If You Love Your Spouse, You’d Make Them Financially Independent

If you love your spouse, you'd make them financially independent. If you don't truly love your spouse, then you'd make them depend on you for all their financial needs.

Depending on someone for money is a terrible feeling. Imagine being a grown adult and returning home to live with your parents after four years of college.

Every time you go out, you've got to ask them for a couple bucks to buy a loaf of bread or more likely, beer money to hang out with your buddies.

Now imagine marrying someone, giving up your job to raise a family, and being entirely dependent on your working spouse for all your spending needs. A common situation, but is it ideal?

It's one thing to depend on someone for money as a kid. However, it's another thing to be dependent on someone as an adult with so much education and experience.

For all this talk about the desire for financial independence, it's odd that some couples aren't willing to establish separate financial accounts to allow each other more freedom. There should be a concurrent quest to build your couple's finances together and separate.

My Husband Is A Rich Controlling Miser

I recently received an e-mail from a reader who highlights the point about the importance of financial independence in a marriage. I asked her to elaborate her thoughts on the subject after her initial e-mail, and this is what she wanted me to share. She clearly loves her spouse, but she has issues too.


It's been a while since we last corresponded, but I wanted to drop in and say how much I agree with you regarding the importance of having separate financial accounts.

My husband and I are worth about $4 million, up from $900,000 in 2012. Last year, he made over $1 million from his business, but you would never know it.

We live in a house worth less than 40% of our annual gross income, while some people spend 3-5X their annual income on a house. We have a 10+ year old car and he prefers to bike everywhere. 

I've been a stay at home mother for the past 10 years. I help out with our business where I can. However, between picking up our daughter from school and shuttling her between activities, I admittedly don't do a large amount of business work as I used to. It's his baby.

I've been with my husband since the business first started. For years, we hardly made any money and I was his support system. I did a lot of the grunt work in the beginning to help lift the business off the ground.

I was also a happy, independent woman who had a day job before our daughter was born. Having my own paycheck to spend is liberating.

Despite the rise in our wealth and our income, I felt trapped. We only have joint accounts with different spending habits. My husband is a miser who wants me to run all expenditures by him first. We're talking about even a $25 toy for our daughter.

If I spent $1,000 more a month, it wouldn't make a dent to our budget. We only spend about $4,000 a month and pull in over $100,000 a month. However, to him, spending $1,000 more a month would be a big “no no.” That would would be a 25% increase. That's right, spending more than 5% of our monthly income is way too much for him to handle. That cheap bastard.

My Husband Is Too Frugal!

He simply cannot let go of his excessively frugal ways, even if it was hurting our relationship. As you know, being a stay at home parent is hard work. I resent having to “ask for permission” before buying anything, even it's for our family.

My husband spends more time on his business and on his hobbies than he does with me and his daughter. He's always jockeying to promote his business by doing interviews and TV spots. It's nauseating how full of himself he is.

He tells people publicly how little he cares about money to justify his parsimonious ways. But in secret, he is money crazy. All he wants is more of it!

Given our differences, I decided to get a divorce after 15 years of marriage. It was a tough call but I'm much happier to have my freedom back.

He bought another house close by while my daughter and I stay in our original home to reduce disruption. I think you called it “bird nesting.” I call it stupidity because it was an unnecessary $300,000 expense if we would have worked things out.

He can hoard his money as he pleases. I'm now free to do as I please with half our assets.


Financially Free

Love Your Spouse: File For Divorce

If you haven't figured it out by now, money is one of the top 10 reasons why couples divorce. Financial dependence is the worst!

The other reasons include: infidelity, lack of communication, constant bickering, weight gain, unrealistic expectations, lack of intimacy, lack of equality, not being prepared for marriage, and abuse.

If you have one spouse making all the money, there will naturally be a lack of equality, no matter how much you believe there isn't.

It's like a couple owning a car. If one spouse only has the keys, that spouse determines their destination most of the time.

Think about the power dynamics in the workplace and how it is frowned upon for managers to date their subordinates. Think about the #MeToo Movement.

If you want to control your spouse, then feel free to make more money and throw up checkpoints before every dollar can be spent. The lack of equality between spouses is a bigger problem than society recognizes.

No wonder why divorce is so common among wealthy people.

Ways To Make Your Spouse Financially Independent

  • Marry. Marriage brings about stability for the less wealthy spouse. Assets accumulated after the marriage will be divided equally in a divorce. Alternatively, assets will be distributed based on the conditions of the prenup. A spouse will also receive their deceased spouse's Social Security benefits.
  • Sign a prenuptial agreement. Although not romantic, a prenuptial agreement helps protect the less wealthy spouse in case of a divorce through not fault of their own. The longer the marriage, the more at risk financially a non-working spouse becomes. The greater the net worth difference before marriage, the greater the importance of a prenuptial agreement.
  • Establish independent financial accounts. Independent financial accounts should be additions to a couple's main joint accounts. The independent accounts should be seen as “pressure release valves.” They give each spouse the freedom to spend as they choose.
  • Create a business and give ownership. A business is a separate legal entity that can have whatever ownership structure you want. One way to create more equality is to give a greater percentage of ownership to the spouse who earns less or doesn't earn at all. Not only does this show good faith, but a higher ownership structure might also motivate the spouse to work hard at building the business.
  • Contribute extra to their retirement accounts. If one spouse has less in his or her retirement accounts, the other spouse can contribute more to create more balance. Given you can't contribute to someone else's 401(k), it's best to help build your spouse's after-tax investment accounts. You can, however, elect to contribute more to your child's 529 plan.
  • Pay down their debt. Paying down one spouse's credit card and/or student loan debt upon first entering a marriage is a very strong gesture. Even if there continues to be an income imbalance, the spouse whose debt was paid off will feel incredibly liberated and appreciative.
  • Assign an income to the SAH parent. If one spouse works and another spouse is a stay at home parent, then assign an income amount for the stay at home parent. No job is more important than taking care of a child. Therefore, the stay at home parent should be paid top dollar. Do an honest assessment of the number of hours the SAH parent works in a 24-hour period. A six-figure income for a SAH parent is completely reasonable, especially if the household lives in a high cost of living area.
  • Make sure your kids are financially taken care of. Even if your marriage doesn't make it, it's important for your children to always be taken care of. This means funding a 529 college savings plan, opening up a custodial Roth IRA, writing a will, creating a death file, and potentially setting up a revocable living trust. Your spouse becomes becomes more financial independent when they no longer have to worry about their children.
  • Create A SLAT (Spousal Lifetime Access Trust).  A SLAT is an irrevocable trust where one spouse makes a gift into a trust to benefit the other spouse (and potentially other family members) while removing the assets from their combined estates. All appreciation of transferred assets are not subject to estate taxes.

Love Your Spouse: Set Your Partner Free

I've seen too many divorces where the wife ended up in financial turmoil because she had sacrificed her career for her husband and family. Then they broke up. Being out of the workforce for years makes finding work difficult.

By helping make your spouse independently wealthy, no matter what happens to your relationship, your spouse will always be fine. This is true love. Besides, marrying your equal is better than marrying rich. It's better to come from nothing and build your wealth together.

The key is to be selfless and think about the bigger picture. Don't be that rich, miserly, ex-husband as one reader described above. Having millions of dollars but nobody to spend it with is sad.

Financial freedom is a wonderful gift to give. When I helped my wife negotiate a severance in 2015, I was thrilled for her. Before 2015, she was so focused on climbing the corporate ladder. But she was passed over for a promotion one year and it crushed her spirit. When she finally left, it was the most incredible feeling for both of us.

If you seek financial independence, then you must also give financial independence. Strive for equality every day. This is the best way to love your spouse.

Love Your Spouse And Keep Track Of Your Finances

The best way to build financial harmony is by tracking your finances together. To do so, sign up with Empower, the best free financial tool online. I've used Empower with my wife to track our finances since 2012 and it has been a huge help.

Before Empower we had to log into eight different systems to track 35 different accounts. Now we can just log into Empower to see how my stock accounts are doing. I can easily track my net worth and spending as well. 

Empower's 401(k) Fee Analyzer tool is saving me over $1,700 a year in fees. Finally, there is a fantastic Retirement Planning Calculator to help you manage your financial future.

Love your spouse and track your finances together!

Personal Capital Retirement Planner Free Tool - love your spouse
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Buy The Best Personal Finance And Money Relationship Book

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Buy This Not That Book Best Seller On Amazon

The Average Net Worth For The Above Average Couple (net worth targets to shoot for)

How To Get Your Spouse To Work Longer So You Can Retire Earlier (fun post)

Solving The Happiness Conundrum In Five Moves Or Less

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154 thoughts on “If You Love Your Spouse, You’d Make Them Financially Independent”

  1. Just wanted to chime in about a book that changed the way my husband and i talked about money: Smart Couples Finish Rich by David Bach. I was recommended this book by a friend early in my marriage and am forever grateful for it! Husband and i were already living together and having separate accounts for 5 years (with some money squabbles for sure!), but didnt know how to handle our finances after marriage. I read the book to him during a long-distance drive and using the book’s guidance, we made some crucial decisions together on how we would manage our money. Money conversations have gotten heck of a lot easier, even though i sometimes have to break the bad news of poorly performing funds. I would highly recommend couples to work through the book and talk about money, perhaps even before getting married (!) so you dont find out too late if you’re financially incompatible.

  2. “Sign a prenuptial agreement. Although not romantic, a prenuptial agreement helps protect the less wealthy spouse in case of a divorce through not fault of their own. The longer the marriage, the more at risk financially a non-working spouse becomes. The greater the net worth difference before marriage, the greater the importance of a prenuptial agreement.”

    This seems counter intuitive to me. Can you explain? I married a wealthier man and soon had to give up my own lucrative professional career when his required a move across country. I retired to follow him. No income in 15 years. Pre-nup is horrible and provides a total of less than I would have earned in 2 years. How is that protecting the “less wealthy spouse”?

  3. This is such an important topic! At the end of the day, both partners are “trapped” together in a marriage unless they have enough net worth as a couple for them to get divorced and still each be financially independent.

    For this reason, my husband and I have decided to shoot for roughly double what we truly need to retire before quitting our lucrative careers. I hope we don’t ever divorce, but I’m 38 and he’s 44 – if we live another 56 decades who knows what will happen, what I may want, what he may want. I refuse to end up one of the many 50-something women having to go back to work after divorce after years if not decades outside the workforce, hoping to make half what I used to earn.

    And for the record we both make about the same amount ($300-$400K) and share finances including just one joint checking account. But we both spend whatever we want on our individual credit cards (which get paid from the joint account, which is where all income, including gifts to me from my parents each year, are deposited). I had 5x the net worth he did when we married, but we opted against a prenup as we had no idea who would make more, if we’d have kids, who might raise them, etc. Part of the point of marrying for us was to build wealth together, and we have done that. But I still want to protect my future self to the extent possible.

  4. Interesting topic .
    In my case it’s exactly the opposite .
    My wife wants me to spend more from our savings as she thinks life is short and wants to enjoy .
    I am retired and depend on my 401k for monthly expenses . I try to explain to my wife that we need to be conservative in spending as I don’t want to outlive our savings .

