The Instigator
One_Winged_Rook
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Dorie
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Should Married Men and Women Pool Their Income???

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 0 votes the winner is...
It's a Tie!
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/29/2012 Category: Society
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,219 times Debate No: 27626
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (0)
Votes (0)

 

One_Winged_Rook

Pro

This is a debate, and I say that I'm Pro on it, but I really don't have an opinion (yet, anyway).

The debate is this:

If a married couple both have full-time employment, should they pool their money?

That is--

Should they keep their expenses separate and operate more or less as roommates?

or

Should they pool their funds and consider all things equal?

This also extends to when they have children.
Should each partner contribute equal amounts to the "children fund", same goes for "house fund", "utilities fund", "family car fund" and/or whatever else you consider needs co-paying (this can be debated here)

Additionally, this can extend to single-income families.

Should the employed partner give the un-employed partner half of their income and then work basically from the same standpoint as above?

Contrast to the employed partner managing the funds and the un-employed partner operating on the employed partner's leave.

These are all acceptable scenarios for managing funds while in a marriage.

My question is this... which is best and why?

Also, which you'd prefer, if it's different than which is best?

Whaddaya think?
Dorie

Con

Very interesting question indeed.

First-- I don't think I have an opinion yet either. So, I can make an argument for either. But I am interested to truly consider both sides. If anything, I'd say I fall slightly more towards the pooled funds side in reality.

Question- are we approaching this only for "normal" couples, ie: those that do not have pre-nups? I am going to proceed assuming those couples fall into a different category. Same goes for things like trust funds unless you object.

However, I do think inheritance should play a role in this debate.

Problems I see with keeping separate money:
1. Feelings of unequal contribution-- even if equal amounts are put into funds for "the house," or "utilities," little things inevitably come up and one person may feel they end up contributing more than the other.
2. Differences in portion of income contributed may leave one person with less disposable income than the other as they try to keep up with the standard of living of the other.
3. With moneys divided between the two, the union of a marriage may feel less.. united.
4. In the case of single-income families, the bread-winning partner may (sooner or later) object to turning half his/her earnings over to an otherwise unemployed partner. This is not to say that that person would be cut off entirely, but half is a lot!
5. If the general agreement is 50/50 on all commonly used goods/services, one person may withhold their 50% if they do not agree with some aspect of the purchase (eg: won't contribute to new carpet due to disagreement on color; fix old car vs. buy new one; etc.). This also applies to issues with kids- if one parent refuses to contribute based on non-monetary reasons, the other not only must contribute 100%, but also directly goes against the wishes of the other parent (and as you can imagine, this might cause other problems between the parents).
6. Possibly leads to secrets and/or distrust

Benefits I see to separate money:
1. In theory, this keeps (at least big expenses) closer to 50/50
2. Gives each person financial autonomy, allowing them to operate simultaneously as a couple and as an individual (eg: both pay mortgage, food, cars, etc., but one may choose to invest, pursue a hobby, etc etc.)
3. May lead to less disagreement over how/where to spend money. In the case of disagreement, each person can simply choose for him-/herself.
4. In the case of a split, it is much simpler (though I personally do not believe that people should go into marriage prepared to split).
5. May avoid potential arguments over money

Problems I see with pooled money:
1. One partner may spend (or seem to spend) more than the other.
2. Purchases can be made with the pooled money that one person does not know about and/or approve of.
3. Arguments about money may be more likely.
4. Certain loss of privacy
5. In the event of a split, the money must also be split

Benefits I see to pooled money:
1. Full disclosure, each person knows what is contributed and spent.
2. Ease- all (or most) major bills, etc. payed out of one account, all (or most) major earnings go into one account, etc. Cuts out endless transfers or payments duplicated by each partner, etc etc.
3. Certain amount of trust is required for this system, but if successful, that trust will be quite strong.
4. Supports the idea of marriage as a true union, likewise supports the idea of "family" being one unit, not a collection of people (this is, to me at least, a good thing-- I realize this may be debatable though)-- not "you & me" but rather "we".
5. Unforeseen expenses can be handled in a simpler manner (rather than split, reimburse or transfer funds, one partner can just pay for something when needed and be done with it).

So, I realize that this is only the tip of the iceberg but I think it sums up my initial thoughts on the subject. I also think it might be worth considering a hybrid option. Ie: say a couple has a joint account into which their earnings go and out of which big bills such as mortgage, utilities, car payments, kid stuff (if applicable), etc. go. In addition, say each person also has a personal account with earnings from things like investments, inheritance, side income, etc. and out of which individual bills are paid, such as student loans, hobbies, and other discretionaries (clothing, events, perhaps vacations, etc.). Worth looking at? Would it work or make it more complicated?

