Financial Transparency with Your Partner

Was speaking to a good mate yesterday.. he claims that him and his wife are happy with eachother emotionally. They both are on decent wages but noted they have an "awkward" tune when it comes to discussing and sharing their independant finances :where they are very discreet with their income, spending and savings etc.

Here are the key points I picked up:

*They split billing responsibilities and variable household expenditures
*He doesn't know how much his wife earns, due to her shift work and additional overtime shifts.
*His wife is not comfortable to disclose and would understate her earnings.
*They aren't open with their savings with each other and attempts to bring this up for future planning hasn't gone well.
*General discomfort in speaking about money and finances in general with each other.

Is this common? Personally me and my partner operate almost on the other side of the fence.. So am wandering what are OzB's thoughts on this, around being financially transparent (income, spending, budgeting/planning, savings) with your lifelong partner?

Poll Options

  • 63
  • 788
  • 297
    They need a therapist


  • +10

    Which question is the poll for? The title or “is this common?”

    I see you have now edited your title. Cheers.

    • +4

      Thanks, edited to provide more clarity

      • +1

        I doubt anyone is truly honest about transparency.

        It's not like you can login to your partner's bank account at any moment and see everything. Almost everyone has an individual account. That would be the true transparency and with the invention of open banking we have it but is anyone brave.

        Basically a majority of people are lying in the above poll. You can also tell by some comments that people are taking the piss whilst claiming the other party is doing so.

        Context matters.

        • +1

          I think you would be surpirsed by the independent account thing. I know many couples with only a shared bank account.
          My partner and I have a shared and our own bank accounts but we both know how much the other earns and discuss finances. I usually 'pay' the bills but from the shared account or my own if it's not that much and I am lazy.

          Of course sometimes I don't tell my partner of something I bought but it's always an amount of money (like under $100) that leaves us with more than enough for our bills.

          I feel like if you're hiding your income/spending from your partner then you are having trust issus.

  • +47

    A mate of mine also spells 'wondering' as "wandering" and it is infuriating.

    • +54

      Lose and loose is my pet peeve.

      • +34

        Should/could… 'of'

      • +7

        His instead of he's is getting to me lately

        • Used to think this was an autocorrect function of some people's phones but no people actually get this wrong

      • +8

        Bought/brought. Ugh…. So bad.

      • +3

        there, their, they’re

        • +2

          Your is driving me crazy forever. You’re also.

          • +1

            @WhyAmICommenting: I personally miss yaw and yore.

            But we can only hope for so much in one lifetime.

      • +10

        Advice vs advise

        Grinds my gears

      • +4

        “Loose” and “lose” is my pet peeve as well.

        I keep mistyping “now” and “not”. They are two you don’t want to mixup.

      • +3

        People who prefix every bloody s with an apostrophe which don't qualify as a possessive or contraction:

        He drove he's car's to the mechanic
        I brought 2 bed's for my house
        My cat's always cuddle the pillow's

        • +1

          practise/practice, license, licence.

          • @suzley: I'm ok with mixing up these two, but only because I still can't remember which is which.

            I think practice is the noun

            • @ozbjunkie: Yes, practice is the noun; practise the verb. Same with licence.

              • +1

                @suzley: Interestingly, Americans use practice for both the noun and the verb; likewise license for both the noun and the verb.

            • -1

              @ozbjunkie: I know right.. grammar nazi need to relax, this a multicultural society, some get so annoyed and become racist which is worse
              Edit wrong @

            • +1

              @ozbjunkie: My grandfather taught me ‘you practise swimming with an S’ and it’s always stuck

        • Alway's?

        • +2

          Apostrophes get me. It’s ‘80s not 80’s.

      • Did you register it with your local council?

    • +14

      Sometimes I misspell things because of autocorrect or because I’m tired, other times it’s because I’m on OzBargain and I know it will trigger the OCD pearl clutchers…

      • +20

        I advice you not to upset the grammer gurus.
        Their an angry mob

    • +2


    • +5

      Than… then

    • +7


    • +3

      I find break instead of brake annoying!

      I see it on gumtree and fb marketplace everyday. Very annoying and I'm pretty sure they're native english speakers too!

    • -1

      There/their/they are…

    • +1

      The comments in this part are so funny and entertaining. What a great weekend! Thanks, mate!

    • +2

      Mum and Mom….We aren't yanks!!!!!

    • -1

      Blaccdong and Blakkdong…

    • maybe he is 'pacing' around 'wandering' what OzB is 'wondering'?!

    • +1

      Definitely vs Defiantly does my head in.

    • Somethink.

  • +3

    happy with eachother emotionally

    They good s3x but can’t discuss adult topics?

    • Yep, that's the issue.

      Furthermore, whilst we are on the topic of adult topics. Why don't people discuss the contingencies for when their inevitable divorce happens?

      This should be compulsory before someone marries so there is certainty of what happens during the marriage.

      In the past they would setup family trusts to solve this issue. These days the family court just walks into the arrangements and does their own shit.

