An email: I am not sure how my husband is going to react to this…

Sharing an email

Dear IHM

I really need some advice here and need an unbiased view.

I come from an upper middle class family.  My mom and dad are in every sense ‘self made’ as they did not have much financial support in their younger years.  They both are now retired and in their early 60’s. Suffice to say they live a comfortable life and like their peers/friends.  I have a married sister who is a SAHM.

I am married have a young son and have worked since I completed by MBA
(14 years experience in all ) with no breaks at all.  I strongly believe that I must have a financial contribution to the household as I am well educated, capable and believe I have to make the most of opportunities that come my way.  I also feel I am very fortunate to have got the education and opportunities I have got.  In-spite of being extremely stressed out at home and work, I pursue my career against all odds.  I enjoy my job only to a certain extent but pursue it as I believe we must all be financially able and independent.

I earn around 50-60% of what my husband does.  I do not have separate account for ‘my’ money and any investments we have made are with my as
well as his earnings.  If I look at my financial position now, I really do not have anything I can call solely ‘mine’ except my car and a few pieces of jewelry.  The house (one of the large investments ) that we have is held jointly though so I do have a share in the same, and also contribute to the EMI’s.  The other investments are sort of medium sized but none of them have my name as joint owner, probably only as a nominee, though some part of my earnings have contributed to the same.

My father has a new house and I would like to help my father financially in terms of helping him pay some part of his loan/interest.  One of the reasons for this is extremely long drawn and complicated, but suffice to say that I feel responsible for the substantial loan/interest he had to take to be able to buy his house. They both are now retired and paying this off would involve him dipping into his pension/provident fund and will affect their lifestyle to an extent.

I feel I must take up some of his burden.  My point is as I am their daughter who has her own earnings, I must help them.  I really feel there is really nothing wrong with this.  I am willing to make an adjustment to my lifestyle and cut down on my personal expenditure, while ensuring that the family’s lifestyle is not affected.  I do know that my family’s lifestyle (husband/me/kid) may be affected by this financial contribution to a small extent. I am not sure how my husband is going to react this and if it should
be something I try to explain to him and get his agreement on.  On the
other hand I feel it is my money and I should have the freedom to do
what I choose to.  I am in a quandary on how to approach this with him, and if at all it makes sense to do so.  One of the reasons I think it may be an issue with my husband is probably on which one of us (sisters) would then inherit this property.  To me it is the wish of my parents – I really would not care if it passed it on to my sister, but I am pretty sure he would not think it is fair if that happens.  I have always told my parents to enjoy the spoils of their hard work and not to bother about ensuring they leave any property/money to me.  They have enabled me to survive financially and it is upto me to do that – I am definitely not expecting/depending on what they may leave behind.

Would really appreciate your advice on if I should do this and how to go about explaining this to my husband.

Thanks –

In a quandary

Related post:

“My wife often rakes up property issues, or rues the expenses on my father’s ill-health.”

Can you be equal if you are not allowed to make equal contribution?

Another email. When an Indian daughter-in-law has no brothers.

“I don’t claim to be a spokesperson for all the men on this planet, but…”

98 thoughts on “An email: I am not sure how my husband is going to react to this…

  1. Do you anticipate that your husband may object? If you think he is a reasonable sort of person who can be convinced, you could perhaps play the “Our lifestyle won’t be much affected” card. If you have no grounds to really think that he would object, maybe you should just be upfront and tell him this is what you plan to do? Sometimes potential objections exist in our own minds and the other person gets more aggressive when they sense our defensiveness and know they can use it. If this is not the case, of course, please ignore.

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  2. 1. It is a concern as you are not sure of his reaction. The first thing would be to have a frank talk with him and see how he feels if you were to give money.
    2. You do not have to feel you are asking for permission, but in a marriage, it is equality and important to discuss your finances, even if both of you are financially independent. Would you like it if your husband were giving money to his family even without informing you?
    3. You can argue for the case, in case he disapproves. It is not really productive to worry about what he might say even before telling him. First get it off your chest in the most non confrontational manner possible. Just say, you are thinking of giving money. See how he reacts and then see if you need to justify your actions.

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  3. Marriage means different things to different people. Of course, it is not a self evident idea. So this question can have many answers.

    However, thing along these terms. Suppose his parents needed help. Wouldn’t he feel entitled to help them, irrespective of how you feel about it? I am sure most men will actually feel resentment if the wife even raise an objection.

    Also, forget about who is making how much. Suppose you were the only earner. Would you still feel obliged to care so much about his opinion on helping your parents? If not, then he bringing extra dough on the table should not restrict you in your choice, but should actually make it easier to exercise it. This happens to men as well. A man earning a comfortable salary will feel entitled to spend some part on his friends/parents etc. and wife won’t object. But if the wife is also making money, she would have objection as she would think that it is part of her money that is going into it, though it should not be this way. In my opinion all the money and assets should be considered belonging to the family, in a happy situation. But of course this is just my opinion. As I said, marriage can mean different things to different people.

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  4. I feel you should approach your husband and clear it out with him.
    Besides that I feel that you should have a seperate acount and also should handle your investments yourself.
    Do you feel that youur husband will not agree with your offer? If that happens you need to make him understand, at the end of the day it is your hard earned money and it isn’t that your are blowing it away. You are using it for a purpose! The conviction with which you have justified the reason behind your desire will easily convince him.
    Go and convince him am sure it won’t be difficult!

