Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

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

Post by BL » Fri Oct 21, 2011 12:46 pm

Sounds like the current situation is only for 9 months, so any of the suggestions except asking for money should work if you really love her. I also think communication is important, so perhaps using something like Skype where you can see each other may be more helpful than just a telephone. Maybe you can figure out a compatible life style if you want a life together, but it may not be easy.

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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by porcupine » Fri Oct 21, 2011 12:49 pm

psteinx wrote:Mostly off-topic (but not entirely, IMO):

So non-tenure track positions pay a lot less than tenure-track positions. I get it.

And yet, even these relatively low-paid non-tenure track positions are very hard to come by (lots of competition to get them).

Perhaps it is the tenure track positions that are overpaid, rather than the non-tenure track positions being underpaid?
I doubt that - I think it is because of the limited number of positions available and because of the universities churning out more phds than can be absorbed (in some disciplines at least). A simple matter of supply and demand. [No, I am not saying that OP gets what he deserves. I've been there; (been) done that.]

- Porcupine

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

Post by dalerobk » Fri Oct 21, 2011 1:00 pm

marypickford wrote:Delurking as a fellow 40k-per-year acamedic Boglehead ...

I think the reason money issues become so fraught in relationships is that they get connected to emotional issues. In your GF's case, she is understandably leery of being romanced for her money. If you hint or ask her to pay for plane tickets, it might feel like you are saying "sure, I'll see you if you pay for it, otherwise I don't care enough about you to bother." I think people with money truly have a hard time with the concept that when the rest of us buy something, that means not being able to buy something else.

From your side, there is probably an emotional connection too. Most likely a resentment of her lack of understanding of your financial situation. You are the best judge of that. :) But I think if you reassure her that you want to see her, love to see her, can't wait to see her, and it's only practical considerations that are holding you back, you two will be able to come to an understanding. She might never understand at a gut level what living on a budget really means, but she'll understand that your respective financial situations are not the reason you are together or not together.
Thanks for this post. I do think that I resent her lack of empathy for my situation. This is something I will try to deal with.

Good luck this year with the job market. It's kinda funny how we (academics) normalize our situation. It's not until you casually mention making $40k a year on a finance board that you have people point out how bizzaro the academic job market is.

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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by hsv_climber » Fri Oct 21, 2011 1:11 pm

Academic job market is not bizarre at all. It actually resembles all other similar markets - civil servants, illegal drug sellers (read Freakonomics about that), union teachers, and so on.
It is a typical pyramid structure where people who enter the market make relatively nothing, while people at the top have unbelievable job security & benefits.
For example:
- Civil servant who has worked for 30 years and was making a relatively modest income can retire on ~80% of his income, COLA-adjusted pension for the rest of his life (I think that system has changed in the last 10-15 years, but people are still retiring as part of that system).
- Tenure professor, while would be making modest salary at the beginning of his/her career, would receive constant salary increases, job security benefits, great pension, etc.
- and so on...

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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by dalerobk » Fri Oct 21, 2011 1:28 pm

hsv_climber wrote:Academic job market is not bizarre at all. It actually resembles all other similar markets - civil servants, illegal drug sellers (read Freakonomics about that), union teachers, and so on.
It is a typical pyramid structure where people who enter the market make relatively nothing, while people at the top have unbelievable job security & benefits.
For example:
- Civil servant who has worked for 30 years and was making a relatively modest income can retire on ~80% of his income, COLA-adjusted pension for the rest of his life (I think that system has changed in the last 10-15 years, but people are still retiring as part of that system).
- Tenure professor, while would be making modest salary at the beginning of his/her career, would receive constant salary increases, job security benefits, great pension, etc.
- and so on...
This is not entirely true. Academics don't get regular raises, and when they do, they almost never keep up with inflation. In fact, salary compression is a real problem. It's quite common for new faculty to make more than tenured faculty when they first get hired. It's much harder to get a new job after you get tenure. There are very few insititutions that actually hire people with tenure. Therefore, tenured faculty are pretty much immobile. They're stuck. Universities don't have to give them real raises. Believe it or not, the job market is much better for new Ph.D.s and salaries are more competitive (I know it's crazy). So it's not unusual for tenured faculty to go several years without getting any raise at all. In fact, the last place I taught at hadn't given any raises in four years. The guy I replaced had been there 9 years. He was tenured, had a book out with a major university press, and had amazing teaching evaluations. He made only $44k a year. I was earning (with no accomplishments other than my Ph.D.) $46k a year. That seems bizarre to me.

The job security thing is correct though and probably a large part of the problem with academic salaries.

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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by hsv_climber » Fri Oct 21, 2011 1:39 pm

dalerobk wrote:The guy I replaced had been there 9 years. He was tenured, had a book out with a major university press, and had amazing teaching evaluations. He made only $44k a year. I was earning (with no accomplishments other than my Ph.D.) $46k a year. That seems bizarre to me.

Lets not use some anecdotal data.
Here are the stats from salary.com:

http://swz.salary.com/SalaryWizard/Prof ... tails.aspx

Median salary for history professor - $85,000
Top 10% make more than $170,000.

Median benefits (including pension & time off) - $32,500 (btw, much higher than in the private industry).

So, top 10% of history professors receive $200,000+ in annual compensation.

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

Post by dalerobk » Fri Oct 21, 2011 2:03 pm

hsv_climber wrote:
dalerobk wrote:The guy I replaced had been there 9 years. He was tenured, had a book out with a major university press, and had amazing teaching evaluations. He made only $44k a year. I was earning (with no accomplishments other than my Ph.D.) $46k a year. That seems bizarre to me.

Lets not use some anecdotal data.
Here are the stats from salary.com:

http://swz.salary.com/SalaryWizard/Prof ... tails.aspx

Median salary for history professor - $85,000
Top 10% make more than $170,000.

