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Old 05-06-2013, 05:48 PM   #61
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I can see where this is going, RB. Just as Khan always says "If women are supposed to be 'this way,' I am obviously not a woman," Mr. A. must not (despite all biological and empirical evidence) really be a man. So we're a not-woman married to a not-man. I guess we are violating the Defense of Marriage Act in all sorts of directions - whooppee!

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He just seems that way. He probably can't even look at himself in the mirror.
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Old 05-07-2013, 08:16 AM   #62
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As far as needing permission to go buy something... our way of dealing with it is less about permission, as discussion. We both have the freedom to spend about $200 on something that's none typical (groceries, etc are recurring and don't need discussion - but a new car or a new computer should be discussed.) The discussion isn't typically about yes/no... it's about which account to use to pay for it - and make sure the other person doesn't also have a big ticket purchase planned. We pay off our credit cards each month - so cash flow needs to be managed.
That's about how it works here - less about "asking permission" and more about coordination and management of the resources we have available to the enjoyment of both.

While our priorities are closely aligned that does not mean they are identical. But there has to be room for each to have some individual spending for no other reason than "I want it".

To do otherwise would (I think) be in effect saying "I'm gonna use all of our financial resources to do what I wanna do and I don't care what you think about it". It says the other half of the marriage doesn't matter.

When that happens, call the divorce lawyer.
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Old 05-07-2013, 05:25 PM   #63
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I cringe when I hear friends of mine talk about having to ask each others' permission to spend their own money on things they want. And it doesn't just extend to finances, sometimes it's non-financial things, such as going out with friends one night.
I am just sort of bemused by this and by your posts on this. I mean the concept of asking DH "permission" to do anything is really foreign to me and to him as well. I was almost 38 when I got married and he was mid-40s. So I had been on my own for many years when he got married.

And, yet, we've basically ended up sharing everything financially. I made a larger salary than he did, but his employment had much better benefits, especially retirement benefits. So I always felt it was an equal financial relationship.

So while we have joint accounts, we each month allocate amount to each of us as spending money and then we allocate another pot of money to each of us for "Personal." The Personal account is things like clothes, haircuts and other personal care items. The Spending money is our fun stuff that isn't otherwise accounted for. We buy our personal computers out of it, books, or anything that isn't otherwise budgeted. The thing about the Spending Money and Personal is that once that money is allocated in the budget it is considered "spent" so I could care less what he spends his on and he feels the same about mine. I might ask his opinion on a large purchase because I value his opinion (for example when I bought a gaming computer) but I buy whatever I wanted and he would buy what he wanted.

The amount in the spending money account has nothing to do with who earned the money, we usually allocate the same to each of us with a few rare exceptions

Now - for non-spending money/personal money I would never ask DH's permission to spend something (he is my husband, not my dad) and vice versa. However, I consider our marriage a partnership where we each have a common goal. So we would discuss large purchases to see how they fit within our common goal. At the end of the day, either one of us would compromise for things that are important to the other person, and we would always work to resolve any differences we might have. Again - not a matter of permission, but of working out something that works for both of us. That usually isn't difficult to do since we agree on our common goals.
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Old 05-07-2013, 06:07 PM   #64
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Originally Posted by Amethyst View Post
I can see where this is going, RB. Just as Khan always says "If women are supposed to be 'this way,' I am obviously not a woman," Mr. A. must not (despite all biological and empirical evidence) really be a man. So we're a not-woman married to a not-man. I guess we are violating the Defense of Marriage Act in all sorts of directions - whooppee!
But you are aware that Mr. A is having his man card revoked, correct? That's a pretty big deal.
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Old 05-07-2013, 07:10 PM   #65
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I am just wondering why it is that marriage seems to cost more than living single according to the people on this board? I consistently read things like 'if I hadn't gotten married I'd have saved xx,' or 'I'm not married, so I'm able to save xy.'

I am not at that phase in my life, but I've been living with my partner for two years now and things seems to be much cheaper when we're together, while we're earning more combined. Is that just because we're young? Are those posts about the kid factor?

I'm just struggling to comprehend that aspect of the whole deal.
Just take in more money than you spend. You can have all the kids/lovers and things you want. Live within your means.
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Old 05-08-2013, 07:44 PM   #66
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Not that all married people are parents, and not that all parents are married, but FWIW here's a survey showing that Canadians think moms' work is worth $161,287 (CDN) per year. Happy Mother's Day if you are one!

