Author Topic: To Marry, or not to Marry, that is the question:  (Read 21411 times)

FockerCRNA

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Re: To Marry, or not to Marry, that is the question:
« Reply #50 on: February 24, 2013, 09:24:19 PM »
Course11 is spot on. You're already having a hard time convincing a forum full of Mustachians. Do you think you can sell it to both your families? We obviously don't know your relatives and you are the best person to judge how, erm, 'progressive' they are, but I'm willing to bet that when word does get out, you are going to alienate quite a few people. Or you're one hell of a salesman.

I'm not really interested in that aspect of the question. I want to know why a couple with two high incomes would opt for legal marriage vs. staying legally unmarried from a purely legal pro/con standpoint. I'm not trying to convince anyone of anything.

Freedom2016

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Re: To Marry, or not to Marry, that is the question:
« Reply #51 on: February 25, 2013, 07:50:22 AM »
Course11 is spot on. You're already having a hard time convincing a forum full of Mustachians. Do you think you can sell it to both your families? We obviously don't know your relatives and you are the best person to judge how, erm, 'progressive' they are, but I'm willing to bet that when word does get out, you are going to alienate quite a few people. Or you're one hell of a salesman.

I'm not really interested in that aspect of the question. I want to know why a couple with two high incomes would opt for legal marriage vs. staying legally unmarried from a purely legal pro/con standpoint. I'm not trying to convince anyone of anything.

Whether you're interested in it or not, I sincerely hope that you are sitting your fiancee's parents down ex poste haste to explain your plan. They deserve the right to change their minds about financing the reception.

I don't care whether you get married or not. As a conflict resolution professional, it stood out to me that you are -- at least in this thread -- working hard to save a few bucks for yourself but seem completely unfeeling about the huge amount of money your future family is dropping on your behalf, under (arguably) false pretenses. Think about how they might feel, and the emotional repercussions that might reverberate for a very long time to come if they feel hoodwinked. Is that really how you want to get your (non)marriage started?

Don't delay that conversation - that's all I'm saying.

DoubleDown

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Re: To Marry, or not to Marry, that is the question:
« Reply #52 on: February 25, 2013, 09:38:29 AM »
tl;dr -- The tax disadvantages of marrying are not always minor. Marrying cost us ~ $20,000/year in additional taxes.

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One particular disadvantage of marriage from a tax standpoint we discovered is the phaseout of certain deductions at a higher "Modified Adjusted Gross Income" (MAGI). We live in a very high cost of living area, and we both own rental property in our area with extremely high real estate prices. Although I've owned other rental properties, we didn't set out to be real estate investors in this case -- we had to convert our individual homes to rentals in order to combine our households.

But many of the deductions on writing off real estate expenses start phasing out at $100k MAGI and are eliminated entirely at $150k MAGI. Those limits have not been updated since the freakin' 1980's. And there is no consideration of the higher cost of living or value of the property, just a straight income limit no matter where you live. Which is pretty stupid, IMO, since a married couple in rural Kansas with an income of $150k and $900k in rental property would be considered exceedingly wealthy. But in SF or NYC, that would be a modest income with perhaps a single, 1-2 BR rental condo.

With our combined incomes, the year we got married the tax hit was gigantic -- to the tune of $20,000. We went from a $10,000 combined refund while single, to owing over $10,000 once married :-(

I went through it painstakingly, the difference was all attributed to exceeding the MAGI thresholds with our combined incomes. Being unmarried, we would have saved $20,000 (choosing a filing status of "married filing separately" doesn't work -- the IRS considers your combined incomes for MAGI purposes as long as you're legally married, filing status does not matter).

Spork

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Re: To Marry, or not to Marry, that is the question:
« Reply #53 on: February 25, 2013, 09:42:25 AM »
It doesn't offend me either as long as everyone is on board and happy.  And, like you, I probably wouldn't go to that much trouble -- but I don't really care if someone else does.

I'm more bothered by a couple that has a big (real) wedding, spends $20k+, gets lots of presents and divorces in a year than I would be by someone that had a big party and lived to be old and feeble together.  But I am non-religious, so that may come into play here, too.

Lagom

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Re: To Marry, or not to Marry, that is the question:
« Reply #54 on: February 25, 2013, 10:27:19 AM »
It doesn't offend me either as long as everyone is on board and happy.  And, like you, I probably wouldn't go to that much trouble -- but I don't really care if someone else does.

I'm more bothered by a couple that has a big (real) wedding, spends $20k+, gets lots of presents and divorces in a year than I would be by someone that had a big party and lived to be old and feeble together.  But I am non-religious, so that may come into play here, too.

You can get married by your church without getting married legally. Depending on the priorities of the family in general, that may be good enough. I mean, I personally don't consider my marriage license to be at all significant to the sanctity of my marriage, and I'm not even religious.


Nancy

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Re: To Marry, or not to Marry, that is the question:
« Reply #55 on: February 25, 2013, 10:45:59 AM »
I wonder why go through the expense of the wedding? If you know that you're committed for life and are independent thinkers, then why buy into weddings? (Disclaimer: I find no value in weddings and can't find a logical reason to have one, so I'd be interested in your reasons since you seem quite logical.)

