Author Topic: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself  (Read 9895 times)

partgypsy

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #100 on: January 08, 2019, 07:41:28 AM »
Too many judgmental comments who have a very blinded and biased view on marriage who can't possibly perceive life and decisions different from their own.  Gerardo, don't take those comments to heart as they simply can't fathom anything different from their own world or experiences.

On every finance forum I have ever participated when someone brings up alternate views of marriage and how finances should be held, they get heated and often times locked because it leads to too much animosity. It is like arguing which religion is better.

There are many ways to have a successful serious relationships, as well as dividing finances. But they all share mutual respect, and consideration of the other. He is telling us what HE thinks is best for her. I did like in his last post, he mentioned something about what he appreciates about her (easy going personality). People bring different things to a relationship. He is trying to make her a mini-me.

I also agree that there is no one right way to have a relationship. But the two people involved need to whole heartedly agree and be enthusiastic about that joint plan.   

Kay-Ell

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #101 on: January 08, 2019, 08:10:14 AM »
Youíve gotten a lot of really good advice. Weather you agree with or implement it is up to your and your girlfriend. I am typically an advocate for healthy divisions in finances leaving room for joint money and individual money. Iím also a proponent for healthy adversity in life and avoiding dependence on others. I feel like I should agree with you on a lot of points, but I donít. You seem to completely miss the mark on relationships and parenting and what it is to share a life with someone. Perhaps its just miscommunication. Regardless youíve already gotten (and seemingly disregarded) plenty of the relationship and interpersonal  advice so Iíll stick to the financial.

Iím divorced. My ex husband and I had very different spending and saving priorities and created a system of separate finances that worked for us. We shared 2 joint accounts. One for monthly shared expenses and one for short term savings goals that we mostly used for travel and as an emergency fund. We put agreed upon amounts into these accounts out of each paycheck via direct deposit and the rest of our money was ours individually to spend or save as we chose.

In your situation, the two areas that I agree upon are that without children or a long term commitment your nest egg should be yours and that her quitting her job to live off of your stash  would be a bad idea. My suggestion would be for you both to continue working and evaluating the relationship until you are fully on board with either sharing a life or deciding to go your separate ways. In that time it would be great if you could use your high earning potential to help her save. Perhaps you could keep the apartment in your name and cover 100% of housing and utility costs, while looking for other ways to shave off her expenses without increasing your own. Maybe you reduce to one car and combine insurance or combine cell phone plans, and let her take the savings while your costs remain static. Do all of this with the agreed upon goal that she kick her savings up to the highest levels. Then watch and see what happens. If sheís saving 50% of her income it should increase her independence while simultaneously showing you how she is with extra money. In a few years, if youíre ready to become a full partnership and start a family then youíll have a much larger combined nest egg. If you breakup, her saving rate will decrease as she takes on the burden of housing etc, but sheíll be closer to her own FI. And there should be no hard financial feelings between either of you.

I would not advise that you FIRE years in advance of her unless itís to be a SAHD. I would not advise you have children unless or until youíre comfortable fully blending your lives and finances. And thereís no shame in opting out of this relationship if youíre not all in. By the way that you talk it sounds like you are a very guarded person who doesnít really want or need a family, but is considering creating one, and therefore feels a much stronger than average need to protect himself and his independence. If thatís true, consider not moving in with or having children with someone. Itís fine to be of that opinion. But itís not really fine to be emotionally unavailable and on the fence while also building a life and a family with someone who wants a real partnership. If youíre not relationship material, thatís fine, and just stick to something casual.

scantee

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #102 on: January 08, 2019, 08:13:50 AM »
Too many judgmental comments who have a very blinded and biased view on marriage who can't possibly perceive life and decisions different from their own.  Gerardo, don't take those comments to heart as they simply can't fathom anything different from their own world or experiences.

On every finance forum I have ever participated when someone brings up alternate views of marriage and how finances should be held, they get heated and often times locked because it leads to too much animosity. It is like arguing which religion is better.

What is the value of posing a relationship question if youíre not willing to hear opposing views?

I am in an untraditional marriage. I certainly believe that people can make just about any arrangement work. Do I think this untraditional arrangement will work? No, not at this point in time at least. There are too many unknowns, the relationship is still so new, the people involved donít (seem) to have a clear sense of what they want...

Iím surprised by the negative reaction to the suggestion of therapy. Itís  2019, there shouldnít be a stigma to getting professional support to be a better and happier person, alone or in relationships. I want my tool chest for dealing with lifeís challenges to include a wide range of tools, therapy included. Itís not always the right tool, but is sure as hell is the best one in certain circumstances.

Gerard, if you are unwilling to go to therapy, I would suggest reading the book ďHow to be an Adult in Relationships.Ē Super helpful, not at all from a traditional framework of relationships, and will help you and your girlfriend think through and talk about these issues. Might be helpful for you both to read it.