Canadians Say Mom's Role Is Worth Over $160,000 Per Year - WSJ.com
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Old 05-08-2013, 08:24 PM   #67
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My wife and I are 59, married 40 years. She was pretty "traditional" and didn't have a full "career", but rather (from HER perspective) worked "to help out" or to buy "extras". She was absolutely the frugal one when we started. As I grew to appreciate the LBYM lifestyle and became more frugal myself, we have done well. Not necessarily done WITHOUT, just different. Low impact living. When we started out, ANY expenditure (groceries included) above about $5 needed to be cleared with the other. That is how poor we were. I worked full time at odd jobs putting myself thru college (CPA, MBA). We simply continued that "respect" for one another. Now we feel that cash is getting low if the checking dips below several thousand dollars. She wanted a BMW Z-4. I was MORE THEN WILLING to go brand spanking new. She found one coming off lease, 3 yrs old, 16,000 miles (IIRC) for half price. That is the kind of gal she is. She DOES take an inordinate amount of time to dress, from my perspective. And seems to care more about her shoes than I can ever understand, but hey... without HER, I would be nowhere near where I am today. And I tell her so.
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Old 05-08-2013, 08:48 PM   #68
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I've never understood the marriage penalty. JMO
In a nutshell, the marriage penalty is like almost every other program the government has. It is based on the ability to pay. Two people living together share common expenses and generally live cheaper than an individual. They have more disposable income than two singles living separately, so they can afford to pay more taxes.

Today, of course, there is not that much correlation between being married and cohabitating. You have to think back to the era when the marriage penalty started.
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Old 05-09-2013, 10:16 PM   #69
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Married for almost 30 years, had separate bank accounts at one point, but it was more trouble than it was worth. Much cheaper than living separately, if you ignore the expense of kids; two households with kids would have been a blow that more than cancelled out the "marriage penalty." I think every marriage decides on rules on spending and the like--I bought two used fly rods without discussion this month but with both boys graduated and both of us working the money does not need to be scrutinized as we had to do in the past. She's going to Kilimanjaro later in the summer with the oldest's girlfriend's mother, so it all balances out.
I would not be within reach of early retirement in a year or two or three without marriage; I can write that with 98% confidence.
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Old 05-09-2013, 10:29 PM   #70
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If he admits this, he needs to turn in his man card.
It's one of the finer English comic novels of the early 1900s, with the exception of Waugh's work.
The movie isn't bad, either--the actor who plays Mr. Emerson, Denholm Elliot, is very, very good.
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Old 05-09-2013, 10:50 PM   #71
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I thought the saying was "Birds of a feather flock together"?
That applies to friends, not marriages.
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Old 05-10-2013, 02:48 AM   #72
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Allow me to rant and be politically incorrect for a minute. Im 31 and never been married, never even been close. I just dont think its going to happen for me, and the reason for that is my risk-adverse nature.

Fortunately...or unfortunately...nah Im going to go with fortunately... I decided that money and wealth creation was a goal of mine from a relatively early age. (And it really is amazing how few of us there really are) Money was my first love. Its always been there for me, it follows a specific set of rules, and I understand it. Women on the other hand.... yeah.

Those of you who are happily married (or who have a SO who contributes proportionally, and is on board) are lucky. Those of you who were fortunate enough to find a life partner back when you were broke should be extremely thankful. I had my opportunities in high school and college, but I missed them. Kick myself everyday reading ex-girlfriends facebook posts about how enjoyable their married life is today. Cant change the past, but it really is one of my biggest regrets, and now Im jaded as heck.

Now I have a quarter million dollar net worth (which required some serious LBYM) and live in one of the poorest parts of the country. Finding someone with even a fraction of a mindset for personal finance is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Even if I do find her, she will likely have suitors from every angle, as men (even men in relationships) have a tendency to try to "upgrade" if you will. I hate that. But it is what it is. There is way too much competition from people who shouldnt even be involved.

That being said, for whatever reason I still look at marriage as a business partnership. It would be extremely gut-wrenching for me to marry a woman with a net-worth that is half of mine no matter how much I love her. (and of course I say this having never been in love) Not to mention a waitress with no earnings potential, with kids and student loans who still wont give me a chance to take her out on a date because shes playing the "Im pretty" card and waiting for a more handsome man to come sweep her off her feet.

Whatever.

