Some questions we came across included:
- Do we split everything 50:50 even though we do not make the same salary?
- Will we stay common law?
- Is there any advantage of getting married if we are not planning to have children?
- What are each other's financial goals?
- How do we see ourselves living in 20 years?
We both agreed that things would have been much more straight forward had we met at a time when neither one of us had anything of value. Then it would mean we build it together. 50:50 split would be obvious and easy.
My previous post about my friends A & B was an example of how complicated things can be when there are egos and financial "hangups" involved.
I have read advice that recommended that in cases of non matching income, it would be fair to split expenses by percentage of take home pay. Thus if one person made 60% of the total income, they would be in charge of 60% of the expenses.
We tried this method at the start. To be honest, we may not have given it a real chance.
I admit I was hesitant about completely combining both incomes into what I call the "common pot". I was afraid of losing my identity and my assets. I didn't want to be in a situation where I would have to buy my house back from anyone should my relationship go sour.
I know of one woman who "bought out" 2 houses from 2 different men and found herself in her late 40's with minimal savings. D's own brother still talks about him having to buy his house twice after a nasty split up.
As my relationship with D progressed, I found that I wanted to share things 50:50. In the beginning, D was adamant in clarifying what he has brought into the relationship and that should things not work out, he would only take back what he put in. He wants things to be fair and did not wish to make it look like he is taking advantage.
D has gotten comments from his male friends that make fun of him (non malicious) as a "kept man". I did take offense to it even though I have been told that that is "guy humour" and he was told to not tell me about it.
D tells me that he gets razed about things because the guys are openly jealous of our lifestyle and that's why they make fun of him. He is witty enough to always provide a sharp retort but I don't get that. My girlfriends would not say such things.
As the years have gone by, as our relationship deepened, came an increased comfort zone and trust with each other's ability to manage money, allowing a true partnership has emerged.
So, do we have a prenup? Sort of. We have broad concepts on paper. Neither of us will end up with less should things not work out.
We also have wills in place. Being married has the added bonus of simplifying things from an estate perspective. And having both names on title for all properties ensures a seamless transfer. By doing this, we are taking care of each other now and later.