Personal & Financial Mergers at Midlife

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Personal & Financial Mergers at Midlife

Postby Barefootgirl » Wed Apr 03, 2013 5:13 pm

I'm not entirely jaded, but perhaps I am missing something.

That something is the benefits of merging households and/or re-marrying at midlife when there aren't any young children still in the picture.

Background: I'm divorced a few years, just past turning 50 and hoping to retire in 5-10 years, no later than age 60. My only child is a young adult, stretching her new independence wings. I was raised in a working class family and I am almost entirely self-made and have worked long and hard for what I have, with quite a bit of sacrifice thrown in the mix.

My companion/love is the same age and also divorced a few years, with one child, also a young adult, but his child is still in high school, living with her mother.

We do not live together. He wants us to move in together and eventually perhaps marry, primarily for appearances, lol - ironically, when younger, we worried about what our parents would think, but now as adults, we worry about what our children will think.

I am not the idealist I once might have been. If we did move in together, I would hope to maintain separate financial accounts, I am not even sure about purchasing real estate together in the future. To complicate matters, he is a dual citizen of the US and Peru. His dream is for us to live the warmer part of each year in each of the two countries, since the seasons are opposite. I have made inquiries of others in relationships with Peruvians, but it seems the much more common scenario is the older American male entering into a second marriage with a younger Peruvian woman without regard for whether she brings any assets or liabilities.
In my case, we are an American woman and Peruvian man of the same age and similar professional backgrounds.

I would be very interested in hearing about the experiences of those here who have cohabitated or married later in life - and how they managed finances, goals, family issues and particularly if from different countries - how they split their time and resources and any special complications that arose.

Thank you, BFG
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Re: Personal & Financial Mergers at Midlife

Postby VictoriaF » Wed Apr 03, 2013 5:20 pm

I recommend that you read some books by Mario Vargas Llosa and watch films by Francisco Lombardi to gain some insights into the Peruvian culture.

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Re: Personal & Financial Mergers at Midlife

Postby Barefootgirl » Wed Apr 03, 2013 5:29 pm

yes, I am familiar with the writing of M. Vargas Llosa...

We've discussed ad nauseum the burdens of stereotype - usually after we've each had a glass of wine. Sometimes they arise from something, somewhere.


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Re: Personal & Financial Mergers at Midlife

Postby travellight » Wed Apr 03, 2013 5:31 pm

Good luck with it, bfg. It is a very difficult and thorny path to traverse, rife with potential for misunderstanding and hurt feelings. I think there was a recent thread here on that subject.

Wanting to live in two locations and dividing your time might actually make it simpler and easier. Perhaps you can provide the home here and he can provide the home there and you can split all expenses outside of the home and home related intrinsic costs (e.g. taxes and insurance, but split consumable costs like utilities and cable etc.).

I have done the merger/cohabitation and will just say that my experience is that "fair" is hard to achieve and people don't see things just the same way.

I think the author of the book Eat, Pray, Love went through just the type of scenario you describe.
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Re: Personal & Financial Mergers at Midlife

Postby retiredjg » Wed Apr 03, 2013 5:48 pm

Similar professional backgrounds does not mean similar savings for retirement. We don't know any facts on that issue.

I would think long and hard about mixing my finances (marriage or real estate) with any man who does not bring similar assets (or more) to the table. You would have little to gain and a whole lot you could possibly lose, with little or no time to recoup.

I'm not saying to nix the relationship. I'm saying that you, alone, are responsible for protecting your financial future. That pertains to any relationship you might have, romantic or otherwise.

I'm sure this can be done, if he has the resources to contribute his part. The details will depend on what suits each of you. What is working so far? What is not working so far? That would surely be a big clue as to what will work for you in the future.
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Re: Personal & Financial Mergers at Midlife

Postby englishgirl » Wed Apr 03, 2013 6:05 pm

I have been thinking about this lately. [Good problem to have, really! :) ]

I think at the time of moving in together, keeping separate accounts is easier. But if you are going to marry, then that seems time for a prenup. I'd want to specify that retirement accounts are separate, and will remain separate. Probably cash accounts could be merged, or maybe just the checking account. Housing is more complicated if you both currently own. In my case, I think it's easier to say that my house will remain my house, as my guy does not own property and I think I'd keep paying the mortgage and have him contribute to living expenses. If we later buy somewhere together, then that'd be our house (but what to do about my equity?). I just don't think I could merge everything until such time as we've lasted 20 years and are close to retirement.
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Re: Personal & Financial Mergers at Midlife

Postby Raymond » Wed Apr 03, 2013 6:08 pm

retiredjg wrote:Similar professional backgrounds does not mean similar savings for retirement. We don't know any facts on that issue.

