My ex-boyfriend and I contributed to our household based on our salaries. I’m now owed $23K in back pay. Do I pay him back?


Dear Moneyist,

Recently, I was notified by my employer of 5 years that my preliminary wage placement was incorrect, and I am due a pretty big quantity of retroactive pay. After taxes, it comes to about $23,000.

About a yr in the past, I ended a long-term relationship whereby my former companion — who I was not married to or in a authorized home partnership with — and I cut up up our lease and home-related funds on a pro-rata foundation.

He made barely extra money than I did (at the moment), so he contributed about $150 a month greater than I did to this joint account. We had agreed to this association for 4 years of our relationship earlier than parting methods. I’ve finished the mathematics and this comes to $7,200 that he paid greater than me in complete.


Do I have any moral obligation to pay him back that cash, or to not less than give him the choice of accepting a few of the cash I was retroactively paid?


— Ex-Girlfriend

My query is: Now that my wage has been retroactively adjusted by the use of lump sum — to the identical quantity his wage was throughout our relationship — do I have any moral obligation to pay him back that cash, or to not less than give him the choice of accepting a few of the cash I was retroactively paid?

As a facet observe/extra context, throughout our relationship my former companion did obtain a web household inheritance of $40,000, which we didn’t cut up up, nor did we alter our lease or house bills based on his inheritance.

We had been planning on ultimately buying a house collectively, so the plan was that he would put his inheritance in a financial savings account for the eventual down cost on the house. When we broke up, he saved all that inherited cash, to which I had no objection.

He and I don’t actually discuss anymore, however we ended on comparatively good phrases, and I need to do the best factor.

Ex-Girlfriend

Dear Ex-Girlfriend,

What a refreshing and welcome letter to get from somebody who needs to do the best factor. You acted in good religion on the time, and you and your ex-boyfriend divided your monetary obligations equitably and pretty. I applaud you then, and I applaud you now.

It’s not an apples-to-apples comparability, however riddle me this. What would have occurred should you obtained that $23,000 over the past yr of your relationship? My guess: You would have put in a checking account, similar to he did with the $40,000, and adjusted your pay going ahead. I don’t assume you’ll have given him $7,200 and simply saved the remaining. This is one other windfall, and one which can be recorded in your income-tax return subsequent yr.


‘It’s one factor to pay a little bit extra each month; it’s fairly one other to take one-third of a modest windfall and allocate it to a life that by no means got here to fruition.’


— The Moneyist

You may ask 10 individuals and get 10 completely different solutions. Give him half! Keep it! Insist he take $7,200! Pay him, plus curiosity! And so on. People typically carry their very own relationships (and grievances) to the desk. Your male buddies can also have a special reply out of your feminine buddies.

In reality, you seemingly owe him lower than $7,200 (4 years multiplied by $150 monthly). If you and your boyfriend earned the identical earnings, he would pay $75 monthly much less and you’ll pay $75 extra. That brings the entire to $3,600. This might or might not make your choice simpler.

For all the above causes, I see this $23,000 dropping in your lap because the universe gifting you a secret financial savings account you can put towards a down cost, or another life objective. You have each moved on. This cash appeared in your celestial piggy financial institution for a cause. Look yonder, to the long run, not to the previous.

You are beneath no moral obligation to give him cash. You couldn’t use this cash throughout your relationship. It’s one factor to pay extra if you find yourself planning a future collectively; it’s fairly one other to take one-third of a modest windfall and allocate it to a life that by no means got here to fruition.

The previous is one other nation. Enjoy your private and monetary freedom guilt-free, Ex-Girlfriend. I don’t assume both of you’ll get pleasure from dusting off your previous household finances in an effort to stability these books. That life is over and, for higher or for worse, that home ledger now not exists.

You can electronic mail The Moneyist with any monetary and moral questions associated to coronavirus at qfottrell@marketwatch.com

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