      If nothing happens then it should be alright. If someone believes drafting papers for what happens after a divorce is going to make the thing happen, maybe their marriage is already fragile as heck. It should be compulsory to have certainty.

  • +91

    If you are partners, you should be full partners - you're building a life together and you should both be able to contribute everything you have to mutual decisions. If you keep stuff back from each other how are you supposed to make the best decisions when you don't know everything about the life you're building? You're not housemates. It's one thing to not share money (keeping separate accounts instead of everything going into a combined account), but not even sharing the information is weird. Being unwilling to share sounds like they're both thinking about their exit plan.

    • +3

      Well said.

    • +1

      Yeh I agree with this, which got me thinking whether they have a "healthy" relationship. I'd imagine it's difficult to move forward.. and grow together on their existing state. But then he insists they are happy.. but who am I to know what's really going on behind the curtains!

      • Or between the curtains.

      • There is no such thing as a healthy relationship.

        No two look the same which is why you have people pushing one agenda as they grew up in the 60-80s. Nothing looks the same these days.

        It is expected both partners work now, that was not the case in the past, so there was that emphasis on payments for desertation, maintenance and more.

        This is no longer the case and you would be laughed at to believe the child support payments are for the divorcee and not for the child.

    • +20

      You're assuming all relationships are similar, when they're not. A young'ish couple with plans to buy/build a home together, have children, etc., is very different to an older couple who have done all that in the past in previous relationship(s). Having each worked for decades building their own individual wealth, that wealth is now seen more as an asset for their children (who have been there for those decades) than their financially secure partner (of a few recent years). These latter relationships are about love, companionship and security, but not necessarily finance.

      • +4

        This. Many older couples also opt to 'live together apart' for this reason. Stops the financial messiness if things don't work out and you protect your assets for yourself and your children.

        • +21

          Sounds more like a boyfriend / girlfriend relationship than wife / husband or partners then.

          • +5

            @Quantumcat: Might sound that way but I personally think living together apart, whether that means separate bedrooms, next door apartments, or houses in the next suburb, gives each person the space and autonomy to function as an independent person and also as a partner.

            A partner is a separate person after all, a partnership doesn't involve fusing your identity with another. So why addresses, why finances?

          • +1

            @Quantumcat: @quantumcat
            Perhaps it's a way to describe it, but they can be very long-standing. It can be a way of maintaining independence, but no reason it can't be loving.

        • +1

          some people have strange definitions of partnership. I wouldn't be going into business with them nor anyone who things this is a partnership

          • @SlickMick: Interesting. I wouldn't go into business with anyone who makes a typo and uses "things" for "thinks", then doesn't read it, doesn't notice, or doesn't care to change it.

            Aren't we all so silly? Surely the above doesn't mean you're incompetent in business…

            • +3

              @ozbjunkie: not really. Sounds like you'd be the partner from hell.

              no. And correct. Sorry if you feel that this forum deserves a proofread, I don't.

              I think there are some slight differences between what you're saying and what this discussion is about.

      • +1

        Yeah, here here.

    • -7

      you're building a life together and you should both

      "Theoretically" this is very valid but in today's society (in Australia at least) rotating partners is a fact.
      When that happens the male will financially be the biggest loser.
      And in some very very rare occasion will be the other way.
      So keeping secret lots of financials seems very valid and healthy.

      Real, pure, sincere, unconditional and everlasting love is not very common.
      Keep it secret, there is always time later on to disclose everything.

      • +2

        Real, pure, sincere, unconditional and everlasting love is not very common

        I don't think that's true - even if half of marriages end in divorce that leaves half that stay together forever. Out of all of my family and all my friends I only know of one divorce (he cheated). If you think that real love is not very common - maybe you've just been really unlucky?

        • Half not ending in divorce doesn't mean they're real love.

          You have heard of "cheaper to keep her", haven't you?

          • @ozbjunkie: There might be some like that but it wouldn't be most. I don't think most people would sacrifice their happiness for the rest of their life to just save some money.

        • -4

          maybe you've just been really unlucky?

          If that is the case, perhaps you and your enclave have been lucky … or perhaps very naïve … or perhaps far too much under the thumb? You know, dominated?

          Don't bring it to a personal level.
          What works for you, works for you and that is all.
          It doesn't reflect reality other than your own. 50% of failures (half of marriages) will be unacceptable for any industry/activity.

          Besides, have a happy and fulfilling marriage life.
          Not sharing each and every minuscule detail of your life doesn't imply unhappiness.
          Knowing every financial detail of your beloved partner does not enhance real love.

          • +1


            Knowing every financial detail of your beloved partner does not enhance real love.

            That is true, but the attitude that it needs hiding is troubling. That attitude probably means much else is being hidden as well. If you love someone and they love you, and the prime motivation in all your actions is the happiness of the other, you don't have any need to hide anything from them.

          • +2

            @LFO: You guys are missing the point, 50% of marriages end in divorce, but some people are getting married and divorced 3, 4 and 5 times in their life. As such, the number of people who get married only once on their life is indeed greater than 50%, because the stat is misleading because of all the merry go rounders

            • @Jackson: Nice statistical trick.

