Author Topic: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself  (Read 9860 times)

big_slacker

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #50 on: January 05, 2019, 08:50:51 AM »
A good relationship is not a la carte.  You can't say "I want the sex and somebody to pay half my rent and do half my chores but not be bothered if I go and sleep at the beach while they work because the money I worked hard for is just for me."  "Sorry daughter, we won't be able to take a family trip this year because your mother has not paid her share of the rent for the last three months."

Exactly this.  If this relationship takes the direction that OP is anticipating-- moving in, sharing a life, possibly marriage and having children that are going to be dependent on them for another two decades or so, then an attitude toward life as a pick-and-choose menu based on how much they can each (separately) afford is going to set him up for a failed relationship and years of resentment. 

Thinking about sharing your money with her as some kind of trust-fund-infantilization discounts all the joy (I HOPE?) that she brings into your life, and the joy that you feel in being with her.  I'm not saying that you should go whole hog in, joint assets!, fund her retirement!!, but you can't look at this from a purely numbers-oriented attitude.  This should be a slow joint exploration of what you both want out of life, and whether this relationship really does turn into a shared partnership for the both of you.  Money should be a tool to make your life happier, OP, and if you choose to share a life with this woman it should be a tool to allow you both to live your best lives, not a measuring stick by which you determine your gf's contribution to your relationship.

Was gonna type up something similar, but you already did. Well put.

Early on in my relationship with my wife we had a talk about finances and both agreed that money was not a goal for it's own sake but merely one tool in the box for living the life we wanted. FWIW she made more than I did at the time. She also encouraged and supported me greatly in working towards meeting my potential. I may have run with that a bit and for long while she didn't work at all, then SAHM and now back in the workforce. She's contributing to the finances well beyond what I thought she would and I'm super proud of her success in her new career. She'll also almost certainly be working fulltime as I transition into part time work after the kids are launched.

The point is, finances will ebb and flow. They won't be evenly distributed and there should be no expectations of that. The goal should be happiness and contentment. There should be open and honest communication, ESPECIALLY about the hard topics like money, kids, retirement, death, divorce, relatives and so on.

elaine amj

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #51 on: January 05, 2019, 09:10:18 AM »
My wife and I have been together for 18 years and keep separate finances.  It helps that we pursued the same careers and have had similar earning potential.  I'm much more interested in FIRE than her and she has taken several breaks in employment.  The separate finances have really helped avoid financial based arguments.  At the times she wasn't working for extended periods I didn't resent her for it.  And she hasn't shown any concern or resentment with my plan to stop working before her.

Shared expenses are split 50/50 and will be as long as we are both healthy and able to handle our finances.  If one of us becomes disabled then we go to plan B and finances would become much more of a shared resource. 

We also have a young kid and we agreed she would stay home for the first few years.  While she is staying at home, I split my income with her 50% but still maintain separate finances.
I think the big difference here us that you both have similar income. OP outearns his gf by a huge margin so unless they live on her income level, his extra wealth puts them at a huge power imbalance where he gets all the say in any little luxuries they have.

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PhilB

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #52 on: January 05, 2019, 11:14:57 AM »
If you are both on the same page about achieving FIRE together and living happily ever after, my suggestion would be that at first you continue to work, do 50% of the chores and pay pretty well 100% of the bills.  She keeps working and banks 90%+ of her income.  If it doesn't work out before you reach joint FIRE point, then she hasn't damaged her career and has made a big leap forward financially, you have worked a couple of years longer than you had too, but are now loaded (and can afford to be generous in any split).

Mtngrl

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #53 on: January 05, 2019, 12:42:37 PM »

 I'm not that thrilled with the idea of being fused together forever in every way for now.

Then I would not get married.

gerardc

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #54 on: January 05, 2019, 12:59:35 PM »
All of you who are preaching for merging finances in an equal partnership are doing so through the lens of starting from scratch together early in life, setting up a joint goal and going on a mission to FIRE together. My case is different. I'm already FI for the most part. I have no interest in starting a new journey all over again.

A compromise would be me keeping working for 1-3 years (which could make us both FI) while she keeps working for 5-10 years. She's way too young to have this handed to her that easily. That way, she would fulfill some career goals, she would feel like she earned her FIRE too, she would keep a foot in the door at work in case things don't work out between us, and she wouldn't be incentivized by an alimony payout since she'd have been outearning me for some of those years, while at the same time she won't resent me for letting her work until 65 while she has health problems and I'm laughing from the sidelines with my pile of cash. I'm aware that if we are still together in old age, it won't matter much that finances are separate and at that point (or before) they can be simplified and merged. But 10, 20, 30 years is a long time. I'm trying to plan what will be happening in the next few years.

We also have a young kid and we agreed she would stay home for the first few years.  While she is staying at home, I split my income with her 50% but still maintain separate finances.

If we have kids in the next few years (as she seems to want), I agree this changes the game and puts us more in an equal partnership. If one of us stays at home to care for the kids, they should be compensated. The same can apply for giving birth, but it depends -- she might get 6 months paid leave from work (while I get 3) with the possibility to extend to a year at 50% salary, which softens the blow somewhat. I like The_Dude approach in the case of SAHP. She wouldn't get half of my $400k salary just for a changing a few diapers, she'd only get the market rate for a nanny (i.e. minimum wage) especially in a country with heavily subsidized child care (are you offended yet?). Kidding aside, it would only be fair to compensate each other for time off work and negative impact on one's career. However, I don't really want her to do that. By then I should be mostly free to take care of the kids half the time or slightly more, and I'd rather she keeps working for 5-10 years for her independence (reasons I mentioned above).

Also... I'm not getting married, unless we have to in order to immigrate into a third country we both want to live in. Or maybe some miracle happens in the future, but we're not at that stage at all yet.

FIRE Artist

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #55 on: January 05, 2019, 01:12:16 PM »

By then I should be mostly free to take care of the kids half the time or slightly more, and I'd rather she keeps working for 5-10 years for her independence (reasons I mentioned above).

Also... I'm not getting married, unless we have to in order to immigrate into a third country we both want to live in. Or maybe some miracle happens in the future, but we're not at that stage at all yet.

Know who only take care of their kids 50% of the time?  Divorced people with joint custody.  Sounds like you are on the fast track to that!

gerardc

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #56 on: January 05, 2019, 01:17:24 PM »
I didn't mean that my half of the time to care for kids wouldn't overlap with hers, I just meant 50% of the overall child-related workload. I'm also fine with joint custody if that needed to happen, BTW.

To those worried about a "huge power imbalance", I'd like to know why it matters and is such a big deal. Yes, I have more money, but I live frugally, I am modest and I don't spend in order to get a social advantage. I am simply using my savings to take a break from a career that I perceive as stressful. I still live a lower middle-class lifestyle, and I don't intend to change that. Think of it more like me frontloading my working time early in my life, instead of spreading it evenly from 18 to 65 like most people do.

Besides, we often talk about these matters (money and life plans), so she knows where I'm coming from and where I'm going. She has known for a long time what I want to do with my time in the future, and I know that she wants to keep working because she has to. That's the frame our relationship evolved from the beginning, and I don't see why that would change. It was always a "here's my life, you are welcome to join" kind of deal. Of course there will be adaptations, but that's the gist of it.

scantee

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #57 on: January 05, 2019, 01:30:06 PM »
This is all so confusing.

Do you love this woman?
Is having children very important to you?
Do you enjoy being in long-term relationships?