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      • YEssssssssssssss thats what should have happened in the first place, this is a private matter between a couple..

        I think ideally each couple shud have Three accounts , One for each of themselves and the third a join one where they both pool in .. so they have a personal account to do what they want to spend the money on .. and the common one for house hold expenses ..

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  5. Wow I am so looking forward to comments on this one by all the lovely women.

    And also to the thumbs down by some..
    BEcause I think should this person be sending a email like this, what does this show or tell about the relation she has with her husband.
    Without even talking to him, without even knowing what the reaction is, a mind has ALMOST been made up.
    If this was my wife I wull surly have a problem now for not even trusting me…

    But I bet everyone thinks the partner is wrong here and I read a comment on playing some card.
    If this is the relation that one has to play cards then the relation is not worth having.

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      • Thank you so much for that Smita .. I am sure a plenty more thumbs down will come🙂

        Obviously the thumbs down are the people who think its not a bad idea that the couple have not even discussed anything and Already the husband has been tainted .. and we talk of equality amongst both🙂

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    • LOL! Gave you a thumbs up too. I really feel that people must communicate in the first place before placing it in front of the public. If she had pushed herself into a corner, and then asked for advice, I would have felt justified in giving some. But I don’t see what the problem is. The husband may actually even be supportive of this decision, so it is rather a hasty decision to bring it out in public.

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      • But not conclusive. It isn’t really fair. Also, remember that women are brought up to think they must not worry about taking care of their parents, and her first duty is to her husband, yada yada. I remember a friend being amazed as her boyfriend offered to cook for her when she was sick. It seems he enjoyed cooking, but never touched the subject because it never occurred to him.
        The husband in this case could just be unthoughtful, not obnoxious!

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      • Yes FEM.. you are right , he being abnoxious and all the worst people think or have thought only once the lady here talks to him ..

        we are all assuming .. and yeah the husband may actually be supportive .. .. and thanks for the Thubs UP🙂

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      • I generally think that in a relationship we know how the other person is going to react in a situation, what their stand is on ‘responsibilities’ of a married daughter etc… I have a feeling that she knows her husband is not going to be very supporive of this decision and thats the reason she has brought it up there.

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    • Thumbs up here, because I agree, she should have discussed this with him first, before making up her mind about what he would say/do. Also agree that ”playing a card” has no place in a healthy relationship!

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    • Bikram, surely you don’t mean to suggest that you know better than this letter writer how her husband might react?!

      She is being very fairminded in noting that she doesn’t “know” what he will say, to scrupulously report that she hasn’t spoken to him about it, and to make sure we don’t judge him for something he hasn’t done yet.

      But she does think it is likely that he will object. That is pertinent information coming from this woman who knows this man better than anybody else in the world knows him. You cannot ignore this. The commenters on this blog are not wrong to take her assessment into account!

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      • Yes MaM, I never said to ignore anything .. this is my view thats all regarding the commenters I am a nobody to say anything about them , Everyone has their own idea and view this is mine thats all..

        But I am jsut looking at it logically thats all would you make things public before you are sure of it .. I would not..
        I am surly not saying I know more about the husband, neither does anyone else that why i said it would be worthwhile to know what he will say then assuming ..

        Thank you.

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  6. Two points
    1. The fact that you are not a joint holder of some investments which did make use of your money, and the fact that you do not even have a separate account for your money, are pointers to a poor management of personal finances on your part. Was it your husband who insisted that you do not keep a separate account for your money or is it simply your way of showing how committed you are to him? Anyways, you do contribute to the EMI of your house and also to your family’s lifestyle. You are also willing to cut down on your personal expenditure while ensuring that the family’s lifestyle is not affected much–why then should it matter to your husband what you choose to do with your money ? Why should you have to have his permission before you can help your parents? What then is the difference between you and an SAHM? I think you must be upfront and inform him of your intentions unapologetically and without appearing to be asking for his permission.
    2. About your parents house, while it is none of your husband’s business really whether or not you inherit your parental property, and while I understand that you do not care who it goes to, I think there is a law stipulating for siblings getting an equal share in property, and I don’t think your parents can leave everything in the name of only one child. Not sure,though.

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      • I would disagree to calling this poor financial management. Do you mean that if you have your own account, and investments in your own name, you would dip into your funds without bothering about letting your spouse know? And would you be ok if he spends ‘his’ money in anyway, without bothering to know what you thing? In my opinion, that, is an example of a weird relationship.

        I have my own bank account, regular investments in my name, and a house we own jointly, which ONLY my husband pays the EMIs for. This is a mutual decision solely for convenience. If I were to help my parents, I would go ahead and do it with the same ease, be it from my own account or a joint one! And in both cases, I would let my husband know of it. It is only fair, considering I would expect him to let me know, if he is doing a similar thing for his parents, be it from his account, or a joint one! In my opinion it is the household’s money, and both need to have a say.

        That being said, if the husband disagrees to this, it would be fair to bring up the hypothetical situation of his parents wanting the same help, and his actions in that case. And if even that doesn’t work, it is fair to go ahead and do it anyway, because you DO get to choose how you want to spend money that you own part of.