Call me bitter if you want and I wont argue. But young single folks who havent found their love after accumulating a nice pile of assets, are putting themselves into quite a predicament when they eventually do find someone (who doesnt post on the ER boards) who wants marriage, kids, a white picket fence, and half of your assets if you are one of the unlucky 50%.

Its quite a conundrum. Love or money. Ive always chosen money, but Ive never been in love.

I dont know what I would do if I lost half of my assets in a divorce to a woman who decided she didnt love me anymore or whatever. But the fact that its a possibility makes me promise that its not going to happen to me.

Blessing or curse?

I havent decided.
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Old 05-10-2013, 09:28 AM   #73
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Mill, you would need a pre-nup. If the lady won't sign it, don't put a ring on it, and make sure she won't be entitled to half your assets or some portion of your earnings if you cohabit.

But seriously, cohabiting is totally the way to go at first. Relatively low risk, potentially great reward, and the transaction costs for either maintaining the relationship or terminating the relationship are relatively low.
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Old 05-10-2013, 10:38 AM   #74
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Allow me to rant and be politically incorrect for a minute. Im 31 and never been married, never even been close. I just dont think its going to happen for me, and the reason for that is my risk-adverse nature.
....
Frankly, I did not consider this post to be particularly politically incorrect; but, that may be because I am of a very similar mindset in many ways. And, I am still trying to decide if this is a blessing or curse myself.

When I was much younger, I worried about being one of those lonely old elderly men with no one left in his life. Then, as I got older, I worried more about being one of those old men stuck in a marriage with no love, respect or even friendship at the end.

FUEGO gives good advice regarding both pre-nup and cohabiting; but, remember that neither of these is a cure all.

I have no real advice; I just wanted you to know that you are not completely alone in you attitude. At over 10 years older than you, I am still asking myself the same questions; but, my net worth does continue to grow while I wrestle with these feelings.
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Old 05-10-2013, 10:38 AM   #75
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^^ Mill, very insightful post - thanks for posting!

And I agree, and can identify with, many of your points. As a kid, I grew up in a solidly middle-class (perhaps lower middle class) family from a financial perspective. My parents grew up in the Great Depression, and didn't have the skills to earn large amounts of money, plus they were loath to spend money on anything that could be considered luxury, or anywhere close to it.

Even as a kid, I fully understood the value of a dollar. I knew what a thousand dollars was, and about how much it would buy, and what it would allow you to do. Same with $10,000, and $100,000, and even $1,000,000. I understood at a very young age that I didn't want money for money's sake because money was just a tool. I wanted money for the options and freedom it gave you.

Unfortunately, even though I understood this about money, I was never good at saving any. My parents were so thrifty and frugal, that I grew up the opposite. If I wanted something, I bought it. I always lived for today, not tomorrow, so was never good at saving. I was doing pretty well, and had a stockpile, when I started the real estate thing a few years ago, but lost it all and started at zero again, back in 2007.

And I agree with your points about finding a relationship pre- and post-FIRE. I've been so unwilling to have to compromise in my personal life (since I have to all day long in my professional life), that I've been unwilling to take on a relationship in the past. I can't get past this feeling that once I'm off the job, my time is my own and nobody else's. I don't like being on anybody else's schedule once I come home.

Not sure I can transition out of that frame of mind if I can retire. Plus, if I do manage to get a windfall in the next couple years, there is zero chance I will ever put it at risk because of a relationship. Nobody will ever have access to my finances, or be able to hurt me financially. I simply won't allow it. If I ever did get married, I still wouldn't hand over "the key to the vault" (so to speak), and a pre-nup would be required.

I don't think I could help but always feel guarded if I let somebody get that close to me, especially after seeing family members go through horrible relationships and divorces. I don't think I could escape that nagging thought in my head that somebody's out to take advantage of me. Sad to say, but true.
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Old 05-10-2013, 01:17 PM   #76
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Ben Franklin has a few thoughts on this matter:

“frugality is an enriching virtue,” ..... “a virtue I could never acquire in myself.” ......... “I was lucky enough to find it in a wife, who thereby became a fortune to me.”
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Old 05-10-2013, 02:15 PM   #77
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There are two schools of thought on marriage from a financial perspective.

One school of thought says that from a financial perspective marriage is too risky, that the benefits of marriage are simply not worth the risk that you may lose half your savings in a messy divorce, so it's better to stay single, or co-habitate.

The other school of thought acknowledges the financial risks of marriage, but thinks that the benefits of marriage outweigh the financial risks, and the financial risks can be mitigated by carefully selecting a partner who shares your financial outlook and goals, and by using a prenup.

