Dear Mrs. Riches:
My fiance and I own a house together and have just changed the way we pay bills. I've always taken care of the bills and used to tell him to give me an amount to cover everything. Sometimes, I would cover our food and miscellaneous expenses since I make more money in outright salary.
We now put all of our money into an account and then we each get some to spend every week. The problem comes with bonuses. He also now gets a bonus every week based on sales or profit, on top of his regular salary. He says the bonus is his (not part of our money) and so he should keep it to spend how he wants. I disagree.
This disagreement has started to eat away at our system of money management. Help!
-- Worried Fiancee
Dear Worried Fiancee:
So, let me get this straight: What's yours is his, and what's his is his? Do I have that right? If so, someone has some 'splaining to do, and it isn't little Ricky.
Your fiance is basically saying that he wants to retain a larger portion of the money he makes to do with what he pleases. While that is a legitimate issue to bring up, trying to argue that this "perk" only applies to him is bogus. What's good for the gander is good for the goose, or something like that. The two of you need to discuss if you'd simply like to renegotiate the amount you each get for personal spending, if you'd like to revert back to individual accounts and simply split the bills down the middle, or if you have another creative (and fair) solution in mind.
Here's something else to chew on: I would say that how you two discuss this disagreement and attempt to come to a resolution is as important as the actual solution. Ask yourself these questions: Are we able to talk about money issues without escalating into a fight? Do we resort to name-calling or taking cheap shots? Does one person always "win," or do we compromise? Does my fiance often seem to expect me to get the short end of the stick? You'll want to take a good, hard look at whether the two of you are on the path to financial (and marital) harmony, or whether the outlook is cloudy with the certainty of rain.
I'm so glad you wrote before arriving at the altar. More engaged couples talk about what they would do if they won a Powerball jackpot than they do about the day-to-day financial issues that threaten to permanently divide them. Do consider working now on money issues with your spouse-to-be. The Motley Fool's Guide to Couples and Cash is a great resource for helping couples get off on the right financial footing.
Interested in more financial resources for couples? The Motley Fool's personal finance service, Motley Fool GreenLight, has a Couples area chock-full of articles that can get you and your honey in sync in no time.
If you're interested in hearing more from Mrs. Riches, try:
Fool contributor Elizabeth Brokamp is a licensed professional counselor who regularly talks money with her honey, Robert Brokamp, editor of The Motley Fool's Rule Your Retirement newsletter. To get your money and relationship questions answered, send her an email .