I ask because you seem only mildly interested (and sometimes hostile) to the the serious life changes you are considering. Playing armchair psychologist for a moment, my impression from what you’ve written is that you’re frightened of the vulnerability that comes with serious romantic life commitments and instead of addressing that you’re constructing an artifice of rules to make sure you’re never taken advantage of.

I think you need press pause on these immediate questions and find a therapist who can help you think through what it is you want out of life and relationships.

Freedom2016

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #58 on: January 05, 2019, 06:22:03 PM »
She wouldn't get half of my $400k salary just for a changing a few diapers, she'd only get the market rate for a nanny (i.e. minimum wage) especially in a country with heavily subsidized child care (are you offended yet?). Kidding aside,

Gross.

Pretty much every time you've posted about her she is framed as a taker, as someone who doesn't "deserve" A or B or C. Writing it that she would only "get" X amount of your money, versus "I would support or give her X to raise our child" is very telling.

I agree with the previous poster that you might benefit from a therapist to sort yourself out.

You are not long-term-relationship material right now.


DomesticK

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #59 on: January 05, 2019, 07:00:24 PM »
She wouldn't get half of my $400k salary just for a changing a few diapers, she'd only get the market rate for a nanny (i.e. minimum wage) especially in a country with heavily subsidized child care (are you offended yet?). Kidding aside,

Gross.

Pretty much every time you've posted about her she is framed as a taker, as someone who doesn't "deserve" A or B or C. Writing it that she would only "get" X amount of your money, versus "I would support or give her X to raise our child" is very telling.

I agree with the previous poster that you might benefit from a therapist to sort yourself out.

You are not long-term-relationship material right now.

+1

There are some seriously unhealthy ego and maturity issues going on here. Let her go now for her sake and work on your issues before pursuing a long-term relationship.

Kronsey

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #60 on: January 05, 2019, 07:12:16 PM »
I hope the gf exits the relationship before she commits to anything long term. I'm done with the thread. This guy was never interested in outside opinions in the first place.

I'm newer to the forums, but this response unfortunately seems pretty typical.

"I've made up my mind, don't confuse me with the facts!"

partgypsy

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #61 on: January 05, 2019, 08:18:00 PM »
And gerardc, I hope you understand that pple are saying these things not because there are not financial implications to your situation, just as there would be financial implications to someone marrying someone younger and the other person being  closer to retirement, or marrying someone with a chronic health condition. People are concerned because of the attitude and assumptions you are exuding, that unless you call the the shots in a specific way, that she will be lazy, or child like, or take advantage. It feels like you don't see her as an equal. You want to control the situation in a way that is not conducive to a healthy relationship. As is your comment you don't like the idea of a long term relationship, but entertaining having kids!  I also think talking to a therapist is a not a bad idea.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2019, 08:20:05 PM by partgypsy »

Joel

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #62 on: January 05, 2019, 08:18:34 PM »
You should show her this thread so she can dump you and move on with her life.

AccidentalMiser

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #63 on: January 05, 2019, 08:30:54 PM »
You should show her this thread so she can dump you and move on with her life.

Amen.

gerardc

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #64 on: January 05, 2019, 09:11:01 PM »
I am not planning on seeing a therapist because there is no problem in my life that affects me or the people I know, that causes me pain or that leaves me unfulfilled somehow. Offending people on the internet with my viewpoints isn't something I care about fixing. I have never had an issue with any of this in real life before.

I think some of you have read things rubbing them the wrong way and should reexamine their feelings of frustration -- this doesn't seem healthy to me.

I have been talking with my GF openly about finances and life plans since the beginning and we're pretty well aligned. Some of it is a cultural issue. Some of you have different views about relationships, and prefer partnership to independence. I guess we'll have to agree to disagree.

And stay on topic. No personal attacks, comments about mental health, or personal judgements on love relationships. This thread is about the financial aspect of sharing life with someone after you are FI.

MissNancyPryor

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #65 on: January 05, 2019, 09:12:25 PM »
Stop keeping score.  Comparison games are dangerous.
 
If you go down this road you are on a fast track to child support payments for a long, long time and that will put a serious dent in your FIRE plans. 
 


SwordGuy

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #66 on: January 05, 2019, 11:28:41 PM »
I read about 1/2 way thru this thread.

You just don't seem all that in to her.

If being with her isn't rocking your world to the max, break up amicably and move on.


And if being with her actually *IS* rocking your world to the max and you've just made a total fail in communicating that, I don't understand why you wouldn't be moving heaven and earth to find a way for both of you to spend the most time together for the rest of your life.

Malkynn

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #67 on: January 06, 2019, 06:25:44 AM »
I am not planning on seeing a therapist because there is no problem in my life that affects me or the people I know, that causes me pain or that leaves me unfulfilled somehow. Offending people on the internet with my viewpoints isn't something I care about fixing. I have never had an issue with any of this in real life before.

I think some of you have read things rubbing them the wrong way and should reexamine their feelings of frustration -- this doesn't seem healthy to me.

I have been talking with my GF openly about finances and life plans since the beginning and we're pretty well aligned. Some of it is a cultural issue. Some of you have different views about relationships, and prefer partnership to independence. I guess we'll have to agree to disagree.

And stay on topic. No personal attacks, comments about mental health, or personal judgements on love relationships. This thread is about the financial aspect of sharing life with someone after you are FI.

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.

Herbert Derp

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #68 on: January 06, 2019, 06:32:05 AM »
Interesting thread, gerardc. I seem to share much of your philosophy and could see myself ending up in a similar situation. I think one of the central issues here is the desire to have a relationship where neither partner is dependent on the other. I feel the same way. Dependence is a big turn off for me, and I don't think I could respect someone who expects me to "take care" of them (outside of certain circumstances, such as illness, of course). Let me put it this way: my pet is dependent on me. I want an equal partner, not another pet.

Naturally, in this situation I would absolutely not be ok with my partner quitting her job and becoming dependent on me. I would expect her to continue working, pay her share of the expenses, and do her share of the chores. Which ideally would be 50%.

Now there are various things to consider. For instance, if you want to split expenses 50-50, you have to have compatible lifestyles. In other words, you can't expect your partner to pay for stuff she doesn't have a say in or cannot afford. This includes vacations. I would definitely work out a clear, agreed upon budget where both parties have equal say, which includes discretionary spending. Otherwise, what you have is two separate people living two separate lives, which doesn't seem like much of a relationship.

Since you have more money than her, you could theoretically spend more of your own money to do stuff that is not included in the agreed upon joint budget. However, I see a huge danger in doing this as I do think it would destabilize the relationship and lead to resentment and/or entitlement as others in this thread have already pointed out. If you start exercising your privilege like this, she's probably going to either resent you for lording it over her and refusing to share, or become entitled to you sharing it with her. Therefore, I believe that all spending needs to be accounted for in the joint budget.

If you are not ok with living within the confines of an agreed upon joint budget where expenses are split 50-50, then you should probably reconsider your philosophy and/or relationship. Furthermore, if the two of you cannot agree on how to allocate a budget, it sounds like you aren't that compatible and probably shouldn't be sharing a life together. I think this is a fair system. Under this system, your money remains your money and her money remains her money, but when it comes time to spend money, you both spend it together.

I do see some downsides to the 50-50 joint budget approach, like what do you do with "extra" money that you can't spend because it is not included in the budget? Give it to your partner? Donate it to charity? Just hoard it until you die? This seems irrational and could also become a source of resentment and/or discontentment from both you and your partner's perspective.