  5. I’m a little surprised that you connected this persons letter of divorcing their spouse to not having separate bank accounts and financial independence.

    Let’s be real… they would have still divorced.

    It seems to me the answer might be a little more obvious:

    They didn’t share the same core values.

    Separate accounts for this couple would have only led to dishonesty and deceit (which there probably already was).

    Different accounts and paying yourself or spouse a “salary” (aka an allowance) feels tactical at best, at worse it’s financial control.

    Marrying someone whom shares your same core values, having open and honest dialogue, and being willing to compromise in times of disagreement seem like a much better recipe for a healthy marriage and joint financial plan.

  6. I liked the last two comments a lot.
    I was bothered by the tone of some of the previous comments, some people seemed to have much resentment towards their spouses, and the other gender.
    Sam has always respected Sydney and appreciates how much effort she puts into raising their children. He also enjoys caring for them. His children are so lucky.
    I am 80 years old and have enjoyed all my life. I was extremely fortunate to have loving parents who encouraged me, a girl, to break the barriers. And a husband who has always been so supportive.
    We got married at 22, first baby at 23 and now married for 58 years. We emigrated from the UK in 1982 and both started again.
    On reflection, my mother especially was my driving force. As little debt as you can manage. The mortgage is the first one, house buy immediately. Graduate from university before you marry and go back to extend your qualifications.
    But her main advice, which I have carried with me for all these years was that a woman, you have to be self sufficient. Always. So I worked till I was 75 to maximize MY SS. I loved teaching so that was no hardship. And I also maxed out my 403b account. And then maxed out MY Roth IRA. And I have worked for the past 5 years as a substitute teacher in my local school district. I got Covid money when I couldn’t work because of Covid. I still substitute now because it pays the grocery bills (as my husband says). And it benefits my city.
    But it means that it benefits my husband because we have always pulled together.
    Good advice from a woman whose husband was called up in 1938 and served till 1946 AND brought up 3 children AND paid the mortgage.

    1. Me again.
      I have always been horrified at the number of my female friends who don’t open retirement accounts but put all their incomes at their families’ disposal. Leaving employer money on the table and letting their husbands do the retirement contributions.
      Ladies, you will be in poverty when you reach old age.
      Please look out for yourself.

      1. Hi Jo, I hope women pay attention to your message. I am easy to ignore since I am a man and people don’t want to be “mansplained.”

        But as a husband and a father to a daughter, I really care about the financial independence of both partners in a relationship.

        Maybe my goal should be to have this message given by a woman in the form of a future guest post. If you’re up for it, let me know!

        1. Yes I will do it for you.
          I am passionate about empowering women. People don’t realize that there are at least 2 parts to a partnership.

          1. Thank you! My e-mail can be found in the About page towards the bottom.

            This is another point to mention for your post:

            “Women tend to live longer than men. Actually, that’s a financial downside as well, Whitney Pesek, director of childcare policy at the National Women’s Law Center, previously told Insider.

            “While women end up with less retirement income than men, they also tend to usually need more retirement savings because women tend to live longer than men,” she said. “Women are more likely to be single later in life and have higher health costs than men as they age.”

  7. Bitter to Richer

    I think this is one time I might have to disagree with you a bit! My wife and I have no separate financial accounts at this point. I think if both spouses have a truly equal say in the financial management, and open lines of communication, the relationship can still be perfectly healthy. If my wife or I have to go over budget, we simply re-evaluate our current budget and if that was a one-time expense or if we genuinely have a need to increase the budget. With that being said, she is not a stay-at-home spouse yet. She has voiced the desire to do so in the future (once we have kids), which is perfectly fine with me. When that time comes, perhaps we’ll adapt to something more similar to what’s laid out here, but I think what will end up happening is that she’ll take a more active role in the finances and I can step back a bit (which is a load off of me, to be frank). However, I doubt we’ll have separate financial accounts.

    As a secondary note, prenups are fantastic. Many think they kill the romance, but they open up communication a lot as you look towards marriage. Also, a prenuptial agreement can help BOTH people. A lot of people seem to view it as a way for one spouse to exert control over the other, but that’s simply not the case (unless you have exceptionally bad counsel, I suppose).

    Also, I want to point out that separate accounts definitely has merit, and may work for some, but I’m not sold on it being a one-size-fits-all solution.

    1. All good to disagree! Everyone should do what they think is best in their household.

      But I would like you to send this post to your wife and ask her thoughts and let me know! Thanks

      1. Bitter to Richer

        Got her to read it!

        She wouldn’t actively recommend separate accounts, but she gets the thought process. I’m paraphrasing, but she basically said that the system which works for the couple – where both people feel like they’re having a say – is right for them. In her opinion the actual practice can vary wildly. In our case it isn’t separate accounts, but she said she can see why a lot of women want that depending on their partner or background.

        She loved your comments on retirement accounts. Most people forget to make up some of the difference when a spouse stops working and loses access to things like a company match. We had even recently been discussing how we wanted to handle that too.

    2. I am one of those 50yo women….out of the work force at least 20 yrs now…..having raised my kids already, 1 absolutely perfect grandson, blessed with family. Not so blessed with a fair marriage. My husband absolutely exerts power and control over me with his money. He admits to doing this, he won’t deny it. It turns out to be all kinds of bad treatments. I feel bad all the time about it. So the case really is that it CAN absolutely be the case.
      I’ve been married to my husband now for 11 yrs. In this 11 yrs time I moved his parents 3 times out of city, handled the sales of those homes, found and handled the purchase of 3 homes, cared for his father’s pets, handled the sale of a home out of state, once they passed I took care of all the business side of things (remains/certificates/legal) whereas all the while while busting my ass for his family all the while I’m moved away from my kids (which I stayed home to raise for 20yrs), develop an aggressive form of breast cancer, chemotherapy, 5 surgeries, 2 of which almost took my life…… the whole 9 yards. I was dying. But I didn’t. I am cancer free today after 3 years of fighting it and 2 years of healing from the fight. Then COVID hit. Although fully vaxxed I, I fully got the virus. Not once……but twice. And hear I am today with symptoms of Long Covid (I get the distorted smell and fatigue).
      It’s my birthday. Not just any birthday, my 50th. I haven’t had a special birthday in 10 years. Not one. I left him this morning after starting a fight with me at 5am as I’m packing our truck to leave on a road trip (all of us were going) us and 6 dogs with 2000 miles to destination. Confidence in his voice as he berates me with his first words of the day being “you need to walk the dogs in pairs. And today is no more special than any other day”.
      That was it. No more. And with $90 in my account and $870k in his, a portion of that being mine from sale of our house last month. I am in a hotel with my dogs and he’s behind me 5 hrs. I don’t want him here yet he’s coming anyway.
      Don’t ever say something is “simply not the case” when you have never experienced the “case” to begin with.
      All true. And right now. 9/27/22

      1. Happy birthday! And I’m thrilled you beat cancer! Hang in there and fight on! I’m sorry your husband has not treated you better. Thankfully, at age 50, you have years left to live a better life.

  8. I’d guess that in a lot of marriages only one spouse takes care of the bulk of the finances. While that can work for some couples, I think it’s highly beneficial for both spouses to be involved. Perhaps not to the same degree, but the more aware each spouse is the better. And yes totally agree on finding ways for both spouses to be financially independent. Both spouses need to be on the same page with investment and financial goals for both short and long term success.

  9. This is a great topic. My wife and I have been navigating this for over 25 years and once we realized certain things about each of our attitudes about money things made alot more sense and were easier to navigate. My wife has been employed most of the 25 years, but makes much less money annually than I do. We both took active roles in raising the kids, but for about 5-7 years she sacrificed career ambition to take a larger role in raising the kids. No an unusual story for a couple in their 50s.

    I think it is important to identify the role of money for each person in a relationship as the starting point. For me, I learned in my 40s that money = security = freedom. I am a saver cause money in the bank is an “emotional buffer” that allows me to experience a certain amount of freedom. My job for many years was rather tenuous and a great fear was being laid off and my family suffering and not being provided for. Also, I needed to save a certain amount of money cause I always wanted to retire early – so if I wanted to retire early and feel secure, I/we really needed to save fairly aggressively. I won’t go too deep into it but some of this came from my parents attitude toward money growing up.

    Of course, my wife didn’t share this view (LOL). A much freer spender. For many years it “felt” like she was disrespecting my goals but I eventually learned a simple fact that for her money didn’t equal security. She did not need to analyze every purchase cause for her money was not a value-laden thing, not connected to her goals (She loves her job and is fine working well into her 60s) and she didn’t fear being “without” – money held no value in an of itself at all, but just a mean to an end. No money = freedom connection. She was happy as long as she was doing what she enjoyed. I then realized how lucky I was to be married to such a wonderful person and how I could learn from her in many ways.

    But anyway, in our earlier days when were not so self-aware, these attitudes would lead to our standard argument. Say she would buy plane tickets to florida. My approach would be to check prices on multiple airlines for multiple days and look for the best deal. If I could save 20% on tix, I would take a 7am flight instead of a more convenient mid-day flight. My wife would get online and find the first flight that leaves at a convenient time and purchase it – whether $350 or $600. For her, to spend the extra time and effort was not “worth it”. Better ways to spend her time. You could plug in anything other than airline tickets and same idea. Furniture? dog care? I am the deal hunter, she is not. I feel great when I can get six strip steaks on sale for the price of three. Nothing about that rings my wife’s bell.

    So what happened? Well, once we discovered how money effects each of us she became more sensitive to my feelings. I will buy (or at least review with her) the big ticket items. She understood why I stressed out over something she had no stress over. For me, I needed to give up feeling of loss when she would spend $200 on a grocery bill where I would have spent $170. IT is just a matter of respecting eachother. Partnerships must compromise to survive. No two people are alike.

    Many of the stories I am reading on here are about people who are using money = power. This is not good at all. They are using money to exert power over another, probably to make themselves feel better. This also likely reflects their views on the relationship. Many older men don’t view marriage as a partnership. They see their spouse as an appendage to themselves, unable to fathom different views or goals. It is unfortunate. For others, it appears that they are feeling so horrible about themselves, and so powerless in their relationship, that it is their last vestige of power to hang onto. Often that doesn’t end well either.

    My only advice is that if you are in a relationship that is stressed over money, then reflect with you partner over how it functions emotionally for each of you. You may be able to use that knowledge to find a middle ground. If you are in a relationship where money = power, then that is a tougher one and a fresh start may be better. If it is you, get some therapy. Definitely, if you aren’t married yet and sense your partner uses money as a power play, probably run fast now. It likely won’t end well.

    1. Thanks for sharing. And all good thoughts and recommendations.

      “using money = power” – Unfortunately, money and power are often tied together. Hence, if we can give one spouse financial independence, we can give them more power too.

  10. Ms. Conviviality

    Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! I’m an avid reader of FS but must have missed when this article originally posted. Whoa! I rarely see this much negativity in the comments! Hopefully, we can see some happier comments on this lovely day.