Median benefits (including pension & time off) - $32,500 (btw, much higher than in the private industry).

So, top 10% of history professors receive $200,000+ in annual compensation.
I'm not sure why you are bickering with me about this. Salary compression is very much a real issue and something that is debated at many, many faculty meetings. I'm not making it up.

Here's a link to salary data: http://www.historians.org/Perspectives/ ... -LARGE.pdf

I have no idea where they get the $170k from, but that's WAY off. Some historians do make that much, but even at the very top research universities, historians are more often in the $110k-$130k range. That is a very nice salary, but very few historians make six figures.

This is way off topic. I don't see any point in discussing this. If you'd like to discuss it further you can go here: http://chronicle.com/forums/

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

Post by lightheir » Fri Oct 21, 2011 2:09 pm

OP - there's been a lot of good advice given already.

My only two cents - there are a lot of armchair psychologists or other folks who are more than ready to jump the gun at a single thing you mention to say 'get out of the relationship' without knowing anything about you.

Ignore them.

They don't have anywhere nearly enough information to judge you. Just because an heiress doesn't happen to share our financial limitations doesn't mean they're a unworthy spouse. Just reply to the ones who are answering your specific question relevant to the finances. I've seen more than a few threads around here in the short time I've been here where people are all too willing to say a relationship is doomed because 'you're obviously not seeing eye to eye' or 'not communicating' etc.

You know as well as most of us, that communication about issues you don't agree 100% on is a core part of relationships. The question you ask is very valid, and by no means indicates you're 'on the rocks' with your relationship so long as you both are willing to work on the issues.

(Heck, now they're even dragging your friggin' SALARY into it.)

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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by hsv_climber » Fri Oct 21, 2011 2:39 pm

dalerobk wrote: I'm not sure why you are bickering with me about this. Salary compression is very much a real issue and something that is debated at many, many faculty meetings. I'm not making it up.
I highly doubt that salary.com is wrong.
You are really coming out as an insecure person in general and financial issues, blaming academics, GF, etc. maybe just a part of it. BTW, I was just replying to your posts, since you went off-topic and blamed your salary & academics in ~5-10 posts in this thread.
dalerobk wrote: I agree that I'm being financially exploited.
dalerobk wrote: I realized the financial sacrifices I would be making.

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

Post by maj » Fri Oct 21, 2011 2:52 pm

Who should pay?

You are paying big time--and with a lot more than money.

peace

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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by HornedToad » Fri Oct 21, 2011 3:01 pm

I'll wager a wild guess that one of the things that bothers the GF is she can't *really* see your effort. You already say I can't afford to come out 4 months from now. I think the correct response is along the lines of "I don't know if I'll be able to afford it honey, but I'll do everything I can to save enough to come out."

I think you are overly focused on the financial big picture and not the individual plane tickets. Depending on how much you love this girl, you should be willing to make alot of sacrifices for her in order to see her and you can tell her about it. i.e. consider a roommate, cut out/back on dining out, tutor high school students, cut cable tv, etc. etc. if any of these apply.

To me it's a little off-the-cuff and overly focused on money to already say I know I won't be able to afford to come out months from now. That's a long time away and gives you opportunity to do what you can to earn/save the money you need.

As an aside, I don't think you can really say you're being "exploited" when there is 50 or 100 applicants for every job posting even as a non-tenure track facility. It's the nature of 1000s of people wanting to get a PhD in a field that does not have a lot of marketability and to work super-long hours for cheap in order to do what they love.

In the long run, you and her will both have to decide what you are going to do and if you will get married and can you do so with your current career or if you'd have to find something else that will allow you to be near her. It's worth it in order to be with the one you love.

Edit: You also will need to examine your emotions and see if you feel bitter/upset/etc. that I am skimping on my lifestyle, working extra, etc. in order to come see her when she could just wave her hand and pay for the plane tickets. That's not fair.... Try to treat her like a fellow academic on a 50k salary who couldn't make all the problems go away with inherited money and realize you are doing this to be with her because you love her. I think deep down you feel some resentment about her money and that she won't just do the "right thing" and pay for the tickets and make life wonderful. That can be dangerous, so just try to treat her like you would treat any other women you were dating who you loved.

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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by Buysider » Fri Oct 21, 2011 3:55 pm

Unrelated but:
I highly doubt that salary.com is wrong.
I just did a couple searches for fields I know and salary.com is not anywhere near accurate for the first four jobs I looked at. Have you looked at it in a field you work in? The data looks like crap at salary.com and so does their "methodology". Google is a better resource...

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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by peter71 » Fri Oct 21, 2011 4:27 pm

Hey All,

On Salary.com they may be talking $80,000 for a "Full Professor," which begins to sound close, though the vast majority of tenure-track and tenured profs under 45 are going to be "Assistant" or "Associate" Profs . . .

Anyway, one angle that hasn't yet been mentioned is impressing this woman with your financial acumen . . . a first possibility is basic Bogleheadism (particularly if her fam is getting ripped off by advisors) . . . a second possibility would be to do what some other academics do with the TIAA Real Estate Account . . . (for which you can do a search on here) . . . As your gf isn't going to meet that many dudes in academia for whom the "he's using me for my money" thing isn't a fear, the "he's incredibly financially savvy for an academic" thing might be the next best option.

Best,
Pete

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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by psteinx » Fri Oct 21, 2011 4:33 pm

HornedToad has good stuff on living cheap and sacrificing for this relationship.

Scale back your lifestyle to that of a graduate student. I would guess (very rough) that as a grad student you lived on maybe $15-20K per year? Roommates. Ramen noodles and peanut butter. Beater car or just use a bike or the college bus system. Going out is a burger place and a couple of beers - $25 a head instead of $50 or $100.

Some changes may be difficult mid-year (i.e. if you've got a lease). But still, I would think the cost-of-living belt has a couple notches on it such that it might be tightened a bit more...