Perhaps one compromise would be to abandon the 50-50 joint budget rule and instead construct a budget based on what both parties are able to contribute. So if your FIRE budget is $60K/year but based on your partner's income she can only reasonably spend $30K/year, then you'll end up with a joint budget of $90K/year where you pay for 2/3 of everything. Note that the key term here is joint budget: your partner would be entitled to have joint authority over how the 2/3 that you contribute is being spent. This is how you would avoid resentment and maintain fairness.

It seems like a good compromise. Your partner will remain self-sufficient and pay her fair share of the expenses. You will be protected from being taken advantage of because the only part of your money that gets spent is the money which you have already allocated to be spent as part of your FIRE budget, and if things go south, there's no way she can lay a claim to a single penny of your nest egg. Unless you decide to have those kids--but hey, there's no way getting around child support. That's a calculated risk you'll have to take.

As far as kids are concerned, if you expect your partner to stay independent then I feel it is your duty to either become a stay at home dad or agree with her to hire a nanny or something, which you pay for 100%. I say 100% because in this situation you have the opportunity to raise the children without the help of a nanny, but could choose not to. I think you would have to own that decision.

Finally, I really do think it's important that you have compatible lifestyles. If you have the desire to travel all the time but your partner can't because of her job, that's probably not going to work out in the long term. Also, I don't think it's fair for her to be working hard while you're just leisuring around--again, this is a source of resentment. Ideally you would find something to work hard on during FIRE so that you still have a "job." If both of you are working and contributing to the joint expenses, what does it matter if only one of you is getting paid? Seems fair to me. All that being said, this would be a great opportunity for you to encourage your partner to pursue part time or remote work, since you have so much flexibility in your own lifestyle. Why not find a way for her to have more flexibility without sacrificing her career and becoming dependent on you?
« Last Edit: January 06, 2019, 08:28:12 PM by Herbert Derp »

fuzzy math

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #69 on: January 06, 2019, 06:42:14 PM »

A compromise would be me keeping working for 1-3 years (which could make us both FI) while she keeps working for 5-10 years. She's way too young to have this handed to her that easily.

You're 35 with a 400k salary. You've had many things handed to you or you've been very lucky. Reflect on that for a while. The hard work and stress you experience at your job isn't 8-10x that of someone who earns a fraction of what you do.
For all you know about finances, you're on this board asking for very basic advice about how to treat someone properly because it doesn't come naturally to you. Even though she is young, she isn't the only one with some growing to do.

Herbert Derp

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #70 on: January 07, 2019, 12:22:27 AM »
Anyways, If she doesn’t continue to pursue a career, you can pursue something else together. If she’s as frugal, or nearly as frugal as you, and is committed to not using wealth to live extravagantly, I don’t see why offering her FIRE would be negative in any way. I can’t imagine reaching FIRE, meeting someone, and not being thrilled about the thought of sharing it with them- your hard work not only will have provided you a lifestyle most dream of, but you’ll get to share that abundance with someone you love?? What better gift could you give than that freedom-  That’d be awesome!

Lastly- to debunk one thing: if she’s intelligent and has a masters like you say, she won’t be up shit creek if things don’t work out between the two of you. She’s made it this far, I’m sure she wouldn’t be ruined.

I disagree with this line of thought. My own distaste towards dependence aside, I think a scenario where one partner sacrifices their career to become dependent on the other is a recipe for a power imbalanced, unfair relationship. If one partner is financially dependent on the other, they may become trapped in the relationship for financial reasons. It bothers me just to imagine myself stuck in that kind of a relationship. The dependent partner is effectively coerced into remaining in the relationship because they stand to lose everything if they leave.

I personally witnessed this happen to my own mother, who sacrificed her career to raise children when she married my father. After they got divorced, my mother lost everything and is only able to get near minimum wage jobs--and I assure you, my mother is a hard-working, highly intelligent person.

That said, I flat out refuse to just hand over part of my nest egg to someone who didn't earn it. I worked hard for my money and it belongs to me and me alone. I dont think it is that hard to insist that my partner remain financially self-sufficient, which is in everyone's best interest.

Now, if I was rich enough, I might be open to "buying out" my partner so they could pursue FIRE with me. But this would have to be truly extra, replaceable money. I am not nearly rich enough to afford this, and it doesn't really seem like gerardc is either. In my eyes, such a buyout would be to the tune of $1MM, and gerardc would have to work for several years to save that much. In my mind, it's just way too much to ask, especially since such a buyout comes with no promises or guarantees that the partner won't just take the money and leave.

Even then, while possible, I don't think that kind of situation makes for an ideal relationship. I want a partner who radiates strength and independence. If I had to buy them out, it runs contrary to my core values. It would be like having a relationship with a trust fund baby or someone who won the lottery.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2019, 12:43:53 AM by Herbert Derp »

LilyFleur

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #71 on: January 07, 2019, 03:07:12 AM »
This relationship is not totally lopsided.  The girlfriend is much younger than Gerardc. When he is 70 and needs someone to drive him to the doctor and help him navigate ill health, she will be doing that instead of traveling the world while she is still able to. It is entirely possible and statistically probable that she will spend years of her life while she is comparatively young and healthy, nursing him. If they have children together and she is still working, she may be providing health insurance for him and the children through her job. She is younger and presumably more able to flex into a relationship. As a longtime bachelor, he is going to have more of an adjustment.

Gerardc, you need to decide if you want to be in love and have children, or not. With every year that passes, you will become more accustomed to being very independent, both with your time and with your money. And having children involves a great deal of sacrifice.  Think about it, you will be 60 and perhaps 70 when your children are going to college.  Who knows how expensive college will be then?  I am thinking you need more than $1 million to retire with if you plan to have children. Also, a smallish apartment really is not an optimal place to raise a family. It would be nice for your children to have a yard to play in and a big enough home to have birthday parties and sleepovers in. Have you thought of what your life would look like if you have children and their mother is working full time?  You will be doing more housecleaning and laundry and nannying than you could possibly imagine. Is that what you really want? Who would be watching the children while you are on a trip and their mother is at work?

I do understand the pressure that the disparity in financial resources can put on a relationship. You are at the far end of the bell-shaped curve in terms of financial success. And that suggests to me that most women that you will find to date will have fewer resources than you, especially if you are dating women quite a bit younger than you. So, even if it does not work out with this girlfriend, it is something for you to consider.

The aspect of having children is huge in your situation. The possible downside is, even if you do not marry their mother, you will be responsible for child support if the relationship breaks up. And, if you live with her for years and years, the court will view her as your common-law wife, anyway, should the relationship break up.

I hope and wish that you find love for a lifetime. You are getting older, but it is not too late. At the end of your life, I think you would regret missing out on love more than you would regret sharing your resources with those you love. Be careful that you don't push away your chance at happiness by distancing yourself from her as you label her a possible ungrateful child.  It is difficult to move from independence to be closer to another person, and more so in your 30s than in your 20s. You may decide after all that you do enjoy being single and doing what you like without having to consider the demands of a relationship. It seems to me that you are kind of on the fence. I don't think your post is just about the finances, and I think that is why so many of the others have responded the way they have in this thread.






« Last Edit: January 07, 2019, 03:20:17 AM by LilyFleur »

Herbert Derp

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #72 on: January 07, 2019, 03:42:59 AM »
And, if you live with her for years and years, the court will view her as your common-law wife, anyway, should the relationship break up.

