Kovar Capital: Should I make my husband repay me?


Hi Taylor: I out-earned my husband for the first 10 years of our marriage and covered most of our mortgage and retirement. His salary went up recently and I’m wondering about some sort of repayment plan, in the name of fairness. Would you be for or against? -- Ginessa

Hi Ginessa: This is a real hot button issue and I’m glad you asked. Marriage is one thing; marrying your money is a different beast altogether. In an effort to make things seem fair and equal, we can become petty, mistrustful, and judgmental. Here are some of the main reasons I’m opposed to seeking reimbursement.

Shared lives, shared finances. A lot of couples hesitate to merge accounts or even disclose how many credit cards they have, which is a set up for disaster. The fact that you and your husband have been honest is a good start, but it doesn’t sound to me like you’re sharing your finances. One of the hardest parts of a marriage is coming to an agreement over how money should be spent. Getting on the same page is the first step, and then you need to accept that sometimes you’ll outspend your partner. One half of a marriage will usually earn more than the other, and it will only lead to strife if that becomes a sticking point. 

The point of fairness. Has income inequality in your marriage left you in financial ruin? Do you need reimbursement to pay off creditors? Or is this simply about putting your foot down and demanding your husband pay an equal share? No one wants to be taken advantage of, and hopefully that’s not how you’ve felt over the years of paying for your home and investments. If one spouse works hard, helps with the day-to-day, and brings in less income, that’s not a referendum on what they put into the marriage, right? So asking for repayment years down the road is less about your union and more about keeping a balanced ledger. If that’s the case, you need to ask yourself which is more important.

Back to the vows. At the altar, what promises did you and your groom make to each other? I’m hopeful that special day wasn’t focused on who would pay for what in the future, but rather the love you shared and the lives you wanted to create. I always advise people to be generous when and how they can - your husband certainly isn’t a charity case, but I hope putting your earnings toward a better life for both of you makes you feel good. It shouldn’t have you counting the dollars you feel like you’re owed.

This is a hard topic to talk about, but it’s absolutely worth the effort. Make sure you both have the right intentions and then make decisions that lead to mutual happiness. Thanks for writing in!

Disclosure: Information presented is for educational purposes only and is not an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of any specific securities, investments, or investment strategies. Investments involve risk and, unless otherwise stated, are not guaranteed. Be sure to first consult with a qualified financial adviser and/or tax professional before implementing any strategy discussed herein. To submit a question to be answered in this column, please send it via email to Question@GoFarWithKovar.com, or via USPS to Taylor Kovar, 415 S 1st St, Suite 300, Lufkin, TX 75901.


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