I'm interested to hear your thoughts :)
Debate Round No. 1
One_Winged_Rook

Pro

"Are we approaching this only for 'normal' couples" - Trust funds/inheritance... it can be assumed that there is a pre-nup stipulating that the other partner will not receive any trust fund/inheritance from their spouse... I'm not sure how's its typically done, but I see that as right. So, basically, yea.. inheritance/trust fund/any capital amassed prior to the marriage is not counted. (We shall proceed as if both parties have no capital going into the marriage) Any capital accrued during the marriage is what we will be debating about.

With that said, I will be arguing strictly that money should not be pooled. In the case of double-employment, it should be equal contribution... in the case of single-income, it should be split and acted the same.

"1a. Feelings of unequal contribution" - you will have to expand this... how could contributing equal lead to feelings of inequality?
"2a. Differences in portion of income contributed" - Conceded, but I will argue against this later on other grounds
"3a. the union of a marriage may feel less.. united" - I see no connection, please expand
"4a. the [bread-winner] may... object to turning half [his] earnings over" - this is assumed that won't happen... it can be part of their marriage agreement
"5a. one person may withhold their 50% if they do not agree" - I see this as a positive thing, it means that one partner can't trump the other partner/use shared funds inappropriately. They must agree upon things that are to be shared, so they must either come to a compromise, or do the action unilaterally... and each partner can decide for themselves
"6a. Possibly leads to secrets and/or distrust" - isn't marriage supposed to be about trust? this can just as easily be done with shared funds (by hiding other income, from stocks/investments or the like) if a partner wants to do something inappropriate, they'll do it

Problems I see with pooled money:
"1c. One partner may spend...more than the other." - I see this as a very serious problem in shared funds. Would certainly lead to more arguments. It can also lead to one partner controlling (or attempting to control) the other. "No, you can't spend OUR money on THAT!"
"4c. Certain loss of privacy" - I don't see this as much of a problem.. there really shouldn't be that much privacy between partners.
"5c. In the event of a split, the money must also be split" - Obviously this isn't something you want to think about going in, but you're absolutely right.... it can also lead one partner feeling trapped by the other because they can't save up by themselves to be prepared for a split (if they see it coming)

"1d. Full disclosure, each person knows what is contributed and spent." - This is simply not true. Many partners that share their funds will be dishonest about where and how much money was spent... this happened often with my own parents. Mom: "How much did you spend on X?" Dad: "70% of what he actually spent" and the numbers don't add up later, but what are you going to do? Dad: "Hmm... I don't know/remember where that money went"
"2d. Ease- all (or most) major bills" - This is very easy today, not as difficult as you make it sound. Plus, you can have each person have their separate account, but they both contribute the same amount to a shared account that takes care of all the essentials
"3d. Certain amount of trust is required for this system" - I agree, trust is required, but I only see this leading to more distrust by the partner breaking that trust on otherwise stupid stuff (the example listed above with my parents, there's no reason that has to happen, but it does break trust)
"4d. Supports the idea of marriage as a true union" - I completely agree, but I don't think it's necessary to have for a feeling of "we" in a family... this comes just as easily from other shared family values/events (plus, the kids don't know.... and the money situation shouldn't be discussed in front of them)
"5d. Unforeseen expenses can be handled in a simpler manner" - I don't see this as happening that often. Maybe I'm wrong, but you'd have to be more explicit on what unforeseen expenses you're talking about. If it's treating the kids to something nice, that should either be talked about beforehand about splitting of the expenses, or done unilaterally.

Now some of my stuff.

For round one, I will specifically be talking about dual-income.

We're in a changing world. Women really want equality. They feel that it is necessary for them to contribute just as much as men. They want to accomplish their dreams of working alongside men as equals in whatever field their heart desires. (Something we debated in our women's rights debate). This is something, as noted in that debate, that I disagree with, but have come to terms with. In those terms, if women want to be equal, I think they should be treated as such. Assuming both partners work, if they make unequal amounts and thus (2a) their portion that is contributed is unequal... that is a direct result of their own career choices. They could have, of course, decided to take a route that either (A) made more money or (B) would enter them into a single-income marriage. So, if a partner has a complaint about the portion of their income that they are contributing to shared expenses, only themselves are responsible for that situation. Contrary wise, if they pool their funds... this will lead to them contributing unequal amounts to shared expenses and feelings of resentment can harbor. True, this is something both partners going in (that contributions will be unequal), but the only recourse for the partner making more money is to revert to a "separate account" scenario or dissolve the relationship.

