Could Your Partner Become a Liability?

by Kristina on November 24, 2010 · 9 comments

As some of us may have lost our jobs, and more and more of us are learning to live on less, it is safe to say that we have all made some adjustments in our financial lives over the past few years.  Two members of my family have lost their jobs due to downsizing, and as you know my income has also dropped since 2008.

I know that my income decline has been a major adjustment for my boyfriend Nick because we have less disposable income every month. We have cut down on, or in some cases we have cut out, some of our leisurely activities.  This past year we each went on separate mini vacations with our friends, as opposed to 2 or 3 vacations together.  Our day to day expenses have not been cut down very much because most of our expenses are fixed.  We have shopped around for new home insurance, and we also shopped around for a new satellite/home phone/internet package…however our provider hasn`t changed.

Since I sold my car we are now saving approximately $800 per month.  This of course is a big financial help because it’s one less thing we have to worry about.  However, with the recent decline in my income I wouldn’t have been able to afford it anyway.  We didn’t use the car very often; we did less than 12,000 miles per year.  I only bought the car because I thought it is what a 27 year old young professional should do.

As jobs are being cut all across industries and all over the country, how can we cope if our spouse looses their job and our partner suddenly becomes a liability? I can see the financial burden that my income decline has put on my relationship with Nick, and I am not sure if my relationship with my boyfriend would survive if I completely lost my job.

Some couples split their expenses 50/50; some couples pay a percentage of the monthly bills based on their total monthly income.  In some couples (like Nick and I) expenses are split 50/50, but if there is an expense that is not shared (NFL Sunday Ticket Sports Package) the person who wants it pays for it.  Therefore, Nick’s personal expenses such as Pay per View Mixed Martial Arts sporting events and trips with his friends to Las Vegas or NYC, haven’t changed.  It is our spending as a couple that has recently changed.

All of a sudden your spouse looses their job, and your DINKs income becomes a single income, but your expenses don’t change.  If one spouse carries the entire financial burden is the other spouse considered a liability?

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