I agree with you, I don't see any need to have the government or church sanction our relationship. I can enjoy a good party though. If I had my choice, we'd have a small wedding with maybe 20 people in a nice tranquil setting, but things got rolling pretty quickly once I proposed and believe it or not, they didn't consult me very much. When fighting societal norms, I think you have to pick your battles, for example, I didn't get a diamond, but I still got an engagement ring. This may be callous, but I have had to rationalize that a big wedding will approximately make up what we spend from gifts we receive (pretty close anyway since her parents are paying for a big chunk of the reception, and mine are funding the rehearsal dinner). People may also find it cheap of me to let them pay for it, but there's no way in hell I would drop that kind of money and noone asked me to in the first place. We will probably spend 7-8k on the miscellaneous stuff like photog, music, flowers, etc. We are in a good financial situation where we can afford a parentally subsidized wedding without putting ourselves in debt, but I'm right with you. I think it is bass akwards to say "yay lets start our life together by going into debt 30k for a one-day party" (20k-30k is the astonishing average cost of american weddings, considering average income is somewhere near 50k I think that is absolutely insane). Some people will point out that this sounds like my fiance and I want different things from the wedding and they'd be right, this is one aspect where we probably don't see eye to eye, but women grow up bombarded with ideas of fantasy weddings and us guys aren't subjected to it, so we just figure it out as we go along.

tl;dr they didn't ask me to pay for (all of) it

I'm sorry if I've opened you up to the ire of the Internet. I appreciate your honest answer, and to me, it shows that you are willing to do something that your fiancee wants because it is important to her even if it isn't the most frugal course of action. This is added proof that you aren't just doing things your way/out for yourself (adding to paying off her loans). Moreover, you clearly stated before that you are going to talk to her family about it. 

I don't understand why people-especially Mustachians who are used to bucking the norm-are so offended by your course of action. You are getting married in your hearts and in your minds, which will be recognized by your community of friends and family. What difference does it make that there is not a stamped legal document? It seems as though people have an irrational and emotional response to what constitutes a marriage and thus what is deserving of a wedding. Is it having a legal document or is it loving and taking care of the person with whom you wish to spend the rest of your life? I'm sorry that you've been personally attacked. I wish you the best of luck!

Paul der Krake

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Re: To Marry, or not to Marry, that is the question:
« Reply #56 on: February 25, 2013, 10:58:40 AM »
Except for the strong-worded 'cheapskate' comment earlier in the thread, I don't believe anybody is really attacking OP for thinking outside the box and gaming the system, at least certainly not me. If OP can pull it off, then hell yeah, that's awesome. As long as all involved parties understand what is going on, I see nothing unethical (see dedicated thread) about it, and I applaud you for, at the very least, for the effort that you have been putting in this thought experiment.

Just a friendly, slightly concerned netizen.

mcneally

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Re: To Marry, or not to Marry, that is the question:
« Reply #57 on: February 25, 2013, 11:38:35 AM »
Personally, I think the correct answer is "She should not marry YOU."

She should look for someone who cares more about her than about a dollar bill.

When you learn to care about a person more than money, you might be someone fit to marry.

That's over the line.

This is why every forum desperately needs a comment rating function, both to indicate the usefulness of advice, and to negate the need for multiple people to people to type out "SwordGuy, you're being a douche".

momo

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Re: To Marry, or not to Marry, that is the question:
« Reply #58 on: February 25, 2013, 11:41:21 AM »
Course11 is spot on. You're already having a hard time convincing a forum full of Mustachians. Do you think you can sell it to both your families? We obviously don't know your relatives and you are the best person to judge how, erm, 'progressive' they are, but I'm willing to bet that when word does get out, you are going to alienate quite a few people. Or you're one hell of a salesman.

I'm not really interested in that aspect of the question. I want to know why a couple with two high incomes would opt for legal marriage vs. staying legally unmarried from a purely legal pro/con standpoint. I'm not trying to convince anyone of anything.

@ FockerCRNA: For us the only reasons we'd consider getting married (something we discussed this past weekend actually) are due to the advanced medical directives and estate planning concerns. However as I mentioned in my earlier posts, I fully support adding a pre-nup prior to becoming legally married. For me that is a prerequisite and something many others are not comfortable with. My gf understands the merits and how it is ultimately practical for both of us. In her case she comes from a wealthy family and also has some personal debts that she does not want to be combined. One of many situational concerns that I raised previously.

FockerCRNA, I feel what you are planning is fine, as long as, the family and attending guests giving gifts are fully aware of the facts. I also completely agree it is not prudent to enter into a union already $20,000 in debt. You are doing the right thing by examining as many perspectives as possible involving marriage. Ultimately I hope your discussion with both sides of the family is openly received and generally supported. Good luck!
« Last Edit: February 25, 2013, 12:11:04 PM by Stashtastic Momo »

DoubleDown

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Re: To Marry, or not to Marry, that is the question:
« Reply #59 on: February 25, 2013, 02:10:22 PM »


I disagree strongly. Marriage is both an emotional and legal state, and not having a prenup simply assumes that you are OK with what your federal and state government has imposed on your legal marriage.


What a great way of stating things! That really is the whole point -- lack of a prenuptial agreement just leaves us to the "default" laws/precedents for our individual state of residence, which likely will not align with decisions we would have made had we thought about it and discussed. And state laws and norms vary wildly. It really makes no sense to leave such an important situation to default state laws. It's like dying without a will or investing in a business with someone with absolutely no legal contract or discussion. Hard to imagine leaving such important decisions up to some judges and lawyers (for a hefty fee to boot).

But hey, I'm sure

- No one will ever get divorced
- And when it does happen (never - see above), it will always be 100% friendly, with zero disagreements, and occur in a state where both sides know and agree with 100% of the laws and precedents </end sarcasm>

jnik

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Re: To Marry, or not to Marry, that is the question:
« Reply #60 on: February 26, 2013, 12:12:10 PM »
Separately it won't matter if you are in a common law state as once you co-habitat as a couple for certain amount of time you will automatically be considered a legal marriage.
This is a pretty common misconception. When I looked into it, in at least most states, you cannot get married "by accident." Legal recognition of a common-law relationship is available if the parties seek it, and it's less involved than marriage license/waiting period/signed by witnesses, but you can't be coerced into a marriage.