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for those posters who are partnered up and who care to answer, i'm curious: how is your household income split between you and your partner [i.e. do you and your partner make similar incomes? is there an income inbalance (big or small)? does one partner stay at home and the other works?], and does this issue ever cause any friction?

i'm currently struggling with the fact that my partner makes a great deal less than i do and has a load of consumer debt she has accumulated in the last few years. she is heading back to school this fall, which i think is a great idea, but the financial burden of the schooling will also lie mostly on me and things are going to be really tight. this is where i should note that i do NOT make a great deal of money, just a lot more than she does, and because of the extra financial load i am going to have to give up contributing to my RRSPs, which i'm not happy about.

am i just being selfish? how would you feel about this?

we've been together 3 years and are unmarried with no kids.
 

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I am currently on what I call my "do over" meaning second long term relationship. We both work and basically make the same money. She is/was more of a spender and I am/was more of a saver. We complement each other nicely and have met in the middle.

Occasionally we disagree on certain things and usually compromise is made. I see our relationship "going the distance" so we really don't argue that much about things.

If you are with the girl you are going to marry and spend your lift with, don't worry too much about it. If you are not sure, you will have to do some soul searching.
 

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My partner has always made considerably less than what I do. When she was working full time she could pick up the monthly condo fees, would have her own spending money, pay for certain groceries and pay for the odd meal out sometimes. When she was laid off she was on EI for nearly a year which essentially paid pocket change so paying for the monthly condo fees ended. Her EI benefits ended a while ago and she's been unemployed since.

She has decided that her current career will likely never pay enough money and she thinks it's a dead end for her. So she's going back to school this fall for four years to get into a new career. That means I'm essentially stuck paying for all the bills during that time even if she gets a part time job. Fortunately, her mom is paying for the schooling.

Because of this my investment plans are scaled back a fair bit right now. I would have loved to have had more money at my disposal for when the stock prices were so low... I understand JC NewGrad's feelings on this and I don't think there's anything wrong with being unhappy about it and if this is a long term relationship, your RRSP is really for the both of you so I don't see wanting to contribute but not being able to as selfish.

I'm not happy about our current situation in the short term but can see in the long term that this short term pain will make for a good long term gain. When she does start her new career after school is done, it will still pay far less than what I'm making (though it will increase decently over time) but it should be enough to support both of us, which her old career could never do, so I can use most of my money for investment purposes (RRSP, TFSA and mortgage lump sum payments) so hopefully we can have early financial independence and can then freely decide what we want to do with our lives at that point.
 

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I would just want some clarification of your relationship:

married
engaged
common-law
non co-habitating

How long have you been together?

Would you stay in the relationship even at the risk of her taking you into backruptcy?

Has she showed any commitment to meeting you halfways financially?
 

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To give a bit more an answer to your original questions, my wife is a stay at home mother, but even when she worked my salary was much, much higher than hers. We do have different ideas about spending and we are still in the early stages of my career and have had quite a bit of debt to chew up from all my years of schooling.

As a result, we went to a system where I control all the finances - bills, investments, etc. I pay her a regular allowance each month which she can spend on whatever she wants. The household necessities are bought on credit cards which we share but she does not put her personal variable expenses on these cards. I pay all the credit card bills at the end of the month.

It has worked reasonably well for us despite our different relationships with money and kept most financial disagreements relatively small.

I'm sure as we get closer to retiring all our debts she will request a larger allownace which is fair enough once we can afford it.
 

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You should each get a part time job (even if you don't want to). Your money goes to your RRSP, hers to her debt. Then if she wants to quit after the debt is paid, she can.
 

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I went back to school for another degree starting earlier this summer. I'm also in the same situation where my partner makes considerably more then I do. He was unhappy with my decision to go back to school, so as a compromise I remained working full time, and I just divert a portion of my spending money and income to school.

I would recommend that your other half pick up a part time job to help subsidize the cost of her schooling, so that you are still able to make your RSP contributions. The burden shouldn't be soley on you to cover her educational and living expenses.
 