    To help my husband be financially independent, I purchased a 3-year old Toyota Tundra for him since he was a handyman and was constantly spending time fixing one thing or another on an old SUV. It wasn’t good for his business to have to reschedule appointments with clients due to car trouble. Then when we started purchasing investment properties, he was set as the sole proprietor for that business. He had already been fixing up other people’s investment properties so it just made sense for him to work for himself and reap the rewards.

    My husband never asked for any money for the car or to start a business. Honestly, he was fine with life. He didn’t have any debt and lived a simple life. His house and car were paid off. I suppose when he met me, I wanted so much more out of life and because he loves me, he goes along with my crazy dreams.

  11. Looks like you struck and open nerve here, Sam.

    My wife and I have a similar model to some of the commenters here. We talk about household finances monthly, but I never ask her if she feels trapped as a SAH mom.

    Sounds like we need to have that conversation.

    Thanks for the post.

    1. No problem. Never hurts to check in and ask how she is feeling and what she might more of and less of, especially if your wife is non confrontational.

      Heck, sometimes we don’t even know what we really want until we are shown the possibilities!

  12. NW Islander

    Great discussion. As a single woman I am especially grateful to be financially independent after a 15-year career slog. My parents have been married for over 50 years, both worked in similar jobs making the same money. Dad’s money was his money, to be spent on toys like multiple boats and fancy gadgets. Mom’s money was their money, to be spent on things like paying down the mortgage or buying a new appliance (that benefited them both; my mom was a wonderful cook). Their 50+ year marriage is honestly a cautionary tale to me. I pity my poor mom. She waited on him hand and foot, did all the housework, and even justified the dynamic with constant comments like “your father is so clever, we need to give him space to create/invest/etc.”

    I remember my dad complaining to me about the $50 private dance lessons my mom wanted to take in retirement, the same year that he spent $90,000 on a large boat ($500/m in slip fees on top of that purchase). Again, their income was equal. My mom could have and should have had “her own” money so she also could have indulged in a fun purchase on occasion, and without attitude from my dad.

    I would like to have a partner one day but I will run from any situation that reminds me of my parents’ marriage. Separate finances all the way, even if I end up with a man who has far more assets/earning potential than me. I have more than I need to be happy already, so eyeing the assets/income of my SO is just…foreign.

    1. Thanks for sharing your story.

      “Dad’s money was his money, Mom’s money was their money” – insightful! Reminds me of the Joy Luck Club scene where the husband insisted on every expense to be split 50/50, yet he made way more.

      I’m all for empowering all women to be financially independent and have the freedom they deserve! I hope this for my daughter as well!

  13. This would be funny if it wasn’t true. So many ethnic men as well as Christian evangelicals don’t want their wives to be independent.

      1. Let her put her ignorance on display for everyone to see. No need to censor – we have way too much of that these days.

        As to the article at hand, separate accounts cause significant issues in many marriages as well. And whether you have separate accounts is irrelevant in most divorces. I’d also be interested in getting the husband’s POV and their actual true spend history – I would bet the story is no where near as one sided and moderate chance it’s nearly the complete opposite. People justify a lot of stuff in a divorce that simply isn’t true.

          1. Few major issues off the top of my head but plenty of smaller ones
            1) You have to debate over every joint spending issue whom is contributing to what, especially if one of the two parties is always broke from spending their $ and the other is a saver. This can lead to seriously inconsistencies with joint family goals when its a your money / my money scenario. I can’t imagine trying to save up a lot of money for a house in this scenario if one of the two spouses is a huge spender and never saves. Or who covers the new roof?

            2) In most states, the money is joint in terms of separation/divorce regardless of whose name its in, so if you have one saver and one spender, the saver gets screwed in the divorce (and a pre-nup won’t always save you, and most folks don’t have one anyway)
            3) Can lead to ill will if one spouse’s career takes off much faster than the other. When my wife and I got married, we each made about $30k a year. She stopped working (no kids, just hated working) about 5 years ago at $36k/yr while I was at $350k/yr at that point and now over half a million a year. I can’t even imagine how ackward our relationship would be if I saved nearly all of my money for myself and just contributed to joint spending items – spending that I also would have a large and equal say over.

            Similarly, not every person wants to work a corporate job and not having a joint everything really hinders that. One spouse may want to be a stay at home parent. Another may want to go do volunteer work or start a side hussle (and the other spouse is good with any of these options)

            4) I’ve found savers help spenders live a better, more balanced life and spenders help savers live a better balanced life.

            Like all thing in a marriage, communication is the most important thing. I prefer joint everything even though it “hurts” me financially on a personal level, but drastically increases my wife’s happiness and therefore our overall happiness. If folks want separate fun money accounts that’s one thing but main separate accounts I think leads to more issues than not for most couples (although as always with most things, YMMV)

      2. Of course it’s false. It’s false because it’s incomplete! There are many more cohorts that feel similarly. Most of us could write the same statement with sets of two completely different groups who hold these views. Stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason: they hold a lot of truth.

  14. Ideas based on false premises will always fail. Men and women are not the same, each has their own strengths and weaknesses. There is a reason a dowry was part of marriage for centuries…

  15. Kevin Prochaska

    I created a SLAT (Spousal Lifetime Access Trust) for my wife that she is the trustee of. I have no control over it. It is hers and her beneficiary’s for the next 300 years (Texas). She can withdraw any amount she wants whenever she wants, and is truly financially independent.

  16. In regards to this subject, a man has no right to claim that making their wives financially dependent but giving them more work to do if they have children. It’s like a man making decisions about birth, abortion and birth control. It’s not your place. I don’t understand men, do you not understand… we give you our youth, our body to have children and you have the nerve to tell us your doing us a favor by giving us more work? Men need to suffer. I’m so sick of this.

    Women should be financially dependent on men! How dare the author encourage men to be financial independent and have financial freedom.

    1. Amen! You are so tight! After 35 years of raising our 2 children , working a 40+ hour week job, and taking care of my husband’s every need including working inside our house we decided I’d stop working and travel with him for his work as a power lineman. The first 2 yrs was great. Then I got sick with cancer and it all went to hell. Along with his midlife crisis and his need to make his truck faster and the stereo louder I became upset that we never spent any time together. When he is was home he was sleeping. I grew lonely. My treatments for cancer demanded I stay in 1 place for healing. When his shorter than ever before paychecks were deposited he would smart off comments about him working and how I sat on my behind. Not making any money. Then he started hitting me telling me to do eave demanding a divorce . Everytime I’d question him about his short working hours he’d come back at me asking what I did the previous week to earn money. Nothing was my reply. My state approved insurance costed him nothing as well as my medication. Life became unbearable. And that’s where I am now.

  17. Aiden Thompson

    Sorry I’m late to this party but have to comment. I’ve been with my wife 13 years and we have a wonderful seven year old daughter. I am the only one working and who can drive. We have one car which is pretty expensive with the insurance and payment and the rent plus other bills. I barely make 35k a year and am trying to do side hustles for extra cash. I get up go to work get home eat clean the house… you read that right. Clean the litter box etc etc. spend time with the kiddo. I go to sleep at 12 sometimes wake up at 5 am. I do everything! If I even dare bring up how I clean and need help she starts a huge fight. I do laundry it sits unless I put it away or do it. I’m beyond stressed but do it for my child. My wife basically sits all day. Than she starts projects and side businesses but never follows through. It’s exhausting. Sorry.:: it’s a lot. I’m really at my wits end. She also gets mad if I want to spend some of my hard earned money. And gets mad if I fall asleep at 10 pm because I’m exhausted. She’s a good mom. Just a lousy bossy wife. I don’t like to argue because of our child so I always usually bite my tongue. Any advice ? If I leave she won’t have a place to live. And I can’t let that happen. I’m so unhappy sometimes but I’d never let her go without. That would be pretty rotten. (Sigh)

    1. Aiden, I really would suggest couples counseling as it sounds like the two of you aren’t communicating well. You are teaching your little girl that this is what a healthy relationship looks like and it doesn’t sound healthy from what you described. Do you want your daughter to grow up and treat her spouse the same way? Or be treated the same way you are?

      “do it for my child”
      *Our* child.

      “my hard earned money”
      You’re married, it’s her hard-earned money, too, actually.

      “lousy bossy wife”

      Please see a couples counselor and talk through what’s happening together. Therapy is expensive but divorce costs way more and since you’re the bread-winner you’ll be footing the bill for her to divorce you if things don’t work out.

      1. GTFO. Aiden, Evie has ZERO valid points. The counselor is going to teach you how to bury your feelings deep down inside so you dont off yourself so your wife can still collect a paycheck by claiming dominance over you.

        The situation you’ve presented sounds clearly toxic and parasitic, not mutually beneficial. The one point Evie did make is in your mind you are already starting to detach yourself from the relationship, which with the current situation what reasonable human wouldn’t? She has to be presented with the situation of contribution, how do you contribute to this “Relationship”? If she has a problem with it then you know she is upset at you for having thoughts about making her contribute. That is toxic, and your child shouldn’t be brought up in such environment or they are going to think this is okay practice. Don’t let these people fool you, it is okay to be happy. Life is short and we only get one shot at it, don’t be on your death bed wondering why was I so miserable.

        Good Luck Pal. Evie, keep your feminist bs to yourself.

    2. You are a good man and great father. Sounds lie you are very unappreciated. She definitely is taking you for granted. If she had a husband like mine that punched her then she would appreciate you. My husband does nothing but go to work and come home. I’ve never asked him to out away laundry or help in any household chores that’s women’s work. The husband is to make money and take care of house repairs and now the lawn is how I was raised. . somewhere along the lines my husband was abducted by aliens and for a couple years I prayed they would return him but I know that’s not happening. Do I’m waiting til my cancer either kills me or I get better to leave him. God bless u dear. You deserve better.

    1. I would love to go back to work. I don’t want to be financially free with someone else’s money.
      I worked since I was a teenager, when I met my husband 4 years ago I was very happy with my job. I had a great career, not making lots of money but it was enough for me. I was happy and at peace.
      My husband after we got married didn’t allow me to work, to go to school, to do anything where other men are. He is saying that a wife should not be around other men.
      I am a professional dog trainer and love what I do, but he cuts my wings.
      He controls everything, what I wear, what I spend the money on …
      He even wanted to control what I watched.
      I moved away from my family and friends quit my job, it was a mistake. The control is nauseating. He calls me names when I disagree with him, when I voice my opinion.
      He calls me lazy because he is saying that he is giving me the greatest gift a girl can get from a man…the ability to not work for someone else. Lol. I have to say that I was happier getting up at 5 am and going to work. I can’t appreciate something that is forced onto me. I never have cash, I do have a debit card which he controls. Qhen I took cash back one time I was called a “C…”. He yells in my face that he isbthe boss, that its his house etc. When I try to talk to him about letting me go to work he is saying that he will divorce me and I will get nothing. I moved to a different country for him, and he used the immigration paper work to control me as well. I had 4 dogs when we met, still have them and all I hear is how he paid for them how he made it happen that they can run free on 5 acres bla bla…I still want to pay for their vet and food and our food. Why can’t he see that this is destroying our marriage? I guess he doesn’t care, he will go to the next one. I dream about freedom, about this heavy something on my chest to go away.
      Am I really a brat that is not showing my husband appreciation? Should I just shut up and forget about me, what makes me happy?
      He told me to get off ny lazy … and start a business. Well that would be great, but if I am being told how to run my own business and that I am not allowed to train other men’s dogs…how is that my business and freedom???
      I am lost.

