Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

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dalerobk
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Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by dalerobk » Thu Oct 20, 2011 9:56 am

OK, so I’ve been dating a very wealthy woman for the last year and a half. Basically she was born with a multimillion dollar trust fund. We met at work. She works just for her own enjoyment. She has so much money that her paychecks ($50k work income) just accumulate in the local bank.

We met at work, but my job was just a two-year contract. We’re both academics by the way. At the end of the two years, I was forced to take another job that was only a one-year contract. It’s about 1,200 miles away and we decided to do the long distance thing. We try to see each other about every 4-5 weeks. Being academics, our schedules are very flexible.

Here’s the thing, I come from a very poor family. I’m the only one who went to college and I send money each August to my niece and nephews for back-to-school clothes. I put myself through college by working and borrowing about $25k in loans. Over the course of grad school, those loans nearly doubled because of the interest. I also had some other debt as a result of a divorce and moving expenses. I am very disciplined financially and was making really good progress toward paying off debt and saving money. I live very, very frugally.

My current job, which I had to take in this economy, pays only $40k. I can pay my bills and get by, but just barely. I don’t have anything left over at the end of the month to save. The university takes out 9% and matches it, so I am saving effectively 18% of my income for retirement. But I can’t add to my emergency savings. On top of that, I have a very uncertain future as that I have no idea if I’ll have a job next year or not. I also have only $3,000 in my savings account for emergencies. I’m scared to death to deplete this money and have no cash at all.

So here’s the question, we’re in a long distance relationship, who should pay for travel expenses? This requires about 5-7 trips by each of us each year. This would cost me about $2,500-$3,500 a year in plane tickets and airport parking. I feel like I simply can’t afford this. This means draining all of my cash savings at a time in which I’m facing significant uncertainty. I feel like she should pay for my tickets. I don’t feel like it’s fair for her to expect me to undergo severe financial hardship (as I see it). I feel like she’s expecting me to take on a massive financial burden for the sake of our relationship while it is absolutely no burden for her at all.

A few final things, I’ve tried talking to her numerous times, but frankly, she doesn’t really understand what it is to live on a budget. It’s actually really frustrating to go to dinner with her, b/c an average dinner tab runs $100-$200, which I can’t afford. We split everything 50/50. No matter how many times I’ve explained my budget to her, she just doesn’t get it. Also, she’s very sensitive about being used for her money. She thinks both of her sisters are being used by men for their money, and I would tend to agree. I have never asked her for a penny and have never taken any money from her. And I never would, but I think she feels like paying for my plane tickets is somehow me taking advantage of her. But I feel like I just can’t afford it.

Sorry for the long post. Thoughts? Should she pay my travel expenses or should I? Am I being unreasonable?

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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:15 am

I hate to be blunt - find yourself someone who is compatible.

It is unreasonable for one with an endless bank account to expect you to use all your resources.
I would not hesitate to have the "talk" - it's apparent from your post she is living in another realm. Time to move on, there are plenty of fish in the sea.
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Elysium
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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by Elysium » Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:19 am

Pay for your own expenses, if you value the relationship, if not find someone of equal stature.

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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by ChrisAZ » Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:19 am

GRT2BOUTDOORS wrote:I hate to be blunt - find yourself someone who is compatible.

It is unreasonable for one with an endless bank account to expect you to use all your resources.
I would not hesitate to have the "talk" - it's apparent from your post she is living in another realm. Time to move on, there are plenty of fish in the sea.
Definitely agree...sounds like a compatibility issue.

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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by xerty24 » Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:20 am

She should only pay if she wants to, it's her money after all. That said, if you're hoping to do 6 trips a year to visit eachother, you can certainly suggest that you can't afford more than 1-2 yourself but you'd still really like to see her. Then she can either come visit you (and pay her own way), or perhaps she'll suggest paying for 1-2 tickets for you to come visit her. And if she's unwilling to do either of these, well, maybe your relationship isn't up to the long distance thing.
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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by billern » Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:22 am

I'd be frank with her about your finances, budget, and income. Show her exactly how little you have left over after your living costs so she understands your situation.

Regarding travel, that is a tricky one. If you want the relationship to work, you are going to have to make some of the sacrifices but paying for things is not the only sacrifice you can make.

Regarding the dinner, I've always thought that it is the person who asks the other person out to dinner at a restaurant who should pay. If your girlfriend wants an expensive dinner experience, she can take you somewhere and foot the bill. When it is your turn to take her out, you can pick something you can afford.

