Once Upon a Tanbo

Finance Schminance

Posted on: May 21, 2009

Just had an interesting talk on Skype with Lulu about paying for things in realtionships/family money etc… I have to admit I came off the conversation feeling that maybe I’m a bit too strict towards Ryohei regarding my opinions of “his share” of the costs in our realtionship.

As I’ve said.. we will be moving using just money from my savings – but I am insistant that he will be paying his half back (splitting costs exactly down the middle) over the next 2-3 years. I guess that maybe this is abnormal.. and I should be thinking of my savings from the last 3 years of working as “our money” but I just have a lot of trouble doing that.

I guess I see the last 3 years of my life as my “independent” time even though we were married for some of it and therefore that the money I saved is “mine” for use how I like it… travel to america, going for a masters if i decide to in the future, emergency fund incase of trouble in japan or at home etc etc… I know that any money I make from here on is “our money” maybe I would put a small percentage in my personal savings account but most of it I would contribute to daily living expenses like groceries, family travel, rent or whatever else really.

Ryohei’s salary pays little to nothing at this point, honestly if I was to take on even a 10-15 hour a week part-time job (english related) I would probably be making more than him. So… with the fact that the baby is coming and I can’t do that or I don’t want to do that until we are at least able to put her on some solid foods it means the next few months will be tight and we will have to dip into my “personal” savings a bit…

I should be ok with this right..? I guess I would be but then again it just feels like me and only me are providing once again… I don’t mind doing it for myself and BG but I sort of wish Ryohei would pull his own weight instead of depending on me (has been “lent” money from me several times before marriage and lived with me for no cost for a few months during studying in kobe) or his family (car from grandma, lots of money given to him by parents etc). Its really frustrating because where as I tend to be really good at saving… money seems to slip out of his hands so easily and I hate it. Because life goes on and we have to keep up living costs and while I was working that was fine – but now that I am not… there is less “space” for fun stuff.

That was why we planned to gaman at Ryohei’s parents for at least 4-5 months as it would be much cheaper… but apparently I couldn’t cut it as seen by last week and now we have to leave.

I know at some point things will even out… but honestly in our realtionship it seems like financially, emotionally, and in many other areas I am the one that has to make all the efforts. I am not feeling resentful beyond belief but it is frustrating and something that makes the waters a bit stormy when I’m already feeling down about other things.

Any one have anything to add about their own situations? Or just tell me what a horrible kechi wife I am šŸ˜¦

PS Today is thursday.. which means my battery is almost on empty. I slowly get recharged over the weekend from being with Ryohei and getting out of the house… but from Monday – Friday I slowly lose my genki… I’ve been feeling a bit blue today so this is probably the main reason for the dark post… that and being up til 2:30 last night with spicey curry induced heartburn… no more of that until the baby comes thanks.


19 Responses to "Finance Schminance"

I understand what you`re feeling. By the sounds of things, Ryohei isn`t good with money, and may never be. It must be very frustrating. If both of you were equally contributing to things financially, I think you would find it easier to dip into your savings when an emergency came up. But since its mainly you, and has been for quite a while, I think resentment has built up. I`m guessing that you feel a bit `used` financially. I think that until Ryohei shows a bit more financial responsibility, and starts paying you back, its ok to be `ketchi`. After a while you might find yourself thinking more in terms of `our` money.
I hope you feel better soon. Take care sweety.

I wouldnt worry about it too much. You can use the “Independant American Woman” card on that I think. It sounds fair to me if that’s how your relationship has always been (financially seperate).

Personal experience/opinion:

Tetsu had 2 full months of no work last winter and I convered everything from rent, bills, food, car expenses with my entire paychecks and savings expecting it back. (I usually covered half of rent, all of food and the rest was for myself as I made much less)

In the end I didn’t get a dime, but I realized that savings are for times just like that; hard times, and that giving for the sake of our relationship, seemed more important than ME having MY own money. Relationships are about “we” right?

I’d say that since you are the one that wants to move right away (which is fine) isn’t it worth your money to cover it all and consider it a personal expense? He’ll contribute to rent and bills anyways right?