      1. Why haven’t you filed for divorce yet? You’ll get half his assets and he’ll also have to pay you alimony, I’m sure.

  18. Daniel Hammack

    I’m Daniel. I have had to file for disability for mental health reasons. This has been going on for a year now and no light at end of the tunnel. She does not make enough money to cover our bills and we keep sinking further in debt. About 15,000 just in regular bills. I feel like a loser every single day as we continue to get shut off notices constantly. We’ve exhausted all options out there and it just gets worse. All I can do is take care of the household duties to help, but I sure can’t fill the fridge. I have to rely on her for everything. I can’t get medicaid or help from the state because they say she makes too much money(35,000)! And I make zilch. I’m always afraid she is going to have enough and call it quits with us. When you’re sitting at home, you think the worse and feel the worse. No idea what I can even do. I’ve looked into home online jobs and they’re a scam. Ended up with a virus on our computer. I used to be successful and now it’s like hero to zero. She has a medical condition as well which requires transfusions and she still goes on strong. I can tell she is now worn down though. Very much so. We don’t communicate much and she just sleeps all the time when she’s home. I try to think of anything all day everyday and its just not out there. I love my wife so much. So much I wouldn’t blame her if she called it quits simply just for her health. I am obviously an added expense she cannot afford and I see it on her face every time I have to ask for anything. I’ve sold just about anything worth anything. I wish I could hit a reset button and everything be better.

    1. I understand this is very hard. Keep trying to find resources that may help you to stay functional and independent if possible. Check with your doctors and therapist and exhausted every absolute option that’s even remotely possible; even prayer. Try new therapies under a doctor’s supervision such as ketamine… it was a true God send for me and my family. Never stop. Prayers for you and your wife!

  19. I’ve been married 10 years and my spouse does most of the bills by choice. I have offered to set up bill pay to track bills but his preference is to write them all out each month.
    He always ask about the grocery bill, or gets frustrated if I go to super market twice a week.
    I make good money and all but $100 goes into our joint account. Recently I’ve had an opportunity to work an additional job for the last 4months. Every paycheck my husband tells me I need to put half into the joint checking. He even gave me a blank check to have the money go into our joint checking account which I have declined to do.
    I’m i being selfish wanting to keep the entire check to myself? This second job does not pay that much about $1100 every two weeks. I used this money to purchase groceries, items my children or family need clothes, bats /cleats.
    I’m at my wits end about this money pinching.
    I’ve always worked part-time jobs over the years because healthcare providers are always needed.
    My husband told me if he had a second job he would contribute his check. I think this was odd because he’s never worked two jobs at one time like me.

    1. Ha, good point. I really think you should talk about setting a family budget. What are things you want to contribute to each month, and what does each person feel like putting towards those items, and then keep the rest separate!!!

      Family items can include:
      * Groceries, Utilities, Rent/mortgage, cars, insurance, kids’ activities, clothes, vacations savings, etc.

      Figure out how much money is left over. From each of your paychecks.

      Let him know why you would like to keep the additional money, why you think that is fair. See what you come up with. Just ideas. Good luck!

  20. My partner and I have been together for more than 28 years, and we have never married. We have lived together exclusively, outlasting our combined parents and even a sibling of his.

    I try to teach him how to manage money/investments, but he prefers to do other things.

    I have appealed to logic, told him how he would save money and be much more protected financially, and how he would inherit my SSA money and save on his taxes…

    I sold him one-half of our home (which is paid off) a few years back for $1 to protect him there too.

    I am going to keep working on him. I wanted it to happen in 2020, but he’s still not convinced marriage is right, yet the American system is surely geared pro marriage.

    At least he’s beneficiary on all my accounts now, which are getting close to $2M.

    1. Cool. Thanks for sharing. Do you find this article more difficult to relate to or less applicable to your partner because I wrote it from a husband and wife perspective?

      If so, I’m happy to receive a guest post where you share your perspective and the differences. Thanks

      1. It is irritating to me as a gay man – and presumptuous – but it’s also your blog. :-)

        One of my undergrad degrees was English. I now see a common usage of “they” for single people that gets around this issue, but the purist in me dislikes that too. You could recast the article in a nongender-specific way and say, for example:

        If You Love Your Spouse, You’d Make Them Financially Independent

        The old-school me wants to write:

        If You Love Your Spouse, You’d Make Her or Him Financially Independent

        … but of course, this second recast is longer and still denies the intersexed.

        I cannot listen to overtly (female) gender-specific songs in the same way. I never even dated a woman in my life, and as a Kinsey 6 at age 50, I can tell you it does mean something to me. It’s not bias, I hope?

        The basis of the article is of course wholly sound. “If you love someone, set them free.”


        1. Sounds good. For some reason, how other people write or think using gender doesn’t irritate me. I just accept things from their perspective and see if it can relate to my own. After all, it’s not up to me to change a stranger.

          Maybe I’m just really easy going in thought in general. I Donno.

          One of my favorite quotes is, “It’s easier to wear slippers than carpet the world.”

  21. Robert Garrison

    Hi I’m a 43 yr male looking for some advice.
    I work two jobs ( construction) I make ok money.

    Wife is 38 yrs old doesn’t work takes all the money leaves me with nothing to survive for the week.god for bit if I ask for gas money to get to work.. she’s always telling me are bills are paid .but I’m always getting letter’s saying bills are due. Car place calls me every month saying it’s late..
    But when I ask her about it it’s a fight..
    I feel control I can’t nor do something without her permission…I’m at my wit’s end..

    1. Brother, man up. Your wife should not be in control of the money. Your the one making the money, you pay the bills, dont give it to your wife.

      You have to ask for gas money? That’s ridiculous.

  22. Dan Ellsworth

    I am in a very tricky position. I fell in love with my partner at a time when she made more money than I did. Shortly after we got together, she moved in with me then demanded that I get a job to help her raise her son she had with another man or she would leave me. So I did. As a matter of fact, I got a job where I was quickly making twice as much as she was making and also working twice as many hours. I helped her raise her son and he has become like a son to me. Fast forward we are now a decade into our relationship. We own a house together. I have my own business and I make six figures. She makes even less than she did when we first got together. The boy is now grown and moved out of the house. I work my ass off to try and pay off our debt. She spends most of the day cooking and meeting with her friends. I have spent many months paying all of our expenses while she barely brings in anything. Our son is no longer around very much, so there are almost no responsibilities related to him. I am honestly getting really sick of it. I have asked her many, many times to work more and work smarter. She wants to run her own business but hates technology, so has no reliable way to get new clients and will nor invest in any kind of mentorship or coaching. I’ve offered to help her many times and she takes it but then falls off the wagon and ends up spending most of her time on her cell phone engaging in activities that have no chance of producing income. Meanwhile, I work 12 hour days running my business. She has told me she doesn’t feel like an adult. She has told me she doesn’t want to fight. Every time I bring it up, she throws it back in my face and tries to make me feel ashamed of insisting that she work more. She keeps pointing out how cooking and cleaning is a ton of work in itself. I’m about at the end of my rope. I feel like I sacrificed many years to support her and her son, but that she is indeed a child in an adult body and has essentially manipulated me into becoming the supportive father figure she never had. At the same time, she refuses to be raised. It seems to me like she just wants a sugar daddy so she can remain a child. I’m not legally married to her, but we co-own a house together. We’re blessed with plenty of space, but I feel like I am spinning my wheels because she just won’t do what is necessary to get her business or any kind of career off the ground and would clearly much rather be a housewife, even though I happily pay for a maid already and would happily pay for a cook too if it would get her to work. But she still manages to waste most of her time doing all kinds of things that have zero chance of getting her a client. And the reality is that meals, cleaning and sex are just not enough for me. I need a woman I can relate to and grow with and I just can’t understand how she could be so demanding of me, yet not hold herself to the standards she holds me to. One thing is for sure – I am not happy and my attraction to her wanes every day. I dream about other women nightly. I want to be with a woman who wants to work, wants to fight and will do whatever it takes to grow her business. I want to be with a savvy entrepreneur, not a housewife who spends more than she makes, whose child I helped raise even though I didn’t father him, and whose demands I met at no small cost to my time and my health, yet who refuses to even acknowledge her own hypocrisy, much less get her $#!+ together. I work so much I barely have a life. I can rarely take a break. I feel alone, even though I live with her. I try to involve her in fun things but she hates the things I find most enjoyable. It’s not looking good and I often wonder if she’ll ever grow up unless I leave her.

    1. Wow! seems like you have made up your mind and want another woman period. Even if she got her business going and begins to make more money it won’t be enough for you. You are unhappy being with her period and need an excuse to leave her. So what’s holding you back? It can’t be because you feel bad for her? Could it be because deep down you’re guilty of feeling this way? Let me tell you right now that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side! You’ll probably find a “go getter” but that go getter probably won’t give you any sex bc she’s too busy with her business, def won’t cook for you or clean. Smh.. you men and your crazy way or thinking.

    2. Peter Parker

      Dan –

      I wish I had an opportunity to get to this comment box first. I haven’t read most of the replies, but it seems as though most people used this as an opportunity to vent about their relationships. Nonetheless, here’s my advice. I do hope you find this helpful.

      It seems as though you are quite unhappy in your relationship. It happens often, that people just fall out of love. Yes, there are certain things that happen along the way, that further exacerbate those feelings. It sounds like you have a lot of resentment towards your partner.

      You feel that when you were demanded to work by her, you not only got a job, but went above and beyond to deliver. You worked excess hours, sacrificed–but most importantly–you raised a son that is not biologically yours. Now that your son has left the “nest” and there are less responsibilities for your partner, you’re upset that she has been unwilling to get a job, especially at your request.

      Unfortunately, I think her not working is a symptom of a much deeper problem. The problem is that you feel unappreciated and that she is taking advantage of you. Although, this might be how you feel, I think you have to really take a deeper look at why you feel this way. It sounds to me like you have grown apart over the years from your spouse and may not understand your feelings completely. It’s very possible you might feel guilty about no longer wanting to be with her, so you try and justify your feelings with a more rational and practical reason.

      That logic makes sense, but it’s because it’s been like that for quite awhile. You have just recently found a way to make it an issue, to make you feel less guilty about no longer wanting your partner. I think you should do some deep honest thinking about whether you would still want to be with your partner, if they were meeting your expectations.

      It’s a hard decision to make, but if you’re unhappy, then you’re ultimately not going to be able to be there for your partner the way you know you can. For your happiness and hers, it might just be best to separate. I think that is the more noble decision, then letting this continue to fester and then doing something that could be hurtful to your partner and unforgivable.

      I do hope this advice was helpful, and best of luck!