EnjoyIt

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #103 on: January 08, 2019, 08:30:20 AM »
Too many judgmental comments who have a very blinded and biased view on marriage who can't possibly perceive life and decisions different from their own.  Gerardo, don't take those comments to heart as they simply can't fathom anything different from their own world or experiences.

On every finance forum I have ever participated when someone brings up alternate views of marriage and how finances should be held, they get heated and often times locked because it leads to too much animosity. It is like arguing which religion is better.

What is the value of posing a relationship question if youíre not willing to hear opposing views?

I am in an untraditional marriage. I certainly believe that people can make just about any arrangement work. Do I think this untraditional arrangement will work? No, not at this point in time at least. There are too many unknowns, the relationship is still so new, the people involved donít (seem) to have a clear sense of what they want...

Iím surprised by the negative reaction to the suggestion of therapy. Itís  2019, there shouldnít be a stigma to getting professional support to be a better and happier person, alone or in relationships. I want my tool chest for dealing with lifeís challenges to include a wide range of tools, therapy included. Itís not always the right tool, but is sure as hell is the best one in certain circumstances.

Gerard, if you are unwilling to go to therapy, I would suggest reading the book ďHow to be an Adult in Relationships.Ē Super helpful, not at all from a traditional framework of relationships, and will help you and your girlfriend think through and talk about these issues. Might be helpful for you both to read it.

There is advice and there there are comments "your relationship will fail."  The later is judgmental, unhelpful and what I am commenting on.  In posts like these as soon as someone says they have a prenup, those same judgmental folks will gladly tell them their relationship is doomed. What naive bullshit that is.

As for therapy, I don't see why that is necessary unless the couple needs outside help to communicate for which therapy would be great.  Therapy can be a wasteful expense or real benefit.  Since we do not know all the details, only OP can decide if that assistance is necessary or not. Personally I think OP has been thinking through all this logically instead of emotionally which I commend.  Next is to discuss and agree on everything with their loved on and make sure they are on the same page.

skp

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #104 on: January 08, 2019, 09:17:42 AM »
Too many judgmental comments who have a very blinded and biased view on marriage who can't possibly perceive life and decisions different from their own.  Gerardo, don't take those comments to heart as they simply can't fathom anything different from their own world or experiences.

On every finance forum I have ever participated when someone brings up alternate views of marriage and how finances should be held, they get heated and often times locked because it leads to too much animosity. It is like arguing which religion is better.

What is the value of posing a relationship question if you’re not willing to hear opposing views?

I am in an untraditional marriage. I certainly believe that people can make just about any arrangement work. Do I think this untraditional arrangement will work? No, not at this point in time at least. There are too many unknowns, the relationship is still so new, the people involved don’t (seem) to have a clear sense of what they want...

I’m surprised by the negative reaction to the suggestion of therapy. It’s  2019, there shouldn’t be a stigma to getting professional support to be a better and happier person, alone or in relationships. I want my tool chest for dealing with life’s challenges to include a wide range of tools, therapy included. It’s not always the right tool, but is sure as hell is the best one in certain circumstances.

Gerard, if you are unwilling to go to therapy, I would suggest reading the book “How to be an Adult in Relationships.” Super helpful, not at all from a traditional framework of relationships, and will help you and your girlfriend think through and talk about these issues. Might be helpful for you both to read it.

There is advice and there there are comments "your relationship will fail."  The later is judgmental, unhelpful and what I am commenting on.  In posts like these as soon as someone says they have a prenup, those same judgmental folks will gladly tell them their relationship is doomed. What naive bullshit that is.

As for therapy, I don't see why that is necessary unless the couple needs outside help to communicate for which therapy would be great.  Therapy can be a wasteful expense or real benefit.  Since we do not know all the details, only OP can decide if that assistance is necessary or not. Personally I think OP has been thinking through all this logically instead of emotionally which I commend.  Next is to discuss and agree on everything with their loved on and make sure they are on the same page.

I think the therapy advise was to help the OP sort out what exactly he wants.  I don't think it was to prove that he is wrong or to even help him communicate.  He sounds conflicted to me.    I don't think people here are saying that what he wants is necessarily wrong.  Just that he needs to figure out what it is that he wants, communicate it, and let the SO decide what is "fair". 

But, My opinion is that he needs to figure out what he wants sooner rather than later. Taking a year to figure out if your feelings are going to change?. Would it really take a year to figure out that you would never be comfortable sharing your finances with another person?  As Kay=El says, there is nothing wrong with feeling that way.  Figure it out soon. Because based on his posts I don't think OP is going to change his mind about this.   I just think she needs to know exactly what the relationship would look like long term so that she doesn't waste her time thinking the OP is going to change his mind.