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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by hsv_climber » Fri Oct 21, 2011 5:03 pm

Yes, in my field / location, salary.com shows salaries quite accurately to what my guess would be. But Peter71 is correct and that was my point from the beginning - the link to data that I've shown is most likely for Full Professor, which just shows that people at the top of the pyramid make a lot of money.

Going back to the topic.... I can actually relate to the subj.. Some years ago (not that long in relative terms :-) I was making about what OP currently makes (maybe slightly more, I don't remember exactly) and I've had a long distance relationship with my "not yet" wife. Plane tickets did not stop me or bothered me a bit. Depending on the prices, I was driving ~100+ miles to the airports where I could get cheaper plane ticket. But my GF had even less money than me, so we did not have any money issues. We were flying to see each other about every other weekend. I was doing most of the flying and $$ / retirement / savings / emergency fund / etc. did not bother me at all at that time.

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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by peter71 » Fri Oct 21, 2011 5:13 pm

Hi HSV,

Agreed (and having now looked at it I think the Chronicle data suggests the same), but I think another tricky thing about applying Pareto principles to academic salaries is that it's more like the military than it is like other civilian jobs . . . i.e., even if you're a world-historical young star that all the ivies want to hire on the tenure track, you're still going to start out as an "Assistant Professor" just as a star young officer in the military is still going to start out as a Lieutenant rather than a General . . . and while rapidity of promotion will vary to an extent, there's a standard 7-years at each rank calendar at which things are typically supposed to go . . . and that's all for the "commissioned officer" class . . . there's also the whole non-tenure track world of "Adjunct" (aka "Visiting" Professors and the like (despite the Professor title, probably either excluded from the Chronicle data or reflected in the "Instructor" category).

Best,
Pete

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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by hsv_climber » Fri Oct 21, 2011 5:16 pm

Here is the link to Full Professor salaries for University of Alabama. It is a public State school.

http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/2 ... 6173966996

Median is around ~$115,000 + benefits.
Highest - ~$177,000
So, salary.com is quite accurate in their data about that off-topic subj.

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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by NightOwl » Fri Oct 21, 2011 5:21 pm

dalerobk wrote:Like I said, she's just not able to relate to everyday financial problems of normal people. Let me give an example. Last Christmas we were staying with some very good friends of hers. The woman lost her job and they've been struggling financially. In fact, my gf has actually helped them out quite a bit in the last year. She decided to take them out to dinner. We all went out to a really nice place. I think the final check was about $350 for the four of us. The husband says, "I like this place. I think I'm going to start coming here regularly!" His wife, he, and I all chuckled. My gf looks at us and goes, in all seriousness, "I think that's a great idea." I explained to her later that he was joking and they could never afford to eat there on a regular basis. She understood on an intellectual level later after the fact, but at the time simply wasn't able to realize that people who are struggling to pay their bills HAVE to be joking about regularing eating at a place that is nearly $100 a person.
My first thought is that she just doesn't "get" sarcasm. Was she raised in a sarcasm-free environment? It's possible that she was being very careful not to offend your friends. Imagine that they were serious in saying that they'd go to that restaurant often, and she said "Yeah, right." That would be awful.

Edited to add: I also don't like that you then put yourself in the position of "explainer" later -- academics especially have to avoid coming off as know-it-alls, so if you're always "explaining" things to her, well, she'll probably resent that. Also, I think your friend was rude to make this comment. She made a nice gesture, and he called attention to the disparity in the money situation instead of just saying "thank you." Is he an academic too? Is he insecure about not making a ton of money, and therefore has a sense of moral superiority over those who have more? I hope I'm not being too harsh about academics here, but I have a Ph.D. and I associate with lots of them.

On the other hand, if understanding sarcasm isn't the problem, then her behavior in this situation would bother me. A lot. It's dangerous to judge people based on anecdotes, but you are putting this out there as a representative anecdote, so I'll assume it represents her behavior fairly well. What this story says to me is that she has trouble empathizing with life circumstances that aren't her own -- I'm guessing that extends well beyond money. Just because a person has not experienced something in his or her life (not having $350 for a dinner out, in this case) doesn't excuse that person from anticipating that that might not be true for others. Not having children doesn't exempt you from considering what people with children might need to do. Not having any dietary restrictions doesn't exempt you from considering what food you should serve your guests. This anecdote seems indicative of an inability or an unwillingness to spend any time contemplating lives beyond her own. Does she read newspapers? Is she curious about what goes on around her? "Brilliant" does not equal "aware" or "sensitive" or "empathetic," and I'd rank the latter attributes far ahead of the former if I were considering someone a potential spouse.

Now, if I loved this woman I wouldn't hesitate to marry her. But if you want to make sure you've dealt with her fears about being used for money, and if you want to make sure that you've dealt with the family's concerns, then just sign a pre-nup that blocks you from getting her money. That's what I'd do if I really didn't care about the money. If I found it hard to sign such a prenup, I'd take that as a signal that I didn't really love this woman.

NightOwl
Last edited by NightOwl on Fri Oct 21, 2011 5:38 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by hsv_climber » Fri Oct 21, 2011 5:28 pm

peter71 wrote: Agreed (and having now looked at it I think the Chronicle data suggests the same), but I think another tricky thing about applying Pareto principles to academic salaries is that it's more like the military than it is like other civilian jobs . . . i.e., even if you're a world-historical young star that all the ivies want to hire on the tenure track, you're still going to start out as an "Assistant Professor" just as a star young officer in the military is still going to start out as a Lieutenant rather than a General . . . and while rapidity of promotion will vary to an extent, there's a standard 7-years at each rank calendar at which things are typically supposed to go . . . and that's all for the "commissioned officer" class . . . there's also the whole non-tenure track world of "Adjunct" (aka "Visiting" Professors and the like (despite the Professor title, probably either excluded from the Chronicle data or reflected in the "Instructor" category).
Peter, yes I absolutely agree with you. But that is where my link to drug dealers / Freakonomics (in the original post) got lost.In that book it was a very good possible explanation of why someone would choose to become a drug dealer rather than choose a different career, as well as why low-level drug dealers are underpaid.
Here is the excerpt for those who have not read the book:
http://www.freakonomics.com/books/freak ... chapter-3/

BTW, civil servants jobs (my previous post) have the exact same constraints as academics & military. These constraints are only less applicable to the jobs in the private sector.