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      • @ DI,
        //Do you mean that if you have your own account, and investments in your own name, you would dip into your funds without bothering about letting your spouse know?//

        I never said that at all ! I only meant that everyone should have a personal account, and needs to ensure that if you have made an investment jointly, you get to be a joint owner. If you neglect to do that, you are being careless and complacent. It does constitute a poor managemnt of personal finances, IMO.

        Having a personal account does not mean you can dip into it without letting the spouse know. Of course he needs to be kept in the loop, just as the husband needs to let the wife know if he is dipping into his funds.

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    • Scribblehappy,

      Inheritance laws vary drastically from state to state within India, and in many states, it is entirely possible to cut one sibling out of the inheritance entirely.

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  7. Mr GV’s comment

    IHM,

    I am unable to post my comments on WordPress blogs these past few days.
    After I type the comment and type my email address and try to post the comment I get the following message

    =======================================================================
    That email address is associated with an existing WordPress.com account, please log in to use it.
    =====================================================================

    This never happened before.
    Even in Scribbe happy’s blog I got this error and I had to send my comment to her email address.
    Please look into this.
    Am I doing something wrong?
    Not likely. I have had no problems previously. This is a sudden and recent development.

    Please accept the following comment from me and copy and paste it.
    This is with regard to the post titled :

    An email: I am not sure how my husband is going to react this…

    Regards
    GV
    ============
    I am assuming that you and your sister are the only two children your parents have.

    I just put myself in the position of your parents.
    These are my thoughts.

    In case I needed it, I would welcome this help from my daughter. But I would sit and discuss this with my daughters and sons in law. I would prefer an arrangement where I can can get the name the daughter who shares the cost of the property or EMIs to be registered as a co – owner of the house. In that case you it may be possible for my daughter to pitch in with an even greater contribution and in return inherit the property after my (and my wife’s) lifetime. This inheritance will be smooth as the daughter is already a co-owner.

    I would be confident that my son in law would not consider this unfair. I will also consider compensating my other daughter by leaving her all or part of my other assets like shares, jewellery, cars and anything else so that in the end an approximately equitable allocation of my assets is achieved to the extent practical.

    Regards
    GV

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    • GV Sir,
      Is it necessary that she should inherit the house just bcz she is co-owner? We are 3 daughters to my parents and I pay their house loan installment every month & my sister pays the vehicle EMIs so that my mom-dad can enjoy a smooth retired life.
      They never asked us to. We convinced them. And I care 2 hoots about inheriting the house or car or whatever. I mean, I can see where this lady is coming from.. I’d be glad if my parents wd go on international holidays rather than worrying about saving bucks for their independent daughters.
      I think she should just inform her husband abt her plans and assure him that her decision wont affect their lifestyle at all (hopefully :D)

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    • @GV ji: You are going to face this problem while commenting on all wordpress blogs. I don’t know why wordpress has suddenly started being mean.😦 Anyway, did you by any chance made an account on wordpress that you never used or did use and then forgot about it? If yes, then from now on if you use that email id which you used to create the above mentioned wordpress account, you have to first log into that account on wordpress and only then you will be able to comment with that id. Otherwise, if you have another id, use that one.

      By the way, the same happened with me too, I suddenly realised that I can’t comment on any blog that is on wordpress. Reason being, last year when I decided deleting my blog and starting a new one, I made an account on wordpress but at once deleted because I did not like it that much and hence created a new blog(the current one) on blogspot, using the same email id that I used for that wordpress account, and now wordpress wants me to log into that account first if want to comment from my email id. I had to recover my password for that wordpress profile that I made, log into it and now wp is allowing me to post my comments. This is so annoying though. I hope it helps.

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    • GVji,

      I had this problem on wordpress blogs too. Turns out something called Posterous has tied up with WordPress’Twitter , I forget which, , and as a result (i dont know why) you must either log in with a wordpress log in or twitter /Facebook login . Click on the FB /Twitter icon at the lower right in your comment space, log in and u can comment.

      All I can say is it is pre-posterous ….

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    • I have nothing to contribute to this post, other than appreciate the efforts that GVji takes in posting his reply, despite all the tantrums that wordpress throws at him.

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      • Okay, thanks to Say Cheese for all the suggestions.
        I don’t remember if I have a WordPress acccount or not.
        May be I opened one some years ago and never used it.
        I have registered my name and email id at so many forums, that I have lost track totally.
        I don’t even remember the passwords in several email forums where I became a member and then lost interest.

        Let me try with my yahoo email id.
        This comment is a test.
        If it works, Hurray!
        Regards
        GV

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  8. i agree with someone above. unless she has a strained or trust-deficit marriage, there should not be any problem discussing this with her husband. first fix the psychological gap. financially they are all upper middle class as mentioned, not fighting for breadcrumbs. there should not be problems extending some help to parents during need, assuming they return the favor when possible.

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    • This is once comment i read that talks a bit of what i mean.. She has not even talked to her husband yet and here are people and SHE too who have made assumptions already.

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      • //She has not even talked to her husband yet and here are people and SHE too who have made assumptions already// Bikram she wrote because she senses he would not like it and she has mentioned why. What would you advise if her husband does not agree?