I loved Kay'Els advice on how to split the expenses if they move in together. 

dignam

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #105 on: January 09, 2019, 01:05:36 PM »
The therapy advice was completely out of place which is why I pointed it out.  I've been to therapy and it was helpful; the stigma around therapy is mostly gone.  That said, the same people stating we don't know enough about the OP are the ones suggesting therapy.  I mean, come on!  it's still a very personal decision.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2019, 01:08:38 PM by dignam »

begood

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #106 on: January 09, 2019, 03:06:40 PM »
When my husband and I got married, we both had master's degrees, we were 23 and 24, and we were both making $24000 per year. Five years later, I was making 5% of what he made. Why? We decided as a couple that we were willing to move so he could hike up the corporate ladder, and we ended up moving 5 times in 17 years. Did I ever at any point feel that because I didn't make as much as he did that I wasn't a full partner in the relationship? Never. Not once. Still don't, after thirty years of marriage!

You are focusing on tangibles, but a lot about relationships is intangible and can't be quantified in dollars. "Mine mine mine" is not a good mantra for a long-term relationship with someone who's talking about wanting children.

SKL-HOU

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #107 on: January 09, 2019, 03:46:19 PM »
When my husband and I got married, we both had master's degrees, we were 23 and 24, and we were both making $24000 per year. Five years later, I was making 5% of what he made. Why? We decided as a couple that we were willing to move so he could hike up the corporate ladder, and we ended up moving 5 times in 17 years. Did I ever at any point feel that because I didn't make as much as he did that I wasn't a full partner in the relationship? Never. Not once. Still don't, after thirty years of marriage!

You are focusing on tangibles, but a lot about relationships is intangible and can't be quantified in dollars. "Mine mine mine" is not a good mantra for a long-term relationship with someone who's talking about wanting children.

You realize your situation is completely dufferent than OPs, right? She literally had no contribution in his wealth.

Smokystache

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #108 on: January 09, 2019, 08:08:44 PM »

Okay...

Let me try to approach this from a different direction.
People here are reacting the way they are for a very legitimate reason, they're just framing it in a way that isn't resonating with you.

I want you to reflect on a simple and inarguable fact for a moment: there is no "right" way to handle finances in a relationship.
Period.
Pointe finale.
The end.

Let that sink in, because it is truly the most important framework to grasp before trying to make a financial strategy with a partner.

Okay, so now a second fundamental point needs to be established: what seems "fair" is not necessarily what it best in a marriage. An extension of that is that life is complicated and the factors that make an arrangement seem "fair" can change on a dime.

A true partnership involves constant self reflection, a dedication to the other's well being, a focus on the health of the couple/family as a unit, and a fundamental trust that the other person is never trying to take from you, but always working to collectively thrive.

So what does that mean for your particular financial arrangement with your potential future wife/mother of your children?
Who fucking knows? There isn't a right answer, there's only the arrangements that the two of you decide TOGETHER from a place of tremendous mutual trust and respect.

Now, from the way you have spoken of your relationship, you guys aren't there yet. You are still speaking from a place of self preservation and THAT'S OKAY.

It's okay as long as you realize that that is a signal that you are not even close to the level of connection and commitment needed to navigate the financial dynamics of partnering.

That's okay for now. You two may be going in a direction that gets there or you may not. You may never be comfortable fully partnering with someone who can't independently financially contribute enough. That's okay too.

It's only been a year. That's long enough to know that you *want* things to work with someone but not long enough to know if they will work.

Talk to her. Talk to her daily.
I know you've said that you've talked to her about your goals, but it's clear you two don't actually talk the way partners need to because you wouldn't be asking the kinds of questions here that you are asking.

You don't yet truly understand how each of your attitudes, hopes, goals, fears, and insecurities play into the dynamic.
What is your biggest fear moving forward, what is hers? Have you graduated yet to a point where you two can be open and feel safe exposing your deepest insecurities?

Your financial situation is more complicated to emotionally navigate than most at this early stage, but honestly, it's not at all unusual within a marriage. People deal with one spouse earning much more all the time, and that dynamic can often change. This is marriage 101 level stuff to deal with, just wait until the real challenges show up.
Fuuuuuuuuuuuck.

Take this opportunity to deep dive into your relationship now before committing. The solution to your financial dynamic will naturally reveal itself once you understand each other enough. You will also have established a solid basis of communication for your future partnership.
Either that or you will discover that no solution will work for the two of you and you will know that marriage is a bad idea.

Remember, there's nothing wrong with wanting to protect yourself and be careful with your resources. This is why you should be incredibly selective about who you partner with. Just be aware that once you are truly someone's partner, all of the self protection shit goes out the window.

If it matters, I am a psychologist. And I couldn't have written anything better than this.

