Question about Financial Understanding in Marriage for the Self Employed
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    Default Question about Financial Understanding in Marriage for the Self Employed

    How to share / separate financial responsibilities in marriage for the self-employed?

    --

    My SO of just over 2 years and I are considering marriage in the next year. She has never been married before. This will be my second...

    I learned the hard my that when a couple does not have the same ideas when it comes to the household finances, a life of stress, misunderstanding, and unhappiness is sure to follow.

    My SO and I had a similar upbringing. We come from educated families and had the things we needed growing up. After school, I chose the road less traveled. She chose the more secure path. We have both become somewhat successful in our chosen careers.

    However, I have noticed a few core differences between us. I, having taken the road less traveled struggled for years to put food on the table as I was on my own at the age of 17 far away from home.

    To this day, she has never lived alone so, has always never had the responsibility of providing solely for herself...ie paying rent, utilities, etc.

    And in my opinion, because of this, we have different levels of comfort.

    She: She loves to work but, believes that is it the man's job to provide.

    I: I am open to either sharing the finances or being the sole bread winner in the family providing the fact that my SO will be content with the life-style I am able to provide. If not, I would rather share the responsibility equally.

    She: Would like to be able to eat out 2-3 times a week and have a monthly food budget of $1,000 (rough estimate).

    I: Would rather eat out less or order cheaper things on the menu and save half that money.

    She: Should we have children, she would like to put them in private school and give them the best education available. (She went to private boarding school)

    I: would prefer a public school in a good neighborhood because I believe that the No. 1 influence in a child's life is in at home. I would prefer to be supportive but, have our children "earn" their education.

    She: is keen on having our children put in daycare. So we can work to provide for their education.

    I: think it would be better to have the mother at home (at least part-time) as I do not like the idea of someone else raising our children. It would also be cheaper.

    I realize that a lot of this planning may be too early to decide and that many of these topics will take a lot of discussion to find out what works best for us.

    I guess what I am asking to those that are married:

    Do you contribute equally to the household finances?

    If any of you are self-employed: How do you ensure that you can still invest money into and save money for the business while you provide for your family at the same time?

    What is the best way to determine how much we each put into a joint household account?


    Thanks in advance.

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    Registered User beks37's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maipenrai View Post
    She: Would like to be able to eat out 2-3 times a week and have a monthly food budget of $1,000 (rough estimate).

    I: Would rather eat out less or order cheaper things on the menu and save half that money.
    Wow, I'm with you on this one! $1,000 is a ton for 2 people for a monthly food budget!

    I think it's important to come to agreements on things, sounds like you have differences in several areas and a compromise may need to happen.

    My husband and I both contribute to the finances what we make, we have one joint account the money goes into and I pay all the bills. We have the same values on me working vs. not working, children's daycare, children's education, etc.

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    Registered User Lady_V's Avatar
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    It looks as if there are a lot of decisions ahead of you both. The differences are more than just financial.

    I guess what I am asking to those that are married:

    Do you contribute equally to the household finances? No, but I did in the first marriage until I became a mother and it was a joint decision I become a SAHM

    If any of you are self-employed: How do you ensure that you can still invest money into and save money for the business while you provide for your family at the same time? N/A for us

    What is the best way to determine how much we each put into a joint household account? In the beginning, we each put in for half the bills, like we did while we were single but living together. Once I became a SAHM, all the money was 'our' money, but I had to keep some money in different accounts, earmarked for designated spending (ie: baby's clothes/needs, groceries, etc) because the spending wasn't 'equal'. He was spending twice what our mortgage was on suppliments (he's a body builder).


    That marriage resulted in a divorce. A civil one... we're still best of friends, but we had so many differences in what we wanted out of life. He had the potential to advance, but he had no desire.

    Best of luck with the road ahead of you
    Last edited by Lady_V; 05-13-2010 at 11:16 AM. Reason: -spelling

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    Registered User frugalfriend's Avatar
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    It sounds like you two need to get on the same page on a lot of things before you can think about getting married. Your opinions are so different on really important issues in marriage and raising a family. I strongly recommend that you talk these things out BEFORE you get married and either come to a compromise or realize that maybe you don't want the same things in life, and avoid what you said happened with your first marriage. Agreement over money is definitely one of the biggest struggles in a marriage. I wish you all the best!