      Your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man

  23. You guys need to stop talking badly about your wives, it doesn’t make you a better husband. What makes a great husband is being a respectful husband and protecting your wife physically and yes emotionally. Telling your wife “I have everything and you have nothing” is not building a bond, I can’t even imagine that strengthening any relationship. If you kept going to work and your boss kept reminding you how you are “not important”, would you think how wonderful your boss is? No, you wouldn’t. The way to build a relationship, especially financially is showing the other that they are important and that you are going to work hard to keep trust and communication a priority. It is not healthy to think of your partner as a failure especially if you are suppose to be a team. You can win together, you can lose together…it is not the end of the world. Treat your spouse well, and if you feel they don’t deserve it….then you need to set them free.

    1. I totally agree!!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR COMMENT. My husband is the breadwinner. I run the household, children, all chores etc…..and I can tell you he does not appreciate at all what I do for him and our kids. He controls our finances and all the bills. It is very frustrating. I do not get any cash from him or an explanation about where the money goes. I have a credit card he gives me for groceries and gas etc….so he can track my every step online I guess. I have try to talk to him about being equal in home decisions and money. But he says that I have no say because I do not make any money.

      1. He’s right. If you want a say in how the money is used, you need to contribute to the marriage financially. All I’ve heard from women on here is how they aren’t “paid” by their husbands for wearing a ring. You live in his house that he pays for. Use his water. Eat his food. I bet you use a washer and dryer and he doesn’t make you wash clothing by hand in the wash basin out back. And truck that water from the creek to that basin. You probably have a vehicle that he paid for and pays to maintain and fuel in it. T.v. and apparantly internet too to watch and use. Electricity to run that television. Heat in the winter, a/c in the summer. Hell, most wives USE $20k a year. Want more hun? They offer employment outside of the home. Pay for a sitter, get to work. Easy peasy. Have a great day!

        1. Are you seriously fucked?! Staying at home to raise their family and look after their home is work! Making it so her husband is able
          To come home and not have anything to worry about is something he should be grateful for. Have you maybe thought that she has discussed the idea of working out of the home to only
          Be met with” you won’t make enough, daycare is expensive it’s not worth it etc etc.” Your comment just shows how much of a chauvinist pig you are. A marriage is a team and they both work wearing different hats daily and she shouldn’t have to “ask” for money especially when I’m sure he doesn’t do the same. It’s called controlling and her husband obviously does that. In no way should a partner be better than the other. You sir are an asshole and commenting that ridiculous rate was so unnecessary. Have some fucking compassion.

          1. I agree that the wife should have her own money to use and shouldn’t have to ask for permission, whether he gives her a budget or she earns it herself. No one should lord over their partner that they have more money. Obviously this is wrong. But let’s also have some perspective and remember that she is also raising HER OWN FAMILY, cleaning HER OWN HOUSE, etc. and stop pretending that she is either nobly sacrificing herself or performing some thankless task for someone else for which she should get paid.

            1. “You pay for the groceries I make it into a meal. You pay the mortgage I turn this house into a home”. That may be true but God gave one true gift of foresight and that’s the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. So ladies keep working. You will thank yourself later in life for sticking with it through children. It maintains an even playing field and save a lifetime full of resentments.

    2. Of course there are caveat situations to this and that is if you are in a Domestic Violent relationship in which case the partner (more than not the female) would have no solution should she get a job, not get a job, make more money, make less money, clean more clean less cook more cook less. There will always be a pocket full of resentments at which the abuser holds for their war chest….and that war chest is accessed quite often. Any vulnerability “you don’t make any money when is the last time you paid a bill , even when you worked you were worthless, good luck raising the children and living without my financial support “. One minute they want you to aid in the bill paying and get a job yet when you successfully achieve that they resent you for not being home with the children and accuse you of neglect.
      It s about control and most men love the look of adoration from a spouse/child, when they are able to purchase that special gift, take that special trip, they are hero’s. The moment that look of adoration is stifled or he sees a disappointment in his family, punishment will be fierce and quick. He will make known if it weren’t for him his family would be nothing only he can provide their happiness. He must be constantly reminded how he is appreciated for his hard work and sacrifice yet the spouse sacrifices nothing, her life is made easy by his commitment to work so she doesn’t have to. She is constantly reminded it wouldn’t make financial sense for her to work between childcare and lost family time they would prosper with her staying home. Keep in mind until she spends too much on an unapproved expense then she should get a job so she can pay for it.

  24. My ex, now, refused his daughter by his first and second marriages ( same woman same kids) a 15.00 rug.
    Cost for that stupid selfish he could well afford? An expensive divorce, alimony and child support for 2 children now fatherless and motherless ( she had to return to work and was forced to have her kids be latchkey kids.)
    As by now, I am noticing his life is going onward and upwards without impediments, so no more only me watching kids he cannot make time for, ever.
    Oh, when taken to court for not paying his child support to her ( unbeknownst to me) he clearly used my income and raided his 1st two kids college funds to pay up and to pay her attornies.
    He refused to baby sit so I could go to school or return to work ever. No help or partnership sent my way there.
    Dumb and dumber. So barely one year later ( unbeknost to me) we start dating when I was 23 him 32.
    Love at 1st site, or so I thought, but I sorta suspected his child visitation was wearing thin on him.
    Gave the benefit of the doubt his ” poor him” stories were true. He and I now married. He had nothing but a relatively decent job debt, baggage and liabilities. I gave up a good paying job, to support his career and apparently his 2 kids full time as he was always working when his parenting time came around. Hmm, by now we had 2 girls of our own and he had no time or money, still.
    I was told it was gonna be a long haul….so 2 more girls of our own later 10,000.00 a month income and half a mil all in his name and control later he accelerates egotistical “his money” crap.
    Always bitching about every dime spent. Well every dime “I” spent on all of us, (now 4 of ours) and our home and food. For 37 years. Everything but food second hand ” to save money” his apparently.
    In our last years together, he coerced me into 10,000.00 cc debt to float us, till he retired…..lied and extended his retirement 10 years.
    Did we need the extra income no. But he needed a cover to keep funnelling our live on money into his own, self controlled retirement and hidden checking accounts and other who knows accounts.
    Told our daughters he gave me money when he did not. He barely paid Maslows theory rent, food utilities. Everything else courtesy of bullying me with our own children to ” go in debt in my name ” till retirement” monies accessible.
    He lied, cheated and stole from his own families and I knew it. Held me back from even having a garage sale to offset these costs he now felt 0 obligation to pay off of mine.
    Bet you can guess what happened after his 10 year extension of the discussed retirement date, yep ordered me out of the only home I had ever known for 37 years when our youngest was 10…again when she was 17, I divorced him, had to declare bankruptcy, and have spent the last 5years paying his debts and mine out of my measly settlement. Oh, I got the falling apart house he mostly ignored through the last 15 years too. He constantly expects “gratitude” for ruining so many lives and his own. I paid his bills at his apt to keep his pompus ass off the street, too. Yet, now dpubt he still hides money and begs his kids to “take care of him”. They do with their cast offs. Good for them.
    He now has 0 to show for all the years of scrimp and non stop work. Not much for anyone to brag about.
    Life gave this man 6 lovely and talented daughters that all excelled in their chosen fields two of mine worked their way through school too., or as SAHM’s with backup plans and 2 very loving and supportitave wives, that were strong and dedicated and handled this mom stuff and almost all of his dad stuff.
    He too thought his financial planning was just great and hunky dory. It was, till he put his Mr. Big stuff front and center.
    His pension plan renigged and his wives had had enought of his abusive big britches. Some men never learn.
    To the dude riding his high horse openly taking his wives income when HE clearly doesn’t need it and ridiculing her here as uneducated, better rethink that bud, most pre nups do not hold up in court and your bragging days are on countdown, I suspect.

    1. Uptin St. Claire

      We will all be better off if we acknowledge that marriage is a thing of the past.Save yourself the trouble and face reality marriages are impossible in this society of so many and too many outside influences.and not to mention it’s a womans world.After reading this stuff who stands a chance? Marriage is now a chumps game.

  25. My wife is awesome. She stays within our budget, which we set together. She’s more frugal than me about many things. She has total control / access to of all our assets & I don’t limit her at all. We have major joint assets/cash/investments and a couple small separate cash accounts. Seems great for us.

    But*** this arrangement would not work with every partnership. Why? If your spouse has some kind of obsession/addiction/compulsion problem, don’t enable that. Allowing a household-partner to waste of resources weakens the entire household, which could include vulnerable members (kids, aged, etc.).

  26. My husband is the one who works . I stay home and care for my baby Grandson. When I had to leave my job 3 years ago he removed my name from the account.. I found out a bit later. I never have even a dollar with me . I have to ask him for things like food shopping or getting my hair cut. He mostly says he doesn’t have any money and I have no way of knowing. I feel like I can’t leave because of my Grandson.. My daughter has custody but he lives with us.. She was not well for a long time and is working to get better so she can raise him herself.. Complicated and crazy is my Truth but it is my Truth. I don’t know what to do at this point. I can’t go to work for another 2 yrs at least. Says things will be different but they never are .

    1. (1) If you did not provide permission to have your name removed from your bank account, chances are he possibly forged your signature, as most banks require both names on a joint account to sign off on changes to said account.
      (2) Please take a more active approach to your own financial security. Just reading this, I get the sense that you have given up and given in; because it’s less stressful. But the reality is, your husband is making a statement.
      (3) Where is your Grandson’s Father? Isn’t he the person that should be responsible for taking care of his own child? Is he not safe for the child to be around? If there are no risk and safety concerns, allow him to take care of his responsibilities and you can assist…sometimes.
      (4) I am curious. I wonder if your husband has some resentment about these changes that have affected him as well? Because make no mistake, he is also being impacted, firstly becoming the only bread winner, secondly having a small child back in the home when perhaps he was ready for it just to be you two.
      (5) Ask yourself did you want to leave prior to these adjustments?
      (6) Finally, are you able to work part-time, or from home?

  27. So, I know this post hasn’t had a comment since February, but Im going to go against the grain and jump into the lions den, because I felt the controlling miser mentioned in the letter needed a voice.

    I too, am controlling and pretty frugal with money. I guess it is a psychological thing. I am 40, my wife is 34, married 2 years, together for 15 years.

    I am good with money, she is horrible. I am educated with a masters in business, she has a high school diploma with a few college credits. I have 400k in assets (we have a prenup), she has none.

    I am debt-free, she has school loans. I work full time, she works part time. She takes care of our 5 year old daughter, takes her to school, picks her up, cooks dinner for both of us, and does the housework.

    I make 90% of the household income, she makes 10%. When her paycheck comes in, I take 80% to put towards the bills, and she retains 20% to do as she pleases with it.

    All household expenditures go through me. When something is needed: household items, clothes for our daughter, etc. she alerts me, and I buy it.

    This system seems to work for us.

      1. You know what he is doing is not right. You know that system does not work for the both of them. Speak up!! Don’t be a coward!!!

        1. Maybe, just maybe, Lance wants to live frugally and retire at age 45. Maybe the wife has zero self-control and will spend so much that he can’t retire until age 75 (if ever).

          Those are extremes, but you should be able to see the tension between different life goals.

