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Old 06-18-2011, 10:37 AM   #41
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I listen to Dave Ramsey most days. He regularly lambastes the following:

1. People living together who keep combined finances.
2. Married couples who keep separate finances.
3. Pre-nuptial agreements. He says this is planning for failure.
Legal ownership and management on paper seem to be getting more and more confused due to the laws governing a) 2 people unmarried living together and b) 2 people legally married, still living together or not. And then we can of course get tangled up by some states' community property laws.

The legal community has taken what used to be pretty crystal clear about separate vs joint marital property, when 2 people are married or not, and of course the Spouse Equity Act of 1984 at the federal level gets intertwined with state property ownership laws.

I think I'll stay single. Mr B and I could exchange vows without applying for the marriage license.

As for pre-nups, these are critical when the pre-marital separate assets are uneven. NOT having a pre-nuptial agreement to clearly identify the ownership of those separate assets is a recipe for disaster. Ask any divorced or widowed person who remarries, with children from a previous marriage. State law varies on this issue, so YMMV.
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Old 06-18-2011, 10:37 AM   #42
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I live in an "ours and hers" relationship.
Same thing here:
"What is yours is mine and what is mine, is mine alone".

No. Just kidding.
We have been married for 40+ years and started with nothing. So, everything that we have, we own jointly. Of course, we have separate IRA's and 401k's but all our accounts are combined jointly in our NW calculations. We have our own savings account and credit cards. She has her own checking account and she shares another checking account with me. There are no issues on who pays what and who buys what. In the end, it is ours.
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Old 06-18-2011, 10:56 AM   #43
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Originally Posted by freebird5825 View Post
Legal ownership and management on paper seem to be getting more and more confused due to the laws governing 2 people living together unmarried and legally married, still living together or not. And then we can of course get tangled up by some states' community property laws.

The legal community has taken what used to be pretty crystal clear about separate vs joint marital property, when 2 people are married or not, and of course the Spouse Equity Act of 1984 at the federal level gets intertwined with state property ownership laws.

I think I'll stay single. Mr B and I could exchange vows without applying for the marriage license.
+1. In some states, including mine, cohabitation is also a danger zone. No matter how separate both parties think their finances are, under some circumstances one can't be sure.

Family lawyers have have an amazing ability to shoot holes even in fairly well thought out plans.

Regarding Dave Ramsey's ideas and his "planning for failure" criticism of prenups, at least to me he got 2 out of 3 right. We get annoyed at TEPCO because they didn't adequately plan for failure, and we got Fukushima. How much more likely is a divorce than the Fukushima events?

I would say any prospective bride or groom should first ask themselves- would I be the winner or loser if this marriage went south and my loving spouse went to town on me?

If s/he is sure to be the winner, go on and get married. If likely to be the loser, don't get married, or if marriage is strongly desired get the tightest prenup that can be had.

Ha
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Old 06-18-2011, 12:24 PM   #44
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+1. In some states, including mine, cohabitation is also a danger zone. No matter how separate both parties think their finances are, under some circumstances one can't be sure.

Family lawyers have have an amazing ability to shoot holes even in fairly well thought out plans.

Ha
Tell me about it...when ex-dh2b moved in with me at my invitation back in 2005, I had him sign a Cost Share Agreement after I read the NOLO legal book about cohabitiating. I covered myself to the max.
I was getting my Revoacable Trust done at the same time, and my attorney spent a lot of time going over the "women in my position" stuff with me. He minced no words about gold-diggers trying to latch onto "rich widows".
I was told to NEVER allow ANYONE to get a "vested interest" in my home by financially contributing to upgrades, maintenance, or taxes. I showed the attorney the already signed Cost Share Agrement and he heartily approved.
Fast forward in time...our relationship ended in 2010 and sure enough, ex-dh2b wrote me an email claiming that he had helped pay for a bathroom remodel and an electrical panel upgrade while he lived with me in my house. My very abbreviated email response essentially was "show me the receipts, then we'll talk".
Every single payment for those projects had been executed with my personal checks, out of my separate account. Have a nice day

Moral of the story? Keep records of all payments which must be made solely by you to prevent claims of "vested interest" down the road if things go south.
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Old 06-18-2011, 03:19 PM   #45
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I think I'll stay single. Mr B and I could exchange vows without applying for the marriage license.

You can always have a commitment ceremony !
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Old 06-18-2011, 03:48 PM   #46
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You can always have a commitment ceremony !
Now, now. Just because they like each other doesn't mean they need to be committed.
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Old 06-18-2011, 04:00 PM   #47
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You can always have a commitment ceremony !
You know, I think that is exactly what we will do. I like that idea.

I would marry him in a heartbeat, but...given the legal climate for second marriages, and the fact that he has children, stops me cold. I've seen too many live examples of how this does NOT w*rk when it comes to perceptions of who gets what if a remarried parent passes.

I'm fine by myself financially. I do not need benefits or support from him. Neither does he, in both areas.

But heirs can become a sticking point, and I just don't want the drama. I fully expect to outlive him, given the age difference and his family medical history. What I do NOT want is to be pulled into any sort of legal battles with his kids. I had enough problems with my late husband's family, even though his Will was crystal clear.

Call me a cynic, but life's tougher lessons have a habit of sticking with me.
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Old 06-18-2011, 04:55 PM   #48
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I had enough problems with my late husband's family, even though his Will was crystal clear.

Call me a cynic, but life's tougher lessons have a habit of sticking with me.
You are able to communicate them to us quite well also. Nothing like tales of survivors.

How about the gall of former-DH2B?