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        • I would not like to say anything , till i know he will not co-operate..

          she is just sensing or hypothetically thinking, I am brainwashed I don’t like to talk about things that MAY happen ..
          the husband might just prove her senses wrong too, then what🙂

          I mean this is whole problem in our society-country in humans basically WE love to assume especially if its a assumption made on Others way of living, or Others situations..

          To me this is wrong till she has discussed with the husband and Known for a fact that he has said NO.. she or we cant assume anything..

          Maybe my chain of thoughts is completely Off my rockets but If this was my wife WE will have serious problems for sure …

          Me – So if he says “No” you will disapprove of him?

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        • This makes it look like an unfair arrangement,
          //The other investments are sort of medium sized but none of them have my name as joint owner, probably only as a nominee, though some part of my earnings have contributed to the same.//

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      • IHM, I would like to understand how would this blog audience react if this email was from the husband. He wants to help his parents repay their house loan (when they do not necessarily need it). Now let’s say that house has already been willed to his younger brother. But he still wants to send money to his parents because he feels they spent a lot on his education. And he says it is “MY MONEY”, I will do whatever I want to do with it.

        Now, I want to know what is the audience response.

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      • This makes it look like an unfair arrangement,
        //The other investments are sort of medium sized but none of them have my name as joint owner, probably only as a nominee, though some part of my earnings have contributed to the same.//

        YEs it does make for a unfair arrangement.. BUT only If she has a problem with this and SHE has voiced her opinion on this ..
        Has she said to her husband she doesnot approve of this arrangement ?

        Has she asked her husband she wants to be named as Joint in those investments and He has said NO to it.

        All these are just as i said hypothetical situations.. I mean I am sure any sane person will say the same as I said , Was she forced to put her money in these investements, I dont want to Assume but if she knows of all these investments and that she is a nominee then I think logically the husband has talked about it with her.

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        • Do you think it is a good idea to buy something with both their earnings, but only in one name? Does it have some tax benefits? What must have been the reason for this? What do you think prevents her from asking him? Do you think her husband might ask her if she doesn’t trust him, if she asks to be included…?

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      • what is SAHM , sorry i dont understand that ..

        and if she is not earning anything , YES she should be supporting her parents .. Parents are parents His or HErs.. and If we can help our parents as they helped us all their life THEN that in my eyes should be a Honour and a chance to do what parents did for them .. I am sure a Sane intelligent MAN will not have any problems with it ..

        Is that not what a couple vow to be together and share and all those promises they take ..

        AT least I wont ..

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      • “Do you think it is a good idea to buy something with both their earnings, but only in one name? Does it have some tax benefits? What must have been the reason for this? What do you think prevents her from asking him? Do you think her husband might ask her if she doesn’t trust him, if she asks to be included…?”

        No idea about Tax benefits..
        I cant say what the reasons are , even she is assuming she doesnot know for sure ..

        I cant say for the husband Till she ASKS him and he responds to it .. again pure assumptions ..

        someone said Assume means make a ASS or U and ME… ..

        As i mentioned earlier , if there are so many assumptions etc etc then my advice is to actually get out of the relation how can one live in such a relation if the husband is so dominating … Not worth having a relation if its so uncompatible…

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    • @ MoRS,
      The scenario you have talked about is quite a common one. It happens all the time. Many men do send considerable amounts of money to their parents or siblings even when the parents are quite well off and not really needy, and I seriously doubt if they ask for the wife’s permission before doing so. Our society considers it a man’s duty to pamper his parents and the wife is expected to at least put up with it all if she cannot pamper them( her in-laws) some more. The wife’s parents usually never even figure in the scheme of things–isn’t that why the whole of India wants only sons?

      Now consider this particular case. This woman is already contributing substantially towards family assets and living standards, she is willing to ensure that the standard of living is not affected and is willing to curtail her own personal expenses so that she is able to set aside funds to help her parents. Fair enough, I think. And still she is in a quandary as to how to broach this subject to her husband and how to get him to agree!!

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      • It is true that it happens. But what I wanted to know is that “Should it happen?”. Would the audience here say the same thing if it were the man in question. For the wife, I feel most of the junta is saying “Yes, you should send money to parents.” Would the same junta say the same thing if the same letter was written by a man? I think NOT. The audience here would probably say that your wife also has right on that money and you should do give away money only if she is okey with it. Probably the junta would also take a softer stand if the wife was not okey with it saying that she is justified in doing so (since parents are well off and property goes to someone else and it’s the parents job to bring up their children well and they do not need to feel obliged for the same)

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  9. It really depends on how your relationship with your husband is. Have you guys ever helped his parents or other members of his family financially in the past? If yes, then I feel it should not be too much trouble convincing your husband. If no, it may be harder.

    I feel a little differently about “MY MONEY” part. In that case what about your husband’s money? Is it HIS solely or other members (like you and your kids) also have a stake in it? I feel it’s best to look at family income as joint. And if you or your husband want to use the money to help out members of extended family, it should come from discussion and mutual consent. I hope your relationship with your husband allows for that. Hopefully, your husband will understand your sentiments and not have objections to it.