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Your partner needs to pay off their consumer debt then save for schooling. If I was in your situation I would probably provide some assistance but not take on the entire burden myself and certainly not to the point where I can no longer contribute to my RRSP. I'm currently married and I tell my wife that nothing will deter me from contributing in my RRSPs.
 

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for those posters who are partnered up and who care to answer, i'm curious: how is your household income split between you and your partner [i.e. do you and your partner make similar incomes? is there an income inbalance (big or small)? does one partner stay at home and the other works?], and does this issue ever cause any friction?

i'm currently struggling with the fact that my partner makes a great deal less than i do and has a load of consumer debt she has accumulated in the last few years. she is heading back to school this fall, which i think is a great idea, but the financial burden of the schooling will also lie mostly on me and things are going to be really tight. this is where i should note that i do NOT make a great deal of money, just a lot more than she does, and because of the extra financial load i am going to have to give up contributing to my RRSPs, which i'm not happy about.

am i just being selfish? how would you feel about this?

we've been together 3 years and are unmarried with no kids.

You should discuss this with her and you have to find a solution that works for both of you.
 

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My wife makes about 4 times what I make, and I'm quite happy about that.

We have 2 children, and both times my wife has stayed home for the first 3 months, and then I've taken off the next 9 months to look after the child before daycare starts at 1 year old.

My wife is self-employed, where as I'm employed by the government. It works out well. She makes lots of money and I get good benefits (job security, full salary during 9-months parental leave, health/dental benefits, defined-benefit pension).

I could double my salary if I left the public service, but with the amount of money my wife makes, we've decided it isn't worth it, as I'd be expected to work far more than the 37.5 hours/week I currently work, and wouldn't get nearly as good benefits.
 

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My wife makes the same as I do, but she only works 3 days/week and I'm full time. (She's home with our 2 kids the other 2 days.) I used to make a lot more but then I got my second degree. Now, for largely the same job at the same employer, I make about half my former wage. (Don't let anyone tell you that going back to school is guaranteed to raise your wage! :) We have savings and no debt but zero chance of buying a home in Vancouver until the prices come back to normal.
 

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You are typically better off filing jointly. When you file married filing separately, and one itemizes, the other spouse has to itemize also even if that is not the most advantageous. You can figure it both ways and see which gives the lowest total income tax.
Myra,
Please explain in more detail. I cannot find the option for joint filing in my tax package.
 

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My wife and I have similar incomes. She makes a bit more than I do, but I work 20 hours a week.

If she stopped working, my simplistic assumption would be that I would pay all the bills and just split whatever was left. She could do whatever she wanted with her half and I would do whatever I wanted with mine. That solution seems fine with me.

I'm not really concerned about our salaries because I know that our wealth isn't dependent on our salaries. The salary has always been gravy. Money and making money is just an idea.
 

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My boyfriend stays home and takes care of the baby and I work but am self employed and work a lot from home.

Before I just paid the bills and he would ask me if we had money for this or that which stressed me out when we didn't. It just seemed too parent/child to me. Now he is involved in making the financial decisions and knows what is going on.

A word of caution though in my previous relationship I ended up with tons of credit card debt that ruined my credit.

Even though my boyfriend is not working we have similar views on money and saving and he tries to save money on groceries and stuff. If possible he is more conservative than me. So if because of circumstances your partner is not contributing that is different than being a slacker or having different priorities than you do which can cause problems later.
 

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My wife and I always partnered up our finance. While she started working earlier than me (I was finishing my bachelor degree), I rapidly made more than her. In May 2009, she quit her job to stay home with our kids. At that point, I was making more than twice her income (which was not too big to start with).

I guess it is all about trust and confidence. It is obvious that if we ever split, I would be the biggest loser in term of finance. I figure that when you are ready to have kid with someone, it is because you trust fully trust that person!
 

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My husband and I make approximately the same. I make a little more in terms of salary, but he pays less taxes, so ends up with slightly more when all is said and done.

The situation you describe is a tough one. What you are essentially doing is making an investment in your partner's education in the hopes of having a good return on that investment when she returns to the work force.

If you have any doubts about whether she will be there after school is done to make good on her "obligations", then you should back out now. If you feel certain that she will be there, then it's almost always a good idea to upgrade education to get a better salary.
 
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