On “My Money is My Money and His Money is Our Money”

“I’m still going to ask Ezike for money for my wedding dress; he doesn’t need to know I got it for free.” That’s what my former coworker, Shade, said after she won a free Pnina Tornai wedding dress from a bridal boutique. I responded with a full expression of disbelief all over my face. “You have got to be kidding! What do you plan to do with the money since you already have a dress? Save it for your new home?” “New home ko, new mansion ni. Of course it will be my personal spending money,” she said.

I have heard this said too many times by my fellow naija sisters – “It doesn’t matter how much I make or how much he makes; my money is my money, and his money is our money.” Let me call a spade a spade – it is selfish.

About Shade I wondered, “who did you call when you got the news that you won the wedding dress? Shouldn’t Ezike have been the first to know? Shouldn’t your joy be his joy and your savings, his savings?” Why place such a heavy burden on your husband to solely provide for your home like we are in 1912? What if he loses his job and is unemployed for several months? What happens then? Your money still remains yours?

Here are two implications of this way of thinking.

Implication #1. It puts a lot of pressure on men to fill the “provider” role, and because they don’t want to dent their ego, they don’t share their financial struggles with you. They pretend to you as though all is well, while they go out borrowing money to fund home necessities. All this happens while you spend “your” money wastefully because you know, “your money is your money”. Do you see how ridiculous this is? Later you complain that he doesn’t have much regard for you. 

Aunty, wake up! You both are partners. Partners work together, share information, strategize together, share their highs and lows together, and share their “haves” together. Bia, think about it. Wouldn’t it even bring you pride if you contributed towards things in your home, like buying your kids’ school uniforms, or paying for the groceries? No? Not really? Ok, never mind.

Implication #2. It often gives men a false sense of superiority. Because you are expecting him to provide for the home, he most likely will expect you to be responsible for all the domestic chores. Before nko? I’m talking breakfast, lunch, and dinner prepared by you his cook; laundry, groceries, and cleaning done by who? You of course, his maid. Bathing the kids, chauffeuring them to and from their activities, and assisting with their homework will be done by none other than….yep, you guessed right…you, their nanny, AKA madam “my money is my money”. And don’t you dare complain that he doesn’t help out. Just sit there quietly and enjoy your money to yourself.

Now before you start implying things I didn’t say, this post is targeted towards couples where both parties work, as against full time stay at home moms or dads, who by the way are the real MVPs. This post is also not intended in any way to diminish the man’s role as the head of the home.

I’d like to suggest an alternative approach to this method of thinking. What if you both shared what you have and agreed on a budget that outlines exactly how you would spend it? If you really care to have this so-called “personal” money, then write it into the budget. What is most important is that you are both on the same page, instead of hiding money in places unknown. When you hoard or hide things from each other, you miss out on the opportunity to maximize the enjoyment in your relationship.

I personally don’t care to have a rack of money that excludes my husband. I want to enjoy living life with him, I want to save with him and invest with him for our future. I am happy when I buy things for him, because his joy is my joy; and he is happy when I buy things for myself because my joy is also his joy. So let’s correct the statement – my money is our money and his money is our money.

I know couples have so many different approaches to handling their finances. Please share your thoughts on this, and if you are enjoying my blog so far, kindly consider subscribing (scroll down to see the field to enter your email).

*Photo 2 credit: Broke Girl Rehab. Photo 3 credit: Kamdora.

22 thoughts on “On “My Money is My Money and His Money is Our Money”

  1. Just came across this post and I’m happy I did. We have a budget in my house which takes into account both our incomes whilst we both know what each other pays seperately. Yes, Mr A pays the majority of bills as I wasn’t working for 18 months and when I was, I really struggled with bills. Now, it is much easier. And if any one of us is low on money, or wants to ask the other to consider putting some money towards something the other wants, we feel no way. It’s a partnership.

      • It took some time though – it’s not easy but not everyone wants that kind of life anyways. I know women who have told me not to have a joint bank account with my partner (our wages go into seperate accounts) because of their pasts. Women are a bit crazy lol x

      • Now I think those women may have trust issues? If I can’t entire trust my spouse with my money then that’s a problem. The other thing may be that their spouses are frivolous with money. In which case, applying wisdom is essential. But the idea of wanting to spend all our money on ourselves while our husbands pay all the bills make me cringe.

  2. The idea of a shared bank account is very scary for me. Not sure why since we are single as a 1 naira but I very much like the idea of a joint budget similar to what you described. Any thoughts on how to share a budget without sharing an account? Is this even a possibility and yes, in all likelihood this stems from trust issues about putting all my money eggs in one basket.

    • You can absolutely share a budget without sharing an account. A budget lays out how much you will receive in income and exactly how you will spend every penny or kobo of it. So each time you spend on an item or expense, you go back to your budget to track it.

      My husband and I have separate bank accounts and one shared savings account. However, we both have the passwords to our individual account. I don’t have anything to worry about because I trust him, and we are on the same page with our budget. If he was a frivolous spender who refuses to abide by a budget, will I give him my password? Probably not. But then again, I probably wouldn’t have married him in the first place.

      Send me a message in my “contact me” page if you are interested in a template of the budget I use, I’ll be happy to share.

  3. I love this post! I 100 percent agree with joint account. Hubby and I do joint account . We put both incomes into the joint account for everything bills etc then we get a monthly allowance from the joint Account. Like you said it’s about trusting each other. Plus I think it brings about transparency and even helps communicate better and build our lives and future goals together as opposed to each person chasing their individual bank accounts.

    • Agreed! I like the points you raised on transparency and communication. And yes, it’s short sightedness that results in people hoarding their money away from their spouses when they should be planning towards their future goals together.

  4. I love this! I think that transparency and communication are the building blocks for any sucessful relationship – finances included! I’m single right now, but I plan to work as a team with my future husband. Thanks so much for the advice!

    • It’s not just her. Many people actually think this way. It goes back to previous generations where usually, the man was the breadwinner. Things are obviously different now, but many people haven’t updated their way of thinking.

  5. Hiya!!! Finally catching up on missed posts! The money thing in Marriage baffles me sometimes with the my money, his money, our money thing. Like you’ve mentioned, why marry someone you can’t trust with all aspect of life? The way I don’t like to spend money on frivolous things, I definitely prayed for a husband that feels the same way and would not have married someone who feels the opposite way. Also, ki lon she some women? There is a sense of pride that comes with contributing to your household. I don’t blame them sha, they have been conditioned growing up sometimes by bitter people whose finances got messed up by marrying the wrong person. Money/finances is such a volatile topic that really has to be dealt with in counseling before marriage. It literally makes or breaks some marriages.

    Won’t the family get to their goals faster if both party contribute to the finances? The husband and I have several shared accounts (business thingz, lol) and one personal account where agreed upon allowances go into. There have even being times where I refuse to take allowance because we needed to raise money for a business venture. Also times where his allowance is much bigger than mine because of his family obligations that I don’t have. All this to say, my money is definitely his money.

    • Your examples are right on point, and demonstrate unity and selflessness. You are right, the money topic have broken several marriages. Granted, it’s much more complicated than my post covered, but still, so unfortunate that finances would break a marriage. Thanks for stopping by as always!

  6. I had this conversation with a group of ladies yesterday and a lot of them maintained that “their money is their money”. I was planning to do a blog post on this but You have taken this story straight out of my heart. I am going to share with my friends. This is worth knowing and practicing. Thank you for this!👏

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