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Old 06-18-2011, 05:08 PM   #49
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You are able to communicate them to us quite well also. Nothing like tales of survivors.

How about the gall of former-DH2B?

Ha
A man like that needs to get up VERY early in the morning to get anything past Miss Freebird.
A valuable lesson learned for me, but even tougher lesson for him, if you think about it for a moment.
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Old 06-18-2011, 06:33 PM   #50
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I just realized I am guilty of a thread hijack. Sorry about that, folks.
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Old 06-18-2011, 09:12 PM   #51
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Been married to my DW for 33 years we never considered separate accounts. It has been a team effort with good results. Our kids go the individual route maybe its a generational thing.
+1 but only 30 years. Ashamed to say it never crossed my mind to think of it individually. I like joint better - the numbers are bigger and better.
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Old 06-18-2011, 10:32 PM   #52
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I calculate separately. Married 19 years ...we have a blended family with children on both sides....which has it's financial challenges. Our youngest children were young (4 and 5) when we married. Plus we have a post marital agreement ( there were reasons!)
Periodically I'll mentally add his number to the "number" but not routinely.
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Old 06-19-2011, 07:25 AM   #53
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Regarding Dave Ramsey's ideas and his "planning for failure" criticism of prenups, at least to me he got 2 out of 3 right. We get annoyed at TEPCO because they didn't adequately plan for failure, and we got Fukushima. How much more likely is a divorce than the Fukushima events?
+1 Not that I have a prenup now - when we got married I had no assets; DW should have demanded the prenup. But, if DW died I wouldn't even think about remarrying without a prenup. We have our assets separated for estate purposes and they go into trusts after death. Not only do the trusts provide some protection from the surviving spouse giving it away, they make sure the inheritance stays with our kids if their spouse divorce them (the so called "bimbo" clause). Even with all that I suspect a good divorce lawyer can still shake things up.
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Old 06-19-2011, 07:38 AM   #54
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I just realized I am guilty of a thread hijack. Sorry about that, folks.
No problem - at least with me ...

Often when we speak of the past, and that "past" was non-traditional in nature (i.e. not the norm) we let our "past injustices" be reflected in our postings.

Heck, today is another "Hallmark Holiday" (Father's Day) - which is a "laugh" in my view. My father? A real POS (long story, that won't be spoken here). In addition to him, his wife (my mother) was an "enabler" that allowed him to get away with stuff that most folks would find highly abnormal, and suffered from a condition of "egocentrism" in which others (e.g. his family members) needed to support him in his every want/need. And if not? He would beat them into submission.

I understand that the past will haunt you - quite possibly till the end of life.

Call us "survivors" ...
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Old 07-09-2011, 12:58 AM   #55
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We started 20+ years ago with very little except the equity I had in an apartment, which was our down payment on our first home. Everything since then has been shared and our net worth is also. BTW, I've always wondered if you can call a couple a millionaire if they only have one million between two people?!

It drives Wells Fargo mad when we call up and ask about each others accounts, although we have power of attorney on each other. They seem to think we should keep it separate!
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Old 07-09-2011, 07:26 AM   #56
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We started 20+ years ago with very little except the equity I had in an apartment, which was our down payment on our first home. Everything since then has been shared and our net worth is also. BTW, I've always wondered if you can call a couple a millionaire if they only have one million between two people?!

It drives Wells Fargo mad when we call up and ask about each others accounts, although we have power of attorney on each other. They seem to think we should keep it separate!
I don't think you can call a couple "a" millionaire just because they have a million between them in today's day and age. Women work and contribute substantially to the marital household, even if they work part time to take care of the kids. As such, a million dollars for a married couple with kids (who may be out of the house) isn't that much these days.
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Old 07-09-2011, 08:27 AM   #57
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If the couple keeps joint accounts, they are millionaires. In many if not most of the world, family wealth has historically been used to measure economic status. We plan on our money being passed to our child and grandchild and if they steward their family wealth, on and on. Depending on where and how you go, a million IS a lot of money. I think the Japanese have a good way of thinking across generations.
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Old 07-09-2011, 07:07 PM   #58
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If the couple keeps joint accounts, they are millionaires. In many if not most of the world, family wealth has historically been used to measure economic status. We plan on our money being passed to our child and grandchild and if they steward their family wealth, on and on. Depending on where and how you go, a million IS a lot of money. I think the Japanese have a good way of thinking across generations.
Not disagreeing with you on the concept of family wealth. However, when you look at things objectively, each spouse only has $500k individually. This isn't very much if they're each 60+ years old and looking to retire. If they also have a mortgage-free house worth $400-$600k and plan on downsizing, then they're approaching a better number. Naturally, this doesn't include very low-cost-of-living areas, 3rd world countries, etc...
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Old 07-09-2011, 07:43 PM   #59
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A glass half full or half empty? A million doesn't buy as much as it once did, but for a LBYM who lives in or is willing to relocate to a moderate to low cost area, it offers basic but solid security. For myself, I don't think of home worth as part of wealth.
I see properties in expensive areas that sell for half a million and shake my head in amazement. I live in Iowa, a mid to low cost area. A million here is more than enough. I still work anyway. Oops, w**k is what I meant to say.
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Old 07-10-2011, 07:30 AM   #60
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Costs are split, either based the ratio of our incomes or 50/50, depending on the nature of the expense. Shared expenses are discussed ahead of time and require mutual approval.

Once we each meet those shared expenses, financial obligation to one another ends. I could buy a sports car without critcism, she a hot tub. We often go in together on something fun, like a trip or a new camera.
This is also the way we operate. Except DW does not give a flip about NW or finance in general.
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