Household money: Ours, or yours and mine?
DEAR READERS: I printed a letter from "Wondering in Washington," a man asking why young men in general today have the attitude that "any money I earn is mine" in a marriage or live-in situation. He said that when he married, he and his wife considered what they earned to be "theirs" - not his or hers. When I asked my "younger readers" to chime in, I was inundated. Some excerpts:
DEAR ABBY: My first husband controlled all the money, my pay and his. He bought what he wanted, but didn't always pay the mortgage or utilities.
In my second marriage, my money is my money and his money is his. If I earn 60 percent of the income, I pay 60 percent of the shared bills. Whatever is left is up to my own discretion to spend, and the same goes for his paycheck.
- Learned My Lesson in Florida
DEAR ABBY: I'm a man in my mid-30s; my wife is in her mid-20s. Many of our friends keep their finances separate, and the reason usually involves hearing their parents argue over money. I believe the separation of incomes starts with young women embracing messages of empowerment they heard growing up and applying them not only to the workplace, but home, as well.
- Just Saying, in Wisconsin
DEAR ABBY: Male reader here. I think the way to handle finances in a relationship is a rock-solid legal agreement and a lot of premarital counseling. Then there are no surprises.
- J.G. in Texas
DEAR ABBY: I'm 32, recently married. I earn more than my husband, and I'm better at managing money. We plan to set up a joint account for household expenses, joint vacations, etc., and maintain individual accounts for whatever money is left. That way, we have a certain amount of independence and freedom.
We don't consider our relationship to be disposable. But when you don't marry until your 30s, you live a considerable amount of your life independently.
- Modern Marriage in Michigan