What about your partner?

It’s a question I’ve been asking myself a lot for quite a while. Being a single guy turning 22 in a couple of months and having family members constantly asking me ‘Don’t you have a girlfriend yet?’, one can start asking the questions of life.

During a FIRE-meetup last year I already talked about the topic of (frugal) girls with financialfreedomsloth. Some weeks ago, I stumbled upon a forum with discussions about marriage and financial arrangements. Long story short: often men got bashed for their financial ‘behaviour’ in marriage by women and very few people had any financial knowledge or knew how money works.

Some subjects that repeatedly saw the light:

  • Every euro/dollar you make in marriage, should be on a mutual bank account. No matter how much your partner makes. In case of divorce, you split 50/50.
  • Everything you have before marriage, becomes property of both partners in marriage (for instance a house).
  • An argument for the 2nd bullet was the following: if they divorce, one partner would have nothing (although the owner had to pay all the bills for the house and the not-owner could save up??).
  • From a different view, if one partner is ‘rich’ and the other ‘poor’, then how does the ‘rich’ one know for sure money is not the reason for a marriage?

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I can keep on going, but these were the main thoughts.

I think it’s easier to come to an arrangement if you found out about FIRE together. Both partners know the value of money and investments so there’s no leak in one’s hand.
But, still, there is always the possibility things go wrong. Did you take any measures as a couple or as an individual in case you break up? Any marriage clausules?

Very often my young age is an advantage, but not in this domain. Rowing against the flow of luxurious parties and money-flush events, I make offers in a financial way. Let me illustrate this: a lot of my friends go out to eat in restaurants a couple of times a week. I love doing this too, but not 3 times a week. First of all, it is expensive (ranging from €10 – €30 each time) and secondly, it would become too mainstream so it would bring less joy when I actually do go. This implies a small part of social isolation, but luckily enough I make this up in other domains. ‘Normal’ students don’t go out to eat 3x a week either…

My hobbies are either free or cheap. I don’t have expensive horses to take care for or like to get €80 haircuts + €60 manicures. Everyone chooses his own lifestyle of course…

On the other hand, I like owning things. I really really do. I simply love it. It aren’t really materialistic things like brand watches or design furniture, but stocks. I adore the idea of being owner of a business. Knowing more than 2 million people get out of their beds everyday to work for my cause makes me feel like a king. At this very moment I’m looking at a box of Nesquik and realizing I own shares of the company (Nestlé). It’s an awesome feeling. Knowing that you contributed in a financial way by buying stocks and knowing that you will (hopefully) be rewarded with value creation in the long run. Enjoying a drink in a bar and seeing someone having a Stella Artois, makes me smile. “Yeah bro, that’s “my” company providing the beer!”

If I would tell this to most of my friends, they wouldn’t understand shit. That’s ok. It just turns out that my passion for stocks is a profitable one.

Now, this turns into a small problem… To buy stocks, you need money. It’s pretty hard to manage a portfolio with a partner who you have to explain everything and convince. It’s either my way or no way. I’m only this stubborn concerning stocks and portfolio management. Don’t worry, I do know how to compromise in other subjects. (Tip: glasses of wine can help)

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Now the biggest issue: buying a house with your partner. To buy a house, you need tons of money (especially in Belgium, expensive as fuck). This would imply selling stocks because I won’t buy much with €800 cash (additional possibility is the €22k piggy bank). It’s impossible to estimate the net worth of a future partner, but I guess I’m a bit unique in my investing habit and net worth age-wise. I’m a bit afraid any partner would like to use all available money to buy a house. This would mean an unequal share in the invested capital in a house. Having a job in which percentages of divorce are pretty high, I don’t want to take any risks.

For this reason, I need some opinions. I never told any girlfriend any exact numbers, but I did say I invested in stocks. Would you rather not even do this? I was thinking about not even telling anything at all and just count the cash + piggy bank as available capital. It feels a bit like lying. Unfortunately, it would also be awkward after a couple of years announcing you can FIRE. “Hey honey, I’ve got enough dividends to live off. Enjoy work today!”

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Another point why I don’t want to converse my stocks into cash for a house: low mortgage intrest rates. At current rates of +- 2%, I do make a hell of a lot more even with very safe high risk/reward options (5-6%). Opportunity cost > mortgage cost –> maximize mortgage to maximize gains. Good luck explaining this.

Anyways, so far my questions/doubts/views on the matter.

What about you and do you have any financial arrangements?

 

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18 thoughts on “What about your partner?

  1. ambertreeleaves

    Good picture. I will show to my girls!

    When we married, i had more assets than my wife.
    As long as we were early stage lovebirds, it was not mentioned. When we got serious and decided to buy a house together, we started to discuss the subject and found an arrangement.

    At this stage, i have more equity in the house than she has. Would we divorce, i have no idea how to fix this. My personal assets are in an account on my name.

    Would I be you, i would not mention it the first months. You might need to spend a little more (a gentleman pays diner). Once you start to be more serious, try to find an angle to bring on the concept of FIRE. In my experience, the focus should not be savings rate, rather the freedom to do what you want. A good start could be: what is important to you in life. What do you value most…

    All the best in finding the right one!

    Like

  2. financialfreedomsloth

    it is a very important decision but it seems you are over analyzing this. It is one of these important life decisions where one has a lot less control over than one thinks one can have. Being in my forties now, I think most of my friends (and me included) ended up with a partner (and a quit happy ‘ending up with’) whom in our twenties would not have registered on our radar. You are young and fit, go have some fun!!