And +1 to the posts about counseling/therapy being opportunities to explore topics - it isn't to have someone else to tell you exactly the correct answer for your life (that's what forums are for!!).

talltexan

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #109 on: January 10, 2019, 08:45:29 AM »
The OP's posts suggest to me that he should remain single or marry up or completely change his point of view on the subject (impossible?). I don't see this ever ending well for the variety of reasons already listed.

source: married 10 years.

Agreed
Source: married 12 years.

I would also add that OP seems to think of this as a business transaction. It is more complicated than that whether you want it to be or not.

She is never going to be happy long term with what you are suggesting.

If you honestly don't want to budge on any of your points, I would suggest you stay dating for much longer. Do not move in together, and don't even think about marriage...

Getting married is the ultimate business transaction.

dude

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #110 on: January 10, 2019, 09:14:46 AM »
I'd be super fucking reluctant to commit financially to someone you've only known for 1 year. Personally, I'd string that shit out for a while -- i.e., don't get married. FIRE as planned and see how it goes from there. Once you sign on that dotted line, pre-nup or no, shit gets real and it will cost you to unwind it if the need arises.

partgypsy

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #111 on: January 10, 2019, 11:32:13 AM »
I'd be super fucking reluctant to commit financially to someone you've only known for 1 year. Personally, I'd string that shit out for a while -- i.e., don't get married. FIRE as planned and see how it goes from there. Once you sign on that dotted line, pre-nup or no, shit gets real and it will cost you to unwind it if the need arises.

How exactly is he "financially committing" to this person after a year. Everything he is saying, suggests the opposite, including saying he is probably not getting married.

Not that they are planning to do this any time soon, I know I'd be super fucking reluctant to have a baby with someone without some kind of commitment. And I'm sure this woman has other options if she wants to have a family and OP doesn't want to commit. 

SKL-HOU

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #112 on: January 10, 2019, 11:59:19 AM »
I'd be super fucking reluctant to commit financially to someone you've only known for 1 year. Personally, I'd string that shit out for a while -- i.e., don't get married. FIRE as planned and see how it goes from there. Once you sign on that dotted line, pre-nup or no, shit gets real and it will cost you to unwind it if the need arises.

How exactly is he "financially committing" to this person after a year. Everything he is saying, suggests the opposite, including saying he is probably not getting married.

Not that they are planning to do this any time soon, I know I'd be super fucking reluctant to have a baby with someone without some kind of commitment. And I'm sure this woman has other options if she wants to have a family and OP doesn't want to commit.

I believe what he is saying is you all area suggesting he financially commits to her and he shouldn't after a year. From the OP's posts, my understanding is that she is the one wanting the baby and he sounds not sure...

spartana

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #113 on: January 10, 2019, 12:41:26 PM »
I've been a bit reluctant to post here because I am one of the evil selfish single FIREd people who aren't willing to make changes to my finances or RE lifestyle to accomadate another person. I'm OK with that and am very open and upfront about it.

In my case I was FI in my late 30s, single (divorced no kids) and REd shortly after knowing that any relationship I had would have to fit in with my lifestyle and passive income and be acceptable "as is" to a potential partner since I would not go back to work to fund their FI or higher spending lifestyle. I did not want anyone to be financially dependent on me or my income or stash. I knew I didn't want to legally marry and didn't want to combine finances but was OK living together and splitting expenses as long as they were within my own passive income's ability to pay for my share. I didn't want kids or to raise someone else's kids. I wanted to live a frugal life and did not want a big spender even if he was willing to spend on me. It was very important to me that I cover my own share of all costs (although fun inexpensive presents are always accepted ;-)). If he had a much higher income and stash then me (mines pretty low) then that was all his and always would be. And most importantly, I wanted someone who wanted to FIRE asap and would have the ability to do so before old age.

So basicly I wanted a unicorn ;-). Knowing that it would be hard to find unicorn I was happy to just have casual relationships rather than serious ones. I did make compromises - or at least tried to - for the sake of a relationship but found it left me feeling unfulfilled with too many aspects the RE part of my life and the desire to have a partner who shared that. Now I'm with someone who is frugal, on the same page as me concerning finances, enjoy a similar lifestyle, is FI and RE and so neither of us have to make such huge compromises to our lives that we would with a working SO who is far far away from FI. It's all pretty damn blissful.