While coming into the debate, I was fairly unsure of my convictions because I have never truly analyzed the proposition, but now I must say that I am firmly in support of the "separate account" scenario.

In a pooled income scenario, you can almost certainly find control issues between the partners. The partner who is making more money will feel entitled to make the final decision on all financial questions. Sure, he can forgo some decisions, but ultimately, he will have a feeling like he has the final say. (This can be seen throughout history that the breadwinner typically makes family decisions, not only financial, but all things relating to the family) However, if you go into the relationship declaring separate accounts, feelings of equality will be spawned there and extrapolate to other areas of the relationship.

Additionally, and I think this is a big bonus, when one partner gives a gift to the other partner, it is clear that it wasn't really that person buying it for themselves. What's more, is that it shows that the individual sacrificed themselves and not both people. Showing of sacrifice is a vital sign of care between people. It breeds respect and feelings of closeness.

I think that's where I'll stop for this round... I didn't really want to get into single-income families yet, so I'll do that next round. But I think I showed that not only are feelings of equality better when you separate accounts but also the actual equality that women so desperately crave can be found there, and men are vilified for their acceptance of it. It is a changing world, and as we accept the equality that we are headed towards, we must make sure that people take more responsibility as well.

"Begin at the beginning, go on until you get to the end... then... stop"

Thanks! Awaiting your response!
Dorie

Con

Just for clarity--

1a. by unequal contribution, I was talking about how difficult it can/may be to make things that are truly shared be truly 50/50.. I'd imagine some couples accomplish this more successfully than others, but it seems it would take a certain amount of diligence (not necessarily a problem if appropriate attention is paid to it).

3a. not saying this represents my feelings per-say, but some feel that marriage is union of 2 people, 2 households, 2 lives and 2 bank accounts. I've always thought of separate money as a more "new" or "progressive" idea so perhaps it would be traditionalists who'd have problems with it in this way

4a. if that's assumed, problem solved.

5a. I see what you're saying and I think if we're just talking about a couple that works quite well. I still see potential problems when you involve kids (because kids always want something haha), but its not a huge problem, just something that came to mind.

1d. I see what you mean, but with modern banking, amounts and locations of purchases are easily recorded. I'd see the problem more like "WHAT did you spend $500 dollars on at Walmart?!" "...I dont know.. groceries?" but then again, thats where receipts and such come in.

2d. valid solution, once set up I suppose it wouldn't require much upkeep/attention

4d. I agree/concede its not necessary, but I still think it plays a role, though perhaps small

5d. I think unforeseen expenses applies more with kids than with a couple. But its not so much treating them as just stuff that comes up-- Ex: Little Timmy has a doctor appointment and while you may foresee the copay, you may not foresee prescription cost; while at the pharmacy (lets pretend its WalMart), you also pick up ___&___ for dinner, because you ran out last week and a ____ because Little Sally needs one for Girl Scouts and next thing you know, you spent $50 or $100. And yes, you can (if you're diligent) go to hubby that very night and collect. But in reality, you might forget til the end of the week, etc. Not a huge issue, but more of a convenience thing.

When it comes to dual income, I actually concede, I do think separate money is better. I agree that if a woman's job is not high enough paying, there's a good chance that's within her control to change. Whether its the field she chose or the degree she got or whatever, if you want to make more money, go make it.

I think the point you made about gifts is quite solid and frankly I think pooled money can take much of the joy and significance out of gift giving between partners. So I am in full agreement there.

Since I have ample space though, I am going to move on to single-income, because this is where I am less sure about where I stand.

I see the options as follows:
1. Single account joint account
a) with equal access
b) with unequal access

2. Two separate accounts
a) Money is divided 50/50
b) [and I believe this is often how it was done historically] Breadwinner allots "allowance" to other partner (ie: not 50/50)

I see options 1.a. and 2.a. as both being valid and fair because I feel they really almost do the same thing in different ways.

The obvious difference is that with 2.a. it is near impossible for one partner to exceed the 50% mark in spending. It puts a safety ceiling on it essentially. Now, I really don't see this as a bad thing. The issue(s) I see (and I mentioned a couple before) is with shared expenses and making sure that like the income those are split 50/50. And, also like I said before, I think the issue is almost non-existent with just 2 people. Its when kids are in the mix that I can see things getting muddled.

