let’s say, if we bought the other person a gift it was a true gift (we had to save for it and plan) and purchases were at our discretion (no hard feelings when you splurge or are frivolous). And mostly, it helped us realize common goals and make the most of our money. It forced tight financial management that enabled us to get way ahead of our peers early on. Like dieting is more about what you eat than how much you work out, financial health is more about what you spend than how much you make.

likesmart

Yep, this is how we do it too, actually spelled it out this way in the prenup...

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I was engaged to someone like this and in the end it was about selfishness and control! That may not be what’s going on here, he could just be oblivious, but you have to sort it out or you’re going to end up really resenting him. And you can end up in a bad position financially. It should be proportionate to income at the very least; if he’s not willing to do that, as someone said above, you guys should be budgeting to live on what you can comfortably afford, not what he can.

likesmart

That sounds like an unhealthy relationship with an asshole. There were years my BF was making a lot more than me early on and he covered a lot more expenses. There were years we both struggled and cut back. There were years I caught up and made significantly more than him after raises and bonuses. In those years I contributed more. Point is we kept paying our mortgage and other bills, we kept our credit in tact, we budgeted for things together - as a team. We eventually married. We still operate the same way. Marriage is a partnership and it doesn’t have to be a 50/50 split to be equitable.

likehelpful

Love this! I think he’s an asshole too. I wonder if he’s gonna ask her do 50/50 when they have kids and she’s breast feeding. You’re suppose to help each other.

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My advice and what I’ve done for 3 plus years with my partner... we do percentages of our salaries. He makes more than me, so more comes out of his check in “our” account. But we deem it fair. 30% self account 10% savings account 60% joint (mortgage, car, insurance, brockets, etc) It’s worked beautifully.

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With my ex, when we were at two years we moved in together and split things like this: - rent + utilities at percentage of income (I earned more, so I paid more) - joint account: put in $200 each/mo (this was a long time ago, I’d say $400 each/mo now) We did the grocery shop + takeout with the joint. Everything else was what we wanted to do and effective communication. Dinners out or vacations we just talked about whether it was a 50/50, a relative percentage, or a shout. We got shared funds to spend + maintained total individual discretion. It was a good starter approach. I like LD1’s suggestion of adding savings though.

As many smart women have already suggested here, it should be an equal split based on equal percentages of your salaries. The fact that he makes 2.5x your salary and insists on a 50/50 split is very concerning to me. More than the money, it’s what it reveals about his character, integrity and feelings about the relationship.

likesmart

I agree with the others about contributing based on percentage. But I would also encourage you to create a real budget that reflects your goals and target payoff dates. Walk him through it. You two are planning to be married, you should be talking about both of your financial goals.

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Another thing: something that really stresses me out (probably more than it should) is knowing he’s able to save hella $$$ for his/our future more than I can (i.e., wealth, wedding, a house, kids, etc.). I feel inadequate as a future spouse. Is this normal?

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Shortly after my husband and I met he started a business and was making 1/3 what I was. He moved into my condo and we sold that and bought a house when we got married, using the equity I built on my condo. I put significantly more into retirement etc now because he’s still investing in growing the business, but he’s been successful and id rather he focus on building something he loves doing so that our combined income grows rather than making him feel pressure to keep up with costs at all times. I dunno if this helps at all but our roles are switched in terms of gender and he’s just learned to deal with it, be happy for me, and push himself to do well.

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Sound advice from everyone. Split everything with salary percentage OR change lifestyle (showing him the option might make him realize that this will DEF impact your relationship. “Nope no restaurant - go ahead and order takeout, I’ll cook my own food”). My husband and I split 50/50 because we earn practically the same. He had no job for a year and we changed those ratios, I paid for most of things.

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Lol love that example 👑

Things should definitely be kept even based on salary or debt to income ratio. My S/O and I do that currently and it’s allowed him to be able to save more. We also have a shared credit card for expenses but we will also have a shared bank once we close on our house that we each contribute a % of our paychecks to for those shared bills. People who think everything needs to be kept separate or 50/50 before marriage I think are just really old fashioned. Everyone also made it seem like buying a house not married was harder and ...it’s not! The benefit to living with a partner and not a rando is that they are invested in the future with you and should do what it takes to make that future equitable!

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This echos others comments, but I was in the same boat. It felt like he could always do the “fun stuff” because he had more disposable income and it wasn’t healthy for our relationship. Ultimately, we examined our gross pay and it came out to 65/35 split. We then calculated our monthly expenses + how much we wanted to save for a wedding + travel fund. Then he put 65% of that number as an auto transfer every month, and I did the other 35%. We put all expenses from that joint account so that way we only focus on what’s “ours”. It was not an easy conversation because we grew up with different relationships with money. I tried to equate it to taxes and at one point I remember saying, “So you think you’re more entitled to the park because you make more than me.” But between that convo and a radically transparent convo about our individual spending, he realized how thin my margins were comparatively and how that shapes my approach to joint expenses.

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I haven’t even looked at other comments but honestly? That’s crap. Your contribution should be a reflection of how much you earn. Period.

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Not even just that. What if she/he the one taking care of cooking cleaning house (not yet them but children) all that has to be also taking into account.

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Omg you’re not an inadequate future spouse for making less! Strangely when I met my fiancé we were making the same (I’m a producer, he’s an attorney) BUT he had trust fund money coming in. And then of course he got good jobs in a row and is at market rate 3x my salary (and he had school paid for of course 🙄). 5 years later, we are completing our prenup and as a stipulation, from the community property we will both max our retirement accounts so that I’m not effectively washing away my income on expenses and not taking care of that while in the marriage. That way theoretically it would soften the blow should we divorce. But we’ve had many arguments over the years. I guess my only recco is not to get too stuck in arguments now, like if you don’t have enough and he wants something, say so and don’t feel bad! Or take your check and fulfill your retirement and what’s left is what you can share...Communication and honesty is key. But find out soon he knows how to share 😉

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CD2 that's not always the case. Asset distribution depends on any legal arrangements such as a prenuptial, which state you are filing in, and if the divorce is contested. When I divorced, my ex and I chose to retain our own retirement funds even though I made more than him and had contributed longer. While I know others in my state who lost their entire funds to their exes.

My partner and I split based on percentages because he makes 3 times what I do. We do spread sheets of all household expenses (grocery, rent etc.) at the end of every month and then split it 65/35 and just etransfer the difference to each other if someone spent more or less than the split amount. I’d reco using mint to work out and categorize stuff easily. It works out well for us both and neither of us have issues reaching saving goal or paying off student debts or being able to spend on our own hobbies with it split this this way.

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