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    Registered User Greebo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maipenrai View Post
    How to share / separate financial responsibilities in marriage for the self-employed?
    Attend FPU for starters...

    To this day, she has never lived alone so, has always never had the responsibility of providing solely for herself...ie paying rent, utilities, etc.
    My opinion? Do yourself a favor and don't marry her until she's lived on her own for 2 years.
    She: She loves to work but, believes that is it the man's job to provide.

    I: I am open to either sharing the finances or being the sole bread winner in the family providing the fact that my SO will be content with the life-style I am able to provide. If not, I would rather share the responsibility equally.
    You both need to get on the same page before - BEFORE - marriage.

    She: Would like to be able to eat out 2-3 times a week and have a monthly food budget of $1,000 (rough estimate).
    Great GOOGA MOOGA.

    She: is keen on having our children put in daycare. So we can work to provide for their education.
    Wait you're supposed to provide, so she doesn't have to work, but then not raise the kids?

    RED FLAG! RED FLAG!

    I guess what I am asking to those that are married:

    Do you contribute equally to the household finances?
    Yes, we each contribute 100%. We have budget update meetings every 2 weeks with planning every 4.

    If any of you are self-employed: How do you ensure that you can still invest money into and save money for the business while you provide for your family at the same time?
    We're not self employed yet - but when the time comes, we'll take a salary from the business and budget the household on that.

    What is the best way to determine how much we each put into a joint household account?
    Back when we both kept separate accounts, we added up our incomes and our expenses. We divided E by I and each gave that % of our I to cover household E.

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    Thank you all for your replies. You have definitely given me some food for thought.

    --

    I have actually done gone through the FPU DVDs recently. It has helped me put things into order and make better financial decisions.

    My SO and I have discussed many of the things stressed in FPU and see have similar opinions regarding most of it. She has always been good at saving money.

    She is debt free. I am very close to being debt free and would be by the time we marry.

    I am a believer in premarital counseling and she is on board with it as well so that is a plus.

    I think it is a matter of deciding where to compromise regarding each of our differences.

    However, before we can compromise, I feel that she will need to realize the cost of what she says she wants.

    It's one thing to say you want something. It's another thing to say you want something and be financial responsible for making it happen.

    --

    One thing I may have been misleading about is saying that she does not want to work or that she feels that is is just the man's duty to provide.

    She loves to work and plans to work full time. However, she would like to have the same lifestyle she is accustomed. I do not think she understands that she would not be able to have that same life style on her salary should she have needed to pay for everything one does when they live alone.

    --

    One thing is for sure, we are not rushing into anything. I think the idea of her living on her own first is a great one.

    She actually just accepted a job for a minimum of 1 year and will need to live on her own and provide for herself fully for the first time in her life.

    I am all for this decision of hers for 2 reasons:

    *She will be able to do what she loves.

    **I think that living in an expensive place on a less than an ideal salary will give her some insight on what things really cost.

    It is my hope that this experience will make comprising a lot easier for us in the future.

    --

    The idea of giving myself a salary from my business and applying it to the household is doable. The question is though...

    How much(%)?

    Being self-employed in an industry I enjoy, work and play are the same for me. I try to avoid other personal expenses for tax reasons.

    One idea that crosses my mind regarding household finances is:

    That we live according to our means and I match what ever amount she is able to put into the household?

    I am quite open-minded regarding the lifestyle of choice, schooling, housing, food allowance, etc provided I can still have extra money to do the things I enjoy and also save for a rainy day.

    What do you all feel about this scenario? Is it too much of a "me vs her" mindset?

    If so, I would like to know because I think being an "us" is the only way to succeed in marriage.

    Thanks again.

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    Registered User mek42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maipenrai View Post
    ...

    I have actually done gone through the FPU DVDs recently. It has helped me put things into order and make better financial decisions.

    ...

    One thing I may have been misleading about is saying that she does not want to work or that she feels that is is just the man's duty to provide.

