I’m on fire! I’m 34 and I’m from Connecticut and I’ve been dating my girlfriend, whom I love, for two years. I am considering getting married, but I am having financial problems.

I have been participating in the FIRE movement (financial independence, early retirement) since the age of 23. I want to be able to retire at 40 and I hope to do so earning between $ 80,000 and $ 100,000 a year. I have been buying investment goods and saving aggressively since joining the FIRE movement.

I currently have investment properties that generate $ 60,000 per year in income, approximately $ 200,000 in a 401 (k) and $ 250,000 in personal investments. I plan to pay off my debts and buy more properties to reach my income goal within 40 years.

The Argentist:My mother filed for divorce. My father made his mother his pension recipient, and then he committed suicide. Now my mom and grandmother are arguing. Who is right ?

My girlfriend, who is 32, does not share the same financial goals. She’s not bad with money (no debts other than a car loan), but although she’s a successful, hard-working woman, she’s not a saver. She just started contributing to a retirement account last year and has very little savings and no investments.

She also enjoys spending money on non-essentials, i.e. recently bought a Mercedes for $ 37,000 despite my efforts to get her to buy a more practical vehicle. None of us currently have children, but we would like to have children someday.

The Argentist:My stepfather’s business took a turn for the worse and my stepmother never worked a day in her life. How to avoid supporting them?

Whenever we discuss my potential early retirement, she says she should retire with me, even though she hasn’t really saved up for it. She tells me that my retirement income should be used to support my (future) family. In fact, I agree: when I started participating in FIRE, I assumed that this money would be used to support my family during my early retirement.

I also assumed that my future wife would participate in the savings phase, not just the spending phase. I respond by telling her that if she is also planning to retire earlier, then she should start saving for that goal. If she doesn’t want to retire early (and start saving), then she should plan to continue working. My biggest concern is that if she does not contribute to the savings phase, she will have no appreciation for early retirement and ultimately reinvest us in employment.

The Argentist: My father left everything to my son. When I called the lawyer about the will, my son got angry. I now need financial help. Should I ask him for money?

I love my girlfriend very much and I can definitely see a future together. However, I have always been very careful with my money habits, and she didn’t. These financial discussions are becoming redundant and we will never be able to get to where we agree. This causes tension in our relationship and takes “happily forever” away further.

I want to be on the same page as her so we can move forward in our relationship. I hesitate to propose with these persistent money problems. Am I overly protective of my financial goals, or is it irrelevant to expect to reap the benefits without making any sacrifices?


Worried and in love

Dear concerned,

I welcome your pen name: “Concerned and In love “rather than” Concerned corn Lover.”

When I was an Irish radio advice columnist many years ago, I used to receive letters from people in relationships who tolerate all manner of embezzlement and scheming – financial mischief, infidelity, physical abuse. and emotional – and sometimes they ended their letter. , “… corn we’re in love, so please don’t ask me to break up with him. I also take courage in your description of your girlfriend as “successful and hardworking”. There is hope. This may require realistic planning.

Your letter is a lot less serious than many others I have received, mainly because you (a) are dealing with the problem head-on now and (b) don’t expect your girlfriend to have the same amount of savings as you. However, it is not unreasonable to expect her to make an effort to contribute, even if she is unable to catch up. If she was to join you in your hard-earned leisure life as a passionate FIRE colleague, she should at least contribute something. I am okay. It is not much to ask.

The Argentist: “My daughter reproached me for frivolously spending her inheritance. Now she doesn’t want to talk to me ‘

You may want to consider a prenuptial arrangement and consider the importance of your wife continuing to work, assuming you are financially independent by the time you hit your 40s, especially given the cost of health insurance. Your wife’s employer health insurance plan could save your family thousands of dollars. Annual premiums for employer-sponsored family health coverage increased 5% to $ 20,576 in 2019, according to the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation.

Go over the hard and cold facts together. This should serve as a wake-up call to your girlfriend. You might even want to go through your accounts with a big red pen and subtract $ 37,000 here for a car and there for a high-end clothing budget or social life that you had to forgo in order to help you reach your goal. ’40 years from now. It can bring home the harsh reality that you are making sacrifices. It is obviously difficult to take inventory of the goods that you have chosen not to purchase!

The Argentist: “He owed a lot of back taxes. My ex-husband forgot to divide a $ 100,000 investment account and then passed away. Can his estate sue me for the money?

You may or may not be meant to be together. When couples get together, life can get very unromantic when you don’t share the same goals and values. Love is respect. Without respect, it is almost impossible to find or feel love. If your life partner is willing to allow you to do all of the heavy lifting to prepare for your life together, it suggests a lack of respect for you whether she sees it that way or not. Maybe he is a good person who lacks financial maturity.

One line in your letter jumped out at me for its clarity and brevity: “I also assumed that my future wife would participate in the savings phase, not just the spending phase. This sentence sums up the imbalance in your relationship. If you think she has other priorities now and refuses to give up on anything because she thinks you will take over later, chances are this scenario will repeat itself of all kinds. manners over the years.

The Argentist: “What did he do with all the money?” My dying husband cashed in his $ 700,000 life insurance policy and emptied his bank accounts

Your girlfriend may not want to cut expenses or sacrifice vacations or nice cars, and retire at 40, and that’s her prerogative. You might find it hard to meet someone who is ready to travel the world or lead a hard-earned life of leisure and relaxation at this age. My concern is that his actions do not match his words. Either she wants to retire and needs to change her behavior, or you need to change your plan. I consider the first as improbable and the second as inadvisable.

More and more Americans are seeking financial security in a relationship, this investigation by Merrill Edge, a division of Bank of America Merrill Lynch BAC, found.
Ideally, it is better to have both. Looking for one of these things, if the other is important to you as well, will not lead to an easy life. Your bride-to-be can participate in the savings, but it can be another bride-to-be. Seek out a relationship counselor and / or financial therapist. Like many dilemmas involving finance and romance, the answer will show itself.

All you have to do is listen.

(This story was originally posted on February 11.)

The Argentist: My mother-in-law and my mother pooled their resources to buy a house. My mother passed away in 2003 and he just passed away. Her children are selling their house, am I entitled to anything?

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