Monday, October 17, 2011

The Money Series: His and Mine

My post last week for the Carnival of Natural Parenting sparked some interesting comments from my friends and followers.  Here's one:

Lauren @ Hobo Mama said...
I've often heard that money tension is what causes most marital discord, and I can definitely see why. I think it's interesting that you and your partner choose to keep your money separate; I don't hear that solution very often and would love to hear more about it. I also totally agree with prioritizing what you want or need.

Partner-Guy and I keep our money separate for one simple reason:  because we always have.

I had my first job at the age of 13 and I have been responsible for my own finances ever since.  I simply can't imagine not having my own money to spend at my own discretion.  Similarly, Partner-Guy was 45 years old when we first moved in together and our first daughter was born and he was not keen to give over his paycheque to a single shared bank account.

But the reason it really works for us to keep our money separate from each other is because our money comes from totally different sources.  He has a job for which he is generously compensated.  I get my money from the government.

The Canadian government provides money directly to mothers.  I receive $100/month for each child under the age of 6 years.  This is the Universal Child Care Supplement.  I also receive the Canada Child Tax Benefit which is determined by a complicated formula based on number and ages of children as well as family income.  I receive $368/month.  So all together I get $668/month.  Every mother in Canada is entitled to this money, relative to their family circumstances.

I use my money to pay for the cable TV, internet and phone for a total of $140/month.  I also pay $100/month for life insurance for both Partner-Guy and I.  (You might be interested to know that we have a much larger policy on me than on him for the simple reason that without me, he would quit his job and devote himself to being the emotionally-centred rock that our children would need.  On the other hand, without him, I would likely return to work. )

That leaves $420+ per month for other expenses such as clothing, gifts and entertainment/learning opportunities.  Sometimes I pay for our natural gas charges or I pay the water/garbage bill.  Often I have to pay for our trips to the naturopath.  Always, I pay for my personal indulgences at the salon.  I also have a small debt that I am working on repaying.

Partner-Guy is responsible for all of our other expenses.  His income covers the mortgage, the cars (gas, insurance, maintenance), groceries, hydro, property taxes and debt repayment.  Very little of his income is discretionary, yet he often gives me cash to take the children on little day-trips (like to an orchard or an indoor playground) and he gives me a very generous amount for Christmas and on my birthday.

That's how we do it!
How do you and your partner share financial responsibility?

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