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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by dalerobk » Fri Oct 21, 2011 6:03 pm

NightOwl wrote:
dalerobk wrote:Like I said, she's just not able to relate to everyday financial problems of normal people. Let me give an example. Last Christmas we were staying with some very good friends of hers. The woman lost her job and they've been struggling financially. In fact, my gf has actually helped them out quite a bit in the last year. She decided to take them out to dinner. We all went out to a really nice place. I think the final check was about $350 for the four of us. The husband says, "I like this place. I think I'm going to start coming here regularly!" His wife, he, and I all chuckled. My gf looks at us and goes, in all seriousness, "I think that's a great idea." I explained to her later that he was joking and they could never afford to eat there on a regular basis. She understood on an intellectual level later after the fact, but at the time simply wasn't able to realize that people who are struggling to pay their bills HAVE to be joking about regularing eating at a place that is nearly $100 a person.
My first thought is that she just doesn't "get" sarcasm. Was she raised in a sarcasm-free environment? It's possible that she was being very careful not to offend your friends. Imagine that they were serious in saying that they'd go to that restaurant often, and she said "Yeah, right." That would be awful.

Edited to add: I also don't like that you then put yourself in the position of "explainer" later -- academics especially have to avoid coming off as know-it-alls, so if you're always "explaining" things to her, well, she'll probably resent that. Also, I think your friend was rude to make this comment. She made a nice gesture, and he called attention to the disparity in the money situation instead of just saying "thank you." Is he an academic too? Is he insecure about not making a ton of money, and therefore has a sense of moral superiority over those who have more? I hope I'm not being too harsh about academics here, but I have a Ph.D. and I associate with lots of them.

On the other hand, if understanding sarcasm isn't the problem, then her behavior in this situation would bother me. A lot. It's dangerous to judge people based on anecdotes, but you are putting this out there as a representative anecdote, so I'll assume it represents her behavior fairly well. What this story says to me is that she has trouble empathizing with life circumstances that aren't her own -- I'm guessing that extends well beyond money. Just because a person has not experienced something in his or her life (not having $350 for a dinner out, in this case) doesn't excuse that person from anticipating that that might not be true for others. Not having children doesn't exempt you from considering what people with children might need to do. Not having any dietary restrictions doesn't exempt you from considering what food you should serve your guests. This anecdote seems indicative of an inability or an unwillingness to spend any time contemplating lives beyond her own. Does she read newspapers? Is she curious about what goes on around her? "Brilliant" does not equal "aware" or "sensitive" or "empathetic," and I'd rank the latter attributes far ahead of the former if I were considering someone a potential spouse.

Now, if I loved this woman I wouldn't hesitate to marry her. But if you want to make sure you've dealt with her fears about being used for money, and if you want to make sure that you've dealt with the family's concerns, then just sign a pre-nup that blocks you from getting her money. That's what I'd do if I really didn't care about the money. If I found it hard to sign such a prenup, I'd take that as a signal that I didn't really love this woman.

NightOwl
Honestly, I'd say she's 50/50 on sarcasm. By the way, it was not my friend. They were her friends. They've been friends for decades. The guy is almost like a father to her, especially since her father died. He was not being a jerk or anything. It was just a light-hearted comment. She practically lives with them. She has her own room in their house and stays at their place about every 2-3 weekends (even though her own house is only a few miles away and many times nicer). They're more like family to her than her own family.

Here's another example, on the phone she was talking to her friends (the ones above). I'm sitting next to her as she talks to them. These people are struggling to pay their mortgage. She starts complaining to them that her mother has cut Mom's housekeeper into the will for a certain amount of money and now she and her sisters are going to get less. This kinda bothered me, b/c it did seem so insensitive.

I guess that you've kinda hit the nail on the head to an extent. The truth is that if I proposed tomorrow, I have absolutely zero doubt that she would say yes.

As for the family thing, I'm not sure what you are referencing. There are no family concerns. Her father died years ago. Her mother is more or less in the last year of her life. We're both in our mid- to late 30s. Furthermore, most of the family money has already been distributed through estate planning. Even her trust fund is now simply her money. There are no family concerns. In fact, her family loves me.

Also, I have no problem signing a prenup. I don't want anything from her. I just don't want to go broke.

Edit: to be fair, she was drunk at the time of the above phone call...
Last edited by dalerobk on Fri Oct 21, 2011 6:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by leonard » Fri Oct 21, 2011 6:10 pm

Set a budget and make plans. Decide how many trips per year at $X dollars each you can make. Decide how many times you will eat out and how much you are willing pay each time. If she wants to subsidize your travel and recreation over and above that, then fine. If not, make it clear you will be sticking to the budget. Then, simply implement that. It will become clear in short order whether that is something she is willing to live with. The problem will resolve itself.
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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by NightOwl » Fri Oct 21, 2011 6:34 pm