I wish I could say our financial situation would allow us to move out of this 1K before the Ponyo is here…but… =( I hope you have better luck! *hugs*

sassy – thanks! hope things are going better with you and princess p as well. i think it is difficult to be in a realtionship where one of us spends and one of us saves.. and hey.. im the “woman” right shouldnt i be out splurging on LV purses or what have you šŸ˜› I think you pretty much have it right on… I’ve never made a huge fuss out of it since it hasn’t all been at once – but when I sat back and thought about it… it was pretty frustrating. oh well — i think once i get another job it won’t bother me but until then!

Khea – thanks for telling me your personal experience! always interesting to get some perspective and hear from others! in a way i feel you are right about since it is me wanting to move i should take it as a personal expense.. but since we have to start from nothing – no furnature, appliances, anything but clothes really lol it will be in the ballpark of 40-50man to get settled.. which is a huge huge chop out of my savings… about 4-5 months worth ;_; So.. yah I guess I’m not thrilled about parting with that ALL forever and ever… so yah.. if it was like 20 man or so I would just be like shove it.. but when we are talking 3-4 flights back home for me and BG… its a bit rough.

We were living in a 1K in Kobe and it was rough having a baby will be a challenge there I am sure! Are you looking into new places at the moment? I guess Tokyo real estate is pretty tough for young families but I hope that you can find an affordable and nice place!!

Money is really a tricky subject in relationships. When DH and I first moved in together we used almost his entire savings, what he had left after a failed attempt at opening a bar with a friend, renting an apartment. At that point we weren’t even married, so the fact that he was willing to do that showed me how comitted he was to our relationship, and to this day I still feel a twinge of guilt, because saving that money up, for him, was a humongous effort and we just spent it in the blink of an eye renting an apartment. Our situation here now is sort of similar to yours, but only because in China foreigners always make more than locals, it is just a sad fact of life. So either we could survive on his crappy local salary, he could go back on the road singing and we’d never see each other, or I work. Sure, there are times I resent that I have to be the breadwinner, and that there doesn’t seem to be much end in sight, but I also know that when I married a local I sort of signed up for this — there are very few normal Chinese people who could make more than I do, so I try not to put that on him so much. It isn’t really the same situation with you, since Ryohei’s salary has to do more with life choices than circumstance.

I hope the situation isn’t permanent for you, and Ryohei learns better money management techniques, because I can see how it would be easy to feel resentful, or at least unhappy, about feeling like you have to pull his weight, your weight, and BG’s weight as well. It is a huge pressure, as someone who has taken on that pressure willingly, I know how stressful it can be feeling like if you don’t support the family who will? I do think it is important for you to have your own little fund for emergencies, trips to the States, etc. I think we had a discussion on FWC once about this and the general consensus was it is important for us foreign wives to have their own stash, so I can see how you’d be a little put out by having to use it up. All I can say is that Ryohei is still young and just starting out in his career, and hopefully as he moves up the food chain he’ll start making more, even if it takes a few years. And if you do end up having to go back to work when BG is a bit older, it won’t be the end of the world, and would be well worth it if it meant you could replenish your savings. I started working again when DS was about 3 months and I hated it sometimes but there are times when I really liked the adult interaction, getting to speak English, getting out the house and remembering “me.”

Take it one day at a time Sarah! The important thing now is getting into your own space and getting BG born, and I’m sure once those two things happen you’ll start feeling better about everything else too. This is a stressful time for you, it is natural to feel uncertain and upset, but I’m sure it will get better with time.

Hmmm, that’s a toughie, it’s hard to change the way you feel on this one without feeling used I’m sure. We’re the same in that I would make much more than Ryota if I started working, it’s weird hey! I supported Ryota for almost 6 months while I was preggers as in I was working and he wasn’t and he was living in ‘my’ apartment, but after we moved in I managed to convert pretty well to ‘we.’ I have other mates who told me they couldn’t have done that but everyone is different right. I think I was fine with it because I knew I wanted to take at least a year off with Ash, so now I don’t feel so bad that Ryota is working 6 days a week, I did it for us and now he’s doing it for us.
I have put my foot down with parents/family money. I can’t stop them giving us gifts/ money, which they still do and i appreciate, but for example, a few weeks ago Ryota got a speeding fine of 15,000 yen, when the slip of paper mysteriously disappeared I discovered MIL had paid it because ‘it wasn’t fair of the police’ I swiftly went nuts at Ryota that he was baby and couldn’t have his mummy clean up his mess all his life then marched over to her house and gave her the 15,000.
Money is pretty tight for us too now but it’s not so bad, I find living out of the city means more cooking at home which saves money, thats going to be times about 10 for you!
Are you collecting Ryohei’s salary Japanese wife style or does he take care of it? Ryota gives me his pay as soon as he gets it and then only sees 10,000 yen a month for cigarettes and drinks at lunch. It seems weird to me but I’m much better with money and I always still manage to bank a bit at the end of the month. If Ryohei isn’t so good with money maybe suggest you handling it? I was so afraid I was going to feel like I had nothing when I stopped working but I really don’t.
Hope you can talk to him about it anyway. Cheer up, tomorrow night is the weekend!! Battery charging will start then! x