There is nothing wrong with either view... we are all entitled to our opinions, and to live our lives the way we think is best. I happen to agree with the second school of thought, and I am reminded of the words to the Whitney Houston song "Run to you"....


Each day, each day I play the role
Of someone always in control
But at night I come home and turn the key
There's nobody there, no one cares for me

Oh what's the sense
Of trying hard to find your dreams
Without someone to share it with
Tell me what does it mean?

WHITNEY HOUSTON - RUN TO YOU LYRICS.
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Old 05-10-2013, 05:58 PM   #78
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[QUOTE=JustCurious;1318128]
Oh what's the sense
Of trying hard to find your dreams
Without someone to share it with
Tell me what does it mean?

It is certainly a narrow view that only a wife or husband can be someone to share with.

Ha
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Old 05-10-2013, 08:47 PM   #79
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Originally Posted by AWeinel
My wife and I are 59, married 40 years. She was pretty "traditional" and didn't have a full "career", but rather (from HER perspective) worked "to help out" or to buy "extras". She was absolutely the frugal one when we started. As I grew to appreciate the LBYM lifestyle and became more frugal myself, we have done well. Not necessarily done WITHOUT, just different. Low impact living. When we started out, ANY expenditure (groceries included) above about $5 needed to be cleared with the other. That is how poor we were. I worked full time at odd jobs putting myself thru college (CPA, MBA). We simply continued that "respect" for one another. Now we feel that cash is getting low if the checking dips below several thousand dollars. She wanted a BMW Z-4. I was MORE THEN WILLING to go brand spanking new. She found one coming off lease, 3 yrs old, 16,000 miles (IIRC) for half price. That is the kind of gal she is. She DOES take an inordinate amount of time to dress, from my perspective. And seems to care more about her shoes than I can ever understand, but hey... without HER, I would be nowhere near where I am today. And I tell her so.
I love that...big smile
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Old 05-10-2013, 08:54 PM   #80
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Originally Posted by Mill
Allow me to rant and be politically incorrect for a minute. Im 31 and never been married, never even been close. I just dont think its going to happen for me, and the reason for that is my risk-adverse nature.

Fortunately...or unfortunately...nah Im going to go with fortunately... I decided that money and wealth creation was a goal of mine from a relatively early age. (And it really is amazing how few of us there really are) Money was my first love. Its always been there for me, it follows a specific set of rules, and I understand it. Women on the other hand.... yeah.

Those of you who are happily married (or who have a SO who contributes proportionally, and is on board) are lucky. Those of you who were fortunate enough to find a life partner back when you were broke should be extremely thankful. I had my opportunities in high school and college, but I missed them. Kick myself everyday reading ex-girlfriends facebook posts about how enjoyable their married life is today. Cant change the past, but it really is one of my biggest regrets, and now Im jaded as heck.

Now I have a quarter million dollar net worth (which required some serious LBYM) and live in one of the poorest parts of the country. Finding someone with even a fraction of a mindset for personal finance is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Even if I do find her, she will likely have suitors from every angle, as men (even men in relationships) have a tendency to try to "upgrade" if you will. I hate that. But it is what it is. There is way too much competition from people who shouldnt even be involved.

That being said, for whatever reason I still look at marriage as a business partnership. It would be extremely gut-wrenching for me to marry a woman with a net-worth that is half of mine no matter how much I love her. (and of course I say this having never been in love) Not to mention a waitress with no earnings potential, with kids and student loans who still wont give me a chance to take her out on a date because shes playing the "Im pretty" card and waiting for a more handsome man to come sweep her off her feet.

Whatever.

Call me bitter if you want and I wont argue. But young single folks who havent found their love after accumulating a nice pile of assets, are putting themselves into quite a predicament when they eventually do find someone (who doesnt post on the ER boards) who wants marriage, kids, a white picket fence, and half of your assets if you are one of the unlucky 50%.

Its quite a conundrum. Love or money. Ive always chosen money, but Ive never been in love.

I dont know what I would do if I lost half of my assets in a divorce to a woman who decided she didnt love me anymore or whatever. But the fact that its a possibility makes me promise that its not going to happen to me.

Blessing or curse?

I havent decided.

I think the very important quote from the above is |

Its quite a conundrum. Love or money. Ive always chosen money, but Ive never been in love.

If it does happen to you, and I hope it does, you will not recognize yourself, in my very humble opinion. The rational mind is no match for a mind in love
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