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      • I soo agree with Bikram here. Until she has spoken with him and until SHE has a problem personally with the bank account that isnt joint, we can speculate and assume till the cows come home..and in the process taint this poor husband who for all we know might be a perfectly nice guy. So I would say let her talk to the husband and if he refuses, THEN she has a problem..not at this point

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  10. I couldn’t highlight it more, that education does not make you life-smart. And this is the case here.

    A woman with MBA works her ass off, but only after many years she realizes there is nothing she could call her own? How much thinking does it require to PROTECT YOUR OWN INTEREST from the begining of marriage?

    Is she his slave / property that she has to ask for permission to invest her money in whatever she wants? Why is she scared of her husband’s reaction? No trust? No understanding? No communiation?

    Is she so careless that she keeps a joint bank account despite not being put as a legitimate owner of anything they bought together? An alarm should have rung long time back. Again, why didn’t she discuss this at the time when all the important events of purchase took place?

    Are you people a family or a joint business venture? How is it important now when parents are still well and alive, who will inherit the house? Is this topic even appropriate? Who is her husband to even think of claiming the right to her parents property? Isn’t this going way too far?

    Working, earning women – learn, not only at the university!

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  11. Some people above are talking about the unequitable assets. I agree wholly the lady must have savings of her own, must have invested some part of it on her own, must have left some of her income for her own personal use. That said, we don’t know why things are this way. Did the husband insist that everything should be in his name, or did it just appear natural to do so? I’ve known people buy homes in their wives’ names for whatever reason, so this might be just the same? We ought not to judge people and neither should the lady in question until the talk with her husband has taken place.

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  12. Why is it being assumed that a SAHM can not help her parents?? I am proud to say that, in spite of being a SAHM, i have always been able to support my widowed mom in all possible ways. For any relationship to work, its important that both the parties involved are able to respect and trust each other and give each other the required support as and when required. It’s not about a man or womans rights, it about a relationship between two people. When the foundation of a relationship is strong then such issues don’t crop up, people generally are able to mutually agree and support each others wishes and desires.

    Me – I agree anonymous.

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  13. While I agree that the lady should have spoken to her husband first, I also sense a wariness in her post. She might have had indications that her husband might not be in favour of the idea. And given that the medium sized investments are in her husband’s name – it might be an indication of situation. But yes, there certainly seems to be a trust deficit, or else she would have spoken to him first – and that might indicate a problem that is larger than helping out parents. If she felt more comfortable approaching him and discussing this – would she have felt the need to write this letter?

    Even if she had been an SAHM – it should not be an issue – ideally. Does it mean that in that case, a woman has no right on the money?I am a SAHM but we have investments in both our names.

    Given the fact that she being financially independent, still tread so warily might mean that she is genuinely worried about her husband’s reaction. I think she needs to talk to her husband and work it out. Hopefully he will not be unreasonable, and if he is, then she will have to talk him around it, I guess.

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  14. Talk to your spouse .

    As for not saving in your name or having property or investments in your name, as long as it’s joint and you are the beneficiary i don’t see what the problem is, i certainly would have control over the a/c where my sal goes but beyond that it’s not necessary to separate every single thing.

    We own property in Mumbai and i have a flat in my name , but i never spent a penny towards that, all the homes belonged to my husbands parents ( no more) and when we got married, since I was disowned by mine and it was a scary time ( for me🙂 ) he made a few mine . he didn’t have to, I had/have no right whatsoever to those, they are the hard work of his parents, yet he wanted me to feel secure. I still had a separate bank account but used his cards. doesn’t mean I’m not financially savvy, every family has it’s own dynamics.
    But if the email writer has doubts about her husband’s support it would make sense to protect her assets, in a loving marriage with trust this should not matter. everything is shared and so is taking care of parents or helping out siblings…
    I would reiterate – talk to him, open up and see what he really feels like, this is a good indication of your relationship.

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  15. I remember one discussion between my parents and my mother’s family. My mother was deprived of her rightful share in the family business and only given a pittance. My father then brought up the topic asking about my mother’s share and why she had been treated unfairly. As for my mom, she had always said that she will take whatever stake she is given, and that my dad had no business interfering in this. However, I feel like he spoke up not because he wanted a hand in the pie, but because he felt it was very mean to his wife to be treated this way.

    It may be the same case here, that the email writer’s husband wants her to be treated right when it comes to matters of inheritance, and not just because it might benefit him too.

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  16. I really don’t understand the big issue here about this lady having asked about something that’s bothering her, without having spoken to her husband as yet. What’s the big deal? All that she is saying is
    ” I am in a quandary on how to approach this with him, and if at all it makes sense to do so.” (Please read that sentence again, those who have a doubt)

    For God’s sake, she is speaking out her thoughts and doubts. And her marriage and relationship with her husband is being judged! I can’t believe this.
    If she hasn’t spoken to her husband as yet, and we readers think that is the best idea, isn’t advising her to talk to him enough? Why pick at the issue that she chose to ask outsiders at all? She is asking anonymously and still she is at fault? I have been married 28 years and if I felt doubtful about asking my husband something and confided in a friend seeking advice, that means I don’t respect/love my husband? Come on, that has surely got to be a joke!
    Another thing. Personally, in her place I would speak first to my husband about it. That is because of the way ‘our’ relationship is. But what makes us think everyone should be like us or what we do is the only right? I certainly know and ACCEPT that ALL marriages are NOT the same as mine and there might be occasions when one or other of the partners might be doubtful in approaching each other. It happens. It is NOT the end of the world.
    Why can’t we just simply accept her reason for asking in this forum and RESPECT it? Why not accept (and respect) that she may have her reasons and fears? What do we know about her insecurities? She asked we give the best advice we can. And I see some really good advice which includes, ‘talk with your husband.’ and how things can be worked out. But being critical of why she approached us, well I don’t agree with that at all.

