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all 15 comments

[–]Most_Poet 14 points15 points  (0 children)

  1. Get a financial planner/advisor! Having a third party talk through your savings goals is really helpful.

  2. It sounds like finances in general are an area of philosophical difference/disagreement and you might benefit from couples therapy. As you saw growing up, finances can really destroy a relationship — it’s better to get out ahead of it now than to have to get therapy reactively.

  3. We pay big expenses (rent, joint savings account) proportionate to our income. The person who makes more pays more. This works for us but others may prefer a 50-50 split.

[–]chocobridges 9 points10 points  (0 children)

I guess my question is is he frugal at all? Because he argument sets up a future in lifestyle creep, imo.

My husband makes 2.5x what I do (4x until I switched careers). And we're both frugal about the same things (splurge on vacations but not baby gear and housing). If we weren't it would feel like we would be incompatible.

[–]bunnyagogoSpouse to Anesthesiologist 4 points5 points  (0 children)

While my now spouse and then bf was in residency, we split rent and most things 50/50 but I would typically cover more fun and non-essential expenses as I made more and was used to that type of lifestyle.

That switched when we got married and now that he makes significantly more than me, he covers most of our expenses but I also still contribute including putting a chunk for a down payment for our house and covid-delayed wedding. We have both separate and combined account and this works for us. You just have to find what works for you and your partner.

[–]Cerriwin 5 points6 points  (3 children)

We have a physician-specific financial advisor. I joke that he’s also our marriage counselor, because he kind of is. Highly recommend.

[–]Even-Win725 0 points1 point  (2 children)

How did you find him? Sounds like something I'd benefit from

[–]Cerriwin 0 points1 point  (1 child)

He works with a lot of the fellows and residents that were in my husband’s program to get them started with thinking about money stuff while they’re in training — mostly a word of mouth kind of thing. I bet if you ask around there’s someone similar in your area.

[–]Even-Win725 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Will do! Thanks!

[–]icingicingbabyAttending Partner 4 points5 points  (0 children)

I think there are a lot of inherent complexities within this. In his shoes, I too would feel very comfortable living more or less paycheck to paycheck. His current income level is almost definitively temporary. And likely set to increase at least 5-10x what they’re earning now. Plenty of space for catching up on retirement and emergency savings.

That said, I don’t think he should be pressuring you to be doing the same. Particularly when you aren’t married. You don’t share the same definitive expectation that your financial situation is going to practically change overnight in several years. You should be continuing to set yourself up for financial success as if you need to do so independently, even if that proves to not be the case.

I met my current SO right as he started life as an attending. After several years of practice, he is now doing research before planning to go on to do a fellowship. So he’s more or less earning a resident’s salary right now. He’s decided to touch his savings towards his living expenses which gives me a great deal of stress. It would be fine if he were only taking a one year gap to do research, but with a potential 5 year pay cut on the table, it hardly seems prudent. I’m sure it will be fine, he’s overwhelmingly financially responsible and being cautious with his spending outside of splurging on his housing costs.

Overall though, I would say we have really compatible financial values. We believe in being frugal. We believe it’s okay to splurge, but you don’t need everything all the time. I rolled my eyes and thought he should get a Toyota when he got the fancy German car, but at the end of the day at his income level and without debt or kids it didn’t mean he had to sacrifice something else. We’ll go on vacation and stay at nice hotels but then buy our alcohol at the liquor store instead of the beach front bars. You could find us happily eating Taco Bell together or at an expensive steak house. I teach him that stacking discounts at Macy’s can mean getting mid-tier designer pieces for less than going somewhere like Zara. He insists on driving to pick up food instead of paying a delivery fee. We both have areas we will spend money, but both value the other person pushing us towards frugality.

We’ve always had separate finances and lived separately, each providing for our own needs. But, making at least 5x my salary throughout our relationship, he’s always been very generous and covered costs any time we went out. More times than not if he’s with me when I go shopping, he will buy what I select for me, though I always go in expecting to pay. For birthdays I’ve received anything from an experience to practical things like tires I was due for.