        2. Yup – sounds like the wife can’t control her spending very well. This unfortunately will ruin most marriages and you can’t just say keep everything separate because any net wealth you add during your marriage is split upon divorce in most states. Sounds like this was a reasonable compromise. She’s probably not 100% happy because she’d rather spend every time she could and he’s not happy because they aren’t saving as much.

    1. Wow you take 80% of her earnings? You are using money as a tool of control. Step off your high horse 400k is crap! It seems to work for you??? You will know if it works for the both of you after she divorces you. You talk in this post down to your wife. Reread what you said about her. You should be ashamed of yourself, talking about your wife like that. Do you even love her???

      1. Yes, If, I don’t take 80%, the money would be wasted on non-sensible things. Yes, your right, I guess I do use the money as a sense of control, Is being controlling a bad thing? Dosent every human in one way, shape or form, like to have a sense of control? You and others in this article, make it out to seem being controlling is the horrible thing. My wife is very controlling over our daughter. We are both controlling in our own ways, its not one-sided.

        Im failing to see how in my post, Im talking down to my wife. Im simply pointing out facts about each of us, to help readers understand that we are not one of those situations where the wife gave up a lucrative career to be a stay at home mom.

        400k may not seem like a lot to you or others, but Im happy with it. Its more then most people I grew up with have, who came from poverty in Bronx, NY. My 400k is still growing and on course to be 1M by age 55.

        Breath easy my friend! God Bless!

        1. Lance, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if your wife was slowly poisoning you at every opportunity. She obeys because she’s frightened of you and has little recourse, it does not mean she loves you. My advice would be to treat your wife with more respect and not use her challenges as a soapbox for your own accomplishments. Which is obviously what you did here. Do you even realize what childcare would cost if you had to pay it out of pocket? Get a clue. I do wish your wife and daughter much happiness and prosperity, especially given the circumstances.

          1. Lance you’re doing fine. Forget what “Lars” and “John” are saying. Tiffany and Kari are more than likely abunch of lazy slobs, similar to my wife. She was “independent” before i met her but its amazing how quickly that disappeared. Now i spend my months begging her to contribute to the family in some way other than playing her Playstation in the basement. She takes care of the son? Sure, i spend a lot of time crying quietly to myself about how my son is being neglected. She refuses to work, she refuses to go back to school and graduate (id be happy to pay for that if it meant i was sinking money into student loans every month for a piece of paper shes too lazy to get). Im so tired of hearing these cunts play the sad fiddle about their pay and lot in life. They expect soemone to shoulder all of the risk and then spend their paycheck. My marriage should have ended a long time ago but i cant bare the thought of not seeing my son when i want. Talk about controlling? Get back to me when the divorce and child support systems in America are more equitable. Im forced to stay in this shit situation because thats the cost of loving my child.

            1. A marriage is a partnership. What he is doing is parenting her. The problem isn’t money, the problem is Mr. Control freak didn’t marry someone with his same financial ideals. It amazes me how people lack common sense and balance.
              PS: no woman wants to crawl in bed with “daddy” unless her problems are as big as his clearly are.
              PPS: money isn’t everything- having a balanced , healthy relationship IS

        2. Your wife has the right to retain at least 50% of her earnings for her own needs so she doesnt have to ask you for everything! It’s not her fault that she’s earning lesser than you are and you married her meaning you accept her as she is, with only her high school diploma and all.

        3. You sound like an egotistical douche! One day you will wake up and be alone, while you’re wife will find another man that will not hang his money over her head. Enjoy sharing your daughters’s love with another man that is cheering her on at all her school sporting events. It will be your greatest regret! I was once married to a jerk like you… I was smart and waited till he was worth millions, I helped work his business part time while I raised our children… when things didn’t improve and he continued to hold “his” money over my head while he failed to recognize all that I contributed at home and at work, I bailed and got half of everything! Now I’m worth a couple mill and I’m living my best life! I’m sad it had to come to this because I truly loved my husband and tried HARD to be pleasing and go along with his “program”….he always belittled all my help and contributions because he was the one “earning” the big bucks. Funny thing is, his staff still call me to ask me how to do things because I was the only one that knew how… I tell them to ask him since he’s the one that started the company and I really didn’t “do” anything and he really never needed me! I hate to be that way but if he would pick up the phone and ask me himself, I’d probably help. He tried to stop the divorce and asked for forgiveness but the damage was done… I forgive him but I can never forget how he made me feel! His pride and ego killed our marriage, now he’s alone and doesn’t trust the women he dates as they are mostly gold diggers. We had nothing when we got married and were happy! he actually moved into MY apartment when we started out…. money and success gave him an ego and ego can be an ugly thing. I would really think long and hard about that if I were you and appreciate your wife more and set her up for success not just financially but emotionally as well, your daughter is watching and they pick up on everything you say and don’t say! I guarantee you your wife is dying a little inside by your dismissal of her worth and the control you press upon her. A little softness, kindness and generosity (without reminders or strings attached) go a long way to build her admiration, respect and love for you. Having a supportive wife lends to more success, just because she doesn’t earn as much as you do doesn’t mean she isn’t working just as hard! You get to focus on your career while she is focused on multiple things at once to relieve you of those responsibilities. Kids and managing a household while working part time are a lot of work and it doesn’t have a punch out clock.

          1. Lmao, this is what a vindictive woman looks like. “I loved my husband, but I divorced him and am now worth a few mill on his hard work”. Hahahahaha.

    2. I understand there being someone who is better with finances to oversee them. However, maybe the wife never had the means to be able to learn how to manage monies. Wouldn’t educating her be helpful to you both. If you were to become ill, she would need to be able to do the things you do. Plus you mentioned a prenup, for the 2 year marriage, but she put 15 years into yalls relationship and you don’t trust her enough with your money. You hear if she leaves you, she’d take more than you want her to. Yet you taking 80% of her income each month doesn’t allow her to protect herself if you were to leave her. You want your cake and eat it too. And she’s allowed you to gain the type of control that protects you and only you. You’ve got her trapped right where you want her. She’s dependent upon you to survive and she’s dependent upon staying with you to continue surviving and not be homeless. Put shoes on the other foot and think how much you would want to be in that situation. I bet you just thought to yourself, I’d never let myself be in that situation…. EXACTLY, so why want the “woman you love” to have to go through something that you wouldn’t want yourself!!!!????

      1. Goosh,

        You bring up some good counter-points, and respect given to presenting it in a respectful manner, unlike “Lars” and “John”.

        Trying to educate her on financial issues is an approach I never considered, but I guess I could try. I always thought paying bills, money, investments, managing money is a foreign concept to her, or it would be like trying to teach calculus to a 2nd grader who knows basic math.

        In regards to trapping her, I don’t necessarily agree with that. I provide her a very good life and comfortable one at that, not only for her, but us as a whole family unit.

        We both came from unsafe neighborhoods, with a horrible educational system, and very few job opportunities, and she would not be living as good as she does now, without the money I make. She would be back living at her crowded moms house in the “hood”. I know this, because she has no desire to become better educated, or learn any formidable job skill, with or without me.

        But, your right, she is dependent on me, and before me she was dependent on her mother. She has been sheltered and taken care of her own life. She doesn’t know the sense of a dollar or ever had to work for anything she needed or wanted, it was always given to her.

        Anyhow, you have opened my mind to the possibility of her attempting to teach her some financial responsibility, so thank you for that. I do have my doubts, but it cant hurt.


        1. Oh, I wanted to add:

          To your point, “she has put up with me for 15 years”.

          That is something that has not gone unrewarded. I am fair after all.

          For every year, she has been with me, that counts as 1% of my assets, 2% for every year of being with me and mothering our child, and will be 3% for every year with our 2nd child (we are expecting!) upon my passing.

          As of right now she is entitled to 20%, the other 80% is left to my daughter. Will be adjusted to reflect our 2nd child. That reminds me I havent updated her percentage in the last 2 years.

          I think this should be used for all husbands who are the financial backers of the marriage or family. This forces wives to earn their inheritance. I call it the “deserving wife clause”.

          Look how many gold digging woman marry and divorce as soon as they can to get half the mans assets, and repeat the process. They exist! I know some personally! Thats their hustle.

          Protect yourselves men! Don’t be the victims of those scandalous woman out their for your hard earned money!

          1. Your wife has the right to retain at least 50% of her earnings for her own needs so she doesnt have to ask you for everything! It’s not her fault that she’s earning lesser than you are and you married her-meaning you accept her for what she is, with only her high school diploma and all!
            I don’t understand why men calculate everything down to the smallest cent. Love shouldn’t be about numbers. Most women are not as opportunistic as you make them seem to be. Call it archaic, but most women just want to feel secured with a man, and if you’re the loving, protective man of the family, you would understand this and not let your selfish ego ruin an otherwise beautiful relationship.

            1. They have a pre-nup, so the wife only has rights as defined by that agreement. Have you read their pre-nup or are you making assumptions based on a different situation?

          2. I gotta say everything you seem to think is wrong. Deserving wife clause! Also do you by chance pay your wife to take care of your kid/kids. If not you need to. Taking care of kids is a JOB and if you aren’t cleaning, cooking, changing diapers, baths and other such things most moms do then she should be getting paid. And that is not including the 20% you let her keep out of her pay check. Another point I want to make is that you need to change the 80% you keep out of her paycheck. You should figure out how much % wise of your income it takes to pay your bills and she should then contribute the same % of hers. So if it take 55% of your income to pay all the bills then she should contribute 55% of her income to the mix. It’s simple math. An no offense but you do speak down when referring to your wife. You really should reread your posts and analyze why you seem to be saying you settled for her. Just so you know it sounds really demeaning.

      2. We assume his negative read on her intelligence is true he is probably keeping her in the dark on purpose judging from his pompus. Methinks bopping high school girls has lost its charm so he keeps her tight leashed and and he is hopeful she remains clueless.

    3. The only thing I find questionable here is the prenup. Why? To me that indicates a lack of trust right from the get go. I would never marry anyone who wanted me to sign a prenup.

      1. Why not?

        Its simple Math.

        50% of all marriages in the US end in divorce.

        Husband comes into the marriage with all the assets and no debt.

        Wife comes into the marriage with no assets and debt.

        Should wife deserve 50% of husband assets in the event of divorce?

        Sorry, I worked too hard to earn my money to give away half of it.

        Im not saying she deserves nothing for the years dedicated to the marriage. (See above comments for the “deserving wife clause”). They can leave with a “prorated pension“. But not half.

    4. So she works part-time AND takes care of your daughter? Sounds like she has a full-time job as a SAHM + a part-time job. So even though you make more money than she does, you still take 80% of her part-time salary AND let her keep 20%? The fact she stays at home, makes dinner for you, AND does housework IS the reason you are able to be make 90% of the household income. If her income is only 10% then instead of taking most of it, you should let her keep it AND provide her a salary for her other “job.”

    5. This system never works for both parties, and there absolutely no need to rationalise this. If I had a friend who’s wife had a high school diploma and a few college credits and no assets of her own, I would do the most sensible thing. I would make it a project for her to leave this pathetic friend, marry her myself, and treat her like queen. She deserves a crown for keeping up with a narcissist. But I have no such friends luckily.

