How to divide expenses?
April 29, 2014 9:48 PM Subscribe
When you make about the same, it's easy. When one person makes all the money, it's easy. What to do when there is a marked disparity between what two people in a couple earn?
posted by expense-division to Work & Money (54 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
We used to earn about the same in NYC: she's a doctor and was making about $130K and I was in finance, making about $150K plus a small bonus. And we had no kids, so our main expenses were just rent.
And then I lost my job in finance (leading to two years of unemployment) and her income picked up markedly. When I got back to work, I was making $110K with no bonus and she was making about $210K with a small bonus. And I might have managed, but we also then had two kids in daycare and our rent went up, so we were paying $8K just on those. For me, a 50% split of this was bleeding my bank account $1K per month.
And now we've moved out of NYC for Colorado, where our expenses are much less. So what's the problem?
- I am looking at my salary going down when I finally take a local job here -- probably $20-30K
- My retirement savings come out of my paycheck. Hers are largely funded by bonus and employer match.
- We are looking to get a house, and I am anticipating about $4k/month (15 year to match my time to retirement)
- We are looking to start saving for the kids, and mint.com estimates about $1K/month per kid
In short, I think we are returning to NYC level expenses while I face a lower income. I don't think I can sustain a 50% share.
What is an approach to sharing expenses that others have taken in similar circumstances?