I would think long and hard about mixing my finances (marriage or real estate) with any man who does not bring similar assets (or more) to the table. You would have little to gain and a whole lot you could possibly lose, with little or no time to recoup.

I'm not saying to nix the relationship. I'm saying that you, alone, are responsible for protecting your financial future. That pertains to any relationship you might have, romantic or otherwise.

I'm sure this can be done, if he has the resources to contribute his part. The details will depend on what suits each of you. What is working so far? What is not working so far? That would surely be a big clue as to what will work for you in the future.


+1

What does he have going on financially? Not because you're looking for a sugar daddy, but what if *he's* looking for a sugar mommy?

Perhaps I'm being nastily suspicious, but have you done a background check? How long have you known each other?

Even if he has the financial resources, are there potential situations which may require him to borrow large amounts of money from you, i.e. "Darling, can I borrow $20,000 to meet payroll for the company?" :moneybag

Yes, I already know I'm an unromantic jerk :D
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Re: Personal & Financial Mergers at Midlife

Postby leonard » Wed Apr 03, 2013 6:13 pm

There doesn't seem to be any real benefit to either of you getting married - perhaps only downside of complexity if for some reason things don't workout. I think you should skip it.

Also - you may want to skip living at one residence unmarried. If you cohabitate - in some states that gives the "non-owner" the residence some rights as a tenant. Meaning - should things go bad and the other person doesn't want to move out - you may end having to evict the other person to get them out of your house. My understanding is that maintaining 2 residences mitigates that, but you would want to consult an attorney.

I understand this is assuming the worst case and the relationship goes south. But, given past experience, it's worth thinking through the scenarios - no matter how great the relationship is currently.
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Re: Personal & Financial Mergers at Midlife

Postby retiredjg » Wed Apr 03, 2013 7:11 pm

Barefootgirl wrote:I would be very interested in hearing about the experiences of those here who have cohabitated or married later in life - and how they managed finances, goals, family issues and particularly if from different countries - how they split their time and resources and any special complications that arose. Thank you, BFG

I realize I'm partly to blame for this, but it does seem that not too many of us are actually addressing the questions the BFG asked.

I can't really help with that because my cohabitation/merger story was when I was young and she is asking about later in life. However, I'll give the highlights of my story in hopes that it encourages others to give their own experiences and that she gets more benefit from the thread.

Short story: Good guy at first. Employed, paying his bills. Lost his job (not his fault). Slipped into a bit of sloth. I happily paid the bills (including his bills). He got another job, but somehow I kept paying more than half. Hmmm. The story goes on poorly after that, including loans that were clearly specified as loans...that never got repaid.

What I learned is not to get financially merged (in the absence of kids, in which case you almost have to). The way I came through this episode just fine is that the house was mine. My car was mine. My income was mine. He just happened to live there too. In other words, even though I footed the bills for a couple of years, and even though there was a personal merger, there was no financial merger and that is what kept me from being hurt financially. I never gave more than I could afford to lose.

At "just past 50", I would think that part of the message (no financial merger with someone who does not have similar assets) would be of even more importance. There is simply no time to fix it if things go wrong.
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Re: Personal & Financial Mergers at Midlife

Postby Calm Man » Wed Apr 03, 2013 7:28 pm

I can speak from experience. I got remarried at age 54. I knew the odds of divorce for a remarriage were well over 50%. And it lasted a year. Never in my opinion should a remarried couple merge finances, particularly as in your case, if you have different heirs. And if there are any meaningful asset or income disparities, a prenup is a must, otherwise it is an almost must. That said, even with a good prenup, the less well off spouse generally challenges it to extract some more as my second ex did. I was so happy to get out of it that I relented.The kids will do their best to wreck it as well. I would keep separate residencies and alternate them as needed for your loving episodes as needed, which is less frequent at your age as previously. The Peru-living goal of your man is a red flag to me as I can't imagine that you would want to do this. Good luck.
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Re: Personal & Financial Mergers at Midlife

Postby david99 » Wed Apr 03, 2013 10:17 pm

I would not remarry for the kids. My father lived with his girlfriend and I actually preferred it --- I didn't have to wonder what would happen to his assetts when he died. Ask your daughter what she thinks about the situation.
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Re: Personal & Financial Mergers at Midlife

Postby Barefootgirl » Wed Apr 03, 2013 10:34 pm

Thank you all for the comments. This is why I enjoy this particular forum - full of pragmatic thinking.