              True but … if a trades person failed 50% of their jobs will be out of work.
              If a baker failed 50% of their bake it will be broke.

              So, plan ahead. If it is going to end then prepare for it. 50% chances.

              • +1

                @LFO: That's true but that mindset can also become a self fulfilling prophecy unfortunately.

              • @LFO: You aren't controlling for the people though. If the people are solid, and their hearts and minds are in the right place, then they can succeed, and many do.What you are essentially saying is that because 50% of trades people fail doing a good job, that all trades people suck. There's great trades people and there's terrible ones. If you are lucky/know the right person, you will get a great job done for you. Same as with marriage

                • @Jackson:

                  Same as with marriage

                  Exactly and mixing finances with emotions, heart feelings of love and unconditional commitment and trust, do not mix.
                  They are just different worlds.
                  One is full time living, day and night, day after day, month after month, year after year, the other is just casual paying of bills, purchase of goods, and nothing else of importance.

                  A fulfilling marriage does not imply knowing every and all financial details about the other partner.

                  A fulfilling marriage is accepting each other and growing together better and happier, not assessing financial value.

                  • @LFO: I am not saying that you can't have a fulfilling marriage with separate finances, but you absolutely can have one with combined finances, as millions of people can attest, and even the government will support. Don't think that just because you have separate bank accounts the mother of you child isn't getting half what you own if you hit divorce

                    • @Jackson:

                      half what you own

                      Correction: what they (lawyer/gold_digger) believe you own.

                      Also agree you don't have to hide finances but as well as you don't have to disclose finances to be happy and joyful in marriage.
                      The two are sooooo different its hard to believe they are here getting mixed as one and only: money<->marriage.

                      Reminds me of the old joke: marriage and mortgage sound so similar … ;-p

              • +1

                @LFO: Lol with your comparison you just would not go with that baker or in this case that man or woman who had 50%of marriages broken down. A more likely comparison is saying that 50% of bakers close business after committing to a business plan

      • +2

        These are all valid reasons to keep your finances separate, which I believe it not that unusual.

        But not even talking about how much you earn with your partner it is indeed a bit weird.

        • +3

          It's weirder that they would commit to marriage in the first place with someone they aren't even willing to trust enough to know their income. There's could be underlying relationship issues/trauma with financial dominance in relationships.

          Not always a bad thing though, since some people are just that bad with money that if they knew the partner had more money they might let loose on spending a little more than the partner would be comfortable with. Partner might just be protecting their financial future together.

          On the other hand one could be worried about their partner criticizing their independent spending habits based on income and differences in personal perceived value in what is being paid for.

          It might just be easier for them to get along by keeping it to themselves (although the future looks hard if they are both hiding that they squander their earnings/savings)

          • @secondstory:

            Not always a bad thing though, since some people are just that bad with money that if they knew the partner had more money they might let loose on spending a little more than the partner would be comfortable with. Partner might just be protecting their financial future together.

            True, but this can still be prevented by keeping finances separate, not secret.

            This really doesn't sound much like a healthy relationship.

      • Jesus… someone has been "red-pilling".

    • It does make it a lot easier when they break up though, you gotta give em that right?

      • +1

        If they are planning to break up maybe don't get married in the first place?

        Even if you break up 20 years later isn't it better to have a fulfilling and happy 20 years than 20 years worth of looking over your shoulder expecting to break up any minute?

        • /sarcasm

        • Self preservation isn't a bad thing. People can change or hide their true selves/circumstances before marriage.

          Personally I'd take 5 years of caution over 20 years of blind naivety if the end result was only to find you were being taken advantage of the entire time. 20 years of fulfilling happiness sounds even more bitter if that was the case.

          If there's no problem then at some point enough trust will form. It's not like you can't be happy and cautious.

        • If they are planning to break up maybe don't get married in the first place?

          Not sure if you're being facetious here, but the reality is that a lot of people do break up, and most of them did not "plan to" break up when they decided to start a relationship / get married…etc.

          I'm not advocating for deceiving your partner, but I think that it's wise for everyone to at least be prepared for the potential of a break up, both financially and emotionally. Nothing is worse than finding out that your locks have been changed, your joint debit and savings accounts have been zeroed out clean and you have nowhere to go. Sure, the courts will decide what to do with assets, but good luck getting yourself there when you have nothing. This has happened to people I know.

  • +5

    I have heard about it, the "what is mine is mine" arrangement, until it becomes divorce time, then it is "I want my half", also before then her assets have mysteriously evaporated.

    • Yeah, somehow it is always: it mysteriously went into that poker machine at the local casino or club…. lol.

    • +9

      then it is "I want my half"

      Then the lawyer says to her 'your 85% you mean'…..

  • +6

    Just have joint accounts done.

    • +22

      The good ones end in death though right?

      • +19

        Depends if murder is involved then not so good.

      • "Until deaths do us apart"?

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