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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by KyleAAA » Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:24 am

She is under absolutely no obligation to pay for your tickets. If you can't afford to travel, ask if she can visit you more often. If not, let it go.

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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by HomerJ » Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:25 am

xerty24 wrote:She should only pay if she wants to, it's her money after all. That said, if you're hoping to do 6 trips a year to visit eachother, you can certainly suggest that you can't afford more than 1-2 yourself but you'd still really like to see her. Then she can either come visit you (and pay her own way), or perhaps she'll suggest paying for 1-2 tickets for you to come visit her. And if she's unwilling to do either of these, well, maybe your relationship isn't up to the long distance thing.
This. Just be straight with her.

Tell her you can't afford a $600 plane ticket every other month.

When she suggests going to some fancy resturant, tell her straight out you can't afford it. It's time to be honest.

Do NOT suggest that she should pay for dinner or buy you tickets... Instead, tell her that you cannot afford the fancy place and suggest a cheaper place for a dinner. Further, if I were you, if she says "Oh, I'll pay for it then, let's still go to the fancy place", tell her "No, I don't want you paying for me... Let's find a decent cheaper place so I can pay my fair share".

As far as travel goes, tell her you can only visit her twice next year instead of 6 times, but you'd love to have her come out as many times as she'd like.
Last edited by HomerJ on Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by FafnerMorell » Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:27 am

xerty24 wrote:She should only pay if she wants to, it's her money after all. That said, if you're hoping to do 6 trips a year to visit eachother, you can certainly suggest that you can't afford more than 1-2 yourself but you'd still really like to see her. Then she can either come visit you (and pay her own way), or perhaps she'll suggest paying for 1-2 tickets for you to come visit her. And if she's unwilling to do either of these, well, maybe your relationship isn't up to the long distance thing.
+1.
How the two of you work this out is what makes up a relationship.
Also, on a more practical note - look around for travel bargains - sometimes if you can plan several trips in advance you can get a much better deal or find a special offer.

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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by scouter » Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:29 am

I think that to be fair to her, you'll have to at least try to treat the relationship expenses as if she has no more money than you do. I realize that this is difficult when it comes to things like dinners, but when you're taking her out to dinner, you can pick the restaurant, when she's paying, she can pick the restaurant. You can fly to see her as often as you can afford it, and she can fly to see you as often as she wants to. I would avoid asking her to pay for your flights, but simply let her know when you can't afford to go see her, and hope that she'll either come to see you or offer to fly you to her. She is justified in being very sensitive to being used for her money, as she's seen that happen with her sisters.

I guess the bottom line is that you can only do whatever you can reasonably afford, and she'll have to decide whether that's enough to keep your relationship going or if she wants to chip in more than her half because you're worth it. But I think that should come from her deciding on her own, not from you asking her.

Best of luck, I hope you can work it out.

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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:30 am

rrosenkoetter wrote:
xerty24 wrote:She should only pay if she wants to, it's her money after all. That said, if you're hoping to do 6 trips a year to visit eachother, you can certainly suggest that you can't afford more than 1-2 yourself but you'd still really like to see her. Then she can either come visit you (and pay her own way), or perhaps she'll suggest paying for 1-2 tickets for you to come visit her. And if she's unwilling to do either of these, well, maybe your relationship isn't up to the long distance thing.
This. Just be straight with her.

Tell her you can't afford a $600 plane ticket every other month.

When she suggests going to some fancy resturant, tell her straight out you can't afford it. It's time to be honest.

Do NOT suggest that she should pay for dinner or buy you tickets... Instead, tell her that you cannot afford the fancy place and suggest a cheaper place for a dinner. Tell her you can only visit her twice next year instead of 6 times, but you'd love to have her come out as many times as she'd like.

This is all good advice - just be cognizant that if this is the behavior you've been getting 1 1/2 years into this relationship - the expensive dinners, the trips, her throwing $50K of net pay into a bank account as if it were "mad money", then what does that say for the future. It all comes down to compatibility - you like/enjoy/afford sirloin steak at Outback Steakhouse, she will have nothing but chateau briand or lobster for a meal at Ruth Chris. That is not a healthy relationship.
"One should invest based on their need, ability and willingness to take risk - Larry Swedroe" Asking Portfolio Questions

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Littlefinger
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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by Littlefinger » Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:36 am

I don't see how her wealth is relevant to your long distance relationship. If she was poor what would you do? Do that.