I keep mulling over what this relationship brings at this point in my life - and what it brings best is companionship.

I am content to enjoy that companionship even while living separately. There is no rush on my part or clock ticking, etc.

I do think that down the line, it might be nice to have a live in companion again (and my friend is healthy, very youthful and vigorous at 52), but that would be quite a bit down the line.

I sold my real estate during the divorce. My guy owns property in Peru - a home in the city and a home at the beach. Here in the US we currently rent separate residences. I understand many of his assets are still in Peruvian financial institutions. Given the currency difference, I don't know how it would compare to my net worth in US dollars...of course, I would want to know more about that if we moved closer to a merger.

I especially appreciated the suggestion about us each paying for the living expenses in our respective home countries - that seems to make sense, on the face of it.

BFG
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Re: Personal & Financial Mergers at Midlife

Postby fareastwarriors » Thu Apr 04, 2013 2:26 pm

I think what was already said was very helpful. I would just add one thing and that is just take your time. No need to rush things like merging households/finances yet. Take your time.
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Re: Personal & Financial Mergers at Midlife

Postby nodenuff2 » Thu Apr 04, 2013 2:39 pm

Perhaps the single most important thing to determine is where each of you are in your religious beliefs. Marriage should be a very serious commitment. If you are on different planets on that issue eventually it will be too much to overcome. Go slow be sure you know who you are tying the knot with.
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Re: Personal & Financial Mergers at Midlife

Postby MP173 » Thu Apr 04, 2013 2:45 pm

I was widowed at age 45 with 2 kids and began a long term relationship at age 49. We married when I was 54 (3 years ago). My youngest son lived with us and is going off to college this fall...so we will be empty nesters. It has worked well. But, we really took our time getting into it and maintained separate addresses and finances until we "merged".

Prenup is needed, particularly since you both have heirs...that is if marriage is in the picture. You should definately consult an attorney regarding the citizenship of your partner and what that entails.

Personally, I enjoy being married. It was also important for our kids to see a marriage that works. Her previous marriage was not good and my boys didnt have a mom for a number of years. Plus, I just enjoy being married. Nothing against those who do not...

I would ease into this Peru / U.S. residences. Have you been there on a trip with him? What about your job or career? What about his?

Lots of questions. Take your time.

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Re: Personal & Financial Mergers at Midlife

Postby momar » Thu Apr 04, 2013 2:48 pm

My mother got remarried at a similar age, because he wanted to. She gave up her house and moved in with him, but they kept finances completely separate and had everything set up by professionals. There has been tension because my sister and I are successful and independent while his kids all live locally and have periodic problems. One moved in for over a year; my mom hated it.

I wouldnt move in with someone unless their kids were already independent. You will be the outsider and will always lose that battle. And since they are living with their parent, they will behave like children and will mooch and not pitch in.
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Re: Personal & Financial Mergers at Midlife

Postby Grt2bOutdoors » Thu Apr 04, 2013 5:03 pm

Barefootgirl wrote:Thank you all for the comments. This is why I enjoy this particular forum - full of pragmatic thinking.

I keep mulling over what this relationship brings at this point in my life - and what it brings best is companionship.

II sold my real estate during the divorce. My guy owns property in Peru - a home in the city and a home at the beach. Here in the US we currently rent separate residences. I understand many of his assets are still in Peruvian financial institutions. Given the currency difference, I don't know how it would compare to my net worth in US dollars...of course, I would want to know more about that if we moved closer to a merger.

I especially appreciated the suggestion about us each paying for the living expenses in our respective home countries - that seems to make sense, on the face of it.

BFG


I would only offer this bit of caution - concerning him owning Peruvian property, have you been there to visit and have you seen/resided this actual property? Does he have other siblings and/or relatives who may either have a claim to the same property or are partial owners of it. I am not Peruvian, but I have relatives in Europe who also say they "own land and apartments in towns/cities" - in actuality, they have a partial ownership or there is an informal arrangement where whenever they are in town, they can live in "said property". Also, foreign governments can be a little funny when it comes to who has actual property rights in a relationship - "the man" or the "woman", or is it both?

