Unreasonable (or reasonable??) Financial Expectations


Amasashi, I agree that this would be really annoying, and maybe when dating should have been a dealbreaker, but I think Chey makes some good points too, certainly in the “don’t expect her to change” department, and also that she has attributes you admire. Most of us who are married have some things in our partner that would once have been a dealbreaker that we learned to work around.

Practically the way I might deal with it would be to (1) save money when I could and just don’t bring it up with her, (2) be a little slower to open your wallet, and (3) also be thankful for the benefits you get from her. On 1, some couples just operate this way. I don’t love it, but if her approach is “I’m going to keep what I’m going to keep,” then you probably can do the same without guilt. Maybe someday you combine the pots together, but for now maybe it’s a wall you leave up and just live with it. Try to save a little every month, possibly in your home country. On 2, it’s hard to tell if she wants you to be the big spender or what. I’d definitely get to know the in-laws more, because this is probably something she grew up with. Try to understand what she’s thinking, but also feel free to forget to bring your wallet or pick the biandang place over the fancy place. On 3, you say you’re both working, so if her parents or others are helping you on childcare or rent, just be really grateful. If it were my partner and my kid, I’d be willing to live with some inconsistencies and irrational behavior and even some selfishness if I could contain the bad-behavior and put in some safeguards. On the positives, she doesn’t seem wasteful with the money and she is bringing in a full income. Taiwan is also funny because it doesn’t seem to make it easy to have joint accounts. In practice it sure seems like you only get one name on the card.

I’d keep reading up, both on finances and relationships. I like the bogleheads website for longterm investing. Ironically, there are a fair number of questions there about relationships. This is a good group here too.


This was really helpful, thanks. The idea of laundering money into my own secret account makes a lot of sense. Obviously I feel that it’s not the way a marriage should operate but it seems to be the only solution to maintain a bit more financial security on my end.

She doesn’t expect me to be a big spender. She says she’s willing to do whatever it takes to live within a certain budget. She just insists on me being the provider by contributing no less than 50% at all times. I think it’s dumb but whatever.

The in-laws are really nice people and never gave me a hard time over anything. They also don’t have any of the usual Taiwanese customs that we frankly don’t understand and would be grateful to do without. The only insight I have so far is that her dad worked really hard to provide for the entire family even through really hard times so maybe that’s where she gets her ideals from. Though she conveniently forgets that her mom never paid for anything herself for the simple fact that she didn’t work.

In the end it really does seem like a matter of do the positives outweigh the negatives. Would I be happier with a wife who was totally on the same page as me money-wise but had a really difficult family to deal with? I don’t know. But I do find your suggestions to be really helpful. I’ll give it some thought and see if I can find a way to balance things out.


So basically you cover 50% of costs. Sounds reasonable to me. It also sounds like she worded it the way she did as a face-saving measure. Now she just needs to work on that temper.


did you confirm it? Your description of her sounds she might be ok with 60k budget in that case too.

And, did you ask how she would do if you would become unable to work by some reason?


I figured to do it for the kid, to step up and give family life a shot instead of not even trying. Now in retrospect, I’m wondering if that had been the wisest thing to do. To be honest if it weren’t for the baby then I wouldn’t be tolerating any of this at all.


I definitely confirmed it. In that example, she would be willing to live within a 60k budget if it was because I was making less, but not if it was because she was. Assuming of course that I was making enough to cover for her. Basically she can hold out on me but I can’t hold out on her.

She’s willing to provide for me in the situation you described. At least I have that.


As she just had the baby (2 months old, right?), she’s likely going through some up-down emotional swings, which are rather normal, given the timeline and one of the reasons why you perhaps married. Let things settle down. If her family has treated you right and you feel comfortable with them, then that’s one thing you don’t have to worry about in the future. Give it time. (This, coming from a guy with kids and having gone through all kinds of up-down in my wife’s emotions during pregnancy and after birth.)


I came to this discussion late, but having read you now have a baby and she is willing to let you “come down” and live within that budget …
I would suggest that you match her income and keep the rest of yours for yourself, i.e. some kind of savings or investment. Perhaps a child fund that will be for those unexpected costs that arise when a couple becomes a family.
I would also ask her if tonight’s outing is going to be her treat before going out, and sometimes stay home when she opts out of paying. Tough love may teach some lessons, or just put you in the frame of mind to enjoy yourself knowing you are picking up the tab.
Best of luck to you. I hope you can find some place in yourself to make this work in a way that allows you to enjoy time with your child.


Now, it sounds she is not so unreasonable for me.

In the budget, savings are included? Are you sure that when you would get 30k and she would get 50k, she will spend 20k for her personal things? If what she meant is she will save the 20k in her account, it may be money for family at the end.

If she is also ok with 20k savings in your account in the reverse case, I think she is reasonable.


Yes, I know for a fact that in our hypothetical scenario she will keep the extra 20k for herself to spend on personal items because that’s what she’s done so far. It’s a crappy feeling to know that you’re busting your ass and cutting expenses while your wife is treating herself well. It seems like the best strategy is to do what Teach and Chey suggest, to fib the numbers a bit so I can save money into a private account. No sense in letting all my money get used up on family expenses while she’s keeping hers for personal extravagances.


So what happens when you have a baby? She will still spend the extra 20k on herself and not the baby?


The child will grow up in a dysfunctional environment too, really bad move to get married with those 2 giant red flags staring you in the face and just after a break up and not doing a DNA test.


Why won’t she pay towards rent? She also lives in the house.




This sentence alone would be a great advertisement for companies that produce condoms, it really shows the importance of precautions.


One for you, two for me
All in the name of equality


+1 on babies are sanity-destroying.

I also wouldn’t even think of it as money laundering. I’d put it in the family/culture/individual category. In some families, the wife takes all the money/pays the bills/makes the decisions, in some the men do it, and in others it’s a mix. In the west, there are couples that basically do what your spouse does, or split everything 50/50 or save play money for each spouse, or the man covers more. In my grandma’s generation, women often had a stash of money they saved (it’s how my dad got music lessons). You have to work out what you can live with, but your situation isn’t bad and you have options.

In Taiwan, you also have other options open to you. You can say, “my parents/brother need me to pay 15,000/month to help out” and you can send it off to an account somewhere. Totally valid rationale. Or, “my friend has this great investment opportunity” so I’m going to put 5000 a month into it. Or just don’t talk about it. Effectively she’s decided for you that you each get to keep what you can save. And that’s not totally terrible. Just go with it.


I am all for gender equality, however, from Western news articles outlining the the demands of Women in modern society, it seems the needle is tipping onto “men should have no rights”. This needle seems to be tipping more to “men should be slaves” in Asia. Not sure if people feel the same way as me.

If this trend continues we might see a raise in Taiwan’s prosecution industry and Sex partnerships in Taiwan.


One more glaring reason why – despite what our resident legal expert says – all marriage contracts should be written down, read and signed before they’re considered valid contracts.


I don’t think this kind of attitude is anything new here. The flip side is that men have had a greater degree of personal freedom in a marriage then would be typical in the West.