Jessica – Ohh.. that stinks about the situation for foreigners vs. locals in China. I guess it is sort of similar here… I’m sure an executive or high ranking salaryman would outearn me for sure… but a “freshman” worker wouldn’t have a chance… the price we pay for speaking English etc? I actually wouldn’t mind being the breadwinner.. I probably WILL end up doing that once baby making/raising is over and done in apprx 5-8 years from now. We’ve discussed it many times that Ryohei is much better with the housework and I am have more earning potential either here in Japan or back at home. So I guess in the end things will work out… it is a big adjustment going from living off my salary to his… with a difference of about 800 dollars between the two… (yikes ;_;) I think I just have too much time to think lately… you are right. When we are moved and BG is here I will (hopefully) just be worried about things like the color of her poo and if I remembered to wash my hair that morning.

Corinne – Ah.. so yes very similar situations. I think we actually talked about this before? I am not collecting Ryohei’s salary… yet? Although he does show me his balance sheet (lol) Maybe when we get settled I will? The thing is now that he has his credit card – he is putting most of his purchases on that to “save up miles” so.. its a bit hard to control the finances in our house. Its also only month 2 of this new lifestyle so I guess it is taking some getting used to… in lots of areas. Poor Ryota having to work 6 days a week.. I feel for the guy. This is the first time since I’ve known him that Ryohei has gotten “weekends off” he had to work one day a weekend in Tokyo and in Kobe – it is nice to have him around although right now I have to compete with the computer for his attention šŸ˜›

At least you know how Ryohei is – no secret bank accounts šŸ™‚

I felt like I was giving more for a while because I came into the marriage with savings and hub in debt. All household related debts are now both of ours and I used savings to furnish the house, pay for the garden and the new car.

My money in NZ is mine – but really it is for the kids education and to ‘fall back on’ if things go pear shaped.

The komuin wage is crap when you are young but it rises steadily and when Ryohei retires he will get a big payout. Living just on his pay will be hard – but he will see it as having landed a stable job – and it is. He wasn’t in a position to be saving the last three years so it’s hard to try and see things as being even or fair or unfair.

Good luck with it all. I wouldn’t use all your savings but then again, if its that or not being able to live where you want and be a stay at home mum then….

finances are hard. Just make sure you know where any secret money is going!!

Good luck.

Hmmm tricky. Having been the ‘other’ one in the relationship- K had a huge amount of savings when we met (no nightlife deep inaka/ workaholics/ live in company dorm types tend to…) where as I was a JEt having a ball and with a map of Japan on my wall I was trying to mark off everything on. He payed for the wedding(s!), the whole family visit(s!), the furniture for the new place, etc etc. Then I started having babies/ being a SAHM and I am just now (6 years later) starting to earn some real money.

If I added it all up and started paying it back? whoa… but you know I think I contribute in dofferent ways- can I charge for meal services? how much money has K saved in lunches in 6 years worth of home made bentos? And no more drycleaning of his business shirts to avoid having to iron them?