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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by hsv_climber » Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:37 am

I'd also like to add to other great posts: how about offering her to meet in the middle?
For example, if the total distance is 1,200 then you can drive 300 miles and she flies 900 and you pick her up @ the airport. That would be instead of you flying to visit her. Just a suggestion.

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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by nisiprius » Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:41 am

To put it bluntly: you will read everywhere that more relationships crash on the rocks of money management then on anything else. I don't know who should pay. I don't know what's fair. But the problem isn't "who should pay." The problem is that "my girlfriend and I are constantly arguing or on the verge of arguing about money." I have no good answer. I agree with what others have suggested: you need to be perfectly frank about what you can and can't afford, because nothing good will come out of anything else. Beyond that, well, let's look at the objective fundamentals.

1) If she doesn't feel she can pay for the trip and you don't feel you can pay for the trip, then you can't make the trip.

2) If you can't rearrange your life so that you don't need to make trips (i.e. one of the two of you move), then you will see her less often.

3) Either the relationship can survive less frequent meetings, or it can't.

One other thought. I would personally be terrified to move in a tough job market, but objective considerations might suggest--this is NOT NOT NOT NOT advice--that if you're employable, you're employable; and if you move, even if you have no idea what you're going to do, quite likely sooner or later "something will turn up." Or not. You could move and end up with no relationship anyway and no job. Pretty bad. But try these song lyrics, as a projective test. These lyrics mean exactly what you choose to read into them, no more and no less.
Irving Berlin wrote:How much do I love you?
I'll tell you no lie
How deep is the ocean?
How high is the sky?

How far would I travel
To be where you are?
How far is the journey
From here to a star?

And if I ever lost you
How much would I cry?
How deep is the ocean?
How high is the sky?
Perhaps I should add that Irving Berlin was a songwriter with dubious prospects who married a rich heiress. They married in 1925 and remained married for 63 years until her death at age 85.
Last edited by nisiprius on Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:59 am, edited 5 times in total.
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Sulvar
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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by Sulvar » Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:44 am

If you see yourself getting married to this woman down the road, consider the travel expenses and such a valuable investment in your financial future. Also why do you live so far apart? Is it possible that you could move closer to her? Could she move closer to you? Since she already has lots of money and is only working for fun, I don't see why this couldn't work.

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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by stoptothink » Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:48 am

rrosenkoetter wrote:
xerty24 wrote:She should only pay if she wants to, it's her money after all. That said, if you're hoping to do 6 trips a year to visit eachother, you can certainly suggest that you can't afford more than 1-2 yourself but you'd still really like to see her. Then she can either come visit you (and pay her own way), or perhaps she'll suggest paying for 1-2 tickets for you to come visit her. And if she's unwilling to do either of these, well, maybe your relationship isn't up to the long distance thing.
This. Just be straight with her.

Tell her you can't afford a $600 plane ticket every other month.

When she suggests going to some fancy resturant, tell her straight out you can't afford it. It's time to be honest.

Do NOT suggest that she should pay for dinner or buy you tickets... Instead, tell her that you cannot afford the fancy place and suggest a cheaper place for a dinner. Further, if I were you, if she says "Oh, I'll pay for it then, let's still go to the fancy place", tell her "No, I don't want you paying for me... Let's find a decent cheaper place so I can pay my fair share".

As far as travel goes, tell her you can only visit her twice next year instead of 6 times, but you'd love to have her come out as many times as she'd like.
Ironically, I am in a very similar situation, although we(my GF and I) have figured it out. Luckily my GF grew up very poor, so although she is quite successful and money is certainly no issue to her now, she understands where I am coming from. When we first began seeing eachother, I was very upfront in stating that I could not afford to fly out to see her, except maybe 2-3 times a year during major holiday breaks. Along with making about 1/4 of what she makes, I also pay for all of my education costs out of pocket, and told her that maxing my 401k and Roth each year is non-negotiable. Apparently the relationship means enough to her, as she flys the 1500 miles to spend every other weekend with me, and if she has an itch to do something costly she almost always covers the full cost. She knows very well that I am not using her for her money as I have flat out refused all of her helpful offers(paying my tuition, paying for my car repairs, etc.). As a PhD student with a full-time job, my leisure time is extremely limited, so I work very hard during the week to make sure my weekend is free to spend with her, and she takes care of the flying and financial aspect. It has worked amazing for 8 months now and I am making plans to move closer to her next summer after I complete my studies. Just be honest with her; if you can't come to a compromise regarding finances then the relationship has no future anyways. No point wasting the time and financial resources of either one of you, if you don't see eye-to-eye on the matter.

