I out-earned my husband for the first 10 years of our marriage and
covered most of our mortgage and retirement. His salary went up
recently and I'm wondering about some sort of repayment plan, in
the name of fairness. Would you be for or against? - Ginessa
Hi Ginessa: This is a real hot button issue and I'm glad
you asked. Marriage is one thing; marrying your money is a different
beast altogether. In an effort to make things seem fair and equal,
we can become petty, mistrustful, and judgmental. Here are some
of the main reasons I'm opposed to seeking reimbursement.
lives, shared finances. A lot of couples hesitate to merge
accounts or even disclose how many credit cards they have, which
is a set up for disaster. The fact that you and your husband have
been honest is a good start, but it doesn't sound to me like you're
sharing your finances. One of the hardest parts of a marriage
is coming to an agreement over how money should be spent. Getting
on the same page is the first step, and then you need to accept
that sometimes you'll outspend your partner. One half of a marriage
will usually earn more than the other, and it will only lead to
strife if that becomes a sticking point.
2. The point of fairness. Has income inequality in your marriage
left you in financial ruin? Do you need reimbursement to pay off
creditors? Or is this simply about putting your foot down and
demanding your husband pay an equal share? No one wants to be
taken advantage of, and hopefully that's not how you've felt over
the years of paying for your home and investments. If one spouse
works hard, helps with the day-to-day, and brings in less income,
that's not a referendum on what they put into the marriage, right?
So asking for repayment years down the road is less about your
union and more about keeping a balanced ledger. If that's the
case, you need to ask yourself which is more important.
3. Back to the vows. At the altar, what promises did you and
your groom make to each other? I'm hopeful that special day wasn't
focused on who would pay for what in the future, but rather the
love you shared and the lives you wanted to create. I always advise
people to be generous when and how they can - your husband certainly
isn't a charity case, but I hope putting your earnings toward
a better life for both of you makes you feel good. It shouldn't
have you counting the dollars you feel like you're owed.
| This is a hard
topic to talk about, but it's absolutely worth the effort. Make sure
you both have the right intentions and then make decisions that lead
to mutual happiness. Thanks for writing in!
Information presented is for educational purposes only and is not
an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of any specific
securities, investments, or investment strategies. Investments involve
risk and, unless otherwise stated, are not guaranteed. Be sure to
first consult with a qualified financial adviser and/or tax professional
before implementing any strategy discussed herein. To submit a question
to be answered in this column, please send it via email to Question@GoFarWithKovar.com,
or via USPS to Taylor Kovar, 415 S 1st St, Suite 300, Lufkin, TX 75901.