  28. Relief and heartache are my reactions to your article and to the comments which followed.I am 66 years old my husband is 70 and we are retired after raising a family of four.I worked for many years in a stressful job and bore the brunt of child.care and household duties,.I eventually had to leave my job because of burn out.I remained in receipt of a small pension and inherited money so was always able to pay for the family to have holidays outings and i furthered my own education.It took years for me to realise that my husband was not only frugal but cruelly mean.He( to the outside world) seemed charming and considerate.In reality he scorned spending on birthdays ,Christmas , utility items in the house,cars etc.To save face i covered the costs and got myself into debt which I still pay off.It has taken until now for me to see that this behaviour was not about budgeting pe se but about lack of love and respect for me and above all about control.I have over the years confronted these issues head on but always end up demeaned and doubting my own judgement,He currently has a healthy bank balance but does not voluntarily offer me assistance.I feel like a dog begging for scraps .I have had enough of his behaviour and his ability to deceive others.Financially i am unable to leave him ..but hopefully in the next year I will.Your article has helped me see that fault is not all with me and has given me consolation in realising my judgement is not as flawed as he would have me believe.I am so grateful to happen upon this discussion.My self esteem is non existent but I feel maybe there is hope

    1. the man who said he takes 80% of his wife’s paycheck is not only controlling, he is selfish and emotionally abusive. Sure, he THINKS its working because she has no money available to her to get a divorce.
      What a sad, disgusting way to view their financial set-up. He is ripping off the wife in a terrible way.

      1. Read previous posts. 80% of her pay accounts for 10% of the bills. She has the better financial deal, its far from ripping her off.

        1. Just curious but if she lost her job what would you do then? Also on the other side say you become paralyzed and she has to wipe your a$$ and do everything for you and you loose your job. Just curious if you think she will still love you. You need to read others replies. Absolutely no one is agreeing with you. You are ignorant and really and I mean really need to do some soul searching.

    2. I am 63 now and I am sure now if I lose my job or get sick I will be faced to go it alone. I feel like the stupidest person on earth.

  29. If you love someone and can afford to pay for them – you should pay for them. You should want to pay for them anyway. A family where individual members all earn enough to support an entire family makes a mockery of those families all stuck in jobs they hate because they have no other choice.

    We shouldn’t WANT jobs – that’s our capitalist programming. If you don’t need one there’s nothing in the world that should make you want one other than simple greed. If you married a rich person who won’t pay for you – divorce them because they’re clearly a twat.

    It’s that simple.

    1. Thank you! If one spouse earns 10 times what the other does and the bills are covered easily with money left to save and play with and it’s not a tremendous burden, why would you want their pennies? Let them have their paycheck to do with what they want… as long as they are not blowing the family savings who cares?! You should feel proud of being able to provide that level of comfort to your spouse otherwise you are just roommates keeping tabs of who paid for what!

  30. Men who control the money in a marriage whether a woman does or doesn’t work or helps with their business have absolutely no business being in any relationship whatsoever! You are not a God, you are a puffed up selfish little boy with delusions of your greatness who enjoys bullying and abusing the one person you say you love and you’re really not fit to be a husband at all. I would even say you have narcissistic personality disorder! You probably imagine that you are some kind of hero too in that every time you dole out a little bit of money to your wife, you save the day and deserve some kind of special treatment, undying gratitude, and worship for it.

    You don’t deserve to be lifted up nor are you entitled to have a woman as your little slave cleaning up after you, cooking for you, doing all your shopping, raising your children if you have any, or getting your rocks off! You have no clue about what being a real man is, a partner is, and that might be your mommies fault for teaching you to think that you are entitled to something you don’t deserve or don’t earn or that you should have the best of everything in life. You have no honor, no integrity, no class, no revelation, and definitely no heart. Exactly what was it that made your wife fall in love with you?

    If you find yourself treating your wife to financial abuse then you need some serious counseling as to why you would subjugate her position of honor to one of servitude and disgrace and unworthiness and then you should get on your knees and pray to God for forgiveness of abusing what He gave to you! What part of partnership means Me Myself and I? oh look there’s the I in team inside the A hole !

    a little pissed off but greatly enlightened

    1. Have to agree, and I would say the guy described in the post was definitely in the wrong and sounds like the wife tried to resolve with things out to no avail.

      However, as a younger “millennial” guy, I feel like the new generation of females are becoming more guilty of bad behavior in relationships than in the past and the pendulum is swinging in the other direction, maybe due to anecdotes such as these. E.g. want it all but aren’t bringing anything to the table, less work ethic, over-inflated sense of attractiveness, bail on a guy with no attempt to communicate issues, etc..

      Honestly, I find a lot of the older women I have come across in my office environments more attractive overall than those my age for these reasons, but probably not practical.

      Anyway, definitely agree that both partners should strive to be financially independent, and a stay at home partner should be compensated for duties performed.

  31. Great article, but you missed something about IRAs. Spouses who file joint tax returns may contribute to a non-working spouse’s IRA. I hope you update the article to reflect this.

  32. I’m a SAHD, but I’m already financially independent. My wife is still working because she enjoys it. I think if she works for 6 more years, she’ll be set for life. She’ll qualify for a pension and she’ll have that to fall back on in case anything happens.
    We joined our finances and it’s working out well.

  33. I agree with some of the commenters on the idea that separate accounts don’t make up for the need to communicate about how you spend money. Needing to not see your spouse’s spending doesn’t seem like a long term way to share values and goals.

  34. Good article although it’s not really about money-it’s about marriage. You can’t “force” your own belief system on another person no matter what you do. We have to be flexible, embrace and respect our differences. My wife and I don’t have a budget, we attempt to make smart financial decisions on a daily basis without depriving ourselves of our “wants”. I think a key is to keep your wants reasonable, responsible and focus on the values that you would like to live by and pass onto your kids. You can’t really put a budget or dollar value on that. I don’t agree with some of her purchases and she doesn’t agree with some of mine. Guess what-sometimes we have different opinions on other things. We discuss then move on to taking care and enjoying of our kids, our house, our lives. I’ve actually loosened up the purse strings a little in the last couple years and it’s much more enjoyable and if I have to work an extra few years because of it that’s fine as I like my job. In my view, it doesn’t matter who brings what money into the household. This view of this is my money goes against the spirit of marriage in the first place. Communication is the single most important skill in life, we then need to find some middle ground and it’s ok if you don’t 100% agree with the other person. With all that said, if you as a couple find a system that works, go for it, just don’t be so uptight about it! Life is messy!

  35. There are a couple of good reasons to have separate accounts; 1) if one or both people want them for any reason, including feeling independent and 2) if there is one member of marriage who has a serious problem with self-control and spending and both people recognize it as a problem and agree that it needs to be addressed. With a separate account the person with a spending problem can be put on “an allowance.” Note that reason #2 is a self-conscious limiting of independence for the purpose of marital harmony.

    What is described in the example above is a psychological and relationship problem of someone who has to feel in control at all times and in all areas of life and is dictatorial about it. The simple procedural fix of separate checking accounts would not have remedied that.

    Great fan of your website and your advice. You have been very helpful, and even when I don’t agree I learn something.

  36. mymoneymotto

    This article is probably why I would never agree to being a SAH mom without being financially independent. I have seen too examples of husbands being controlling as a result of being the provider. Some of my friends mostly want a provider as a partner, but I’ve mentioned the downside countless times. I sincerely believe that money affects the power dynamic in any relationship (parents/children, romantic, and friendships) and we should always strive to be on equal footing. I also think that sometimes, even the kindest person can become controlling when money is involved.

  37. My wife chose to give up her career to raise our kids and never returned to work though they are grown. We are both retired now though I still make 100% of our expenses with a one day a week hobby job. When my dad passed away I inherited a seven figure sum. Because we are equal partners I immediately put it in a joint account. She could walk away tomorrow with half of everything and never have a financial care. My ability to be a high earner came from being able to focus on work and having a happy safe home. Her frugal shopping and delicious meal prep kept our expenses down. Her example of running and tennis competition success showed our son and daughters what discipline and winning looked and felt like and they are all winners in life now as adults. Plus all the kids getting free college degrees was due to her guidance and the accountability she required in their schoolwork. She may not have earned an income but she made us a lot of money. She deserves at least half and I really don’t deserve her.

    1. This was beautiful to read and how I hope that my husband and I think about finances throughout the rest of our lives. We have always viewed income and expenses as shared because we are a team. We each do things that contribute to our income and help us decrease expenses and feel no need to quantify who is doing more/less.

    2. A REAL MAN, who appreciates a REAL WIFE. Holy hell, it does exist! Appreciation for the thankless tasks many spouses do alone. A spouse who won’t take advantage of the other spouses kind, giving and self sacrificing nature!!!! SHAME ON ANYONE WHO DOESN’T WANT THE MOON FOR THE SPOUSE WHO IS EASILY TAKEN FOR GRANTED!!

    3. It’s easy to see why you share with your wife. She like a wise partner.

      Can you imagine that some high-earning people don’t view their low-earning spouses as so wise (as thus don’t give him/her total money-management duties)?

    4. Congrats, you found the purple unicorn and the rest of the women below are praising you – because this fits the mold of their arguement – their arguement that only applies to purple unicorns and ignores 98% of the wifes out there.

  38. My wife and I have always worked full time since out of college. We contribute equally to the household expenses and have separate accounts to spend our money anyway we see fit. We also happen to be on the same wavelength when it comes to spending and will never make a big purchase without consulting with each other first (regardless who is paying for it).

    I do plan to, at some point in the next five years, walk away from my job. I do worry about the imbalance in income then. You raise a good number of points in this article. Maybe I should start conversations with my wife on how to get me financially compensated when i do work away from my job.

    1. Dude, the people being financially compensated are those that are caring for children amd doing all the home duties.

      If thats your intent, then sure, all good.

      If you think non working people in a relationship should recieve an income, that’s stupidity. the idea is the woman is compensated for having to take time out of her work and or education. As the female partner ( breadwinner by more than 50%), i would pay my husband a salary for doing the childcare. I would also expect that we each have a yr or two or of work so we can each have that exp with our kids and also that break from employment.

  39. Finally Free

    Great article, Sam. It really is a great show of love to help each other gain financial freedom, which may look very different from couple to couple.

    In our case, my wife has student loans, so I pay the mortgage (also Bay Area) and insurance (home owners / earthquake and auto) so that she can pay off her loans as quickly as possible, while splitting the rest of the bills (electric/gas, internet, water, etc.). We openly talk about our finances to make sure neither of us feel like the other isn’t taking care of their own fair share based on our respective income.

    My question, though, is about joint accounts: What are the benefits and why do folks feel the need to establish a joint account?

    We never felt the need for a joint account and would only add a layer of complexity. We have our own accounts, distribute the bills as mentioned above, and are free to spend on what we want (though we’re both pretty thrifty). Perhaps it’s because we met in our late 20’s / early 30’s with established careers and lived together while dating before getting married? Nothing changed financially when we got married 4 years ago.

    In any case, keep up the great work! I found your site a few weeks ago and have found your posts, as well as the community and their comments, very engaging! I hope to contribute myself going forward!