By muddled I mean both figuring out which things are necessities (50/50) vs. wants/treats (one parent indulges) as well as keeping up with making it all even.

I suppose partially thats just a challenge that comes with kids in general (needs vs. wants).

I do see how a joint account with equal access could cause problems IF one person exceeds what they were meant to spend. Thats a very real possibility for problems. But I'd also imagine that even with one account there are ways to avoid that like card limits etc.

So, at this point, I am equally inclined towards 1a and 2a, mostly because I see them as quite similar.
I have a feeling you have more to say on the matter though so I look forward to hearing it.

Over and out :)
Debate Round No. 2
One_Winged_Rook

Pro

I would like to thank my opponent for her concession.

It is clear: When both partners are full-time employed - they should keep separate accounts

but I will comment on some of your responses

3a."perhaps it would be traditionalists who'd have problems with it in this way" - traditionalist would also have problems with women working... moreover, traditionalist would say that the man is the head of the household and the woman cannot make any financial decisions without the man's approval. So, if we are talking in regards to the hard-line traditionalist... this entire argument is useless.. there's no "shared", there's no "separate".. it is the man's money and he gives it to his wife as he sees fit. (Similar to your 2.a proposal for single-income families)

1d. "with modern banking, amounts and locations of purchases are easily recorded." - except if you take out cash to spend it all... it's shared money... you can do that

5d. "you also pick up ___&___ for dinner" - out of a designated amount of money set for food every week ---
"Little Sally needs one for Girl Scouts" - children expenses like this needs to be decided and split between the partners... if one parents wants their children participating in 'X' and the other parent doesn't... then the parent that does has to do it unilaterally--- for split expenses - you have to decide a budget beforehand... end of story, and if whatever you "want" to spend the money for isn't in the pre-determined budget.... you either have to decide to increase the budget bi-laterally, pay for it unilaterally... or just do without it (because, in reality.. there is little that we "need") [this stops one partner from buying things impulsively with shared money]

I see the options as follows:
1. Single account joint account
a) with equal access
b) with unequal access

2. Two separate accounts
a) Money is divided 50/50
b) Breadwinner allots "allowance" to other partner

Actually, I believe that 1.a is the most used scenario (although, 1.b is how it's kinda done traditionally, because the man has the final say)

"I mean both figuring out which things are necessities (50/50) vs. wants/treats (one parent indulges)" - I don't see this as difficult at all. I think you overestimate last-minute expenses. It's not too hard to agree beforehand how much money you're willing to pay for Little Johnny's baseball, or Little Suzy's Beauty Pageant. Food is on a weekly budget. You each pay equally into the mortgage and (if there is one) the family car. You split duties, the husband is in charge of house repair, and the women is in charge of the food. Any landscaping ventures must be bi-lateral. When it comes time for birthdays, christmas, and other holidays... both partners need to decide on how much to contribute. This is something that could be done unilaterally, but really should be done bi-laterally to show family unity.

"I do see how a joint account with equal access could cause problems IF one person exceeds what they were meant to spend." - I agree this is a HUGE problem in MANY marriages... even causing divorces

I completely reject the idea of 1.a. If you are going to Pool the money, there should be un-equal access. The man should have the final say on all things as it is all his money to begin with and he has no real means of recourse besides divorce or physical abuse if she takes advantage. Therefore, it should be established prior to the marriage, if it's going to be pooled, her spending is at his leave.

Contrarywise, I would support 2.a (and I think this would lead to the happiest marriage). It allows both to the most peaceful and straightfoward means to recourse. It allows, should there be a divorce, for easy split-up of assests and no partner can abuse the other financially. It holds accountability, which is lacking so much these days. True, this might lead to decreases impulsive spending.. but isn't that a good thing? In the event emergencies need to be paid for, each partner should know the other one well enough to know whether they would chip in to cover it (or if they even can if they aren't handling their half good enough).

In truth, all of this boils down to very little. Even with the separate account, the amount of money left over to be split (figuring on a modest single-income, and taking out the shared expenses) isn't much... might even be as little as $30 a week? But I think each person should have that money in separate accounts to do as they wish.
Dorie

Con

So lets move forward with a couple assumptions (though some are kind of big assumptions):
1. Lets assume all couples (to whom this debate would apply at least) make a yearly/monthly/weekly budget, which ideally allocates funds and predicts as many expenses as possible.
2. In the case of children, lets assume that their needs become a part of this budget, even down minor expenses so long as they are relatively predictable.
3. Also, lets assume that the income discussed is modest and yes, as you said earlier, the surplus is relatively small.