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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by carolinacasper » Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:51 am

pics?

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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by dalerobk » Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:52 am

Littlefinger wrote:I don't see how her wealth is relevant to your long distance relationship. If she was poor what would you do? Do that.
That's the thing, if we were of the same means, I don't see how a long distance relationship would be possible. I simply don't have the means for numerous trips a year.

So I basically have done what everyone has suggested. I told her at the very beginning that I could only afford three trips this year and that she would have to visit me. She has actually paid for a couple trips (she offered, I didn't ask). I just feel like it's a point of constant tension. And frankly, I'm not sure if I can afford any trips next year (depending on what is happening with me professionally).

Basically the reason I'm posting this now is b/c last night I booked my Thanksgiving ticket. I will be able to fly in on Friday the 18th and leave Sunday the 27th. But the ticket was nearly $600. I checked for departing flights on the 26th and realized I could save $220 and told her I was going to do this to save money. She said to book the Sunday flight and she would pay the $220 difference to have me for another day. Then she asked me if this meant I could now afford to buy my own Spring Break ticket. I told her no, that Christmas was the last ticket I could afford. And it is. Any tickets after that will basically mean me going into debt. She seemed kind of annoyed that I still couldn't afford a March ticket even though she was paying $220 of my $600 ticket (without me asking) so that I could stay an extra day. For some reason it really put me on edge.

I have actually talked to her numerous times about this, but again she just doesn't get it. She thinks the money differences between us are irrelevant, but I honestly think she just can't understand how much stress it puts on me despite how many times I've tried to explain it to her.

Thanks for the advice. I guess I'll just have to stand firm and do only what I can afford regardless of any pressure I feel. I don't see what else I can do. Well, I guess I could simply end the relationship.

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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:53 am

jenny345 wrote:You just have to be even more blunt. Tell her you would like to keep seeing her but you simply cannot afford the expensive restaurants and the travel. Period. Don't explain the situation and then go to the fancy restaurants anyway. When she suggests a $100 restaurant, tell her if she wants to pay for all of it you are happy to go, otherwise suggest an affordable Mom and Pop restaurant at the local strip mall.

You shouldn't have to go broke dating someone. If she is that insensitive to your finances, is she really the one?
+1 You said it better than I.
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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by diasurfer » Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:57 am

just wondering: have you ever discussed marriage? IMO long distance relationships are only worth it if there is some light at the end of the tunnel. It doesn't have to be marriage, but I'm just curious about where the two of you see this going. If it is too soon for marriage (or other major commitment) and you need more time together, my experience is long distance time doesn't really count for much towards that - is more about stasis than really growing. (Of course this "who pays" situation is a little test).

But imaging you breaking it off due to incompatibility reminds me of the Arthur movie (1980 version) when the Liza Minnelli character is on the phone breaking it off with Arthur and her dad is the background undergoing serious gnashing of teeth to great comedic effect. Hope your story ends as well as the movie.

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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by dalerobk » Thu Oct 20, 2011 11:02 am

Just to clarify the job thing. I didn't choose to leave my job. I had a two-year position as a visiting assistant professor. My job ended and I had to take a different job that was a one-year position as a visiting assistant professor. I will have to move again this summer, if I get a job. Landing a tenure-track job is very, very difficult. Academics have very little choice as to where they end up working. She has a tenure-track job at the place I taught the last two years. She is very serious about her career; she just doesn't need the money. I absolutely have to have a job or I'm screwed. We both are trying to get jobs together or closer to each other for next year but the prospects of that in this academic job market are not very high. Luckily as academics, we can still spend nearly half the year together if we can get the travel thing figured out.

Like I said, I'll just have to be even more blunt and firmer with her and just not let it get to me. The thing is I feel like when I say I can't afford something she doesn't really get that I can't just spend every penny I make. I feel like I need to put some money aside for my EF, but she doesn't get that. I guess I'll have to do like poster above said and simply say that this is something I have to do and it not negotiatble.

Thanks everyone for the advice so far.
Last edited by dalerobk on Thu Oct 20, 2011 11:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

dalerobk
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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by dalerobk » Thu Oct 20, 2011 11:04 am

diasurfer wrote:just wondering: have you ever discussed marriage? IMO long distance relationships are only worth it if there is some light at the end of the tunnel. It doesn't have to be marriage, but I'm just curious about where the two of you see this going. If it is too soon for marriage (or other major commitment) and you need more time together, my experience is long distance time doesn't really count for much towards that - is more about stasis than really growing. (Of course this "who pays" situation is a little test).