I would tread very cautiously. Not to be too nosy here, but who is bringing up marriage - the suitor or is it mutual?
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Re: Personal & Financial Mergers at Midlife

Postby Curlyq » Thu Apr 04, 2013 7:21 pm

Speaking from experience, being divorced "a few years" is not long enough to you to heal AND get to know someone well enough to entertain cohabitation and/or another marriage. It's my understanding that it takes two years or longer, just to get to know someone well enough to judge whether or not you even really like him/her. Whether you think you are or not, you are likely still a bit "tweaked" from the divorce as well.

Additionally, at your age, (speaking from experience) factor in that you have settled into your life and perhaps may not be as willing to compromise as much as you might have been as a 20-something. I would keep the present arrangement of renting separate abodes and take your time to get the know this man, yourself, and your situation much, much more thoroughly before making any decisions. You can have fun, travel with him to Peru, and check the whole situation out without pressure.
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Re: Personal & Financial Mergers at Midlife

Postby likegarden » Thu Apr 04, 2013 7:47 pm

In case you get married it might be important to think through what would happen to your estate should you die in Peru in spite of your will and other arrangements made in the US. Also what would happen to your prenup written under US law when you get divorced in Peru under Peruvian law.
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Re: Personal & Financial Mergers at Midlife

Postby MP173 » Fri Apr 05, 2013 8:02 am

Just a quick question...bfg....how old is your "adult child"? My youngest is 18 and going off to school in the fall. This is really affecting me, know that we will be empty nesters. Could that be an issue here also? Do you feel the need to fill your life due to the "independence" of your daughter?

Last night my son and I spent a couple of hours together, grabbed dinner and watched a little basketball before his buddies arrived. It was great and I realize those days are almost gone. He too is growing his independence.

Dont try to fill your life too quickly. I dont know all your personal issues, but time helps heal things quite well.
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Re: Personal & Financial Mergers at Midlife

Postby RadAudit » Fri Apr 05, 2013 8:38 am

MP173 wrote:My youngest is 18 and going off to school in the fall. This is really affecting me, know that we will be empty nesters.


Don't worry, MP173. Some kids going to school don't leave the nest, they circle. What you may find is that they are back for semester break, spring break, federal holidays, summers, etc. The admissions officer at one school noted that if you add up all the class time for a four year degree, the school has them for only 75 days.

So, bfg may wish to factor that in to the concept of empty nester.
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Re: Personal & Financial Mergers at Midlife

Postby staythecourse » Fri Apr 05, 2013 9:31 am

This is an easy question to answer because there is no answer.

I think you are looking for some confirmation that what you want to do is okay and if you are honest with your significant other I don't see why not pursue separate finances. Just like there is no problem combining finances if one is inclined. Don't let society guide you in making decisions, i.e. getting married for what others may think. Do what is right for you both.

Good luck.
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Re: Personal & Financial Mergers at Midlife

Postby Barefootgirl » Fri Apr 05, 2013 9:39 am

Bernd,

You bring up some excellent legal points, thank you. I may need to factor those at some point.

Other random responses:

there is no pressure for marriage, it's only been raised by him as a possible outcome of time spent living together, particularly as it relates to somehow legitimizing our relationship in the eyes of our children.

On the subject of children - my own is a mostly independent adult, 5 years past high school, so any empty nest issues are pretty much behind me. I have been on my own now for 6 years and have dated on and off, so this current relationship is not a knee jerk response to other issues, but I appreciate where this issue comes from.

I actually think he is the one dealing more with empty nest issues than myself - his teenager spends the overwhelming majority of her time with her mother and the mother's family, so I think me and my adult child, fill up some space in his heart that he is grateful for. As many here know, different cultures place different values on family relationships....

Appreciate all the comments....although by profession, I work in the business arena, - I do have a background in Pyschotherapy...so I am keen to the most frequent issues that dissolve couple bonds : money issues, sexual issues, parenting issues, extending family issues, compulsive behavior or mental illness issues - all those alone or in combination.

BFG
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Re: Personal & Financial Mergers at Midlife

Postby VictoriaF » Fri Apr 05, 2013 9:45 am

staythecourse wrote:This is an easy question to answer because there is no answer.