    She loves to work and plans to work full time. However, she would like to have the same lifestyle she is accustomed. I do not think she understands that she would not be able to have that same life style on her salary should she have needed to pay for everything one does when they live alone.

    ...
    Go back to DR session 4, dumping debt. He talks about how most new families end up in debt in the first place because they are trying to live the lifestyle that their parents enjoyed after years of saving and raises, etc.

    As an aside, my biggest personal maturation difference happened in my life when I started paying my own bills. Relative to a 4 year college right after high school schedule, there is a bigger difference in maturity and character between the ages of 23 and 21 than there is between 21 and 16. This is, of course, my opinion.

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    Registered User frugalfriend's Avatar
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    You are right on in my opinion when you say you need to have an "us" mindset in marriage. So important! Also, living within your means is crucial. I think it would be very important for you to go to premarital counseling and discuss all of these things. Do you attend church or plan to marry in a church? There is almost always free premarital counseling available. It is great that you would both be debt free before you marry, great way to start off a new marriage. And important that your SO would live on her own for awhile and see what it's really like out there. Maybe after doing so she would be more likely to compromise on things?

    My dh has his own business/self employed and as far as paying himself a salary, he determined what he could afford to pay us on a regular basis and we have stuck with it. He draws a monthly salary and I'm responsible to pay the bills, budget, and save what we can. If the business makes more he will increase it as he is able. I have been a SAHM for 15 years and it works for us because we are both committed to it. We have one joint account for everything.

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    Quote Originally Posted by maipenrai View Post
    ..... She has always been good at saving money.

    She is debt free. I am very close to being debt free and would be by the time we marry............I think it is a matter of deciding where to compromise regarding each of our differences.

    However, before we can compromise, I feel that she will need to realize the cost of what she says she wants..............She loves to work and plans to work full time. However, she would like to have the same lifestyle she is accustomed. I do not think she understands that she would not be able to have that same life style on her salary should she have needed to pay for everything one does when they live alone.
    Two things that jumped out at me were "she has always been good at saving money" & "she is debt free". Obviously she's been doing something right. While you on the other hand will be debt free prior to getting married, if she chooses to marry you.

    I didn't live on my own before I married, many people don't. Just because she has never had to live by herself doesn't make her clueless about expenses.

    I guess what I am trying to say is if my husband had came to me with what you have stated here...I wouldn't have married him. But, that's just me. When you get married plans change over the years, they change depending on a lot of factors. While it's a good idea to know whether your SO wants children and that you have pretty much similar long term goals, morals & values it sounds like you want some things written in stone before getting married. If you have as many concerns as you have stated here, then perhaps getting married isn't such a great idea.

    I was pretty much a SAHM, but found outside work when our financial situation warrented doing so. I may not have contributed $$$ to our family, but I still contributed 100%.
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    I think it is very important to be on the same page when marrying. I think the most important things are money, values, morals and if you want children or not.
    I think it is relatively easy to be debt free and have savings when you have no other expenses.
    I got married at 21 and did not live alone before I married and the real problem occurs when you are used to a specific lifestyle and then the bills come in. You have to be will to pay the bills and forego the lifestyle.
    Some of the other things that you posted will have to be compromised on and others will be decided when they happen.

    My dh started a business when our ds were in hs. Money was not needed to be reinvested so we paid the business expenses and lived off the rest. I also was a sahm and did all the budgeting of the money. We were both ok not getting things when we could not afford it.

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    "I am quite open-minded regarding the lifestyle of choice, schooling, housing, food allowance, etc provided I can still have extra money to do the things I enjoy and also save for a rainy day."

    I've got to say that if your future wife believes a private education is for the best interest of your children and your worried about having enough money for your own interests there's trouble down that road. I've never known a single parent who has not sacrificed what they want to provide what they believe is best for their children. Think this through, if you do send the kids to a private school and you can't have your interests because of it you'll resent them and her. If you send your kids to public school and your future wife believes this is a subpar education and it is destroying your childrens future she's going to resent all those toys/interest/hobbies you have. If you had listed savings for your future and not your own interests first maybe you'd have had a more sympathic ear here, but your statement sends up serious red flags. Perhaps you should rethink the really wanting kids thing, nothing wrong with not having kids, that is unless your SO is set on it. They ARE expensive, you will do without, and it should be a privilage to provide them with the best education possible, even if that means doing without your fun things temporarly.