dalerobk wrote:Honestly, I'd say she's 50/50 on sarcasm. By the way, it was not my friend. They were her friends. They've been friends for decades. The guy is almost like a father to her, especially since her father died. He was not being a jerk or anything. It was just a light-hearted comment. She practically lives with them. She has her own room in their house and stays at their place about every 2-3 weekends (even though her own house is only a few miles away and many times nicer). They're more like family to her than her own family.
Okay, that makes it worse.
dalerobk wrote:Here's another example, on the phone she was talking to her friends (the ones above). I'm sitting next to her as she talks to them. These people are struggling to pay their mortgage. She starts complaining to them that her mother has cut Mom's housekeeper into the will for a certain amount of money and now she and her sisters are going to get less. This kinda bothered me, b/c it did seem so insensitive.
Man, if she wasn't joking around in a way that friends of decades would get, and that you missed, then that story is awful. Now she doesn't look clueless, she looks greedy and petty. She's inheriting millions and she's worried about the housekeeper's share? Then again, I recognize that sometimes I complain to my very good friends about petty stuff that doesn't truly bother me -- I'm just sharing the concerns of the day, even if they're not very deep. I think we all rely on our friends not to judge us too harshly when we do that. So if these are very good friends, I guess it makes sense for her to share whatever she's thinking. But sharing that particular issue with people who are struggling financially shows a stunning lack of tact --even close friends don't want to hear stuff like that when they can't make ends meet.
dalerobk wrote:As for the family thing, I'm not sure what you are referencing. There are no family concerns. Her father died years ago. Her mother is more or less in the last year of her life. We're both in our mid- to late 30s. Furthermore, most of the family money has already been distributed through estate planning. Even her trust fund is now simply her money. There are no family concerns. In fact, her family loves me.
My bad -- must have mistaken her concern for her sisters for her sisters' concern for her. Or maybe I interpolated someone else's story.
dalerobk wrote:Also, I have no problem signing a prenup. I don't want anything from her. I just don't want to go broke.
This seems like a tough call to me. I think it's fair for you to limit your trips to a number that you can afford. I also agree with some posters above that she might be viewing this situation as some kind of test for how much you love her. Maybe deep down you don't want to pass that test?

She might also be worried that after she marries you, you'll stay tight with money and keep her from living the way she wants to. That might be a valid concern -- we mid-30s types are pretty set in our ways, and I know that it would be tough for me to stomach purchasing a home somewhere that I was going to leave vacant for 11 months a year, or a fifth car that I'd never drive, no matter how much money I had.

At the end of the day, you know what you're getting into, so I truly wish you the best of luck making your decision. From what little I know, it doesn't seem like an easy one to me.

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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by krantcents » Fri Oct 21, 2011 6:37 pm

For relationships to work, you have to have a clear understanding of the circumstances. If it were me, I would not routinely go out for expensive dinners. I would cook something at home or look for alternative solutions. Her wealth should force you to live beyond your means. When I was a college student, I was dating my somewhat richer wife (then girlfriend). She would invite me to her house, cook me dinner or I would take her to the beach for a picnic. I kept my expenditures reasonable for me. She was able to spend more without making me feel I had to reciprocate.

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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by hsv_climber » Fri Oct 21, 2011 6:44 pm

dalerobk wrote:she's also a former model and amazing in other ways that superficial men find desirable.
We need to start a poll on: "Would you marry Paris Hilton?" :roll:

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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by dalerobk » Fri Oct 21, 2011 6:55 pm

hsv_climber wrote:
dalerobk wrote:she's also a former model and amazing in other ways that superficial men find desirable.
We need to start a poll on: "Would you marry Paris Hilton?" :roll:
I was trying not to reveal her identity...

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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by newbie_Mo » Fri Oct 21, 2011 7:07 pm

dalerobk, Since you said you'd talked about marriage, how are you going to split the expenses after you got married? Let me put it this way, is she expecting you to split 50/50? Where are you going to live? I am assuming her two big houses are paid for. How much are the property tax, insurances, and maintenance etc? Do you think you can afford the 50% for those? Have you talked about a prenup, since she's worried that she's being "used" because she has the money. If she wanted you to spent every penny you'd earned, you would be totally broke when you get divorced.

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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by NightOwl » Fri Oct 21, 2011 7:07 pm

dalerobk wrote:
hsv_climber wrote:
dalerobk wrote:she's also a former model and amazing in other ways that superficial men find desirable.
We need to start a poll on: "Would you marry Paris Hilton?" :roll:
I was trying not to reveal her identity...
Then you did a good job with "brilliant."
"Volatility provokes the constant dread that some investors know more than we do, making us fearful of ignoring such powerful price movements." | Peter Bernstein, "The 60/40 Solution."

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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by dalerobk » Fri Oct 21, 2011 7:21 pm

newbie_Mo wrote:dalerobk, Since you said you'd talked about marriage, how are you going to split the expenses after you got married? Let me put it this way, is she expecting you to split 50/50? Where are you going to live? I am assuming her two big houses are paid for. How much are the property tax, insurances, and maintenance etc? Do you think you can afford the 50% for those? Have you talked about a prenup, since she's worried that she's being "used" because she has the money. If she wanted you to spent every penny you'd earned, you would be totally broke when you get divorced.
We have talked about marriage in a general sense. One night she drunkenly proposed to me, but we haven't talked about the financial specifics (though we've talked about having that talk). And we could not split things 50/50. Her property taxes are more than I earn a year (before taxes). And this is a concern of mine. If we get married, I am still going to save the same as I am now, b/c I'm not going to count on her for anything. I won't make myself dependent upon anyone else, and I'll continue to put away retirement money as if I have nothing else to count on. I'm pretty sure that if we got married she would pay for my part of trips and what not. I expressed concern one time that I didn't want to live in her house (rather than ours). I told her I'd rather buy a small house that I could afford 50% of and take out a mortgage. She confided in me that she was actually willing to put her house in my name in order to make me more comfortable. Honestly, half the value of that house would make me set for life financially, but it would just seem too weird to me.

I guess the bottom line is that we still would need to figure all that out, but first thing is first I suppose.