    Like

  3. DD

    Date nr 1, I asked her ideal life without limitations.
    Date nr 2, I said something these inspiring bloggers going 4 FIRE. Even explained the SWR.
    Date nr 3, planned next week. Srry lov, I only have tap water. 22 degrees, are you mental?

    Liked by 1 persoon

      • DD

        I think there are a lot of lady’s out there who admire ambition. You even got a blog for god sake 🙂 But then again I’m single.

        Money is a controversial topic so it’s something sensitive. I probebly came over as cheap, bragging, naive or making ends meet. I’m convinced I’m better of online for sharing this FIRE vision. Although it should be great if you’re in this together.

        Like

      • When Do You Retire?

        True indeed, money is very controversial. People normally don’t like to talk about it. Probably because they don’t want to face reality or just don’t care. Can’t understand both, but as you mention it: sometimes it’s better to just share ideas online with other FIRE hunters.

        Like

  4. arakelian

    Okok, but do you marry me? : D 😀
    joooking!
    I am the only lady to comment (yet, here) so I feel that I need to “well represent” the better half of the society: ladies. I am married, and more focused than my husband in the path of financial freedom. Every lady has his own passions, mine are not the shoes :D. Our daughter is more focused in ethic production, with questions like: “a leather bag – it is ok for that animal? “it is this friendly with the environment? etc” – so you see, there is hope for the humanity.
    I can tell you that a partner is found like any friend, because a partner is first a friend and then a partner. I have friends like me: I will meet at lunch time, a friend involved in same attitude (and a “passive reader of your blog”) and both we will have a lunch box (as usual). And yesterday I invited at me several friends: with 3 cakes (cooked by me) and a lemonade (cooked by me) and 2 Jupiler (from Delhaize) and some coffee I had some nice hours to stay toghether ( costs up to 15 euro for 10 persons – I think a cheap sunday). Me and my husband still enjoy the city trip with sandwiches or tent holidays in montains, and we dream at retirement to do more volunteer (me for children in need and ecology and nature, my husband is inspired by his Dutch volunteer from Anwerpen who coordinates some activities for new comers in Belgium).

    You can keep you finances separately. Or you can decide to help her to learn. Or maybe you will have to learn from her. Or maybe will be another lady. Any path is a possible path, enjoy the days – the summers is coming and activities can be done outside without concept of expensive dates (walk in parks, sea side, sport, biking together, museums, expositions, friends night party at home etc.). Enjoy the moment.

    Don’t forget that we are special: 80% of people are consumerists and planning the today and 20% are thinking on long and very long terms. For me, you are most special person in this path: 20 years old and 80% savings (at my 20s I was just deciding what makeup to use next night and to choose what club 😀 and struggling with mornings at university after 3-4 hours of sleep 😀 😀 – at the meeting in Anwerpen I told to someone else that I am admiring you ).

    Like

    • When Do You Retire?

      Haha, thanks for the kind words!

      It’s awesome to see how people develop their own path of life, like how your daughter is being responsible with the environment.

      I agree gatherings with friends shouldn’t always be expensive! The best things in life hardly cost any money…

      I regret not being able to participate in the Antwerpen meeting, work occupied me abroad. Another day perhaps!

      Greetings

      Liked by 1 persoon

  5. Mattias

    A couple of comments:
    “Every euro/dollar you make in marriage, should be on a mutual bank account. No matter how much your partner makes. In case of divorce, you split 50/50.”
    -> only under the default matrimonial system; you may chose for separation of assets. In that case you keep the euro/dollar you make, but you should still contribute to the joint expenses (obviously)
    “Everything you have before marriage, becomes property of both partners in marriage (for instance a house).”
    – that is not even true under the default matrimonial system. Prior goods remain the property of the prior owner but these should be specified. These goods might be a house, stock portfolio, whatever. The yield of those goods (de vruchten) will be joint in the default system. So this could be complicated for your DGI portfolio, in particular if dividends are reinvested.

    Like

  6. Troy

    I’ve pretty much made up my mind to never get married. For starters, I don’t think I’m one of those guys who are good at staying with one girl. I like “variety”. In addition, I feel like divorce courts favor women over men. I don’t see why I should pay 50% to a person that I don’t love anymore.

    Liked by 1 persoon

  7. Adam Jeffs

    It’s a tricky subject and one I’ve had to go through with my new girlfriend. My ex wife and I had similar income and had met young so it was never really an issue but my girlfriend and I had to have the money conversation early on as I earn significantly more (about 4 times) and she was insisting she pay for half of everything (which don’t get me wrong is admirable) which wasn’t realistic. We now live together and She pays half the food and contributes a nominal amount to other bills. When we go out she’ll say pay for the bus fare and I’ll pay for dinner. As long as someone isn’t taking a free ride it’s fine

    Like

    • When Do You Retire?

      Hi Adam,

      It’s really admirable of your girlfriend wanting to pay her half. It proves she’s not with you for the money. Finding a decent agreement in which both parties feel comfortable are good fundamentals for a strong relationship.

      Like

  8. Team CF

    My best advise, start early on the money talk and be honest what you expect financially in the relationship. You don’t have to divulge everything right off the bet, but some clarity on how you handle money is very good. Saves you from a financial and emotional headache!

    Liked by 1 persoon

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