There’s nothing that makes people squirm quite like talking about money.
We’re traditionally told that, just like politics and religion, it’s just one of those things we shouldn’t touch on.
But let’s be realistic. The people that usually end up disadvantaged by not talking about money are women.
Because when no one is candid about it, how the hell are we meant to know the best way to do it?!
Carolyn shared that she and her partner have a two-year-old daughter and bought a home together two years ago. But although they have so many shared responsibilities, they’ve kept completely separate bank accounts.
“He owns his own business and works five days per week. I work for an employer four days. He takes home roughly double what I do and we share all bills 50/50 bar the mortgage of which he pays 56 per cent and I pay 44 per cent,” Carolyn shared in a post, which we've published with her permission.
“I’ve been wondering for a while now if this is fair so my question is, what types of arrangements do others have in similar situations where one party earns significantly more?”
There was a flurry of responses from the Outlouders, with many suggesting the only easy way to do things was to pool their money completely.
Carolyn explained it wasn’t her partner’s decision to keep things separate, but rather a conscious choice she made for herself.
“Funnily enough it was me who was reluctant because I’d always been a big believer in keeping bank accounts separate to help maintain financial independence within a relationship,” she told Mamamia.
“The joint bank account discussion was had very early on in my daughter’s life and in hindsight, I really had no grasp of how working part time and financially caring for a child on top of all the other 'life' expenses would take its toll on my bank account.”
Thanks to the advice of Outlouders, Carolyn said they’ve now revisited the situation and agreed that a joint bank account is the only way forward.
"I was absolutely overwhelmed with the amount of people who responded and the level of detail they went into in their responses too. I think it’s a topic women, in particular, feel very passionate about, which makes sense because we’re more often than not the ones who give up work to care for children," she said.
“My partner was actually relieved I agreed to lean on him a little more."
But it got us wanting to know more about all the different ways the Mamamia community split their finances.
Here’s what five more women had to say…
'Everything is split down the middle!'
My partner of 11 years and I have structured our finances to be split down the middle and separate, which seems to be totally different to all our friends who share 100 per cent of everything! I have my own bank account for my expenses, he has his own bank account for his expenses, and we have a shared bank account we both contribute equally to (on a monthly basis) that we use for shared expenses like our mortgage, bills, groceries and anything related to our two dogs. Our logic is that we don't want to consult each other, or nitpick each other on personal purchases, like skincare for me, and jiu jitsu instructionals (niche!) for him so having personal savings on each of our sides bypasses this completely.
Listen to Mamamia's podcast about why you need different bank accounts below. Post continues after the podcast.
'Separate bank accounts is the way!'
My husband and I have a joint offset account for our home loan, but apart from that, we keep everything separate.
He works full-time while I work part-time, so he covers the mortgage then I pay for all the costs for our daughter – daycare, swimming lessons etc. – plus the groceries. We know it’s definitely not the most common way to do things, but it seems to work for us! And it means we never have to sneak money if we want to buy each other a present – or I want to buy myself a ridiculously overpriced moisturiser! Win-win!
'Ours is very unconventional!'
I feel like my partner and I have a very unconventional situation. When she bought her apartment, she vowed that she was doing it herself and 11 years later she still accepts no help. We've lived together for two and a half years and she pays all mortgage, utilities and any expense related to the house e.g. strata or maintenance. Then for groceries, entertainment etc, we're rather loose. I typically cover the cost of groceries and all that comes with that, I cover streaming/entertainment services and we split date-related costs about 50/50. There's not a whole lot of method to our madness but it works for us.
'We spreadsheet everything!'
We have our own bank accounts which we get paid into and also have a joint mortgage offset account. My husband is the money man in our family and so has created a spreadsheet that has the budget for all regular expenses...mortgage, car insurance, school things, health insurance, phones, then our own spending money per month, subscriptions, cleaners, travel...everything. It's actually really cool because if we change our salaries in the spreadsheet it shows that with our current expenses, how long it will take for our mortgage to be paid off.
Anyway, how we manage it month to month is that we can essentially use our money how we want and are in charge of our own personal spending, however, we also have certain things that regularly come out of our own personal accounts. For example, the supermarket comes out of his, all school things come out of mine... it's just easier to manage that way but if one of us starts running short one month because of personal expenses, the other will just transfer some money over to the other.
'Shared is best.'
We have a shared account where we put in when we get paid rent, grocery, bills money etc. when we get paid – we have similar pay but have different expenses that pop up and we will cover each other. Most months it is pretty 50/50. And then we have our own accounts for other spending.
But we are planning to combine all our accounts into one and just have a small amount split out from this into our personal accounts each month – the main reason is to keep each other accountable for saving, and also once we get married in February it's our money, anyway!
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