But imaging you breaking it off due to incompatibility reminds me of the Arthur movie (1980 version) when the Liza Minnelli character is on the phone breaking it off with Arthur and her dad is the background undergoing serious gnashing of teeth to great comedic effect. Hope your story ends as well as the movie.
Marriage is definitely something we've discussed.

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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by KyleAAA » Thu Oct 20, 2011 11:05 am

dalerobk wrote: The thing is I feel like when I say I can't afford something she doesn't really get that I can't just spend every penny I make. I feel like I need to put some money aside for my EF, but she doesn't get that.
Not to be rude, but it seems like the real problem here is that you seem to think your gf is an idiot.

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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by dalerobk » Thu Oct 20, 2011 11:10 am

KyleAAA wrote:
dalerobk wrote: The thing is I feel like when I say I can't afford something she doesn't really get that I can't just spend every penny I make. I feel like I need to put some money aside for my EF, but she doesn't get that.
Not to be rude, but it seems like the real problem here is that you seem to think your gf is an idiot.
No, she's actually brillant. I do feel like she is unable to relate to people with normal financial problems. She's never had to worry about money one day in her life. No matter how many times I've tried to explain my finances to her it just doesn't sink in.

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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by greg24 » Thu Oct 20, 2011 11:14 am

Move back to her university and find whatever job you can find there. Or put a ring on it. Or dump her.

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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by dalerobk » Thu Oct 20, 2011 11:20 am

greg24 wrote:Move back to her university and find whatever job you can find there. Or put a ring on it. Or dump her.
Neither one of us is willing to give up our careers. The latter two options are definitely on the table, though I haven't really seriously considering breaking up with her.

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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by Grasshopper » Thu Oct 20, 2011 11:31 am

My wife of 30 years told me 35 years ago, that she couldn't afford dating me and splitting expensive travel and nights on the town. I was only living richly through poor judgement and low expenses. We have had a storybook life together, retiring at 54 and 51 mostly because I learned to LBYM. Moral to this story, be honest about how you feel. If the relationship survives your being honest, I suspect and long and happy life together.

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TrustNoOne
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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by TrustNoOne » Thu Oct 20, 2011 1:23 pm

My wife and I did the long distance thing before we got married. It seems to me that a ld relationship will end up forcing some decisions. We decided to get married, and move together. It may be time to make a decision.

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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by FabLab » Thu Oct 20, 2011 1:41 pm

Skimmed through this, but I didn't get a sense of how deep the relationship has become. If it were me, and this sounds old school I know, the trips I make would come out of my pocket, those she makes out of hers. If that can't work, for whatever reason, then I'd say you have more critical issues to deal with than your travel arrangements.

The fact that you say you don't have much money doesn't sound compelling to me.

Cheers & best of luck,
Ron
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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by jazzykat » Thu Oct 20, 2011 1:47 pm

rrosenkoetter wrote:
xerty24 wrote:She should only pay if she wants to, it's her money after all. That said, if you're hoping to do 6 trips a year to visit eachother, you can certainly suggest that you can't afford more than 1-2 yourself but you'd still really like to see her. Then she can either come visit you (and pay her own way), or perhaps she'll suggest paying for 1-2 tickets for you to come visit her. And if she's unwilling to do either of these, well, maybe your relationship isn't up to the long distance thing.
This. Just be straight with her.

Tell her you can't afford a $600 plane ticket every other month.

When she suggests going to some fancy resturant, tell her straight out you can't afford it. It's time to be honest.

Do NOT suggest that she should pay for dinner or buy you tickets... Instead, tell her that you cannot afford the fancy place and suggest a cheaper place for a dinner. Further, if I were you, if she says "Oh, I'll pay for it then, let's still go to the fancy place", tell her "No, I don't want you paying for me... Let's find a decent cheaper place so I can pay my fair share".

As far as travel goes, tell her you can only visit her twice next year instead of 6 times, but you'd love to have her come out as many times as she'd like.
+1!

That is incredibly elegant and IMO exceptionally wise advice. While you don't have to use her for her money she needs to respect that you only have the resources you have. You need a solution that is fair for both of you.