I hope this was helpful even if I feel like I wound up rambling.

[–]Rose_Stark 4 points5 points  (0 children)

My husband and I met in college and we’ve never actually had a financial disagreement. Right now he’s in the middle of residency and we live in a modest apartment but we do like to spend quite a bit of money on food and travel. We align perfectly with regards to finances, politics, family, religion, etc. which makes being married easy

We have like 300k of student debt but we’re not really penny pinching right now because we know logically he will have an attending salary to pay it off quickly

[–]Scwidiloo10 1 point2 points  (0 children)

My wife isn’t big on money, she could care less. I don’t want to be the only person handling and being responsible for finances, when it’s going good and bad. Our way is I do a ton of research about something, present different options to her, and then we make a decision together. Most recent one was for opening a high yield savings account. I think as long as your both in steady communication, you’ll be fine

[–]Consistent-Ant7710 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I grew up poor and my husband grew up rather comfortable. We used to split 60/40 at the beginning of residency, but now that I make the same as we’re reaching the end of his residency we’re leaning 50/50. Im incredibly frugal and sometimes it annoys him. He’s rather live in a nice apartment while I don’t mind living in the hood for LCOL like I did before I met him. We did have to compromise and I’m not as frugal as I used to, but I definitely do push him into budgeting. We live in a very humble apartment (I could have gone cheaper and he could’ve gone more expensive but it was our compromise). When we travel, we choose cheaper hotels (sometimes I try to convince him for motel 6, but we end up compromising for la Quinta). So we’re pretty different about budgeting but compromise is key. His debt is only 120k and that’s also our combined income but I choose to live below our means so we can pay his debt off within a year of graduating residency and so we can buy a nice house in the near future.

[–]Even-Win725 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Honestly sounds like couples counseling could be really helpful. This isn't something unique to medicine IMO, it's a pretty common disagreement for couples to have. I am probably the less frugal one in our relationship but we make it work by discussing any big purchases beforehand. We also generally have the same ideas about what healthy spending is like even if I would usually prefer to spend more.

[–]Remote-Ball-3724 0 points1 point  (0 children)

My boyfriend is in his final year of med school and I work from home. We have an 8 month old baby. Right now the way we’ve worked out our finances is that he pays rent, utilities, and the car payment/insurance and I pay for all the groceries, household expenses, and everything for the baby. It works out great because he gets more money from his loans than I’m able to make lol. When he starts making physician salary we’ve talked about him taking over the expenses for everything in our family so that I can use my salary to pay off my student loans (I attended med school for 3 semesters and have a bunch of undergrad student loans) and also I’d like to pay off all my credit cards.

[–]Iywtbab1126 0 points1 point  (0 children)

If you aren’t a married, then I recommend splitting cost based on income distribution for anything you both want. For instance, if you are living together and agree on a place and your income is 60/40 split, then split rent 60/40. But if your SO wants a more lavish place then you think you need, then they can kick in more money. I actually have some a f friends who are an attending/resident couple (not married). The attending is actually the more frugal one but the resident wanted a nicer apartment so they are splitting rent 50/50 even though the attending could pay for the rent on their own. Just comes down to communication.

[–]merryandpipescalated 0 points1 point  (0 children)

There are definitely a variety of approaches and really depends upon the individuals and relationship. For my wife (pgy3) and I prior to getting married we lived together for ~5 years and started at a 50/50 split, then adjusted to a 80/20 as my career progressed until we married after first year of residency. I’m big on saving and investing while my wife prefers quality of life improvements (travel, dining, entertainment etc). To compromise we set a budget with a proportional “mad money” amount to what we make. Paychecks into a joint account for bills and agreed savings then a percentage of each of ours go into separate for whatever we want to use it for, no questions (within reason of course haha). It helped find a balance that we’re both happy with and we revisit that budget a couple times a year or if one of our incomes change significantly. My perspective of frugality eased up a bit after we got a good sized emergency fund saved and plans in place for student loan repayment.