Everyone does finances differently and maybe the traditional allowance system would work for Ryohei. For us, we have the dreaded kakeibo expense report and both have access to the account. It’s in K’s name but I could drain it anytime so I don’t feel like that’s an issue. šŸ˜› My salary is icing and I splurge on frivolous toys for us all, trips to Australia and things I7m embarrassed to see on the kakeibo- how many sugar churros can one girl eat??? ;P

Money stuff is always an issue when you’re in a pinch. But I think it’s beneficial to sit down and go through what you’re doing now, how you’ll finance the move, what you want to do when BG gets here, financial goals etc. It’s funny how you can think you’re on the same page and be so totally out of whack! (me- let’s do up house into dream home, K- let’s have enormous untouchable savings account we can gloat over when we’re 107)

HAHA, Oh my god Ryota and I had the exact same argument about credit card miles. I told him I hate putting things on credit card because you think you have more money than you do, and he was all like ‘but we can go to Australia for free!!’ He crashed back to reality when the 300,000 yen bill came in and like enough miles to fly to Osaka šŸ™‚ We now keep the credit card tucked away in a drawer for big purchases šŸ™‚

GW – hahaha. you are right no secret bank accounts… i even asked him how many he has after your little adventure the other month. i think he was a bit put off by that question – but oh well! ahh you are very kind, I think ryohei would like you šŸ˜› i’m sure he’s happy he married “kechi” me but i’m sure he would tell me all the things you did in the 2nd and 3rd paragraphs… yes… must keep things in perspective. yah – damn the whole having a baby thing… i think if i was working and could keep a bit coming in to the cheese/runaway/english for BG fund it would make me feel better. I didn’t want to work at all before she hit kindy but I don’t think it will end up that way. Anyways – thanks for your comment as a fellow komuin wife.. albiet a newbie one it is nice to hear the benefits of the job since of late have just been cursing him for low pay, crap location, and buckets of plain white (albiet the most expensive in the country) rice

Fuka – Hahahah, yes I had lotttts of JET friends and I was the “boring one” who never really traveled and didn’t really go on the all nighters who instead was saving up her money for who knows what (apparently moving to get away from in-laws 3 years later) Ryohei and I have talked about money but its a bit difficult at this point since the baby will be here before we know it and then how I carry on about the SAHM gig will depend on other factors… We’ve never had a wedding or anything really nice… I am a complusive saver – a not so desirable trait handed down from my mom who is worse than me.. if you can imagine. Ryohei is actually very good about keeping track of where his money goes. He has an excel spreadsheet which he fills out with his daily spending. (Something I can’t do – as I will go crazy and never buy anything) Its been really interesting hearing about everyones experiences!! I LOL’d at the last paragraph of your comment… that sounds like a reversal of Ryohei and I!!!!

Corinne – In some ways I think we married very similar men.. first credit card bill is scheduled to come in about 5 days. Reaction will be interesting!!!!!!!!!! Stay tuned hun šŸ˜€

Corinne – In some ways I think we married very similar men.. first credit card bill is scheduled to come in about 5 days. Reaction will be interesting!!!!!!!!!! Stay tuned hun šŸ˜€

We had similar opinions on this as well as some very different ones, hey Sarah!?

I guess, as we discussed, Shun & our situation is different again. After coming out here, and paying for bits of the wedding, and Shun not really working much we managed to save pretty much nothing out here. Shun had used his savings to come out here (and to continue to pay for his own stuff like ciggarettes etc etc). SO now all the money we have brought to the marriage was our "wedding" money- so it is OUR money from the start.

Before coming out to Australia, and even up until six months or so ago, Shun & I split everything. I am a lot worse with money than him and I often borrowed from him and paid him back next pay check (yes, I am one of those paycheck to paycheck type girls)- when we moved he paid for more of the moving costs but that was because for the first apartment which was technically mine- i paid all the up front costs and he moved in. I have no idea if it was for the same amount or not, and frankly, I don`t care but we used to split our bills etc on most occasions. We earn`t fairly similar amounts, although I probably earnt more if you included my private lesson salaries. I saved nothing though.

I can understand where you are coming from, and like you said, any money you get from now on (and what Ryo gets) is "both" of yours. I guess it is just hard for me to comprehend cos none of the money I have now is just mine- and none of it is just Shun`s. It is already both of ours. Maybe over the next coming months you and Ryo will get into that too, and see it as "ours" instead of mine and his. That said, some couples don`t….I have a friend who keeps all their money seperate. I guess it just depends on the people and the situation.

Oh also I will just mention- I have no debt apart from my uni debt which I will probably never pay back and Shun has a debt of about 300,000yen as his mum/dad paid his tax/insurance for him this past year- we will gradually pay this back over time.

I really enjoyed reading everybody elses comments and experiences. I gained a lot.