Dave C.
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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by Dave C. » Thu Oct 20, 2011 1:49 pm

Pretty simple. Rights and responsibility have nothing to do with your issue. It's called honest discussion between two adults. I would make no request of my girlfriend. I would be clear about my finanical limitations and inability to spend my savings to zero. It is all up to you, spend it, or don't. Then it is all up her her. Her decision to help with travel expanse or not.....will be all the information you need to take your next step.
Easy does it/Live & Let Live/One day at a time. Thanks Bill.

edge
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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by edge » Thu Oct 20, 2011 1:55 pm

I don't understand the comment about 'giving up your career'. At 40k AFTER grad school I'll be honest and say that unless you are doing charity work that makes your heart burst with joy then you don't have much of a career at all.

The simple solution is to have her travel to where ever it is that you live. I don't see how she could rationalize your request that she come see you with 'stealing her money'. Unless she is bat sh*t crazy.

l2ridehd
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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by l2ridehd » Thu Oct 20, 2011 2:05 pm

Never ever ask her for money or to pay. Tell her for your birthday and Christmas all you want is plane tickets to come see her, pay for the other 4 trips yourself and see how it goes. Search for travel bargains far in advance, fly standby, but don't let this issue come between you. Then Marry the girl and live happily ever after.

dalerobk
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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by dalerobk » Thu Oct 20, 2011 2:26 pm

edge wrote:I don't understand the comment about 'giving up your career'. At 40k AFTER grad school I'll be honest and say that unless you are doing charity work that makes your heart burst with joy then you don't have much of a career at all.

The simple solution is to have her travel to where ever it is that you live. I don't see how she could rationalize your request that she come see you with 'stealing her money'. Unless she is bat sh*t crazy.
I agree that I'm being financially exploited. I only earn $40k b/c I'm in a non-tenure track position. But even most tenure-track positions in my field (I'm a historian) will probably start at $48-$50k this year. In this job market, it often takes 3-5 years to find a permanent position. Like I said, one almost never has a choice between two jobs. You simply have to take what you can get. It is brutal and it is exploitive. But I didn't choose my career for money. I chose it b/c I love my work and I can't imagine doing anything else. I love research, writing, and teaching. I realized the financial sacrifices I would be making and am happy to do so. The fact remains that I can't afford numerous plane tickets a year.

ann_l
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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by ann_l » Thu Oct 20, 2011 2:29 pm

Basically the reason I'm posting this now is b/c last night I booked my Thanksgiving ticket. I will be able to fly in on Friday the 18th and leave Sunday the 27th. But the ticket was nearly $600. I checked for departing flights on the 26th and realized I could save $220 and told her I was going to do this to save money. She said to book the Sunday flight and she would pay the $220 difference to have me for another day. Then she asked me if this meant I could now afford to buy my own Spring Break ticket. I told her no, that Christmas was the last ticket I could afford. And it is. Any tickets after that will basically mean me going into debt. She seemed kind of annoyed that I still couldn't afford a March ticket even though she was paying $220 of my $600 ticket (without me asking) so that I could stay an extra day. For some reason it really put me on edge.
You handled this poorly; your bitterness is showing. That was sweet that she paid an extra $200 for you. So your ticket is what, $350? I don't make that much, but I would not be happy if someone who I just shelled out $200 for a extra day with for told me they couldn't afford a ticket for $350 six months from now. Especially if they are paying $100 or so on dates. Have you gone over on your finances with her? Sit down or call her on the phone, tell her what your your paycheck after taxes is, and then go down and say, "Here is why I said I couldn't afford the Spring Break flight. I pay X in rent, Y in gas, Z in insurance, blah blah blah. I love you honey, but I can't really afford expensive dates. And the more expensive they are, the fewer trips I can afford to come out to see you. I'm scared of going into debt, especially in this economy and job market, so I'm not going to borrow money to fly out to you. But know I'm crazy about you and I think about you all the time. I want to be with you and that's why I'm working to hard to get a job close to each you."
You might get her to offer to pay your flights this way. Or you might at least get her to be more understanding about your finances. Or you might find out that she's still unwilling to budge and then you should re-evaulate your relationship. But I'm not sure you've adequately explained where you are coming from to her.

Also, you are not exploring your options for travel very well. Here are some credit cards you can apply for:
Citibank Premier Card-50K bonus, first annual fee waived, worth $650 in air travel. Spend $2500 in 3 months.
Chase Sapphire Card-50K bonus, first annual fee waived, worth $600 in airfare. Spend 3K in 3 months.
There are credit card offers out there for 2 free domestic trips for applying/min spend with the Citibank American Airlines card. Same with the Southwest Airlines card. 2 domestic trips.