    You also mentioned she attended a boarding school, I would think it would be extremely difficult for her to enter into the role of regular mom with kids at home if not down right impossible to master a role she's never had rolemodeled for her. Frankly, one would think you'd have to have a very intense desire to be Suzie homemaker to be able to pull it off if you had been raised in a boarding school. That's what's normal to her, anything else and well she'd certainly be a fish out of water.


    Your future wife seems to have pretty much laid it on the line for you. This is what she expects and I'm doubting any counseling will erase the disappointment she'll feel when she does not get it. My husband was pretty clear about housework (among other things) prior to marriage, namely, he hated it and would NOT be doing any of it. If I had married him thinking I could change that about him we'd both be miserable. That said, counseling is a stellar idea, it will give you both a chance to see each other's point of view and will expose if indeed you are both willing and able to make the sacrifices. It's better to know in advance what you're facing then to head into something blindly and end up with a divorce.

    I wish you the very best in the future.

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    Registered User mombottoo's Avatar
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    OP didn't say she doesn't have bills, he said she never lived alone and had to foot all the bills herself. I take that to mean that she either lives with her parents (which he didn't say) or she has a room mate (which he didn't say either). He was vague...

    I also don't think they had similar upbringings since she went to boarding school & he lived on his own since he was 17 & he's already been married & divorced...nothing similar there.
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    Thank you for the replies. To answer a few of your questions:

    When I said that I would like to have extra money for things that I enjoy, I meant that I will still need to be able to have the ability to continue to invest in my business because I still have plans to expand.

    I am not a stranger to going without and would have no problem sacrificing my wants and desires for my children's benefit.

    I agree. I SO has done a great job up until now remaining debt free. She has budgeted very well.

    What I meant by making this statement is that, I think that has been possible in part, because she still lives at home (with her parents) and her education was paid for by them as well.

    I understand that there are no guarantees in life. I have made mistakes in the past. It is my hope that by addressing these topics early that we will be able to compromise so that things continue to go well as they have up until now if and when we decide to get married.

    Simply put, I am trying to find that balance between running a business and living a lifestyle comfortable to us both, without jeopardizing the well-being of the business because it will most likely be our main source of income.

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    Registered User Thevail's Avatar
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    Dh and I got married 14 years ago, it was his first and my third marriage.

    I'd also learned the hard way that for the horses to pull the carriage forward.. they have to be facing the same way.

    So we talked.. and talked.. and talked.. until we were both going crazy from it. He thought it was a woman thing.. I thought it was a necessary for a good marriage thing.

    We decided then, before we were married, how we'd handle things like home purchases, child raising, spending money, buying cars, etc.

    And sure, we've made adjustments along the way.. no plan survives contact with the enemy unaltered.. but overall we've pretty much stuck to our guns. And it's worked out for 14 years (knock wood).

    I wanted to stay home and raise our daughter.. he agreed that it was a good idea, but wondered if it was practical financially. I told him, it is if we just accept that we'll be poorer than other people who have both parents working.

    So we just accepted that, and decided to get REALLY GOOD at being poor. (Most of the information you need to do that is scattered all over this site!)

    And it wasn't as bad as we thought it might be, either.

    Whatever decision you two reach will have to be what BOTH of you can agree to, and BOTH of you can live with.

    But it is really crucial to set out very clear ideas and expectations from the word go, because I'm willing to bet that the term "financially Ok" doesn't even mean the same thing to both of you.

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    Thevail,

    Thank you for your insight. You are right when you said that we have a difference in opinion when it comes to the words "financially OK".

    As your husband and you had to do, My SO and I will really need to sit down, discuss these topics, and tentatively make some of these important decision before marriage with the help of a marriage counselor.

    When it comes to being self-employed, perhaps deciding on a "salary" that the business can pay us is the best way to go about things... as long as we accept the fact that that can go up and down over time.

    Thanks.

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