I got your address, thanks!
And, i am going to figure out how to send u a package via Japanese post office soon! šŸ™‚

And, i wanted to add a bit of my own experiance.
I am an American Housewife, so things might be diffrent … and i did not read the other responces….

In our house we Share 100% of everything. It was hard at 1st.
But, i believe… once your married you share Everything.
$$ included.
And, if you have a large savings… thats ‘yours’… maybe using it on a downpayment on a house or a car would be wise.
But, you could always put it in a retirement fund… Or put 1500$ aside for that one trip to America.
But… to make him pay-back $ for moving into an appartment YOU really Need, i think would be … odd.

Of course I dont know even a part of how u two live.
I only know what you have wrote here.

BUT, i do know… a big step in having a Happy/Healthy Marrage is Trust. You need to Trust that in the long rin he will provide.
I say, Use your Savings for the Apt. Save a little back for that America Trip.

One other thing i know about… Moving.
If you are living today, wishing for tomorrow, You wont be happy.

So, if you are only living these years, hoping and praying them away, because you want to move to America… It’s going to be long hard years.
In my experiance, forgetting about the future and focusing on Today (or this year) is going to help u be in a much better state of mind.

I know this to me true!
For 5 long hard years i was in a depression of sorts, missing Japan and Hating America. Finally, we got the word we were moving back. I was So excited.
Now that we are here, i find myself slipping into the I miss America mode.
But, i have to remind myself that for those 5 yrs, i did Not take what i had… and enjoy life.
I only wished for that i knew i could not have, and i was unhappy.
Now, i miss America, and wish i was there… but i am living Today and this year like i have no other choices, and i am happy, very happy.

anyways, i know this turned into a rant of sorts, but the point is… if you can see yourself with him for the rest of your life… period… and you love him… than what is yours is his, and what is his is yours.
Period! (IMO, LOL)

(and … if you have a “what if my marrage does not work-out fund…. than [IMO]… you still have big doubts.)

((HUGS)) šŸ™‚

This is such a hard one. We read David Bach’s “Smart Couples Finish Rich” together. This will really over-simplify, but I got a couple of useful things out of it:
1) Couples fight/disagree about money because it’s a sensitive subject and we bring our whole family history and relationship with money to our marriage. Accepting that we come from different perspectives and no one person is right all the time helps.
2) Jointly assigning values to things in life helps. We decided for example that family and friends are things we value (for some people it might be security, independence, fun – whatever) and this means that our number one priority for how we spend or save our money supports this. I find decisions are much easier this way. Does the new stereo fit with our family value? If not – it’s not where our money is going.

And there’s always room for “me” money. I still have some room to spend on things that aren’t part of our “family” money.

Good luck working it out – it’s totally unique to each family I think. My husband and I complement each other nicely; I tend to be overly conservative while he’s the opposite.

Lulu – Yah I sort of wish I was in a similar situation to you where we sort of both had about the same… I think in that case that it would be like starting on a clean slate but I’ve been very proud of my saving skills and am looking forward to putting them to something that will be helpful to us in the future. At this point my Masters I think although not for a few more years. Anyways I think after this intial moving cost things will be a lot more blurred as to who is what and etc… Good luck on your own moving! I know that its tough šŸ˜€

Alisa – I really enjoyed reading your experience!! Quite different from mine for sure which made it so interesting!! I wish I could have that mentality it would make things a lot easier (lol) I have no idea if I had married an American man if I would have been this “strict” but I do think the fact that I am married to foreign man and living in a foreign country have a large amount to do with making sure that I have a nest egg to fall back on since if things go wrong – not necessarily with a relationship – I would need a large sum of money quick to leave the country or whatever else… knock on wood it never happens! I guess another thing is that a lot of people have their families that they know they can count on in times of emergency.. I can tell you right now that I wouldn’t be able to… which sucks… but thats just how my family is. I guess until now I have ALWAYS had to rely on myself for everything and even since being married for whatever reason Ryohei has not been able to provided all the types of reliance I think are important. Emotionally he’s great… in other aspects… Needs Improvement.

Also… not sure where you got the “I hate living in Japan” from this post?! I actually really like living in Japan – I don’t particularly like living in the middle of nowhere with no form of transportation or independence from my In-laws or husband… but I do like Japan and am fine with living here for the next 8-10 years maybe more if needed. That being said I don’t think I could live here, especially in this area, forever and I would like to go back into the work force in America when our kids are old enough to be in school. I am a take it a year or two at a time person – but I guess that doesn’t mean I don’t have a long term goal.. even if somehow it ends up falling through.

