My husband doesn’t share his money

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I have been married to my husband for about six years now. Together for more than 10. From day one he has made it clear that his money is his and mine is mine. That was fine at first. He makes a lot more money than I do. We both work at a hospital.

I have been struggling financially for the last several months. We bought a house in 2020 and he wanted to get a roommate to help with the mortgage because I will be in school soon and unable to contribute. I did NOT want a roommate but agreed so he wouldn't have to pay the entire mortgage alone. After paying my share of the other bills, it leaves me with less than $100 each month. I buy myself coffee or nail polish as my one treat a month. I buy groceries, cook, clean, do the shopping, etc. All with my money. He never pitches in. I have begged many times to just help me with groceries each month, but he tells me I have to ask for the money. But the thing is, I shouldn't HAVE to ask. He should just offer because I'm struggling. He makes me feel bad about asking every time.

He makes four times as much as I do. He has told me I need to budget better and not buy coffees. So I am just supposed to pay bills and not do a single thing for myself each month while he is living plush? Meanwhile, he is buying a fancy car and mountain bike, has plenty of money to buy expensive parts for those bikes, and is rolling in the dough while I am left struggling to keep up with my bills and expenses. My car is used and old and I need to fix it. My credit card is also maxed out.

I have been borrowing a little money from my dad each month (I pay him back each paycheck though) or doing Uber Eats here and there to stay afloat. He says when I am done with school it will be great because I can start paying more toward the mortgage so it'll "relieve some financial stress" and free up some money for him. Am I wrong to think that it's bad that he is OK with his wife struggling? I feel like we are not married and I'm just a roommate at this point. It doesn't feel like he has my back at all.

– Struggling

This isn't working, and it might be a dealbreaker. You don't want to spend a marriage feeling like a roommate. Also, if he doesn't have your back now, will he when you're older? If one of you gets sick? Why be married at all?

But let's focus on the reality of what's happening here. Your husband might be shocked to learn that unless there's a financial agreement in place, those unequal paychecks belong to both of you – and so does your debt. Again, unless paperwork states otherwise or these financial gains and losses happened outside the marriage, the money you make as a couple is usually considered shared assets, as are loans. It depends on the situation, the state, etc., but marriage means you're connected, even if he pretends you're not.

Ask your husband to go with you to a financial advisor who can help you make a better budget. He might be happy to come along, especially if he believes this will be all about you learning how to save. What should happen at that meeting is that a professional will break down the reality of your expenses. The counselor will explain why you're in debt, and whether your paycheck actually covers your financial obligations. The expert can also explain how other couples handle bills when one makes more than the other. Basically, you'll get tips and a road map. Search for advisors that will do a few long sessions for advice. Make sure you bring a list of every expense, and questions about how to best work as a team.

Something tells me that kind of visit will be a wake-up call for your husband. He'll learn that this isn't about fancy coffee. He'll also discover (if you ask the question about shared assets) that he doesn’t win anything by putting you in debt.

Hopefully he'll change his attitude and you'll leave with some new skills. If his attitude doesn't change, you'll know where he stands and that there is no happy future here. You are going to make more money, and you might not want to share it with him. Better to know now.

– Meredith

Readers? How do you handle incomes, debt, and sharing with a spouse who makes more?