Not necessarily true:
https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/free-books/living-together-book/chapter2-4.html

PhilB

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #73 on: January 07, 2019, 05:24:30 AM »
Leaving aside the money, if you FIRE and GF is still working (unless she is FI and working from choice) then don't think you can get away with saying she has to do 50% of the chores.  Passive income does not count when assessing who's pulling their weight in a relationship.  If she comes home, tired from a long day at work, to find you sitting on your butt waiting for her to do her half of the chores then you should rightly expect fireworks.  This will be hugely magnified if you have kids as you can then expect to have a full time job as a SAHP.  This one reason why if you want kids then, unless you have a strong desire to be a SAHP, I would strongly advise you to not pull the plug until your stash can support either the GF going PT to help coparent, or paying for some childcare.

mbl

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #74 on: January 07, 2019, 06:17:18 AM »
I hope the gf exits the relationship before she commits to anything long term. I'm done with the thread. This guy was never interested in outside opinions in the first place.

I'm newer to the forums, but this response unfortunately seems pretty typical.

"I've made up my mind, don't confuse me with the facts!"

Yup

dignam

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #75 on: January 07, 2019, 07:17:23 AM »
Wow there are a lot of diverging views here.  To the people suggesting therapy, etc.: SERIOUSLY?!  How can you possibly know the OP well enough to suggest that?  It blows my mind what people think they know about others on this forum.  Get off your high horse.

IMO, huge financial disparities in a relationship are basically always going to be contentious.  Period.  Someone will either be resentful, or someone will feel like they are providing charity. 

I'm not going to make suggestions about your relationship as it seems plenty here feel they are Dr. Phil.  But I will say it would be prudent to be abundantly clear to your GF what your expectations are with regards to FIRE and stuff.  Keep in mind, she may not like it and may leave you.  Or she may be fine with it.

Malkynn

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #76 on: January 07, 2019, 08:05:13 AM »
IMO, huge financial disparities in a relationship are basically always going to be contentious.  Period.  Someone will either be resentful, or someone will feel like they are providing charity. 

I really cannot agree with this.
I know many, many, many very happy couples with one major bread winner where there is no resentment and no sense of charity.

Certainly, there are people who can't be happy with that kind of arrangement, and that's okay too. People are allowed to want whatever they want in a partner. There's no law saying you have to marry anyone.

However, that doesn't mean that there aren't countless people out there who are perfectly happy as sole breadwinners or as stay at home parents and I think to generalize otherwise is a bit crazy considering that's such a common marital arrangement.

If I had stayed in my ultra high paying job and if I had decided to have kids, I would have DEFINITELY prioritized marrying a man who was okay with being a stay at home dad. I would never ever marry another high-stress professional, kids or no kids.

What is toxic is when two people have differing financial values, not necessarily different incomes.
Two people who make the exact same amount can be a financial nightmare if their values don't align.

Nick_Miller

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #77 on: January 07, 2019, 08:11:24 AM »
Wow there are a lot of diverging views here.  To the people suggesting therapy, etc.: SERIOUSLY?!  How can you possibly know the OP well enough to suggest that?  It blows my mind what people think they know about others on this forum.  Get off your high horse.

IMO, huge financial disparities in a relationship are basically always going to be contentious.  Period.  Someone will either be resentful, or someone will feel like they are providing charity. 

I'm not going to make suggestions about your relationship as it seems plenty here feel they are Dr. Phil.  But I will say it would be prudent to be abundantly clear to your GF what your expectations are with regards to FIRE and stuff.  Keep in mind, she may not like it and may leave you.  Or she may be fine with it.

I co-sign this. I think it's inappropriate for forum-goers to tell each other to go seek counseling. To me, that's akin to a personal attack. We are better than that here. We can respectfully disagree without going there.


partgypsy

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #78 on: January 07, 2019, 08:47:38 AM »
Nick, I disagree. But then I work in the healthcare field, so I don't see the stigma that other people have as knee jerk reaction. Counseling, can be a tool (just like going to a personal trainer) to improve your life, in this case interpersonal life. Some people can be amazing, positive, productive people, but may have "blind spots" in how they deal or perceive certain situations. No one is born perfect and at 100 in every aspect of one's life. To be good at something requires practice and experience, and often interpersonal relationships (esp with men) is not something they automatically "work on".
It can be productive bounce off your thoughts and feelings (hopes and fears) on an independent, non-vested professional. There are many different kinds of counseling so it does require a bit of self-education to figure out what kind of counseling is best for what you are looking for.   

Why did I suggest it? Because the OP is obviously a successful ambitious acheiving kind of person. But from his posts he is posting this as a purely financial problem to be solved (how to maximize earning ability in both people in relationship, and make sure other person is not financially dependent on him at all). When in fact it is a primarily interpersonal and relationship problem. It's not going to be solved by getting financial advice from other mustachians.  It's going to be "solved" or progress by communcation and understanding the other person, and vice versa.   
« Last Edit: January 07, 2019, 01:48:54 PM by partgypsy »

lhamo

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #79 on: January 07, 2019, 09:14:55 AM »
Wow there are a lot of diverging views here.  To the people suggesting therapy, etc.: SERIOUSLY?!  How can you possibly know the OP well enough to suggest that?  It blows my mind what people think they know about others on this forum.  Get off your high horse.

IMO, huge financial disparities in a relationship are basically always going to be contentious.  Period.  Someone will either be resentful, or someone will feel like they are providing charity. 

I'm not going to make suggestions about your relationship as it seems plenty here feel they are Dr. Phil.  But I will say it would be prudent to be abundantly clear to your GF what your expectations are with regards to FIRE and stuff.  Keep in mind, she may not like it and may leave you.  Or she may be fine with it.

I co-sign this. I think it's inappropriate for forum-goers to tell each other to go seek counseling. To me, that's akin to a personal attack. We are better than that here. We can respectfully disagree without going there.

One of the important things a good therapist or counselor can do is help someone work through a big life decision and come to a decision that works for them.  There is no need to stigmatize such help, or the suggestion that someone seek it.

SKL-HOU

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #80 on: January 07, 2019, 09:18:21 AM »
IMO, huge financial disparities in a relationship are basically always going to be contentious.  Period.  Someone will either be resentful, or someone will feel like they are providing charity. 

I really cannot agree with this.
I know many, many, many very happy couples with one major bread winner where there is no resentment and no sense of charity.

Certainly, there are people who can't be happy with that kind of arrangement, and that's okay too. People are allowed to want whatever they want in a partner. There's no law saying you have to marry anyone.

However, that doesn't mean that there aren't countless people out there who are perfectly happy as sole breadwinners or as stay at home parents and I think to generalize otherwise is a bit crazy considering that's such a common marital arrangement.

If I had stayed in my ultra high paying job and if I had decided to have kids, I would have DEFINITELY prioritized marrying a man who was okay with being a stay at home dad. I would never ever marry another high-stress professional, kids or no kids.

What is toxic is when two people have differing financial values, not necessarily different incomes.
Two people who make the exact same amount can be a financial nightmare if their values don't align.

This is not even a relevant point of view. It is one thing to have a stay at home spouse WHILE you make the money, it is completely another thing AFTER you have already made all the money and you meet someone. In the first case, the SAHS actually has contributed to FIRE. The second case (as in OP) the significant other had zero contribution to getting there, just shows up after all the hard work is done.

caracarn

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #81 on: January 07, 2019, 09:53:33 AM »
All of you who are preaching for merging finances in an equal partnership are doing so through the lens of starting from scratch together early in life, setting up a joint goal and going on a mission to FIRE together. My case is different. I'm already FI for the most part. I have no interest in starting a new journey all over again.
Gerardc, not sure if this will be helpful or not, but I do see some parallels so figured I'd share.  I will say my view of a relationship and yours are very different and I do think that plays into how finances are viewed.