Coffeegrl – Thanks for the summary from that book… actually very interesting. Good example with the stereo.. this is where Ryohei and I are different. Me: this middle of the line washing machine by Toshiba is fine – price 8man yen Him: I want this top of the line National brand washer with drum dryer function and clothes folding robot hands – price 25man yen…

This is why I have a lot of difficulties with him in the money department… I appreciate that he likes the high quality stuff but then to expect that to come from my savings from before we were married when I am trying to save up for my Masters (of Library Science actually) in a few years… is a hard pill to swallow… gah…

I like the suggestion from Coffeegrl– I think I’ll buy the book actually–

I commend you for being independent, personally I think women to a certain extent should be independent in some form- but I also think he needs to pull his share too.

DH had a huge savings when I met him- and I’ve giving up a lot to be with him as well, previous experience taught me not to become Dependent financially as much as I can control.

But I was adamant about having my name on all my cars, property, etc- again as previous experience taught me.. lol see the pattern-

I was determined to put my share into it all- down payment on the condo and house- I put my share in, car, same, same– because for one I a. giving up a lot just to be with him.

b.I don’t want to scrummage for my HUSBANDS money when I want to shop, etc.

c. I wanted to be proud that “I” contributed.

d. I think it is WRONG for a women to take a persons (husbands) paycheck- same goes for women vice versa. Not fair to totally strip down a fella just because we married him.

Having said all that, I cook, clean, our places are spotless, laundry is always done and there is NEVER dishes in the sink- that is work on top of my work- picking up after the mr. for leaving his socks laying on the floor too– beds are always made– I would have less the work if I was single or dating.. so he takes care of me in other aspects- a partnership.

He does all the grocery shopping and I do it on weekends he handles all the paper work for visa and crap…

I have my own separate CC in Japan, he has his, I have my own bank accounts, he has his, we have savings and are jointly working toward our goals together.

When I was in between work or when the biz was slow, he chipped in.

For the fun and entertainment, both of us saved for a period of time but we are both gadget lovers too– but smart shoppers so even if we get the top of the line, we got it at a MAJOR discount– I husband picks up where I am weak and vice versa..

School is expensive– it cost me 50 grand in two years, that is a lot of money— and if he wants the top of line, let him pay for it–

All I am saying if there is too much of an imbalance things get frustrating, but I married my husband when he was 29 so there is some difference there–

I am still working toward being independently secure- so those are my frustrations about being in Japan, too little opportunities.

šŸ™‚ I am sooooo not good at writing feelings haha! 4 real!
Im sorry… . !

I did not mean to make u think … i thought… you hated Japan.
Im sorry! šŸ˜¦

Again, i am so bad with writing feelings. I try though, lol!!!

And, i understand [more] now about your view on being married to a forgein man, and living here, and… not having a bunch of family to fall back on.
I see clearer now!
[which is why i should have read all the post before responding šŸ˜¦ ].
You know the song: I can see clearly now the rain has gone??? LOL it’s in my head now, as i type this… because i see clearer now. šŸ˜‰ lol

I did not mean to offend you… honestly.

GJ – I guess my view is similar to yours… of course you’ve been married a lot longer than I have so probably in time our finances will be around the same of what you and your husband are doing. I laughed at your D reason – very cute. I guess I agree for big things like the apartment and stuff… I do like it being split evenly… I dunno I guess I have more of the feeling of “ours” than this is “my” place mentality… does that sound weird?! I guess we are just in the middle of figuring all this out since most of our realtionship was spent in Kobe where I already was the apartment “owner” etc etc… thanks for your views CJ!

Alisa – hahaha no no!! no offense taken I promise you!! I just didn’t want anyone getting the wrong idea that i hate it hear!! and I’m actually like the least confrontational person ever – i think everyone has a different situation and finds what works for them! if you go through all the comments here not one person has a “family financial plan” completely like anyone else! anyways don’t worry – i’m not offended and liked reading your comment alisa!! i agree that typing out how you “feel” can be difficult! i can tell you its gotten me into a misunderstanding or two šŸ™‚

shinpainai-yo šŸ™‚

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