  40. Hah! I had interpreted your title in a different light and thought you were going to argue for one’s partner to find their own source of income separate from your own in a show of tough love. So your proposal to ease a spouse’s financial disadvantage as an act of love was a nice surprise.

    One of the advantages of having a partner is that you are a team. There are so many aspects to living a full life. Finances are a means to live, but then there are all those other aspects beyond money—in the broadest strokes: companionship, raising a family, maintaining a home, organizing a social life, etc—that make life worth living. It is easier to cover all that ground with two people in a unit vs. doing it solo. Each person brings something to the table.

  41. Nice story. In the end, the controlling husband had only an illusion of control, because his wife always owned half anyway, and eventually his controlling ways led her to assert what was always hers by divorcing him. Separate accounts may also feed an illusion of separateness that doesn’t exist once you are married. Unless you have a prenup or the accounts are separate property (maybe a premarital asset, or an inheritance), then the “separate” accounts belong to the marriage, not the individual, regardless of whose name is on the account. I think it’s better to accept what marriage is and work together as much as possible, rather than fool yourself into thinking its “your” money or you can shield yourself from liability that your spouse incurs by banking separately.

  42. My wife isn’t interested in finances. For her a big benefit of marrying was getting someone else to deal with all that. I try to get her to understand more about it but she isn’t interested. Mainly I’m concerned that if I died she would be in a big mess and fall victim to some bad financial advisers.

    On the other hand, I just let her spend whatever she wants and only occasionally make vague comments like “our spending is rising too fast”. This seems to work for us.

  43. I say each person has their own spending money budget. Anything outside of that budget or exceeding the spending money amount needs to be discussed and agreed on by both people. Do I believe that the guy referenced in the above article was 100% at fault? I doubt it. There are 2 sides to every story. Either way communication and agreements trump “equality”. There are many women(and probably many men) out there that don’t want to deal with the money or the bills and just want their spouse to take care of everything and make the budget. The specifics of how things are done is a case by case basis. However, communication and agreement is mandatory and never on a case by case basis.

  44. Fun in the Sun

    When you have a healthy income, a spouse needing to ask permission for spending tiny portions of your income is not healthy. Really asking permission for anything is not all that healthy. Much better for both to agree to discuss major financial decisions, and let each partner drive their own $100 purchases as they see fit.

    If you feel you need to give your wife permission to spend $100, you probably shouldn’t have married her.

  45. tequilamockingbird

    I’m in my late 30’s, semi-retired and about to get married: some good lessons to be learned here.

  46. We don’t have or feel a need for separate accounts – mine is her and hers is mine.

    But we have adequate money to Max out our 401K spend all we want and save the rest.

    My wife made about $30,000 and is 50 and self employed. Haven’t done taxes yet but almost a of the $30,000 will be going into her solo 401K once the amount is calculated.

    If money is tight, I think separate accounts can be horrible. Both people should agree on all spending until you have your money right.

  47. Wow, controlling person for sure. If I am guessing right, the husband’s miserly ways are his brand and the basis of his business. But imposing that on his spouse vs just himself would be a very poor choice. Bad for his public brand for sure.

  48. Simple Money Man

    Separating out accounts is a big help. You can’t change each other to one’s liking and it’s not fair to do so anyway. And opposites attract.

  49. Thanks Sam. I was just noticing this article the other day. More millennials are choosing to become stay at home parents than Gen X. With more people considering staying at home to care for their children, it’s so important to think ahead about the far-reaching consequences of being a SAH parent.
    From my point of view, a SAH parent should have some side income, no matter how small. Even a few hours of work per week gives you a sense of self-worth and independence and helps you maintain your skills in case you choose to come back to the workplace.

  50. judith Wilson

    I think this is a great post Sam. Too often women sacrifice a part of their careers by either working part time or staying at home; they then have to ‘catch up’. Good guys recognise this – a lot don’t.

    1. Christine Minasian

      I would agree. It depends on the spouse if they respect their decision to stay home and raise the kids. Good guys do respect any decision!

  51. Great Post Sam! I don’t agree that having separate bank accounts gives financial independence, I think it actually gives an excuse to not be accountable to the person you have partnered with for life. Isn’t this why we get married?

    To be with a smart wise person so that we can make decision together as opposed to separately? You find a lot of spouses hiding expenditure from their spouse or being dishonest with finances because they haven’t taken the time to create their “money culture”. What I mean is this, it’s not about how much money you’re spending but the principle of accountability when it comes to expenditure.

    It doesn’t matter if my husband is spending $50 or $5,000, what matters is are we in agreement in principle of what he is buying or spending on. For example my husband loves tech gadgets, just the other day he came and sat next to me and said I need $130 to buy a new hard drive. Now the money was insignificant to our budget, the only reason why he came to me was he knows he sometimes over spends on his gadgets and so he asks my advice on if he thinks he really needs it.

    Same with me, I spent 2 months looking at about 5 pairs of shoes because I my shoes are no longer working. Again the amount was insignificant but I trust him to give me good advice on if he thinks I need five pairs or shoes or not. The question is do you trust your spouse to ask what they think.

    And by the way sometimes I don’t ask I just buy and my husband TRUSTS that I make wise decisions when it comes to our money. The trust takes work, and consistent consultation but after almost 8 years of being married it works like clock work and we have no insecurities concerning our money because we have agreement for our expenditure and the principles behind our spending.

      1. Yes we both work, our incomes are on par for the most part when you add everything up. Two kids two under two

    1. My wife and I have been married 59 years. Yup, more years than most of you have been living. We supported each other through our education. We both have a Ph.D. degree. We both worked and raised a family. We retired and started an humanitarian service program in Guatemala (Educational scholarships). It continues as a 501c3 not-for-profit corporation. GREAT life! We are partners. Separate accounts was never even a consideration. We are happy in the living room, kitchen, bedroom and in the pocket book. Why? Because we trust each other and we TALK. Communication over the years has defined our mutual values, goals and living standards. If, over the years, you cannot “talk it out” than get help. If that doesn’t work than…..good luck on lasting 59+ years together. Finally, we talk about the posts on Financial Samurai and look forward to more posts on passive income and real estate crowdsourcing. Would be great to hear from people who are in their “later years of retirement”.

  52. Momofthree03

    That was a story about a controlling partner, not necessarily an issue over shared accounts. She was right to divorce him, he was not hearing her or being a good partner. Shared accounts doesn’t mean that anyone has more power. My husband and I have had shared accounts for 17 years. He is the breadwinner, I am (mostly) a Stay at home mom. My husband earns the income and I manage our bills and investments. If he wants to buy new running gear, we talk about it and then he buys it. If I want to go away with friends, we talk about it and then I go do it. In 17 years the only fights we’ve had over money were when times were lean and stress got the best of us. We are a unified front, have shared goals, and it just makes sense for us to manage everything together. Having individual accounts would feel weird and uneccesary to both of us. Why would you want joint accounts if you’re working toward the same goals?

  53. In today’s age it can be strange to go from being completely independent as a career person to being a stay at home parent without a regular income. It certainly is a full time job so one way that might help the stay at home spouse is to calculate the value of the hours put in as a caretaker and add a premium for being a parent vs a nanny.

  54. The biggest thing people that are “money obsessed” and married is that the most important relationship to nurture is the home one. The quickest way to lose 1/2 your precious assets is to get divorced.

    In this letter, the former husband was picking up pennies and stepping over dollars as the divorce likely caused him a far greater hit to his finances than if he just loosened the money control he had over his wife. Making that much a month and worried about $25 toy is taking to the extreme and in the end that caused him to loose 6-7 figures.

    I do like the gesture of helping out the financially disadvantaged spouse. I actually paid off the balance of my girlfriend’s medical student loans and because of it she has a much better financial start in the world. She was incredibly appreciative as it was a decent balance at a fairly high rate of interest that would have set her back quite some time.

  55. Great post Sam! Lots of wisdom here. I happen to know who wrote that letter to you and I’m not surprised it worked out that way. So sad. Honestly, his failure to figure his shit out reduces her husband substantially in my eyes…NOT good for his brand. Marriage has to be a genuine partnership, not one person imposing rigid rules on the other. Seems obvious when said aloud doesn’t it?! Shame he couldn’t see that. His emotional/financial immaturity was his downfall here; I hope he grows past it for a happier life.

    In a way my situation is similar. My wife did a lot to support my very successful career (we married right out of college – 4 days after my last exam!) and so I firmly believe every bit of my success and high earnings is as much her’s as mine. We don’t keep separate accounts but only discuss purchases if they are over several hundred bucks. THen it’s as much to reality check ourselves as to “get permission” and it works both ways.

  56. Feel like I already commented on this, but this just doesn’t hold water for everyone. Relationships and marriages are far too complex and emotion has a big say. What works for one couple may not work for another. Far too dynamic of a topic to put such boundaries on. Obviously the scenario above is not at all appropriate, but I can’t help believe that there are other underlying issues within the Marriage, and Finances my be both a partial cause and sympton. My .02. Keep up the good writing. Looking forward to an update on crowdsource real estate!

    1. What is the downside to having your own account?

      My spouse came from a much wealthier background than me. She spends more freely on things I would never spend money on. We used to fight about spending, but now we don’t as much because of separate plus joint accounts.

      1. I agree with Cody; one size does not fit all in this case. I think it is fine if you want to have separate accounts but if the need isn’t there, why bother? It is just another account to manage and keep up with that may also involve extra costs. Again, perfectly fine for those who think they need it for whatever reason but not something I or my wife of 25 years have ever felt necessary.

        We’ve been blessed that having money and how we spend it has not been an issue or an irritant in our marriage. Like I said, for others it may make perfect sense but this is not the “end all, be all” solution for everyone.

    2. Mr. Hobo Millionaire

      I agree with Cody. To each their own, but I personally believe a couple must be united in their money and goals. The letter posted does not indicate the wife needs her own money. It indicates her husband is controlling, and they are not on the same page financially.

  57. Great advice on how to make sure both spouses are cared for in a relationship. Keeping each other financially independent together and separately is the best way to ensure financial frictions are minimized.

    My wife and I each maintain side accounts for small portions of our paychecks. This gives us the freedom to make financial decisions we deem best suited to our needs and free from an audit by the other. The overwhelming majority of our net worth is kept in shared accounts with a shared purpose: (1) funding a secure retirement (maxing out our retirement accounts), (2) contributing toward a house down payment fund, and (3) building our net worth through after-tax investment accounts. Our primary focus has been building (1) and (2) at the moment but we we will be sure to include (3) soon after buying the home.

    1. Thanks for the tip. This sounds like a really simple way to split things up. This will give each partner freedom to do what they want with their spending money while also having shared goals.

      I think the key is to have a shared plan but to have separate accounts for spending money. This would be a relatively small portion of the budget anyways. It is effectively working together towards your goals while not sweating the small stuff.

      1. What fantasy would do you live in where a stay at home parent can get a six figure income. My wife and I both work hard, are well educated with above average intelligence and struggle to make more than 140k combined, 100 which comes from me and we both have student debt.

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