Thank you all so much for the replies -- from the balanced, to the pointed, to the emphatic
. Your points and opinions have all been well-received.
I do think I didn't communicate a couple things as clearly as I should have, that may (or may not) have changed some of your reactions:
1) I had written this post under the assumption that I intended to purchase the house with funds I earned pre-marriage.
That, in a sense, would be converting the "nest egg I protected" to a joint asset, and likely led to the poorly-worded statement many of you justly found disagreeable. If it otherwise appears to be a reasonable financial decision to take a mortgage out vs pay cash, it garners the large additional advantage that we build equity together. I appreciate those of you who emphasized the advantage of this set-up
2) In the sake of brevity, I oversimplified and overemphasized these situations in a way I think misrepresents our relationship.
My mindset has genuinely been entirely "we" in the 4 years from when we signed the prenup until when this situation occurred to me this week. Before our wedding, I asked my wife if I could pay off her student loans (with no expectation of repayment), if only because she was paying higher interest rates than I was earning on my cash, and we would financially better off as a team. She convinced me that her personal pride in paying off her loans herself meant more than some interest, and I wholeheartedly supported that.
Being in a job that requires me to calculate and protect against unexpected outcomes, plus having colleagues with spouses who initiated divorce immediately after the purchases of large joint assets admittedly has me thinking about these unsavory situations with more emphasis than I probably should. But honestly, the "transactional nature" I presented above hasn't occurred to me on transactions day to day, in the thousands, or tens of thousands -- it's only on this up-to-a-million one, and only from a legal perspective, not from an emotional perspective, in which it 100% has been and will be "we." But your observations and points stand -- I will be cognizant of the mindset that I have on these topics.
Just wanted to respond to a couple comments/questions, and/or to point out responses I appreciated:
KyleAAA wrote: ↑Mon Nov 25, 2019 12:39 pm
IANAL so I won't comment on the validity of the post-marriage prenup arrangement, but from a relationship perspective you are going about this the wrong way. Keeping prior assets separate is all well and good, but when you married you agreed the future should be 50/50. That means your wife is an equal owner in everything going forward, including the house. The easiest way to manage this situation is to not use prior assets to purchase the home. If that means you have to take on PMI because you can't come up with a 20% down payment using co-mingled fund, so be it. She absolutely should be on the title. There is no question about this.
This seems like my favorite approach right now to reframe the circumstance in a positive one going forward, regardless of how we split the payments month-to-month from our respective coffers.
mrspock wrote: ↑Mon Nov 25, 2019 1:39 pm
Now, if you moved to a HCOL area from a LCOL area for your career, then equal is out the window.
Current area is lower, FWIW.
WanderingPothos wrote: ↑Mon Nov 25, 2019 12:20 pm
What about if you buy the house and she lives rent free and only pays a portion of the utilities that are spent monthly, but nothing towards what would be spent to maintain (insurance, property tax, etc.) or upgrade the house. If you happen to divorce, then she moves out. Or it can be vice versa where she buys the house and the house is in her name, you share utilities, she pays for maintenance/upgrades to the house?
We are anti-materialistic, as well, but this seems to be a step to far for her, and I agree. (And WAY too far for most on here it seems, haha)
CAsage wrote: ↑Mon Nov 25, 2019 12:18 pm
You have your nest egg sheltered - ok, call it good. Now, going forward make it 50-50 all the way.
I agree -- I was just trying to find a way to achieve both these goals. It seems like paying a mortgage together preserves that.
Tamarind wrote: ↑Mon Nov 25, 2019 12:01 pm
If I were in your shoes, I would likely choose to 1) keep renting or else 2) scale your purchase to something she could afford to pay half of while still prioritizing her retirement accounts.
Seems reasonable, thanks for your nuanced combination of dramatic rhetoric and pragmatic compromises
mptfan wrote: ↑Mon Nov 25, 2019 11:57 am
OP, I am curious...if the roles were reversed and your wife proposed that idea to you, what would be your reaction?
I'd feel similarly to her, which is why I solicited and appreciate the thoughts here.
chevca wrote: ↑Mon Nov 25, 2019 11:39 am
sport wrote: ↑Mon Nov 25, 2019 11:27 am
IMO you have too much "me and she" and not enough "we". This is a marriage, not a business.
If she will be paying anything to the house, she should be on the title. Simple as that. It's your together, right? She can be on the title and not the mortgage if you guys choose that, or it works better for financing. Although, I don't see how it would as you both seem to be doing well. Put both your names on the mortgage as well.
It will be her house also, right?
I wasn't planning on a mortgage, but I see how not making that clear was an omission on my part. I agree with what you said as you said it.
HomerJ wrote: ↑Mon Nov 25, 2019 12:49 pm
jeremyj wrote: ↑Mon Nov 25, 2019 9:51 am
but registering 50/50 ownership of a potentially $1mm asset I largely finance doesn't seem like an appropriate solution to that problem. Has anyone been in a similar situation and could provide advice?
You paying cash for this house?
If you're not paying cash, put it in both your names. Over time, you'll pay it off together, and you both should own it.
You're going to have to accept that marriage is a partnership. Protect that first $2 million, sure...
If you ARE paying $1 million cash, then I will amend my above advice this one time only. Buy it in your name only, but amend the pre-nup (post-nup?) stating that she gets half of the gains if you guys split 10 years from now.
Since you will using prenup money to buy the house outright, you should be protected to keep it.
Just including this because I valued your post. It does seem like choosing a different path than this is better longer-term.
fortunefavored wrote: ↑Mon Nov 25, 2019 1:30 pm
KyleAAA wrote: ↑Mon Nov 25, 2019 12:39 pm
... The easiest way to manage this situation is to not use prior assets to purchase the home. If that means you have to take on PMI because you can't come up with a 20% down payment using co-mingled fund, so be it. She absolutely should be on the title. There is no question about this.
Before this thread gets locked due to all the marriage preaching instead of the financial question, this is the best comment on the thread. Yes, it may be financially (in aggregate) less efficient, but is the only way to preserve your previous arrangement.
Agree with you both, thank you.