Author Topic: Non-mustachian sister-in-law advice  (Read 3848 times)

newbiemustache

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Non-mustachian sister-in-law advice
« on: March 30, 2016, 06:54:36 PM »
I wanted to get some advice to give my brother who is getting married later in the year. He is relatively frugal and fortunately earns a salary in the $100-$200k range. His fiance has quite a bit of student debt of around $50k and also has a house that is underwater. I think about $250k is owed on it. She is currently unemployed and may not likely find a job.

Any advice on how I should discuss this with my brother without being too intrusive? Should a prenup be considered? He is thinking of paying off her debt and having her repay him over the next decade or two. I would think that this arrangement would fall through over time. If it were me, I'd have to make it clear to the other party that marriage should not be a bail-out either.

Thanks!

bobechs

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Re: Non-mustachian sister-in-law advice
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2016, 07:17:40 PM »
But it is not you.

Go ahead and raise the subject; there is no delicate way and dancing around like you somehow can let it slip out gracefully will likely only make it even more awkward.

Tell him what you think, but if he is of a mind to carry out a heroic rescue, damn the cost, he is going to do it.  It's called romance and it has brought more modest money piles low than can ever be counted.

I would say don't wait until years later and then  tell him you told him so, but you will do that too.  And that's okay too. Just do it once, though.

okits

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Re: Non-mustachian sister-in-law advice
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2016, 07:32:45 PM »
Ooh...  Be brutally honest with yourself.  Is your brother the kind of rational, open-minded person who can hear criticism about (and consider advice regarding) his personal life?  Or would he resent the advice-giver (and always accuse you of "not loving/accepting" his wife)?  Would he dismiss a family lawyer/financial advisor's advice as "too cynical" and "that will never happen to my marriage"?

IME, most people (who have not been burned already) are just not open to hearing and accepting advice like this.  You really risk damaging your relationship with them both.  You can try, but don't be too down on yourself if he doesn't listen to a word you say.  (If you do go for the conversation, I would perhaps approach it with "unless there are prior, enforceable written agreements in place, the law may not recognize any financial debts between spouses", or something along those lines.  Also, head-scratch, how would the fiancée pay him back if she's not likely to get a job?)

His view of marriage may be different than yours (that they really become "one", everything he has becomes hers, even if she initiates a divorce and walks away with half his assets and a chunk of his income.  That risk is just part of the deal.)  And truly, everything could work out great.  You might get to see them smooch and hold hands at their 60th wedding anniversary party.

BlueHouse

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Re: Non-mustachian sister-in-law advice
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2016, 07:58:07 PM »
Are YOU married?  How comfortable would you be with your brother offering unsolicited advice and opinions about the love of YOUR life?  What goes around comes around, so tread carefully.

bogart

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Re: Non-mustachian sister-in-law advice
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2016, 08:02:06 PM »
Hunh.  To me, the biggest problem in the situation you describe (and it's a big one, in my book) is

He is thinking of paying off her debt and having her repay him over the next decade or two.

... I'm one of those people who believes that when you get married, your finances become one, full stop.  The idea of sitting down with my spouse (or, here, fiance) and discussing priorities and plans for achieving them, including how we're each going to contribute to them, no problem.  The idea of "repaying him" would have me running the other direction.

You (and he, and she) may see things differently, but if nothing else it might be worth raising this point (different people have very different ideas re:  marital finances and how to manage them) and to ask whether they've discussed what they're bringing in, where they want to go, and how they're going to get there.

StacheInAFlash

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Re: Non-mustachian sister-in-law advice
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2016, 08:14:28 PM »
I'd stay out of it. It isn't your place to comment, and I doubt your intervention would have a positive impact. Unless this lady is a total train wreck, it probably isn't worth risking your relationship with your brother.  So she has student loans and an underwater house...so do half the people I know who had the misfortune of coming out of college and into adulthood around 2006-2010 or so. She's unemployed, but is she educated and looking? She might not ever find a job?? That seems a bit hyperbolic, but if it isn't than it might make me more concerned. Maybe she'll be the perfect SAHM and maybe that is what you brother loves most about her. While people here would obviously love a mustachian spouse, it seems to me that you, and not your bother, are on the forum. He's frugal, but that doesn't mean he's mustachian or ever cares to be or cares about that in his spouse. Different strokes for different folks.

Every married couple manages finances differently. Personally, not taking on your spouses debts would just be weird to me...making her pay him back sounds bizarre and unhealthy, but maybe it is what will work for them.

Bottom line, it ain't your life, don't worry about it unless there are way more red flags than you're mentioning here.

Primm

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Re: Non-mustachian sister-in-law advice
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2016, 08:19:48 PM »

Bottom line, it ain't your life, don't worry about it unless there are way more red flags than you're mentioning here.

+1

newbiemustache

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Re: Non-mustachian sister-in-law advice
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2016, 09:13:13 PM »
Are YOU married?  How comfortable would you be with your brother offering unsolicited advice and opinions about the love of YOUR life?  What goes around comes around, so tread carefully.

Good point. It was solicited advice. My wife earns around $450k and I earn $300k. I hope that I never get into hair-on-fire financial ruin.

LouLou

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Re: Non-mustachian sister-in-law advice
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2016, 09:42:10 PM »
When you posted this question on corporette today (http://corporette.com/2016/03/30/light-blue-suits-for-workwear/#comments), you admitted that you've told our brother to get a prenup "several times."  You also mentioned on corporette that she made close to $100k before she went back to school to switch careers. Why are you suddenly convinced that she will never work again? What is your deal? You need to stop.  All the advice you want to give him needs to stay in your head now.

Also here's the thing, marrying someone who has $45k in student loan debt and an underwater mortgage is not some crazy decision.  I know several people in great financial shape who have houses with an underwater mortgage that they use as rental properties, because that's how the cookie crumbled based on when they purchased that property.

If I was going to give your brother any advice, I would tell him that having his wife repay him is a bad idea.  Just get married, pay down all your debts together, save together, invest together, etc.  But I have a feeling he just said that because you are pestering him.

All you are doing is harming your relationship with your brother at this point.

Metric Mouse

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Re: Non-mustachian sister-in-law advice
« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2016, 01:24:39 AM »
Are YOU married?  How comfortable would you be with your brother offering unsolicited advice and opinions about the love of YOUR life?  What goes around comes around, so tread carefully.

Good point. It was solicited advice. My wife earns around $450k and I earn $300k. I hope that I never get into hair-on-fire financial ruin.

If it was solicited, why would you worry about being intrusive? When he asked, you should have just laid it out...

Stashing Swiss-style

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Re: Non-mustachian sister-in-law advice
« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2016, 08:21:55 AM »
You and your wife are high earners - that's great for you.  But it seems like you are pre-judging your future sister-in-law based on the fact she is not a high-earner and may never be.  I am questioning your values here.