Author Topic: FIRE options for a small-mustache and large-mustache couple  (Read 947 times)

GreenSheep

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FIRE options for a small-mustache and large-mustache couple
« on: March 01, 2019, 05:21:50 PM »
Have any of you started a marriage with separate finances and then combined them when one of you FIREd?

I wore the only mustache in the family until a couple of years ago, when my husband started growing his 'stache. I have a bigger shovel (really mixing metaphors here) and a head start, so my 'stache is much, much larger than his. But he has a good income and a frugal mindset, and he'll get to FI, and RE if he wants it, in about 10-15 years.

We've always kept our finances separate (and we each pay 50% of each expense), but maybe it's time to combine them. I have enough to FIRE for just myself right now (leaning toward lean-FIRE given our taxes, which I hadn't realized would be quite so high), and my plan has always been to FIRE while he continues to work. He's fine with that. But with his income, and our married status, my withdrawals require a lot more taxes than they would if I were single, or if we FIRE together and withdraw only what the two of us need. And I kinda like the guy, so divorce for the tax benefits is not an option!

He loves his job, but he also has a lot of other interests, he likes the idea of rock-solid financial security, and he's starting to see that it would be nice to at least have the option to FIRE someday. If we both live on his income now (which we could easily do, and he could still save, though not quite as much), let my savings (which would now be OUR savings) grow, and add a bit to his retirement account, he join me in FIRE (or continue working if he wants to) in about 5-10 years.

It seems like continuing to keep our finances separate is just going to waste a lot of money on taxes. I'm trying to see a down side to this, other than the fact that although we're very happy now, there's no guarantee that any marriage will last forever. We live in a state where assets are split equally in the case of divorce, though, and we have no pre-nup, so I don't think adding his name to my accounts would really add much risk. Is there something I'm missing?

GreenSheep

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Re: FIRE options for a small-mustache and large-mustache couple
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2019, 03:03:39 PM »
Thanks for the reply, Spartana. Yes, we could both FIRE sooner (well, he'd FIRE sooner and I'd FIRE, um, later than right now) if we both continue to work. But I despise my job, and he doesn't mind his and actually enjoys it most of the time.

So sorry to hear your marriage didn't work out. I always try to keep that possibility in mind because no matter how great a relationship seems, and no matter how good the two people involved are, the statistics are scary.

GreenSheep

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Re: FIRE options for a small-mustache and large-mustache couple
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2019, 04:57:17 PM »
If I understand things correctly (I'm no tax expert either!), if I FIRE while my husband is still working, since we pay our taxes together (the only financial thing we do jointly, other than owning our home, which is paid for), then our  tax bracket is higher, which means higher taxes on my withdrawals than if my withdrawals were my only income.

We've been advised to file jointly rather than separately by our accountant (whom we use for now because our taxes are complicated due to my job, but once I FIRE, we can probably do them on our own), and I suspect that even if we filed separately, in the eyes of the IRS, I couldn't completely separate myself from someone with a much larger income than mine. I mean, that wouldn't really be fair anyway, since I'm living with him and reaping the benefits of splitting my living expenses with him. I should probably ask our accountant the same question I've asked here, now that I think about it. Funny, though, I've gotten better advice here (on all sorts of things) than I've generally had from a total of two accountants and three financial advisors over the years.