I think you are looking for some confirmation that what you want to do is okay and if you are honest with your significant other I don't see why not pursue separate finances. Just like there is no problem combining finances if one is inclined. Don't let society guide you in making decisions, i.e. getting married for what others may think. Do what is right for you both.

Good luck.


I don't think the OP is looking for a confirmation, or only a confirmation. She might be looking for a reminder of all the reasons why she is reluctant to pursue joint finances. She may want to ponder her situation in the company of level-headed financially-prudent people rather than, for example, seeking the wisdom of romantic books, films, and music.

Psychological experiments showed differences between subjects who were primed with financially-charged words and with neutral words. The former were more ambitious, determined, and self-reliant in further experiments than the latter. Likewise, this site primes people for financially advantageous decision-making. It may seem sterile in comparison to the true love, but it is far safer in most situations.

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Re: Personal & Financial Mergers at Midlife

Postby Barefootgirl » Fri Apr 05, 2013 10:02 am

Victoria hit the nail on the head.

I don't really need confirmation, in the end, I make my own decisions with all the information I have available at the time. I prefer to mine for wisdom in a group of extremely pragmatic people who may have been there, done that and brought back war stories. If you wanna know about the path ahead, ask those heading back.

It's pretty much a waste of my time to take this scenario to a different sort of arena where it will quickly dissolve into irrelevancy. I've never bought the popular romantic notions sold in the mainstream, lol.

BFG
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Re: Personal & Financial Mergers at Midlife

Postby halfnine » Sat Apr 06, 2013 5:48 am

Barefootgirl wrote:To complicate matters, he is a dual citizen of the US and Peru.....My guy owns property in Peru - a home in the city and a home at the beach. .... I understand many of his assets are still in Peruvian financial institutions.


As far as marriage this is a major issue. There are onerous taxation reporting requirements and huge penalties for getting it wrong when you are a US citizen with assets abroad. It's not something I would personally marry into later in life although some of it can be mitigated by married filing separately. You can search these forums for pretty much anything Ted Swippet has said on the matter to get an idea of what you'd be looking at.

Then there is the estate issue and how Peruvian law would look at it which could be another enormous headache. Again, not something I'd likely be too keen on.
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Re: Personal & Financial Mergers at Midlife

Postby Barefootgirl » Sat Apr 06, 2013 12:28 pm

Thank you. I went back to read Ted Swippet's past postings on the topic. Wow, complicated is an understatement..

I almost felt a case of the hives coming on. I am a minimalist at heart. It's really beginning to look like keeping our arrangements
informal is wiser than formalizing them...

I have a friend who's one of those doomsday preppers. I can call him up and ask him - his answer would be to move it all to cash
in a safety deposit box somewhere, lol.

Thanks again, BFG
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Re: Personal & Financial Mergers at Midlife

Postby travellight » Sat Apr 06, 2013 3:23 pm

I like your mindset and approach, bfg. At this point in our lives and with what you describe, there is a lot to risk and little to gain except a formality that I find unnecessary. You can join lives, live together, country to country, but there is no need for legal entanglements that marriage would entail.
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Re: Personal & Financial Mergers at Midlife

Postby Saving$ » Sat Apr 06, 2013 10:35 pm

momar wrote:My mother got remarried at a similar age, because he wanted to. She gave up her house and moved in with him, but they kept finances completely separate and had everything set up by professionals. There has been tension because my sister and I are successful and independent while his kids all live locally and have periodic problems. One moved in for over a year; my mom hated it.

I wouldnt move in with someone unless their kids were already independent. You will be the outsider and will always lose that battle. And since they are living with their parent, they will behave like children and will mooch and not pitch in.


+1
I have a very close friend in your situation. Before they moved in together they had many discussions about their attitude toward finances and their respective situations. They knew each other for 6 years before they moved in together and have now been together 20+ years. While one is very attuned to finances, and the other is not, but both of them are responsible and neither is a big consumer; I think this shared value helps immensely.

The one who cares about finances manages both of their investments, but they have kept those separate. For daily expenses, they do have a household account to which they both contribute the same amount each month, and they pay for food, utilities, etc from that account, I believe they own real estate together equally. They live below their means, one more so than the other, so that they can live below the means of the one with fewer assets. Their biggest financial difference is the appropriate level of support to adult children who make poor decisions. Since their finances are separate, they each decide this on their own and they make very different decisions. As a friend I hear about this. I think to myself that the separate finances is a big reason this support of adult children does not create more of a problem.
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