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    • I agree completely.

      I felt exactly the same way when I read all the comments, but did not want to say it out loud.
      It is not always the case that even happily married couples are very open with each other in all respects. The protagonists in a relationship may share a very close bond, but it may happen that they are uncomfortable or wary of talking about certain sensitive issues. There can be infinitely many reasons for this, and it does not necessarily point to a general lack of communication, or a lack of consideration on one partner’s part. The dynamics of every relationship are different.

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      • I too agree with Shail and PT
        Let’s not go off track to wonder about extraneous issues.
        She is seeking advice or opinions on a specific matter
        Let us not wonder why she is doing so before talking to her husband and find fault with her for that.
        She may have hazaar reasons which she need not discuss here.
        It’s okay if we advise her to talk to her husband first but we need not debate why she has not done so.

        Regards
        GV

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      • Agree with PT here. The couple can share a very close bond but one cannot be comfortable to talk to the other about each and everything. There is nothing wrong in that! Main thing is to figure out how the relationship is going to work for the two of them.

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  17. If she has not talked to her husband already , it means she is apprehensive about resistance .
    She may have been convinced that she should help , she can help without letting her lifestyle get affected much but she is equally apprehensive that resistance from her husband will somehow disappoint her in her husband . It also means that she might have to argue her case and which may redefine her relation with her husband ( dynamics of relation may change).

    Isn’t it almost like ‘testing the poison’?
    If wife is from a upper middle class family , a man generally does not anticipate the need to provide a financial help so it may be a bit of making mental make up( money comes first in the life and courage to spend it comes later) to give the money.
    Helping wife’s family financially in a dire situation is one thing where it looks humane and justified and there is a feeling of indebtedness on the part of wife and her family but in otherwise cases , its a subject to individual’s attitude and sense of attachment for money that inclines the decision.
    Having said all this , I strongly feel she should talk to her husband , make him realise the need to help . If husband is initially not for it atleast her making him see reasons should give him a right perspective . May be she has a fairer man in the making.

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  18. Dear In a Quandary,

    Your issue is a bit complex.

    Let us begin with your rights and privileges. From a purely legalistic point of view, the salary that you earn at work is your money and is yours alone. Since your husband actually earns more than you, and both of you earn a sufficient amount to maintain a reasonable standard of living independently, your husband does not have any say over how you choose to spend your money (nor do you have any say over his). You are free to provide as much assistance as you deem possible and necessary to your parents, without having to explain your actions to anyone.

    This is the legal view of things. Of course, this is not the complete picture, because you are after all in a relationship, and would prefer to maintain harmony within the relationship. That is where things start to get murky.

    Quite simply, I do not know enough about your husband to provide you any real actionable advice. If you, who have been close to him for years, do not know how he will react, is it possible for me, a stranger to make any assumptions with any reasonable degree of certainty?

    My sole point of advice is, communicate. Tell him what you want to do, and explain your reasons behind that. Be calm and polite, but also firm and dispassionate. Be sure to remember what your position is here.

    This is YOUR money. This conversation is a courtesy that YOU are extending to HIM. You have every right under law to go ahead and spend your money whether or not he agrees, but you are choosing to ask for his opinion first, because that is the considerate thing to do, because that is what you would like him to do if the situation were to be reversed.

    With that said, you must also make every effort to keep this discussion agreeable. This must not be a confrontation, but a conversation. Be as convincing as possible, without getting hysterical or emotional. If you find yourself getting carried away by emotions, stop, have some water and start over.

    Talk about the inheritance too.
    As PGW has pointed out, he may only be worried that you are getting shortchanged. I would certainly worry about that if my wife was in such a situation. However, ease his fears. Let him know that you understand your rights, but that you do not want to create a family feud for no reason. Reassure him that you’d genuinely be okay with whatever decision you parents take.

    There could be a second, more insidious reason for him to object to the inheritance arrangements. That reason is the desire to gain more wealth. If this is the case, you must put your foot down immediately and clarify, in no uncertain terms, that this is your inheritance and he has no right to meddle in it, any more than you have the right to meddle in his inheritance arrangements. He is free to grumble, but make him realize that he would be powerless to do much about what the will says, so he might as well stop trying. Tell him that helping your parents does not come with riders attached. Make him understand that such support is something that you are doing out of love for your parents, and the possible distribution of assets after your parents’ demise has no bearing at all on your actions.

    So the point is, talk. If he is understanding and considerate of your feelings, as I hope he will be, it is all very well. If he is not understanding, you must talk him into it. If that does not work, you must take a call – help your parents in spite of his opposition, or compromise on that help to maintain a harmonious relationship. The call will be yours to take and no one else can help you take it, because you are the one who will live with whatever you choose.

    I wish you all the very best, and sincerely wish that I could have been more helpful. Let us hope that all goes well for you.

