Q: Do you think it’s important to discuss how much you earn with your partner? What if one person earns more than the other, how should they split the bills?
A:The now important factor in a romantic partnership involving separate / differing incomes IS discussion, no matter different amounts.
Keep discussing till you get to an equitable decision … ie, even if the incomes and distribution of them cover different expenses.
Example: The higher earner may pay more toward the mortgage than the lower earner. Or the one with a better insurance and pension plan, might pay more to monthly costs for a shared car.
These divisions, however, must take into account whether one person already owned the house in which both now live; that person might feel that rent, paid by the other, is a fair solution. Of course, that only works if both agree.
It may all seem very complex at the early stage of partnership, but stay aware of this reality: What’s truly fair or unfair is eminently recognizable. Work from that principle.
Reader’s Commentary“The story of the sister kept from her dying mother (April 19 and March 29) resonated with me.
“Because I wanted no regrets, I maintained a relationship with an alcoholic father who’d been horribly abusive to me. I considered my sister my best friend.
“However, she distanced from me and did not inform me of her husband’s memorial service. I’d been his sister-in-law for 42 years. I wasn’t invited. The exclusion was very hurtful.
“Previously, she’d had our father sell the family home and move to where she lived. She stopped talking to me, using my hurt / angry email to my father about exclusion from the memorial service as excuse.
“After his death, my oldest son had DNA testing and informed me that she wasn’t my father’s daughter. I didn’t believe it though we didn’t look related.
“I look like both my parents; she looks like neither except for her body size, like my mother’s.
“I had my DNA done and she was not my father’s child. She was terrified I’d tell him, but I wasn’t going to judge my mother and ruin an old man’s memories of her.
“Two weeks before he died, she had him change his will. He went for hospital tests and then I couldn’t find him. The hospital would tell me nothing because she’d had herself and daughter listed as the only ‘family.’
“I discovered that he’d died. She hadn’t let me say goodbye.
“I learned he left me $ 25,000 and she and her daughters got the rest of the considerable estate. They paid all the legal fees out of the account including my pittance and my final inheritance was just over $ 1,800.
“There was nothing to be done about it because he was of sound mind.
“When I lost my daughter, I wrote the story of my life and had it self-published to help me heal. I even gave her a copy. We were on pleasant terms before his final stay in the hospital.
“I’d never believed that money could be that important to the sister I’d previously adored. Had the situation been reversed, I would’ve divided the inheritance equally between us.
“However, my best revenge is that I’m happy, healthy and love life! Money has never been the driving force in my life.
“I’d been very close to her four young grandchildren. Losing them from my life is far harder to bear than losing all that money.
“LIVE! Laugh! Love! ”
Ellie’s tip of the day
Every relationship partnership faces a division of shared costs, and joint vs. private savings.
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