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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by socca » Fri Oct 21, 2011 8:09 pm

neverknow wrote:I certainly have no idea about "should's" or "should nots", but as a female, I know (via centuries of history) if you agree to this arrangement, you have been bought as a piece of property, as in days of old. You are not free. And you are not an equal partner in this relationship. You will do what is expected of you, and put up with behavior you might not otherwise, because you have been bought. To object, sends you back to poverty, which looks all the worse for living above your own personal means. Maybe money shouldn't matter like this, but that is a world of romantic notions, because in the world of money and power -- it does matter.
This may be an overly one-dimensional view of the situation. When my starving-artist mother married into an extremely wealthy family (her second marriage), there were naturally whispers of gold-digging (by me and others). However, when I saw how the relationship played out, this was clearly incorrect. Sure, my step-father made a disproportionate contribution financially, but my mother made disproportionate contributions in non-financial but equally important (perhaps even more important) ways. Together, they were clearly more than the sum of their parts. So, I wouldn't be too fast to write off this budding relationship. If I were in the OP's shoes, I would be concentrating on evaluating my SO's character rather than worrying about her money. 8-)

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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by boglevbuffet » Fri Oct 21, 2011 8:21 pm

Can we be honest? You are dating an heiress and actually like her? And we are not talking about an airhead a la Paris Hilton. Propose already. Life is short. If it works out for you guys, you won't be complaining about low paying job. If it doesn't work out, well, you'd still have your low paying job to return to. This is really not complicated. My sense is your ego is (sub?)consciously clouding the issues because you feel less of a man that she's richer. Look, Oprah, Carla Fiorina, Meg Whitman all have spouses (Fiorina's spouse actually took early retirement to raise their kids). Nothing wrong with being with a richer woman. Embrace it. If you can't deal with it, break it off and play your position, swim at your level, or whatever. The problem with academics is that you overthink everything.

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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by mbres60 » Fri Oct 21, 2011 8:45 pm

This has been an interesting discussion. As I read your last post I decided to think how I would feel if I were your girlfriend and I married you. Clearly you can't afford what "I" could. I don't think I would want to give up my large house to purchase a small one with a mortgage although that's not to say I wouldn't be willing to downsize and live in a McMansion. I think you really need to do some soul searching about the future and how you would manage finances if you two got married. I don't think 50/50 is fair to her at all so I think there are certain things you should accept that she would pay for just because it's what she wants and is willing to pay for it in order to have it. Relationships are give and take. Sometimes we have to learn to let the other person have their way even if it means we don't really like it. It's called compromise.

As for the airplane tickets, well, you two need to talk. You should tell her how you feel and that you will visit as often as you can afford but that you would love it for her to visit you as often as she likes. If she would like to give you a gift certificate to your favorite airline for the holidays or for your birthday then accept it graciously.

I would not end a relationship because the financial situation is unbalanced. I would learn to accept the situation and adjust (as difficult as it might be)

Just my 2 cents.

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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by cubby08 » Fri Oct 21, 2011 9:40 pm

Sounds like you're overthinking things. A year and a half is more than enough for someone in their mid 30s to know what they want. If you're still framing your relationship in terms of money at your age, you should end it and stop wasting each others time. Otherwise marry her, and figure out the rest later. You only have a short amount of time to live. Don't spend it analyzing whether $400 is a test of your relationship.

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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by tj » Fri Oct 21, 2011 9:53 pm

I can't believe this thread. Wow.


I think OP is clearly over-thinking and should by a one way ticket to his GF's this summer!!!

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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by Mister Whale » Fri Oct 21, 2011 10:23 pm

dalerobk wrote:Universities are able to "offer" people these types of jobs b/c they know that there are plenty of people who are desperate and have no other option but to take what the vast majority of academics consider to be exploitive conditions. This isn't new to me. Sure, I could have turned the job down, but then what? Live under a bridge? The universities use these position to take advantage of vulnerable new Ph.D.s. I, and most academics, consider this exploitive. If you find a homeless guy under a bridge and offer him $5 to work all day at your house and he takes it, is it not exploitive b/c he could have said no? That's silly.
Bingo. I can't believe the grief that you're getting over this.

Wishing you the best with your relationship.
cubby08 wrote:You only have a short amount of time to live. Don't spend it analyzing whether $400 is a test of your relationship.
This thread isn't really about finances, it's about the understanding or lack thereof between the two parties. The disagreement over finances are the symptom, not the cause.
" ... advice is most useful and at its best, not when it is telling you what to do, but when it is illuminating aspects of the situation you hadn't thought about." --nisiprius

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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by cheapskate » Fri Oct 21, 2011 10:42 pm

tj wrote:I can't believe this thread. Wow.
What I can't believe is that this thread has run to 3 pages (and growing), and this is supposedly an investing forum !

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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by etf » Fri Oct 21, 2011 11:04 pm

cheapskate wrote:
tj wrote:I can't believe this thread. Wow.
What I can't believe is that this thread has run to 3 pages (and growing), and this is supposedly an investing forum !
and yet you choose to continue to follow the thread.

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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by Ozonewanderer » Fri Oct 21, 2011 11:08 pm

dalerobk wrote: 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.
I agree with the previous poster who predicted that how you two work this situation out will help tell you how your relationship might work out. Please note that you're complaining to a bunch of strangers on the internet because your lady friend won't pay for your plane tickets.

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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by tweety » Fri Oct 21, 2011 11:16 pm

I don't normally post, but I found the discussion so compelling that I decided to chime in... :)

I know academia (I was in it) and its pitfalls. At this point, I don't know if you have resolved these hangups that are independent of your GF. As I understand, you will go on the job market for a TT position this year.

1) Suppose you don't receive an offer for next fall. Are you taking a (third?) non-TT one? If you do, then you will go on the job market next fall, so this question gets deferred a year. OK, then what? Eventually, a day may come when you don't secure any position at the university level. In this case, will you switch career or teach history at a lower level?