As for the OP,  I agree with the others who say to hold off on any long term commitment to your GF (and absolutely do not have kids yet) until you've been together longer. Move in together, split expenses but keep finances separate, let her know you plan to retire soon and once that happens you'll have a $40k/year income you'll be living off. See if she's ok with that. and try to live on that amount as a couple now ($20k each) and see how that goes. In time you can each judge if that income level would be good for you as a FIREd couple...maybe a couple with a kid...and then, after a year or so, you determine whether she would have to keep working to fund her separate FI or if you are committed to the relationship enough to help her secure a joint FIRE and kids.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2019, 12:54:09 PM by spartana »

partgypsy

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #114 on: January 10, 2019, 01:19:20 PM »
I'd be super fucking reluctant to commit financially to someone you've only known for 1 year. Personally, I'd string that shit out for a while -- i.e., don't get married. FIRE as planned and see how it goes from there. Once you sign on that dotted line, pre-nup or no, shit gets real and it will cost you to unwind it if the need arises.

How exactly is he "financially committing" to this person after a year. Everything he is saying, suggests the opposite, including saying he is probably not getting married.

Not that they are planning to do this any time soon, I know I'd be super fucking reluctant to have a baby with someone without some kind of commitment. And I'm sure this woman has other options if she wants to have a family and OP doesn't want to commit.

I believe what he is saying is you all area suggesting he financially commits to her and he shouldn't after a year. From the OP's posts, my understanding is that she is the one wanting the baby and he sounds not sure...

No one is saying that. People are saying they need to have deeper and possibly more honest discussions about their values, goals, financial plans BEFORE they move in together.

spartana

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #115 on: January 10, 2019, 03:34:51 PM »
One other thing I wanted to add for the OP is that I personally felt very uncomfortable being FIREd when in a serious relationship with a working guy. It just didn't suit my temperament at all. I realize in hind-site that I was somewhat naive to think that being with a working SO or one who was in heavy debt, spendy or had dependent kids or parents wouldn't affect me (emotionally, free time wise, or financially) when in those kind of relationships  but it did...a lot. While that probably isn't the case for most people, it sounds like it could be an issue for the OP. So just a heads up that what often sounds good and equitable during lifestyle discussions about the future may end up affecting  you differently once living in that situation.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2019, 03:38:38 PM by spartana »

Joel

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #116 on: January 10, 2019, 09:34:56 PM »
If thereís a possibility of having kids in the future, you should really consider the additional costs your stash may need to cover before actually pulling the plug.

talltexan

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #117 on: January 11, 2019, 06:57:20 AM »
With regard to expenses for kids, the largest are:

1. childcare, and
2. implied earnings penalties for women

If OP is really able to get down with the parenting activities, these will not be so large. Unfortunately, this is entirely a personality thing.

Cassie

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #118 on: January 11, 2019, 12:46:55 PM »
I would live together for 2 years to see if this is a forever relationship.  If it lasts and you decide to have kids and you expect her to work then expect to hire help or you do everything at home.    In any long term relationship there will be times when one person is contributing more than the other in many areas depending on the needs of the family as a unit.

elaine amj

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #119 on: January 11, 2019, 10:45:33 PM »
AND many FIREes have discovered that they really didn't enjoy being stay at home parents to toddlers as much as they thought they would. Babies and toddlers are a LOT of work and I know many people who discover they prefer earning an income to pay for daycare rather than staying home 24/7. It really is a personality thing. So I'd suggest to pad your stash some more to make sure u have enough to care for any kids (consider bumping up the number to include daycare) you may want to have - whether whether with your GF or someone else.



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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #120 on: January 12, 2019, 01:49:06 AM »
Logically, the best steps for OP are:

1)  Save enough to be FIRED (living apart from her).  e.g., let's say it is $1.25 Million
2)  Convert this savings into long term income generating fund, for retirement income -- of $50k/yr
3) Move in together, but pay into household expenses your proportional share, based on your "trust fund" income, of $50k/yr

By not moving in first, you avoid the unfairness issues of differing income / savings priorities, and may find yourself moving into a place (locked in) that you don't want to afford after you are FIRED anyway.

4)  Propose marriage, based on your guaranteed, but modest $50k income.
5) if yes, get a pre nup (as you are very concerned about "your" money)
6) After marriage, co mingle everything.  What is yours is hers and vice versa.   The only time it is not is if you separate.
6.1)  you can set up separate spending allowance accounts with equal personal spending, if you thing you would argue about the other person's choices, that really helps.   But housing, food, utilities, etc should be from a common financial position even if you notationally keep track of it separately.

Co-mingling is really the only way it (and marriage) works for very different incomes when you have kids, or someone gets sick, or whatever..

Split chores and argue over them like normal married people do.

gerardc

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #121 on: January 12, 2019, 10:35:59 AM »
AND many FIREes have discovered that they really didn't enjoy being stay at home parents to toddlers as much as they thought they would. Babies and toddlers are a LOT of work and I know many people who discover they prefer earning an income to pay for daycare rather than staying home 24/7. It really is a personality thing. So I'd suggest to pad your stash some more to make sure u have enough to care for any kids (consider bumping up the number to include daycare) you may want to have - whether whether with your GF or someone else.