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  19. I strongly feel that any major decisions taken about finances in a marriage should be with the agreement of both partners. It’s easy to say that it is my money, I earn it so I should do what I please with it. But if one partner adopts this attitude there is bound to be resentment. My husband helped his family financially for many many yrs and did not once ask me if I was o.k. with it. In fact all the money I earned also went towards helping his family, so much so that we both had a pretty hand to mouth existence for a long time. I never objected because it was truly a matter of survival for his family as there was no income coming in for them (I had a FIL who took no responsibility for his family). However,I would have liked to have been asked for my opinion about it. My point is male or female, treat each other with respect. You will be taking a chunk of money out of the family finances to give to your parents. You need his agreement just as he needs yours if he was to give money to his family. Equality really is a two way street.
    P.S. I would like to say that my husband told me before marriage that he had responsibility towards his family. I just never understood (due to my ignorance) how much it would be both financially and emotionally.

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  20. In a quandary

    I am regular at IHM blog but ahve never commented so far. Your post struck a chord with me and I feel obliged to comment. Some aspects of your life a similar or same as mine. I have undergone quite some growth getting where I am today. Here are the things I have learned and I hope they help you:

    It does not matter which spouse makes more money or how much of it helps run the household or goes into savings. Both of you work hard at whatever you do with the common goal of helping your family. That is all matters
    The worst mistake you can make is if you start doubting yourself about helping your parents. Your parents mean the same to you as does your hesband to him. You should —never—-s second guess your need to help them.
    You definetely need to talk about this with your husband. Bring it all out in the open ( your desire, your parents need, how you may/not inherit the property) and have an open discussion. But make sure you let him know that you want to help. If your husband is reasonable, he will get it right away. If he doesnt, dont be discouraged and worse give up. If he objects after the discussion, give him a couple of days to mull on it. Talk about it again and if he still objects, tell him firmly that he is unreasonable and you are going to help your parents. He needs to deal with it.
    What you need to remember is the first and only person you need to make happy is yourself. If you know in your heart that you have been doing right by your family (husband and kid) by giving all your income, you have every right to help out your parents as well (who are also important to you)

    Last but not least, try to figure out how your husband would behave if he were in your shoes. That should give you some perspective as well.

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  21. I actually think that GV’s comment makes the most sense. If one daughter is pitching in by helping with the house it wouldn’t be fair if that were to then go to the other sister. Hopefully the parents would realize that themselves but if they don’t I don’t think the husband is wrong in being concerned about it.
    Support them by all means but it is fair to expect that if you are helping your parents buy a house you should inherit a proportion of it that is fair in terms of the amount you invested.
    I would have the same reaction if this were a guy supporting his parents and even if I were just a friend with no stake in this too.

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    • //”if you are helping your parents buy a house you should inherit a proportion of it that is fair in terms of the amount you invested.”//
      You really think so? It depends. Some do help because they want to, not for any returns. And yes in the case of husband’s family too.
      If the daughter pitching in to help is okay with it, there is nothing unfair if the house goes to the sister.

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      • It depends all right. I think most people, irrespective of whether or not they have helped their parents buy any property, will feel resentful at being cut out of the inheritance entirely. And certainly cutting out the child who actually helped you buy the property seems, on the face of it, doubly unfair. But then instances where one child willingly forgoes his share of the property, out of love towards his less well-off siblings, are not unheard of.

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  22. Maybe talking about financial workings between a couple is something I do not have enough experience about. The husband and I rarely talk about anything financial. And mostly because we do not have any joint investments as such. Apart from our car. But we do have separate accounts and contribute to household expenses based on a particular ratio (which is dependent on salary). We send money home from our own separate accounts. We do know approximately how much money we are sending but we never “check” with each other if we are sending that much. So, all said and done, at least till now, our finances and spending are hardly dependent on each other. But we do have an understanding between each other that whatever money we have belongs to both of us. Hence, I am a bit confused when people are saying in the comments that the email writer should have talked to the husband before making up her mind n all. Because frankly, I think it is normal to spend money or even send home money without consulting with the partner. Unless it is a HUGE chunk which will drastically influence the lifestyle. Again, what is huge chunk of money is very relative. As is the whole financial relationship between the couple. I guess the best thing will be to just talk to the husband and come to an arrangement that is comfortable to both.
    When I got married, I was a bit stressed about how the husband and I will manage our finances. I also talked to some of my married friends to see how they do this stuff. But at the end of it, I came to a conclusion that especially in this, it does not matter how other married couples are managing their finances. Every couple must come up with an arrangement that makes both comfortable and does not necessarily restrict either too much.

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  23. Regardless of the legalities of the issue, I feel a marriage is an equal partnership. And all assets owned by both are owned equally. It is a relationship which is open specially as regards money and feelings. Should one of the partners feel they owe something to their parents, they should certainly discuss it with the other- with an open mind (too often our feelings of guilt about doing for our folks have their roots in how they deal with us and we are not always very good judges of whether it is love or a misguided sense of duty). Now, what one spouse does for their parents has no bearing with the relationship between the other spouse and their parents.

    The spouses should talk about this- hey, if you live with someone you should be able to talk to them about anything- including money. And earning less is a stupid thing to say, since it implies that the lower earner should eat inferior food or wear cheaper clothes- and make up for their lower financial capacity by doing physical work- labor economics does not and should not hold in a relationship.