2) Suppose you do receive an offer. Great. Now, we still haven't solved the long distance problem. Can this department also make an offer to your GF? Even for married folks, a joint offer where both get TTs may be difficult to obtain. If no university can make a joint offer, then you two are on track to stay at different places for the rest of your careers. Are you comfortable being in a long-distance marriage indefinitely?

3) The best outcome is that you find get a TT position in the same city with your GF. Except major metropolis such as Boston, NY, LA, and the Bay Area, most cities have at most one good university. If this option never presents itself, then we are back to 1) and 2).

I don't mean to sound so high-handed, but these issues should be resolved first. I suspect that if you do, you will gain a much better understanding of how your GF (with her unique background) fits into your future. Hope this helps.

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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by Grasshopper » Sat Oct 22, 2011 8:14 am

Just one point, I have lived my life knowing that all is good in the world. Wealth and riches are more than just you bank balance. There are folks that know that everything in life is possible, there are no limits to their abundance. Call this Pollyanna, but positive affirmations of your wealth do work.

Now on to you, your story is saying to the universe that I am lacking, that there isn't enough abundance to go around. So what does the universe give you, just that not enough. On to you GF she has lived her life in agreement with the universe that there is abundance in her life. So vision yourself with vast riches, one is your GF that you already have, and believe that you are worthy of all the abundance that is available to all. Those plane tickets may just flow to you like a wealth magnet.

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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by sperry8 » Sat Oct 22, 2011 1:17 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.
Exactly! She shouldn't pay for you. You pay for yourself whenever you can and are comfortable with it. After that, if she wants to come visit you - great. This isn't about her ability to pay. What if you were dating a poor woman long distance? Would you pay for all 6 trips then? Or would you do 3 and 3? Or would you let her go? Same answer applies here. Her money is irrelevant.
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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by nonnie » Sat Oct 22, 2011 7:49 pm

This is a suggestion I've not yet seen posted. Throughout my 45 yr marriage and long-term relationship lifetime I've always paid 50% of all joint expenses, including housing, regardless of my income vs. partner/spouse. I'm a lifelong Boglehead and very thrifty and due to living with me, one husband and 1-1/2 partners (current partner is still learning :-)) who started our relationship with fewer assets than I had more than I when we parted. (I dated one man who had gone back to school and I ended up paying 2/3 of our meals because I didn't want to eat at fast food restaurants--he accepted this reluctantly but it was MY choice, not his requests.) If I had to do it all over again I might do it differently and some of my friends have used the following technique:

1) Add up your total income and her total income.
2) Calculate your individual percentages of the combined incomes
3) Figure out how to allocate savings/assets/net worth--this is the hard part although if she has trust fund income and investment income you might not have to deal with it and can just use incomes and not assets
3) Split bills accordingly

Simply proposing a method like this will create a very useful discussion.

Another suggestion similar to others made previously.
1) Show her your budget-- you do have one, right? ( Does she have one-- doesn't sound like she does-- so perhaps showing her yours will help.) Show her you have $$$XXXX allocated for entertainment, $XXX for eating out, $XXX for travel, $xxx for retirement, emergency fund, investment, etc.for 2011. Her responses should give you insight and understanding about your future together.

2) When you are deciding where to eat--assuming you are planning to split the bill say, "I can afford $xxx for my share of dinner tonight. Let her decide if she wants to contribute a larger portion. If she starts telling you that you can afford more--it's a warning about your future--not that there's anything wrong with her feelings, just that you may not be able to work things out.

Finally, as others have said, you need to work this out NOW because if you can't/don't there's no reason to continue the relationship because the problems will just increase with marriage. I do identify with her feelings of resentment as mentioned previously about paying $XXX for upcoming trip and you being uncertain about being able to pay for a trip in the future. What you are really arguing about is NOT money--it's "does he care enough to make sacrifices for me" "is he after me for my money" or "does she understand how insecure/uncertain I am about savings, supporting myself and my employment future" "doesn't she understand the financial strain I'm under?" You might think about a session or two of relationship counseling--difficult I know with a long distance relationship-in order to have a safe space for each of you to express your fears and concerns.

Good luck to you both-- money IS the hardest thing in relationship of all kinds,
Nonnie
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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by dandan14 » Sat Oct 22, 2011 8:00 pm

I have told my wife many times about a previous girlfriend who drove me crazy with spending habits. She wasn't wealthy by any means, but she spent money like it was going out of style. Honestly, she probably didn't spend all that much, but to a frugal guy like me -- it hurt. So here it is probably 7 or 8 years later -- and boy am I glad I found someone of a like mind instead of marrying someone who didn't share my spending habits. They say that most marriages that end in divorce were driven apart by either money or sex. I can see how money issues would be huge in a relationship like yours.

All that being said, you have to decide for yourself. If she is really marriage material, you are going to have some heart to hearts with her and hope she starts to come around. Would she be willing to set the trust fund aside for 6 months and try living off of her salary? Perhaps that would give her some appreciation of what is like to live like a normal person.

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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by VictoriaF » Sat Oct 22, 2011 10:07 pm

tweety wrote:I don't normally post, but I found the discussion so compelling that I decided to chime in... :)

I know academia (I was in it) and its pitfalls. At this point, I don't know if you have resolved these hangups that are independent of your GF. As I understand, you will go on the job market for a TT position this year.

1) Suppose you don't receive an offer for next fall. Are you taking a (third?) non-TT one? If you do, then you will go on the job market next fall, so this question gets deferred a year. OK, then what? Eventually, a day may come when you don't secure any position at the university level. In this case, will you switch career or teach history at a lower level?

2) Suppose you do receive an offer. Great. Now, we still haven't solved the long distance problem. Can this department also make an offer to your GF? Even for married folks, a joint offer where both get TTs may be difficult to obtain. If no university can make a joint offer, then you two are on track to stay at different places for the rest of your careers. Are you comfortable being in a long-distance marriage indefinitely?