I was divorced and have gotten remarried.  I was not FI, but I had a lot of savings and my GF at the time had nothing, in fact she has filed bankruptcy because of her divorce costs, so it has a parallel to your situation in that I was much further ahead than her, having done a lot of my journey, so to speak.  I also was making a lot more than she was at the time and still do.

It never entered my mind to keep or finances separate.  To me that causes too many issues.  I also do not like the aspect of planning for a safety net in case the relationship does not work out.  That would tell me this is a bad relationship.  We spent a lot of effort (it did not take a lot of time because we were both older (30s and 40s) and therefore had a lot of life experience to delve into things very deeply and factually in our discussions of life together.  Finances were a huge portion of our discussion and I understood this would delay my financial plan (was not thinking of FI at the time, that was something we discovered together, but again the parallel is there with the financial picture), but to me the choice was did I want to do life alone or with someone.  That seems to be a difference in how we perceive relationships.  I am in a team in a relationship.  My problems are hers and hers are mine.  We have six kids, three each.  I think it is important that you look at having kids with someone as a lifelong commitment.  Just because you do not marry, that does not change things.  You have a kid with someone, you are in a relationship with them for the rest of your life (unless you choose to walk away, but that is a different thread).  Kids are the ultimate chaos theory brought to life.  You have no idea what will happen, what trouble they will get into, what things will interest them that will cost you a lot of money (gymnastics or figure skating some to mind, but there are many, many expensive interests that you can suppress I suppose), and until that little human is here you have no idea what those will be, and even then they can change a lot.  I could not imagine being FIRE at this point with the kids still around.  Too much of an unknown with the spending.  Now maybe if we had started earlier with this target we could have planned for it better like MMM did, but now that MMM is divorced I will be curious what might happen.  He has said they in relationships, but not if there are step kids in a potential second marriage.  If that happens will MMM still be FIRE (he likely will be because of the massive cash flow from this site and other things he did)?  I worked with a guy who did not want kids.  Then his wife got pregnant and they had twins.  We just met him and his wife for lunch now ten years in and when he related the story to my wife (who I was not married to when I worked with him), and he still related the story, "and then that evil ultrasound lady told me we were having TWO!"  What happens if you have twins or triplets when you want to have one?  Did I mention ultimate chaos theory brought to life?  You say you are comfortable to have a child with her.  What happens if there is more than a child?  Are you still comfortable?

This is just a taste of why I cannot even fathom doing this as independent finances.  It leads to way to many potential arguments.  As someone said, do you just cover half the diapers?  If your SO cannot cover the other half, who cleans up the poop from the days the baby is diaperless?  Is that automatically the non-diaper purchasing spouse?  Does that still apply when the baby poops and your SO is not there, meaning you just leave the baby to crawl around and make a bigger mess, for them to do what you all agreed to?  I raise an admittedly absurd example to show the "simple" things that can turn into ridiculous discussions just because you choose to try to handle this separately. 

I'd vote for working longer until you both can FIRE.

Assetup

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #82 on: January 07, 2019, 10:46:56 AM »
Wow people got ultra pissed.... awesome.  Just formulate/finalize what your personal plan is and then run it by her.  Keep the discussion going for a while and make sure you're both 100% on the same page.  If you aren't on the same page then I'd recommend ending the relationship.  I personally don't believe either partner should have to "give in" or "change" a ton of their core beliefs/philosophies in a good relationship. This may mean it will take you a while to find the right partner but it's better than being stuck in a situation that makes you miserable

Malkynn

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #83 on: January 07, 2019, 11:13:39 AM »
IMO, huge financial disparities in a relationship are basically always going to be contentious.  Period.  Someone will either be resentful, or someone will feel like they are providing charity. 

I really cannot agree with this.
I know many, many, many very happy couples with one major bread winner where there is no resentment and no sense of charity.

Certainly, there are people who can't be happy with that kind of arrangement, and that's okay too. People are allowed to want whatever they want in a partner. There's no law saying you have to marry anyone.

However, that doesn't mean that there aren't countless people out there who are perfectly happy as sole breadwinners or as stay at home parents and I think to generalize otherwise is a bit crazy considering that's such a common marital arrangement.

If I had stayed in my ultra high paying job and if I had decided to have kids, I would have DEFINITELY prioritized marrying a man who was okay with being a stay at home dad. I would never ever marry another high-stress professional, kids or no kids.

What is toxic is when two people have differing financial values, not necessarily different incomes.
Two people who make the exact same amount can be a financial nightmare if their values don't align.

This is not even a relevant point of view. It is one thing to have a stay at home spouse WHILE you make the money, it is completely another thing AFTER you have already made all the money and you meet someone. In the first case, the SAHS actually has contributed to FIRE. The second case (as in OP) the significant other had zero contribution to getting there, just shows up after all the hard work is done.

I was responding to the comment that I quoted, which appears to be a generalized comment about financial disparity and not a specific comment about wealth earned previous to the onset of a relationship.

Even with your particular scenario of wealth accumulated beforehand, I've seen plenty cases of wealthy retirees marrying far less wealthy people and being perfectly happy.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2019, 11:19:38 AM by Malkynn »

nessness

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #84 on: January 07, 2019, 11:17:40 AM »
I think you need to think a lot harder about what you want to do if/when you have kids. You don't seem onboard with being a full-time SAHD, so you need to either pad your stache enough to pay for childcare (you mention subsidies, but would you qualify for those if you're not working?), or be prepared to support the whole family financially while your girlfriend stays home, and you and her need to be on the same page about either of these options.

Although, the comment about not giving her your hard-earned money just to change a few diapers was pretty gross and shows a real lack of understanding of what raising a child entails, so my actual advice would be to rethink having kids at all, and maybe being in a relationship as well.

Apple_Tango

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #85 on: January 07, 2019, 11:32:25 AM »
It sounds like Gerardc is trying to help his girlfriend. I think it is a valid to point to be concerned about what will happen to her if they break up and she has quit working due to being in a relationship (married or otherwise). As a single woman, I do not want to 100% depend on a partner financially. I think that if there is such an imbalance of power (with Gerard feeling like he has to “give” her an allowance or something, instead of sharing 50/50) that marriage does not sound wise. If I met a super rich man and he said “we’re in this together, let’s combine everything and be equals” and I loved him then I would be down. Not to take advantage in ANY way, though. But if I met a super rich man who said “you can quit work and i can take care of you and give you an allowance of what I think is appropriate, or you can continue to work so we can be financial equals that way” then I would continue to work. I don’t want to be a kept woman in a relationship where I had no financial power. Some women choose that option and I think it’s a huge mistake, for both parties. I commend Gerard for not wanting to go down that road. However since Gerard is not willing to become 50/50 partners, then the only solution in my mind is for the girlfriend to keep working. And also not get married. I wouldn’t get married or have kids until a 50/50 equal financial partnership can be obtained. Ether via math, or via a change in the relationship dynamic.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2019, 11:42:51 AM by Apple_Tango »

SKL-HOU

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #86 on: January 07, 2019, 11:45:57 AM »
IMO, huge financial disparities in a relationship are basically always going to be contentious.  Period.  Someone will either be resentful, or someone will feel like they are providing charity. 

I really cannot agree with this.
I know many, many, many very happy couples with one major bread winner where there is no resentment and no sense of charity.

Certainly, there are people who can't be happy with that kind of arrangement, and that's okay too. People are allowed to want whatever they want in a partner. There's no law saying you have to marry anyone.