    I feel they need to talk about this issue- in an adult way – and decide whether to provide financially or not. Because regardless of who owns what and does what with their money, their decisions will impact the relationship.

    For the record, my husband and I have joint finances- he earns more than me- a lot more right now- but any financial decision is a joint one- and neither of us apportion respect based on how much each earns. We both contribute to each others success and ultimately earning by being a team together- sorry if it sounds smug, but we do talk about everything- including the weird specter of “worth” based on earning that has raised its head earlier- I was the one who felt that way, then we talked about it. No one in a relationship is less equal because of what they bring or do not bring in terms of material goods.

    I think you need to discuss this with your husband- talk to him. Don’t be apprehensive about what he might say, unless he really says it. Regardless of how much you make he is living with you- and something that you feel strongly for is something he needs to deal with too- it is not just about you- your happiness and by association his happiness are tied to it too. And also try to figure out why you “owe” your parents- is it love or is it guilt by duty- that might help you sort out your feelings about this also. But it is your feelings, and no one, not your husband has a say in how you need to deal with them.

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  24. I guess the lady just wants to know, if broaching the “money” subject with her spouse is critical or can she use this money without informing, since its hers. Ideally, she has the full right to use her money without asking or taking taking permission but in relationships its always best to seek each others view point before taking any step. Tell him, why you are thinking of giving the money and how it will make you feel happy. Also make it obvious to him that this gesture is purely yours and this is what you always wanted to do for your Parents . Make it clear to him that inheritance is not on your mind. Mostly, your husband should agree but do hear him out if he disagrees without getting emotional. Also allow him some time to understand your point of view. Do not make it a ego issue or rock your marriage. Each marriage has its own way of functioning. Many a times, we have to adjust or compromise in relationships to maintain them but again it depends on your individual temperament on which matters you would like to let go. Be practical. If there is a lot of resistance and discord in the family over this matter then its better to think of another way to help your parents. In case your parents can do without your financial help then for the moment just don’t stress too much on helping them and creating rift in your relationship. Keep the dialogue open for discussion for another time when he is in a reasonable mood. Last but not the least, if your parents are in real need of this help and there is no other option then i guess you will have to go ahead and just help them out but whatever decision you take you have to first talk. Best of luck

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    • What does that ‘waiting for reasonable mood’ imply? How long does anyone wait? This is merely a suggestion to postpone doing things or not do anything at all. It’s quite clear from the mail that the lady was expecting her husband to object to the idea. Has this husband never helped his parents? Doesn’t he have intentions of helping anyone in his family in future? Has he always taken the consent of the wife before doing that?

      If not, the marriage is already on unequal terms. Why not create a ruckus by taking up this issue (after the husband refuses)? If he has, I feel that there is nothing wrong with discussing the issue with him. He should be considerate enough to see the reason.

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  25. Pingback: Hints « The Era I lived in…

  26. A spouse should discuss any serious issue with the significant other. Would a wife bbe happy if hubby made a financial committment to his family behind her back??

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  27. I say she should trust her husband.Why start from ” he will not like it”
    Men respond very well to trust,trust him to be good, tell him you are sure he will not object.Men want to be morally right🙂

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  28. ok, I haven’t read all the comments. But, here’s my 2 cents worth on this:

    She talks about financial independence and then she says, “she has no account, investments” of her own.. how is this being financially independent if you don’t have the “independence” to use the money you have earned in a way that is deemed fit?!

    And another issue is, she is assuming a lot of things about her husband, shouldn’t she sit down and talk to him first? What’s all this about “good mood”? I don’t understand that part…
    Also, she doesn’t say very clearly why she assumes her husband would have objections!
    (when we assume something about another person, we assume that we know a lot about them!)

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  29. Did not finish reading all the comments though….my first time on your blog…I don’t know if the issue is already solved. However, I would like to say what I did. I was exactly in a similar situation few months back. I wanted to send money to my mom either per month or make a fixed deposit. In this case, my parents are separated and we need to support her. My younger sister was supporting her financially as she is single and doesn’t have any responsibilities….now that my sister is getting married, her husb is definitely going to ask her in future about why is she the only resp. Person? So, I decided to take a decision and mustered all my strength and talked to my husb abt it….the usual qns arose like why now? Who asked etc…the response was neither positive nor encouraging….I told him I need to send. He said, just wait for a week and send it if I don’t get back to u…he was planning on arranging through his relatives. He did not get back to me in a week and I quietly made a transfer to her a/c….he was lil upset that I didnt wait for his reply….but that’s okay….I anyhow did not want the entire episode to be known in my inlaws place….may be I was being selfish…but I had to be….btw, I started earning only for the past 4-5 yrs, contribute as much as I can for the investments we make, yet there is nothing on my name….:)

    That’s ok if you can’t publish this comment….just wanted to let u know what it was like for me….I was exactly in the same position as you are…I had a couple of friends behind who pushed me to do what I did….thanks to them tooo……good luck…

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  30. Pingback: If u r doing good to ur parents-in-law then ur own parents r being treated good by ur brother’s wife.. Its a ‘Chain’. | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  31. Pingback: When a newly married Indian woman gives up her career, what else does she give up? | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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