3) The best outcome is that you find get a TT position in the same city with your GF. Except major metropolis such as Boston, NY, LA, and the Bay Area, most cities have at most one good university. If this option never presents itself, then we are back to 1) and 2).

I don't mean to sound so high-handed, but these issues should be resolved first. I suspect that if you do, you will gain a much better understanding of how your GF (with her unique background) fits into your future. Hope this helps.
The quoted message resonates with what I would like to point out: the problem is not the girlfriend but a combination of (a) the uncertainty of non-tenure-track positions and (b) the low academic pay. It is possible to make a relationship work on a low pay if the people are together. It is possible to make a long-distance relationship work if money can be thrown into it. But it is much harder to have a relationship in the presence of both issues. And it is not clear if either of these issues would ever go away, unless one of you gives up an academic career for the sake of living in the same place.

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

Post by AndroAsc » Sat Oct 22, 2011 10:25 pm

You are earning 40k/yr and have an unstable job. Your "girlfriend" was born with a gold mine in her mouth and she's not willing to life a finger to help.

Dump her.

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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by skyspot » Sun Oct 23, 2011 3:27 am

It sounds like she just doesn't get what it's like to live as most of us do. It would be different if she worked her way up to a lofty pay scale, but she doesn't share the same point of reference as you.

In my experience, the long distance relationship works if the man makes more of an effort to visit, at least at the beginning. Later on, it can be more equal. But after living apart for a year, you have to make a decision -- her city or your city? BTW, do you have any friends or family in the airline business who can give you buddy passes?

If you're considering getting married, you really need to discuss in detail the monetary situation. Will you combine your finances, or forever have them separate, with one person "living within his means" and the other, living in the manner to which she has become accustomed. If she wants to live at the level she's used to, it would be clearly coming out of her finances. Would resentment kick in? Really talk everything through.

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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by socca » Sun Oct 23, 2011 8:09 am

My mom's story gets even more interesting - and relevant. After my step-father died, leaving my mother remarkably well-off, she was single and lonely for a few years until she hooked up with an academic during a tour. She made what I thought was a critical mistake by telling him her net worth fairly early in the relationship. After some long-distance dating, he retired, relocated halfway across the country, and moved into her house. He said that the substantial disparity in their assets was a huge issue for him. He wanted to get married ASAP, and did not want a prenup. He said that he was accustomed to managing the finances, so he would take over managing my mother's money after getting married. This wasn't acceptable to my mother, so she put most of her assets in trust, and then told him she was ready to get married. He said, "forget it." Whoops! This was a disappointment for my mother, to put it mildly. However, after some 10 years, they are still together. My mother's SO insists on splitting all expenses 50-50, so he convinced my mother to sell her wonderful big house and move into a 'starter' condo. They now each own 50% of this little place. My mother insists that she's happy in her new residence. Well, OK - who am I to judge?

FWIW, I don't understand these guys who are threatened by wealthy women. As long as the woman isn't cursed with a princess mentality, I consider having substantial assets to be a major plus. Well, whatever. 8-)

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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by PreserveCapital » Sun Oct 23, 2011 8:20 am

She's testing you.

She wants to see whether you are interested in her for herself, or for her money.

Don't blow it.
I'll wager a wild guess that one of the things that bothers the GF is she can't *really* see your effort. You already say I can't afford to come out 4 months from now. I think the correct response is along the lines of "I don't know if I'll be able to afford it honey, but I'll do everything I can to save enough to come out."
IMO the correct thing to say would be: "I'll be there in four months no matter what even if I have to hitch a ride on a freight train like a hobo."

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Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by fredflinstone » Sun Oct 23, 2011 8:25 am

you are sure your university is "exploiting" you, but no one forces you to work there. If it's so awful, why did you take the jobin the first place? Why don't you quit? If you are worth so much than you are being paid, just go somewhere else.

No, you can't do that because no other college or university will hire you. You said it yourself.

Face it: You have a skill set that is not unique and is not in high demand. You have trained for years and years for a job that is not in demand.

No one forced you to study history in college and grad school. You could have majored in accounting or computer science or engineering. But, no, you chose to study history and now you are complaining about being exploited because the market pays you less than you think you're worth.

You don't realize it, but you are fortunate to have the job you have. There are many history Ph.Ds who would love to have your job. Maybe you haven't heard but the unemployment rate in the U.S. is 9 percent and the underemployment rate is nearly twice that. Many Americans with your educational background are working as movers or Starbucks baristas or are unemployed.

Like so many academics, you are privileged yet you see yourself as a victim.

Angst
Posts: 1850
Joined: Sat Jun 09, 2007 11:31 am

Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by Angst » Sun Oct 23, 2011 8:28 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.
+1

I saw this thread's subject line when it first showed up and had no interest in reading it, but I couldn't help my curiousity as the # of replies kept growing. So now, having read the OP and the 1st reply, I don't want to read any further. You need to grow a spine! Explain your financial limitations. If she doesn't come to understand your situation, then it will be time to move on.

Angie

HongKonger
Posts: 1079
Joined: Tue Jun 21, 2011 10:35 am
Location: Deep in the Balkans

Re: Girlfriend is an heiress, who should pay?

Post by HongKonger » Sun Oct 23, 2011 8:50 am

As someone in a long distance relationship (of 7 years) and with a distance further than the OPs (and a significant income disparity too yet I managed to find the $$ to fly every month or so to visit), I just want to say a couple of things:

* don't bother doing LDR unless you think the person is absolutely 'the one'

*If the person is 'the one' then your decision is made regarding paying to be with them - you will just do whatever it takes to be with that person

In my case, as I paid for the airfare, my partner covered everything else whilst I visited. It was never discussed, it just worked that way.

Now my partner mostly comes to visit me, and either I cover the incidentals/meals etc, or we go 50/50.

I earn about the same as the OP too.

Locked