However, that doesn't mean that there aren't countless people out there who are perfectly happy as sole breadwinners or as stay at home parents and I think to generalize otherwise is a bit crazy considering that's such a common marital arrangement.

If I had stayed in my ultra high paying job and if I had decided to have kids, I would have DEFINITELY prioritized marrying a man who was okay with being a stay at home dad. I would never ever marry another high-stress professional, kids or no kids.

What is toxic is when two people have differing financial values, not necessarily different incomes.
Two people who make the exact same amount can be a financial nightmare if their values don't align.

This is not even a relevant point of view. It is one thing to have a stay at home spouse WHILE you make the money, it is completely another thing AFTER you have already made all the money and you meet someone. In the first case, the SAHS actually has contributed to FIRE. The second case (as in OP) the significant other had zero contribution to getting there, just shows up after all the hard work is done.

I was responding to the comment that I quoted, which appears to be a generalized comment about financial disparity and not a specific comment about wealth earned previous to the onset of a relationship.

Even with your particular scenario of wealth accumulated beforehand, I've seen plenty cases of wealthy retirees marrying far less wealthy people and being perfectly happy.

Yes because those people were okay with it obviously. I don't think not being okay with it makes the poster a bad person. Besides he is 35 and she is younger so I am guessing upper 20s at best and she has a masters. I think he is doing her a favor because it has only been 1 year and what if it doesn't work out? Then what? He certainly shouldn't have to split his life's savings with her. The best approach would be for him to work a couple more years and see where the relationship goes before making a decision.

Malkynn

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #87 on: January 07, 2019, 12:16:02 PM »
IMO, huge financial disparities in a relationship are basically always going to be contentious.  Period.  Someone will either be resentful, or someone will feel like they are providing charity. 

I really cannot agree with this.
I know many, many, many very happy couples with one major bread winner where there is no resentment and no sense of charity.

Certainly, there are people who can't be happy with that kind of arrangement, and that's okay too. People are allowed to want whatever they want in a partner. There's no law saying you have to marry anyone.

However, that doesn't mean that there aren't countless people out there who are perfectly happy as sole breadwinners or as stay at home parents and I think to generalize otherwise is a bit crazy considering that's such a common marital arrangement.

If I had stayed in my ultra high paying job and if I had decided to have kids, I would have DEFINITELY prioritized marrying a man who was okay with being a stay at home dad. I would never ever marry another high-stress professional, kids or no kids.

What is toxic is when two people have differing financial values, not necessarily different incomes.
Two people who make the exact same amount can be a financial nightmare if their values don't align.

This is not even a relevant point of view. It is one thing to have a stay at home spouse WHILE you make the money, it is completely another thing AFTER you have already made all the money and you meet someone. In the first case, the SAHS actually has contributed to FIRE. The second case (as in OP) the significant other had zero contribution to getting there, just shows up after all the hard work is done.

I was responding to the comment that I quoted, which appears to be a generalized comment about financial disparity and not a specific comment about wealth earned previous to the onset of a relationship.

Even with your particular scenario of wealth accumulated beforehand, I've seen plenty cases of wealthy retirees marrying far less wealthy people and being perfectly happy.

Yes because those people were okay with it obviously. I don't think not being okay with it makes the poster a bad person. Besides he is 35 and she is younger so I am guessing upper 20s at best and she has a masters. I think he is doing her a favor because it has only been 1 year and what if it doesn't work out? Then what? He certainly shouldn't have to split his life's savings with her. The best approach would be for him to work a couple more years and see where the relationship goes before making a decision.

I literally never said any of that.
I disagreed with a particular statement made by one previous poster that made a generalization that I disagree with.

Just because I've given examples of people who are happy with disparity doesn't mean I think everyone should be. That would be an even crazier generalization.

If you see my previous posts you will see that I have said multiple times that it's absolutely okay for people to have preferences when it comes to financial disparity.

Maybe you are upset with some other poster(s) for implying or stating that they think OP is an asshole for wanting to protect his assets, but it sure as hell wasn't me and I'm the one you are quoting.

partgypsy

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #88 on: January 07, 2019, 01:46:46 PM »
Geesh, this keeps coming up. "He certainly shouldn't have to split his life's savings with her."

I went through a divorce this past year. I went through the paperwork. When you get married, assets accrued BEFORE marriage are NOT included in division of assets. So this bugbear of this guy and this young woman getting married, they split, she gets half his shit, is not something that happens. So please stop repeating this chestnut.

What are the exceptions? a) mingling assets. Say if you have retirement accounts accrued before marriage, put in separate account, you then get married, don't continue to contribute to that account. b) marital residence. Married couple living in a residence. Even if only 1 person on deed, one person paying mortgage, traditionally marital residences are considered a joint asset. c) child support. This does not have to do with marriage, but bring a child into the world, there are consequences. If parents split up, both parents are considered to be responsible for childrearing costs and ideally for child rearing. 50/50 is the default nowadays. Most states have a straightforward formula for child support. d) Alimony. This is somewhat going the way of the dodo. Many cases, no alimony. Other cases, ex-spouse is given 1-5 years of limited financial assistance, in order to give him/her time, training in order to get up to speed to support themselves independently. How this is determined appears subjective and is based the judge, jurisdiction, attorneys involved.     
« Last Edit: January 07, 2019, 01:51:19 PM by partgypsy »

ol1970

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #89 on: January 07, 2019, 01:50:18 PM »
Here is what I can add to the conversation because it happened to me.

1) I'm very wealthy by most standards (way, way more than the OP for reference), she is a single mom who is not at all wealthy essentially net worth of zero.
2) She's been married once, I've never been married.   Both in our 40's.
3) We met after I already retired at 43.
4) We are both crazy off the charts in love, I literally told my best friend of 20+ years the day I met her that I finally met the "one", and I've never said that before.  Two years later we are engaged and will be married later this year.
5) She is reasonably responsible with money, but the concept of early retirement had never even occurred to her.  Single moms making $50-60k/year don't usually have that on their radar believe it or not.
6) We have lived together for a year, she has sold her house and moved into mine since its much nicer and paid for.  She pocketed $100k on the sale of her home at the top of this past housing cycle which jump started her savings. 
7) I pay for all housing expenses because its my house.  She immediately fired my cleaning people and started cleaning the place herself.  She is a keeper!
8) We have a shared checking account that we use for all general expenses that we incur together.  Groceries, travel, fun, etc.  Each of us have our own accounts as well, once the joint account goes below $1,000 we each add $2,000.
9) We discussed finances early on.  I explained my situation, and when things got really serious and prior to engagement we discussed our finances, how we plan to live the rest of our lives budget wise, will she still work, pre-nuptial agreements (what we are bringing in stays separate), what would happen to my estate if I were to pass away unexpectedly...essentially we laid out everything like an open book.
10) Once we are married, everything we "earn together" as a couple is 50/50.  My part time consulting side gig has the opportunity to make us multi-millionaires over again. The lack of money will not be an issue, but not being on the same page could absolutely be if you don't talk about it again.
11) We agreed that she cut her hours back to essentially whatever she feels comfortable doing.  Her job is ridiculously amazing, and being in the airline industry it allows a couple that is "FIRED" to take some epic trips.  On New Year's Eve we added up that if we were to have paid for all of the flights we took this year alone the bill would have been $96,000.  So she definitely contributes to our lifestyle even if she doesn't have a huge 401K balance. 