Where I'm from (Canada) and other countries I would retire in, child care, health care and education are all heavily subsidized and mostly free. So the only child expenses I'm considering are a bigger place to live, kids activities and clothes/equipment, which are also relatively cheap in a LCOL. So I might not need to budget a ton for kids, even if I don't stay at home. I should definitely include those expenses in my stash though.

By not moving in first, you avoid the unfairness issues of differing income / savings priorities, and may find yourself moving into a place (locked in) that you don't want to afford after you are FIRED anyway.

Yeah, that part annoys me a bit. I would be careful to move in an affordable place, but the fact that I would stop working shortly after we are settled could create problems, i.e. why am I so selfish not to help her and causing hardships? Whereas if I am already retired, she not only knows what she is getting into but she sees it and realizes as well.

The law sees it similarly. If I make $400k while having kids and decide to FIRE shortly after, courts could impute income when calculating child support, i.e. classify me as a deadbeat dad trying to evade child support if I voluntarily make anything less than the full $400k. I think that's ridiculous, since high-paying jobs often have nefarious lifestyle or health side-effects (as often seen on this forum), and taking one is often just a temporary measure to make some money (e.g. big law, or working in a remote coal mine), not a lifetime committment to provide a luxurious lifestyle to spoiled kids. I don't think imputed income should ever be more than the middle-class median household income. It is possible to specify this understanding for alimony in a prenup (see The Enslaved High Income Earner here), but you can't say anything about child support, because apparently judges are making decisions for the "benefits of the children", not only forcing you to provide for them ($40k/year) but forcing you to spoil them as well ($400k/year imputed income). Anyway, just one more reason not to retire in America.

One other thing I wanted to add for the OP is that I personally felt very uncomfortable being FIREd when in a serious relationship with a working guy. It just didn't suit my temperament at all. I realize in hind-site that I was somewhat naive to think that being with a working SO or one who was in heavy debt, spendy or had dependent kids or parents wouldn't affect me (emotionally, free time wise, or financially) when in those kind of relationships  but it did...a lot. While that probably isn't the case for most people, it sounds like it could be an issue for the OP. So just a heads up that what often sounds good and equitable during lifestyle discussions about the future may end up affecting  you differently once living in that situation.

That explains why I am on the fence so much. On one side, it does not make logical sense to move in with her, due to our differing finances, freedom, and even desired lifestyle (she is mostly the one who wants to settle at one place and have kids, I am attracted to the idea somewhat but I am not sure I would enjoy it for many years). On the other side, she is pretty special to me and I don't have the heart to let her go, and that is coming from someone who ordinarily has no qualms about breaking up and who is not afraid of being alone (I enjoy being single). If I can explain my feelings, it is a mix of having my single life plans disrupted, being sold something I didn't really want by someone who is very convincing, but also falling back to a life more similar to what I had growing up and enjoying it quite a bit. If I want to ever settle down, she is probably the right person to do it, but the timing feels wrong a bit -- I'd rather be doing that in my 40s and 50s, although that sounds awful for the children.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2019, 10:47:17 AM by gerardc »

elaine amj

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #122 on: January 12, 2019, 10:48:10 AM »


AND many FIREes have discovered that they really didn't enjoy being stay at home parents to toddlers as much as they thought they would. Babies and toddlers are a LOT of work and I know many people who discover they prefer earning an income to pay for daycare rather than staying home 24/7. It really is a personality thing. So I'd suggest to pad your stash some more to make sure u have enough to care for any kids (consider bumping up the number to include daycare) you may want to have - whether whether with your GF or someone else.

Where I'm from (Canada) and other countries I would retire in, child care, health care and education are all heavily subsidized and mostly free.

I live in Canada amd was a SAHM while my kids were little. I agree about healthcare and education (in Ontario, even university tuition is free if under a certain income level) but not so sure about childcare.

I understand it is subsidized a bit if u are working, but certainly never heard of any subsidized/free childcare for nonworking parents. I would certainly have appreciated a few kid-free hours in my day! Especially in the really difficult baby/toddler years. Maybe research that more if you are counting on that for FIRE plans?

In my case, I had little relief even when my son was 3 and old enough to go to the free kids care at my gym. He was the child who cried inconsolably with anyone else other than DH and I. Of course, I am sure that is attributed to my parenting skills (although I also had a DD who had no issues being left with caring strangers).

That said, my kids are teens now so things likely have changed a lot since they were little.

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Goldielocks

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #123 on: January 13, 2019, 03:06:36 AM »
Quote
Whereas if I am already retired, she not only knows what she is getting into but she sees it and realizes as well.

This.   Yep.  This is one of the truest, relavent things to your situation that you have posted, in my opinion.   Exceptionally fair to everyone.