Flyertalk.com, freefrequentflyermiles.com, and tons of other blogs and sites tell about offers like these and how to save on travel in general. You can sign up for alerts for cheap airfare between two cities when the fare drops-airfarewatchdog.com.

Some of these minimum spend requirements on credit cards can be onerous, but you can now pay 2% or so on some websites to pay your rent. You can buy gift cards. It's hard to get tickets with ff miles over X-mas, but should be pretty easy in March. But I don't think you are really trying here.

If you're not willing to work at the relationship-if you're not trying to find cheap fares or ways to cut back to be able to fly out to see her six months from now (did you try Greyhound? Buses can be a cheap if unpleasant option)-then let it go. But don't feel entitled to her money. When you've actually tried to afford flights to see her and you've told her this and explained to her how you've tried, then you can start to complain that she's not chipping in and doing her part to make this relationship work. I don't think you've made a good-faith effort here. Relationships take work.

dragoncar
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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by dragoncar » Thu Oct 20, 2011 2:51 pm

There's been some excellent advice here - basically about being upfront about finances and not asking for money. It's not as simple as it sounds ... I'm sure she understands the concept of an emergency fund, saving for retirement, etc. On an intellectual level, but at an intuitive and visceral level, those savings probably seem unnecessary and frivolous when they displace your time together. I was somewhat on the other end of this (I made more... Not a trust fund but large income disparity) and I admit it took me a while to really "get" it. I generally split dating costs early on, but was fine paying for everything once the relationship go serious and I realized the financial impact my general way of life was having on a loved ones future.

One thing I haven't seen mentioned yet is that, especially where marriage is on the table, you should get these money issues worked out BEFORE marriage. If she's really worried about being used, you'll probably be splitting expenses during marriage, separate finances, etc. This is fine until she really wants that expensive house and splitting the giant mortgage payment will bankrupt you. Maybe now is the time to see how receptive she is to a proportional split (you pay a fraction of what she pays, taking into account her investment income). Or if everything will be equal see If she can handle living far far below her means.

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nisiprius
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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by nisiprius » Thu Oct 20, 2011 3:05 pm

(Corrected): By the way, I don't see that anyone has mentioned this yet: Good luck!

Let me add my wishes of good luck for you and your girlfriend to those of Scouter and RonV.
Last edited by nisiprius on Thu Oct 20, 2011 5:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness; Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.

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FabLab
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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by FabLab » Thu Oct 20, 2011 3:06 pm

ann_l wrote: But don't feel entitled to her money.
Bingo!
The fundamental things apply as time goes by -- Herman Hupfeld

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FabLab
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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by FabLab » Thu Oct 20, 2011 3:09 pm

nisiprius wrote:By the way, I don't see that anyone has mentioned this yet: Good luck!
You didn't read carefully enough.
The fundamental things apply as time goes by -- Herman Hupfeld

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ryuns
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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by ryuns » Thu Oct 20, 2011 3:24 pm

ann_l wrote: You handled this poorly; your bitterness is showing. That was sweet that she paid an extra $200 for you. So your ticket is what, $350? I don't make that much, but I would not be happy if someone who I just shelled out $200 for a extra day with for told me they couldn't afford a ticket for $350 six months from now. Especially if they are paying $100 or so on dates.

.....
I don't think you've made a good-faith effort here. Relationships take work.
I feel like you hit the nail on the head here. The bitterness does seem to be coming out. She made the extra effort to spend a single additional day with you. Not only do you need to be exploring every option to spend Spring Break with her. she needs to know that you're exploring every option to spend Spring Break with her. She doesn't, and has never, felt the squeeze of money that you do. But you love her. And if she doesn't really "get it", then that means you just have to try even harder to convince that your inability to make a trip as often as she wants to is a really unfortunate outcome and, if it happens, it's one that you did everything you could to avoid. We all do sometimes frustrating, sometimes dumb, sometimes silly, sometimes unpleasant things for those we love. Hopefully, the ends justify the means.
An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered; an adventure is an inconvenience rightly considered. -- GK Chesterton

Van
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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by Van » Thu Oct 20, 2011 3:48 pm

Just tell her you would very much welcome her coming to visit you, but you cannot afford to reciprocate. It sounds like she is not sensitive to your situation and responsibilities, so, as suggested by others, in the long run it might be no big loss if she decides to stay home.