My opinion though, is if you have an inkling of doubt if she is the one or not...she is not.  I was a confirmed bachelor, life was beyond good, but it pales in comparison to how amazing it is since she came into my life.  I am beyond lucky.  Don't settle for anything less than spectacular.

SKL-HOU

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #90 on: January 07, 2019, 02:38:02 PM »
Geesh, this keeps coming up. "He certainly shouldn't have to split his life's savings with her."

I went through a divorce this past year. I went through the paperwork. When you get married, assets accrued BEFORE marriage are NOT included in division of assets. So this bugbear of this guy and this young woman getting married, they split, she gets half his shit, is not something that happens. So please stop repeating this chestnut.

What are the exceptions? a) mingling assets. Say if you have retirement accounts accrued before marriage, put in separate account, you then get married, don't continue to contribute to that account. b) marital residence. Married couple living in a residence. Even if only 1 person on deed, one person paying mortgage, traditionally marital residences are considered a joint asset. c) child support. This does not have to do with marriage, but bring a child into the world, there are consequences. If parents split up, both parents are considered to be responsible for childrearing costs and ideally for child rearing. 50/50 is the default nowadays. Most states have a straightforward formula for child support. d) Alimony. This is somewhat going the way of the dodo. Many cases, no alimony. Other cases, ex-spouse is given 1-5 years of limited financial assistance, in order to give him/her time, training in order to get up to speed to support themselves independently. How this is determined appears subjective and is based the judge, jurisdiction, attorneys involved.   

You are very correct, it doesn't happen and that is exactly why he is doing her a favor by having her keep the job and accumulate her own wealth. I think you misunderstood my point.

partgypsy

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #91 on: January 07, 2019, 03:24:53 PM »
 
[/quote]

You are very correct, it doesn't happen and that is exactly why he is doing her a favor by having her keep the job and accumulate her own wealth. I think you misunderstood my point.
[/quote]
That's why I think this thread is confusing to me. There is actually a lot more downside for her, than for him entering in what he is offering. He automatically has his assets protected. He already seems like a flight risk from his view of long term relationships. Youth, otoh is fleeting. Childbearing is "high cost"; Your body is permanently changed from bearing children. There is a small risk of disability, even death. It seems that if the op gets his way, there is not much room for her views or preferences. So yes it "protects" her financially for her to continue to return to work after giving birth. But would there be resentment on the Mom's part, working a full time job for say 30K, and in the first year being sleep-deprived, staying up to nurse as well as pumping at work, simply because of Dad's view of financial "fairness?" Seeing Dad by default be the stay at home parent simply because he accrued more financial assets at that time point? Hmm, I don't know. And what would happen if after she goes through pregnancy and childbirth, decides to stay home longer? Is that grounds for breaking up? Because that kind of thing happens. Op, find someone who is financially in the same place as you, because this does seem like something that bothers you, and your off the bat "solutions" seem not based on realism or real rubber hits the road situations.

For example OP says they have talked in length. "I have been talking with my GF openly about finances and life plans since the beginning and we're pretty well aligned." Yes, you have been talking. But these comments keep rattling around in my brain.

"The only contentious point, really, is the degree at which I'll be generous, but this is really for me to decide, so there's not much to talk about."

"I guess the issue is I'm trying to maintain separate finances and obligations, so that she doesn't get a free ticket, and keeps working for her own goals (we haven't been together for that long, she's younger than me, and I don't know how she will react)."

"If we have kids in the next few years (as she seems to want), I agree this changes the game and puts us more in an equal partnership. If one of us stays at home to care for the kids, they should be compensated…. However, I don't really want her to do that. By then I should be mostly free to take care of the kids half the time or slightly more, and I'd rather she keeps working for 5-10 years for her independence (reasons I mentioned above)."

"and I know that she wants to keep working because she has to."

« Last Edit: January 07, 2019, 03:53:20 PM by partgypsy »

SKL-HOU

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #92 on: January 07, 2019, 04:12:40 PM »
I wasn’t talking about if/when they have kids. Frankly, it is way too soon, they’ve only been together 1 year.

FrugalSaver

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #93 on: January 07, 2019, 06:41:31 PM »
I'm wondering what you would do in my situation. In short, I am soon reaching FI with roughly $1M net worth (this allows me to cover my own expenses). I am still working and earning 8-10X what my GF does. We've been together almost 1 year. She's working full-time and frugal as well, but her low income prevented her so far from saving more than few thousand $. We're at the stage where we're thinking of moving in together, and maybe eventually have kids.

The problem is I could quit work and FIRE by myself, but I would need to keep working a few years if I wanted to cover her share of expenses (and maybe better provide for kids). Is it fair and realistic to FIRE myself and cover my share of expenses while she works (probably for a long while)?

I noticed that most couples here who reach FIRE do so together, after many years of joint planning and execution. It feels that my situation, getting into a relationship after reaching FI, is a different scenario, and I'm not sure how to approach this.

I'm obviously wary of being taken advantage of, so I'd try to protect myself financially, but I'm also trying to make the relationship work somehow. Is it doomed to fail?

I’m in the same situation. Do a post nup

gerardc

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #94 on: January 07, 2019, 09:46:20 PM »
It sounds like Gerardc is trying to help his girlfriend. I think it is a valid to point to be concerned about what will happen to her if they break up and she has quit working due to being in a relationship (married or otherwise). As a single woman, I do not want to 100% depend on a partner financially. I think that if there is such an imbalance of power (with Gerard feeling like he has to “give” her an allowance or something, instead of sharing 50/50) that marriage does not sound wise. If I met a super rich man and he said “we’re in this together, let’s combine everything and be equals” and I loved him then I would be down. Not to take advantage in ANY way, though. But if I met a super rich man who said “you can quit work and i can take care of you and give you an allowance of what I think is appropriate, or you can continue to work so we can be financial equals that way” then I would continue to work. I don’t want to be a kept woman in a relationship where I had no financial power. Some women choose that option and I think it’s a huge mistake, for both parties. I commend Gerard for not wanting to go down that road. However since Gerard is not willing to become 50/50 partners, then the only solution in my mind is for the girlfriend to keep working. And also not get married. I wouldn’t get married or have kids until a 50/50 equal financial partnership can be obtained. Ether via math, or via a change in the relationship dynamic.

Exactly this. I think if I offered full unconditional support, she might prefer to be a SAHM, or maybe downshift to PT to get her adult human interaction needs met. But she knows we're not at this stage yet, so it is only wise for her to hedge her bets and keep working.

Me making those choices actually comes from a place of concern for her. My stash is pretty well protected already, and she is the more vulnerable one. I don't want to hurt her, but knowing my history of past relationships, this is a real possibility. I am sure she would move on fast, but combining heartbreak with very little savings, time-off from her career, AND many of her best child-rearing years lost by my fault, would be more than I want to be responsible for. Although she knows the risk, she is still willing to take it, which baffles me.

I like the option of putting aside my stash (acquired before the relationship), and her keeping working for the first few years to earn her own FI, while I help by paying for most expenses, either working intermittently or more intensely if needed, so she could basically pocket her whole salary, and I could even pad my nest egg. This strategy would be roughly equivalent to merging finances, as many have proposed, but only assets newly acquired from that point forward. Of course the longer we wait before we start merging, the more I keep for myself (just as an FYI). In 5-10 years of work for her, and 1-3 years for me, we'd be both FI, and that ratio seems fair and satisfying for both of us.

Be careful that you don't push away your chance at happiness by distancing yourself from her as you label her a possible ungrateful child.