I would not worry about divorce and child support and whatnot issues as yet.   Time enough to worry about that if you start to have relationship issues.  For now, just a co-habitation agreement and then a pre-nup is more than sufficient.

Life changes.   If you split, you might find that you actually like the way the law / judges decisions are made because your life is so different from what you imagine now.

spartana

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #124 on: January 13, 2019, 10:02:32 AM »
Quote
Whereas if I am already retired, she not only knows what she is getting into but she sees it and realizes as well.

This.   Yep.  This is one of the truest, relavent things to your situation that you have posted, in my opinion.   Exceptionally fair to everyone.


I would not worry about divorce and child support and whatnot issues as yet.   Time enough to worry about that if you start to have relationship issues.  For now, just a co-habitation agreement and then a pre-nup is more than sufficient.

Life changes.   If you split, you might find that you actually like the way the law / judges decisions are made because your life is so different from what you imagine now.
I agree with this too. I was in a relationship when I was FI but not yet RE which was a few months away. While I was completely upfront about my future RE plans, lifestyle, finances, etc and he "seemed" to completely accept all of it, once I did RE the dynamics between us really changed and the relationship ended. He was someone who would likely never be able to FIRE himself (divorced, 2 young kids, mom with early onset Altzheimers who lived with him, big mortgage,  but seemingly frugal) and my under $50/year salary wouldn't help much (not that I'd continue working in any case). So waiting until you are FIREd and living the $40k lifestyle you plan would allow both of you time to evaluate a RL long term relationship based on one being FIREd and the other working.

LilyFleur

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #125 on: January 14, 2019, 02:09:53 PM »
"That explains why I am on the fence so much. On one side, it does not make logical sense to move in with her, due to our differing finances, freedom, and even desired lifestyle (she is mostly the one who wants to settle at one place and have kids, I am attracted to the idea somewhat but I am not sure I would enjoy it for many years). On the other side, she is pretty special to me and I don't have the heart to let her go, and that is coming from someone who ordinarily has no qualms about breaking up and who is not afraid of being alone (I enjoy being single). If I can explain my feelings, it is a mix of having my single life plans disrupted, being sold something I didn't really want by someone who is very convincing, but also falling back to a life more similar to what I had growing up and enjoying it quite a bit. If I want to ever settle down, she is probably the right person to do it, but the timing feels wrong a bit -- I'd rather be doing that in my 40s and 50s, although that sounds awful for the children."

Words matter. Be honest with yourself if you are blaming her for "being sold" something you didn't want. You are independent and you can "buy" or "not buy." It is rather interesting that you use transactional financial terms to describe the pull of this relationship and I think that it would be good to think about this. Look at the words some of the other posters use to describe their relationships. I am making no judgement, but you may be able to learn what is most important to you and what will make you happy by looking at your words.

It would be wise to tell her this, using the words quoted above.  Anything less does not help her make a good decision. She has youth and a womb and wants to be in a committed relationship with children, three things that are definitely part of the equation. You need to put those onto your mental spreadsheet. Those three things are worth money (this is why judges award alimony and child support), and you seem to want to let her give those things to her (although you are clearly ambivalent) while completely protecting your own financial assets. You simply cannot have it all. It seems to me that you look at your previous life (saving your money, earning your money, and not experiencing a loving lifetime relationship) as a life that you really like. That is totally OK; we are not all meant to be in committed relationships with children.

I do understand your position, although I did spend my youth in a committed marriage with children. Now that I am on the other end of life, FIRED and single for 9 years, I find myself reluctant to want to remarry. Disentangling assets is so very costly and disruptive and... unhappy. Even not being married, sorting out possessions and living situations after a breakup is pretty horrible.

On the other hand, I was ambivalent about marriage, decades ago. Even though I am no longer married, I have two wonderful children. The value of that relationship is incalculable. I cannot imagine my life without them.

There are some folks on here who seem insulted on your behalf when some of the posters suggested therapy. Take that with a grain of salt. Some people do not value therapy, and it would not do them much good.  For other people, it is a very good investment of time and money and clarifies their goals and relationships. I make no judgement either way.

And, the relationship issues are inextricably tied to the financial issues. That is why so many marriages break up over money. Both are really important, and I think the posters who address both are answering your questions in a relevant way that shows concern for you as a whole person.

Victor

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #126 on: January 15, 2019, 07:37:00 AM »
I donít really understand how couples arenít ďteams.Ē

Iím 30 and my wife is 25. Weíve been together about 7 years. If she worked now, I would still make about 10x what she would be capable of. Because of this, I donít really see value in her working.

In turn, she is a machine while Iím at work. All the cooking, grocery shopping, errands, etc. in turn, 100% of my time not working is doing things we enjoy together. Gym, hiking, movies etc. She gets everything done while Iím at work. We both love our situation.