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Toons
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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by Toons » Thu Oct 20, 2011 4:17 pm

GRT2BOUTDOORS wrote:I hate to be blunt - find yourself someone who is compatible.

It is unreasonable for one with an endless bank account to expect you to use all your resources.
I would not hesitate to have the "talk" - it's apparent from your post she is living in another realm. Time to move on, there are plenty of fish in the sea.



+1 :D :D
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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by Offcelled » Thu Oct 20, 2011 4:35 pm

Another relevant possibility--that I wouldn't bet on or against--is that she doesn't mean for money to be an issue in the future (e.g., once you're married she'll be somewhat more generous while not burning through her wealth) and that she intends to stay with you for life, leaving this disconnect less of an issue in her mind. Perhaps she is motivated to not address this, however, as it's some degree of a test to see how much you she feels you value her. This would primarily be a failure to communicate on her part, then, but it could make pretty good sense from her point of view.

Should something like this be the case, the answer is the same as much of the good previous feedback--attempt to communicate more with her. If you haven't already, try to express how important the emergency fund is to you and why. It's not a lack of confidence on your part, either in your relationship or in your career ability, but it's being responsible so that you have adequate future flexibility, which includes such scenarios as being able to say no to the first job that becomes available, which of course can be a poor proposition for any number of different reasons. It's also being independent from her money, which she should appreciate.

Serious stuff--good luck!

fantasma
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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by fantasma » Thu Oct 20, 2011 4:37 pm

Tell her the truth, straight up. What you can and cannot afford.

Time to get a part time job and do what it takes if you really want to see her.

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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by tetractys » Thu Oct 20, 2011 4:43 pm

dalerobk wrote:So here’s the question, we’re in a long distance relationship, who should pay for travel expenses? This requires about 5-7 trips by each of us each year. This would cost me about $2,500-$3,500 a year in plane tickets and airport parking. I feel like I simply can’t afford this.
If she's not worth it, why bother? -- Tet

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nisiprius
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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by nisiprius » Thu Oct 20, 2011 5:18 pm

RonV wrote:
nisiprius wrote:By the way, I don't see that anyone has mentioned this yet: Good luck!
You didn't read carefully enough.
I didn't. Apologies. I corrected my post, above.
Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness; Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.

neverknow
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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by neverknow » Thu Oct 20, 2011 5:37 pm

dalerobk wrote:No matter how many times I’ve explained my budget to her, she just doesn’t get it.
Throw her back in the sea, she is not a keeper (a fish analogy). The reason is what we all seek most in any relationship is understanding. You are not getting the understanding you deserve. Yes, that you deserve. And oh by the way, never spend someone else's money -- even if they offer it too you. Just don't do it.
neverknow

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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by Manbaerpig » Thu Oct 20, 2011 6:14 pm

can I get her #

dalerobk
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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by dalerobk » Thu Oct 20, 2011 6:24 pm

dragoncar wrote:There's been some excellent advice here - basically about being upfront about finances and not asking for money. It's not as simple as it sounds ... I'm sure she understands the concept of an emergency fund, saving for retirement, etc. On an intellectual level, but at an intuitive and visceral level, those savings probably seem unnecessary and frivolous when they displace your time together. I was somewhat on the other end of this (I made more... Not a trust fund but large income disparity) and I admit it took me a while to really "get" it. I generally split dating costs early on, but was fine paying for everything once the relationship go serious and I realized the financial impact my general way of life was having on a loved ones future.

One thing I haven't seen mentioned yet is that, especially where marriage is on the table, you should get these money issues worked out BEFORE marriage. If she's really worried about being used, you'll probably be splitting expenses during marriage, separate finances, etc. This is fine until she really wants that expensive house and splitting the giant mortgage payment will bankrupt you. Maybe now is the time to see how receptive she is to a proportional split (you pay a fraction of what she pays, taking into account her investment income). Or if everything will be equal see If she can handle living far far below her means.
She already owns two huge houses in two different countries. No mortgages. I don't think I conveyed exactly how much money she has, but it's well past 7 figures. Biggest concern in that regard is that it would feel odd living in her house. At least I would be able to save a ton of money on rent.

As for your larger point, yeah I agree and that's a concern of mine too.

dalerobk
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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by dalerobk » Thu Oct 20, 2011 6:27 pm

Manbaerpig wrote:can I get her #
Not a chance. Besides being brillant, she's also a former model and amazing in other ways that superficial men find desirable. So eat your heart out. :D She's also a very loving woman whom I'm quite fond of.

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