I don't see her as an ungrateful child, at all. The reason the trust-fund baby comparison was brought up was not in case she tries to "take" from me, or become entitled, but to highlight the harmful psychological consequences that getting something too easily has on human development and autonomy. It just seems obvious to me that FIRE without the journey makes for a boring life.

I realize it's a touchy conversation to have. For example, I have told her in the past that she should expect to pay for most of her share of housing costs in the short term. While my intentions were simply to encourage her to stay independent and not expect to stop working (she fully agreed it was the right thing to do), saying that just doesn't sound very nice, and can be misinterpreted as me not wanting any responsibility if something happens to her, or that her problems are not my problems, etc. So I went back and made sure she knew that she didn't have to worry too much about money and that I'd be there to help her if necessary (money can be tight for her and it stresses her out). That's all it took, and even though she already knew that, it made her happy to hear it.

If I had stayed in my ultra high paying job and if I had decided to have kids, I would have DEFINITELY prioritized marrying a man who was okay with being a stay at home dad. I would never ever marry another high-stress professional, kids or no kids.

I definitely noticed the same. High-stress professionals may earn more, but work takes a toll on their personality, mood, and relationships. My GF is the opposite -- very pleasant to be with, and this is pretty important for our relationship to work at all in the first place. You can't buy this, but it's worth a lot to me.

aGracefulStomp

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #95 on: January 08, 2019, 02:38:49 AM »
I think you both need to sit down with a very big cup of tea and have a very honest but kind and open-minded discussion on money in the relationship. It might be a good idea to let her know that this has been worrying you so you want to discuss it with her, and you want her to come to the chat with some ideas of her own.

Only you and your girlfriend can come to an arrangement that you're happy with, even though it may not work for other people. Asking people what they think is fair/workable can be useful for some ideas, but ultimately you're the one that needs to be totally comfortable.

I strongly suggest that you are totally honest, as well as explain your reasoning/emotions behind it. For example, it's clear to me that you will resent your girlfriend if she benefits from your FI stash and you don't feel like she's had to work for it. Tell her this, and explain where those emotions come from. Perhaps you can both talk about what would you see as "work" and different ways that you could feel comfortable to eventually share your resources with her like a partnership - you guys could come up with something that doesn't involve her working for all those years? Alternatively she may successfully challenge your view ... or you both might disagree with each other but understand where you are coming from and find a compromise.

I emphasise the honesty part for you in particular, because if I was her and heard you talking about me like you have been in these posts, I would run a mile. I hope for your sake she doesn't have the same response ... but I think its only fair for her to make the decision to move in with you only after she is aware of how you see her in relation to your money and how you see her in the relationship.

My final two cents is that I would be very ... cautious on assuming what is good for your girlfriend or what is the best way to FI for her. If I won the lottery and received my FI sum without having to work for it, it wouldn't impact my enjoyment of the FI amount or make me a less developed person. This is different for you and your development and enjoyment of the money, which is 100% fine, but it doesn't mean that it's the right way and your girlfriend may not be the same as you.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2019, 02:50:46 AM by aGracefulStomp »

dignam

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #96 on: January 08, 2019, 06:42:13 AM »
When I said huge disparities in income being contentious, I'm referring to someone making 10x the partner or more.  At some point it begs the question "should the lower income person even work if we're 'serious'?"  Maybe that person loves their job and doesn't really care about the money; more power to them.  But I can see that question in itself causing conflict.

But I do agree there are perfectly happy couples with income disparities.  I make more than 2x what my live in GF does; we have our financial duties hashed out (we literally wrote down who would pay for what before she moved in two years ago).  It's roughly income based; for example I pay about 2/3 of the mortgage and all the utilities.  It's been wonderful; I think because neither of us are petty so we don't mind treating each other to stuff occasionally, and are both good savers.  With us there is no question about whether she should work.

I will reiterate that being very clear and transparent is really really important if taking the next step, OP.

caracarn

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #97 on: January 08, 2019, 07:13:14 AM »
I think you both need to sit down with a very big cup of tea and have a very honest but kind and open-minded discussion on money in the relationship. It might be a good idea to let her know that this has been worrying you so you want to discuss it with her, and you want her to come to the chat with some ideas of her own.

Only you and your girlfriend can come to an arrangement that you're happy with, even though it may not work for other people. Asking people what they think is fair/workable can be useful for some ideas, but ultimately you're the one that needs to be totally comfortable.

I strongly suggest that you are totally honest, as well as explain your reasoning/emotions behind it. For example, it's clear to me that you will resent your girlfriend if she benefits from your FI stash and you don't feel like she's had to work for it. Tell her this, and explain where those emotions come from. Perhaps you can both talk about what would you see as "work" and different ways that you could feel comfortable to eventually share your resources with her like a partnership - you guys could come up with something that doesn't involve her working for all those years? Alternatively she may successfully challenge your view ... or you both might disagree with each other but understand where you are coming from and find a compromise.

I emphasise the honesty part for you in particular, because if I was her and heard you talking about me like you have been in these posts, I would run a mile. I hope for your sake she doesn't have the same response ... but I think its only fair for her to make the decision to move in with you only after she is aware of how you see her in relation to your money and how you see her in the relationship.

My final two cents is that I would be very ... cautious on assuming what is good for your girlfriend or what is the best way to FI for her. If I won the lottery and received my FI sum without having to work for it, it wouldn't impact my enjoyment of the FI amount or make me a less developed person. This is different for you and your development and enjoyment of the money, which is 100% fine, but it doesn't mean that it's the right way and your girlfriend may not be the same as you.
For the OP, I think this is all great information and why I quoted it in my response.

Your last response was that if given the choice she would probably stay at home makes this all the more crucial.  It does not sound like you have had anywhere neat the depth of conversation, you've just had a lot of conversation.  This is typical in any relationship.  It is very, very hard.  When I had relayed my information above about how my wife and I talked while we figured out if we wanted to get married, what I had not shared was my best friends feedback.  He said we had covered more and understood each other better in three months than he and his wife had in twenty years.  Just because you have "talked a lot" over a year does not mean you have "talked", if you understand what I mean.

Both parties need to let their guard down and be honest and open.  It sounds like a lot of you telling her what you think would be good and her somewhat agreeing.  Not saying that is the actual dynamic of the physical conversation but it is the pattern your writing seems to indicate.  Even though you say you are not thinking of her as a child it seems very much as if you are the elder statesman pontificating from a point of power.  It is OK to be proud of the hard work you put in to get where you are, but it is also hard work to remove that from a loving conversation, because otherwise, like aGracedulStomp said, it encourages someone to run away. 

You've got to be comfortable with the level of vulnerability you put yourself in and we all have different expectations in a serious relationship.  It just seems like you want to have a hedge and even in your post your a very self deprecating about how surprised you are she wants to be with you (you used the phrase "baffles me") and also having a very negative view of your ability to function in a relationship based on your past relationships.  This sounds like the stuff you need to actually get through, and some have suggested a counselor to help which I think is wonderful advice.  I'd never think about moving in with someone in the headspace you are in as you seem far from ready to be successful there.  I think this then manifests itself here with your trepidation on the finances.  To me your reservations about all the what ifs are all the indicator you need to say you are moving too fast for your own comfort, but obviously only you know how you feel.

EnjoyIt

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #98 on: January 08, 2019, 07:30:55 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.

PhilB

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Re: Getting into a serious relationship after reaching FI by yourself
« Reply #99 on: January 08, 2019, 07:34:35 AM »
It is like arguing which religion is better.
Pastafarian of course.