You are asking some questions which I could even really fathom considering. If she is doing things that make you feel wary of being taken advantage of, thatís pretty alarming. You should absolutely not feel that way.

It sounds like you guys arenít ready to take the relationship to the next step or move in together.

In my opinion, if you were in a perfectly happy position and convinced you wanted to spend you life together, here is how I would work it. I would move in together and offer for her to stop working. Compared to your income, here is barely worthwhile unless she feels she ďneedsĒ to work. Ideally, I would have her take care of all the things around the house while you continue to work. Itíd make your working life a million times easier. You working 3 more years would be comparable to her working 24 years. Thatís just my opinion for sure.

I just couldnít imagine FIRE without my spouse. Sheís my best friend and everything I want to do in FIRE is with her, and I couldnít imagine doing all those things alone while she continued to work, just because I made more. Itíd be like us both working and I retire at 35 and she retires at 55. Thatís ridiculous lol.

Exactly what this guy said.  Married couples (especially those with kids...) need to be rock solid teams.  If you don't love them to include all of their faults and they feel the same way, then you probably shouldn't be looking  to get married.  Perhaps a local marriage  counselor would be the place to start.

Candace

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #127 on: January 15, 2019, 07:58:07 AM »
I donít really understand how couples arenít ďteams.Ē

Iím 30 and my wife is 25. Weíve been together about 7 years. If she worked now, I would still make about 10x what she would be capable of. Because of this, I donít really see value in her working.

In turn, she is a machine while Iím at work. All the cooking, grocery shopping, errands, etc. in turn, 100% of my time not working is doing things we enjoy together. Gym, hiking, movies etc. She gets everything done while Iím at work. We both love our situation.

You are asking some questions which I could even really fathom considering. If she is doing things that make you feel wary of being taken advantage of, thatís pretty alarming. You should absolutely not feel that way.

It sounds like you guys arenít ready to take the relationship to the next step or move in together.

In my opinion, if you were in a perfectly happy position and convinced you wanted to spend you life together, here is how I would work it. I would move in together and offer for her to stop working. Compared to your income, here is barely worthwhile unless she feels she ďneedsĒ to work. Ideally, I would have her take care of all the things around the house while you continue to work. Itíd make your working life a million times easier. You working 3 more years would be comparable to her working 24 years. Thatís just my opinion for sure.

I just couldnít imagine FIRE without my spouse. Sheís my best friend and everything I want to do in FIRE is with her, and I couldnít imagine doing all those things alone while she continued to work, just because I made more. Itíd be like us both working and I retire at 35 and she retires at 55. Thatís ridiculous lol.

Exactly what this guy said.  Married couples (especially those with kids...) need to be rock solid teams.  If you don't love them to include all of their faults and they feel the same way, then you probably shouldn't be looking  to get married.  Perhaps a local marriage  counselor would be the place to start.

Being a team is of paramount importance. Having said that, two people have to have the same objectives, at least mostly, to truly be on the same team.

Sometimes, what makes the most sense financially is not what makes the most sense for one member of the team. That member is usually the young woman who interrupts her career to raise a family, which is usually unpaid work. For many women, or men who are stay at home parents, the pull toward a career and accomplishments outside the home is strong. Putting their own ambitions and goals aside to spend all one's energy on family and home simply doesn't work for some people, even if their income is a lot lower than their partner's. Two of the main risks for that person -- usually a woman, but not always -- are 1) unfulfilled ambitions, which can make people quite depressed and bitter, and 2) the possibility of relative poverty later in life if the marriage breaks up and they have to try and support themselves after making themselves much less employable at the level they would have been if they'd kept working.

The OP, while conflicted and possibly not fully committed, at least expressed concern that his female partner might make a choice that wouldn't serve her down the line.

It's really easy to say couples should work as teams when the objectives of both line up with what works best to get the couple financially ahead. But it's not always the best choice for both members, when other life goals may not line up with what works best financially.

It's a tricky situation and the best answer won't be the same for all couples.

The_Rooster

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #128 on: January 18, 2019, 09:23:28 PM »
Maybe itís just me, but it seems like youíve got a weird complex going on with someone youíre wanting to marry as an equal. Itís not like a rich kid spoiling their kids, because, you know, sheís not your kid. Sheíd be your partner- an equal.

Took the words right out of my mouth.

Very strange complex going on here.

I wonít give any financial advice, because my financials are crap, but I am plentiful in my relationship and I couldnít imagine having a partner that I viewed as a ďchildĒ, or wouldnít want to spend my resources with. What kind of ďpartnerĒ is that?

PhilB

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #129 on: January 19, 2019, 04:54:04 AM »
@gerardc I'm hoping that the very negative comments from some people don't put you off posting regular updates to this thread.  I really want to know how it all works out!