I must comment on some of your responses before making a conclusion about the topic at hand--

"I completely reject the idea of 1.a. If you are going to Pool the money, there should be un-equal access. The man should have the final say on all things as it is all his money to begin with and he has no real means of recourse besides divorce or physical abuse if she takes advantage. Therefore, it should be established prior to the marriage, if it's going to be pooled, her spending is at his leave."

a. There is no reason for this debate to assume that the man is the breadwinner. And it wouldn't be important if you had not gone on to say what came next--
b. Divorce, yes I recognize as an option in the case that one partner oversteps his/her financial boundaries
c. But physical abuse?! THAT is the only other option you see?? How on earth would that solve anything related to money or marriage?!?!? Please note, no matter how long or hard you beat your wife, no money will come out. The problem is not solved. This would only further ruin the marriage, not to mention reveal a rather glaring character flaw in the man, which would probably work against him in divorce court.
d. Could not the wronged partner opt instead to take the over-spender's credit/debit card, check book, and/or bank access? Perhaps change the account to his/her name only? I mean there may be no way to get the money back, but there are many ways to stop the problem that do NOT involve physical violence.

That all being said, in order to avoid disagreements, disputes, overspending, beatings, and/or divorce, I will concede that split money in split accounts is best.

Anything we haven't covered?
Debate Round No. 3
One_Winged_Rook

Pro

AGAIN you go on to think that I'm saying something I'm not by offerring Alternatives that are against my Conditions. True, I don't speak it as explicitly as usual, but I'm clearly making the case (in my quote below) for un-equal access (in the case of a shared account) and therefore the divorce/spousal abuse would only come in the case of equal access. What you are suggesting (in [d.] below) directly violates that concept of "shared access". So, as I exclaim in my section that you quoted, the ONLY options for regulating your partner's spendings (if it's unproportiate or out of control) while maintaining a shared account and equal access is Divorce or Physical Abuse. You can say that spousal abuse would be ineffective, but I think you're wrong. True, it would often lead to intervention by the authorities/divorce as well, but that doesn't mean that (without their intervention/divorce) it would be effective. I'm not supporting abuse, but if your wife is being irresponsible - corporal punishment can correct the behavior. Sadly, I can find no studies supporting or opposing corporal punishment of one's spouse, sure... they talk about normal domestic violence or generalize spousal abuse... but I'm talking of a very specific situation that is more like corporal punishment to correct behavior. I believe most spousal abuse that is reported is not of this nature. (probably more based on trust, infidelity, passion, arguments not related to finance)

Also, I'm not supporting spousal abuse --- I'm discussing a means to prevent it!!! ---

I am just aware of the reality that spousal abuse happens! I don't think of myself as special, I could fall victim to that trap as well, if I put myself in the situations that cause it. So, I wish to prevent myself from being in those situations, as well as support others to avoid those situations as well. A way of preventing spousal abuse is to support either shared accounts with un-equal acces or (or I can just leave myself open to be monetarily abused by my spouse, like so many men are... I do not wish that for myself)

-----------------

"I completely reject the idea of 1.a. If you are going to Pool the money, there should be un-equal access. The man should have the final say on all things as it is all his money to begin with and he has no real means of recourse besides divorce or physical abuse if she takes advantage. Therefore, it should be established prior to the marriage, if it's going to be pooled, her spending is at his leave."

"c. But physical abuse?! THAT is the only other option you see?? How on earth would that solve anything related to money or marriage?!?!? Please note, no matter how long or hard you beat your wife, no money will come out. The problem is not solved. This would only further ruin the marriage, not to mention reveal a rather glaring character flaw in the man, which would probably work against him in divorce court.
d. Could not the wronged partner opt instead to take the over-spender's credit/debit card, check book, and/or bank access? Perhaps change the account to his/her name only? I mean there may be no way to get the money back, but there are many ways to stop the problem that do NOT involve physical violence.

"That all being said, in order to avoid disagreements, disputes, overspending, beatings, and/or divorce, I will concede that split money in split accounts is best." - Sounds like we have a confirmed resolution! Sweet :)

I'm convinced
Dorie

Con

Dorie forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
One_Winged_Rook

Pro

guess that's it.. good night sweet prince
Dorie

Con

Dorie forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
No comments have been posted on this debate.
No votes have been placed for this debate.