How to split rent, first dates, and retirement accounts in relationships

#1

Originally published at: https://www.ohmydollar.com/2019/08/21/money-dates-relationships/

Splitting date expenses is hard, especially when you’re queer. How do you split rent when one person makes a lot more money? Plus, what who should get more in their retirement account?

We talk about:

  • The different models of paying on a date, and how it can be different for queer couples
  • How to navigate different preferences in housing, budgeting, and different earning potential
  • Which retirement account you should use
  • Should you get a joint retirement account with your partner?
  • The difference between being legally married and being a beneficiary and power of attorney
  • The two apps I use to split expenses (Todoist and YNAB)
  • How to start an IRA for a spouse that doesn’t work
  • A listener question from Alicia
We’ll continue this discussion on the Oh My Dollar forums – come join us, we’re nice!

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Transcript (provided by our listener supporters on Patreon)

Will Romey: [00:00:00] This show is supported by generous listeners like you through our patreon. This episode was underwritten by the Tamsen G. Association, Warrior Queen, and Chris Giddings. To learn more more about ways to support Oh My Dollar! and get cool perks like cat stickers and a fancy special icon on our forums – You can visit my ohmydollar.com/support/

Lillian Karabaic: [00:00:21] Welcome to my Oh My Dollar!, a personal finance show with a dash of glitter. Dealing with money can be scary and stressful. Here we gave practical, friendly advice about money that helps you tackle the financial overwhelm. I’m your host, Lillian Karabaic.

Will Romey: [00:00:34] I’m your other host, Will.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:00:34] Will forgot he was hosting.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:00:38] I started reading the script early

Will Romey: [00:00:40] Yup Will, OK. So today, Will, this was actually like brought on by a listener question, which was like a good and important question about combining finance and looking towards the future around retirement accounts.

Will Romey: [00:00:55] But at the same time, it made me think of a thread that we had a couple of months ago in the Oh My Dollar! forums about who pays on a gay date, which actually kind of transformed into a more sprawling discussion of who pays on dates in general.

Will Romey: [00:01:12] Right.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:01:12] And I thought like, this is a really fascinating because it’s one of those things where it is so culturally specific, but is really important. And it it kind of merges into the general finance question that happens in relationships – of which there are many.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:01:30] Right? Like the like number one cause of divorce is financial arguments.

Will Romey: [00:01:36] Yeah.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:01:38] This this is one of those things where money is incredibly relevant to relationships and in fact, why the institution of marriage exists. *ahem*

Will Romey: [00:01:45] Yea.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:01:45] And so I think it’s fascinating to talk about the different ways that people navigate this. And yeah, I – I don’t know. Do you have thoughts on this, Will?

Lillian Karabaic: [00:01:56] The general combining of finance in relationships?

Will Romey: [00:02:02] Not general thoughts? I don’t know. It’s a thing.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:02:06] It’s a thing.

Will Romey: [00:02:06] It exists.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:02:07] Do you pay when you go on dates? Yeah. Or split? I mean, not for everything. I think that’s I think that’s- I feel like you just answered that in every way possible, Will.

Will Romey: [00:02:16] And it depends. I feel like the assumption is is dated and sexist at best.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:02:24] So like a mine is the my rule is the asker pays generally.

Will Romey: [00:02:28] Yeah, that makes sense. If you’re inviting someone to do something, you feel like you’re implying you’re supporting that financially.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:02:36] Yeah, but but then that ends up getting more complicated when it’s like, OK. But what if one person makes like five times what the other makes? So are they just always going to have to ask? Like or the like, oh, someone wants to do something really expensive and they know the other person can’t afford that. But- but it’s fine for them.

Will Romey: [00:02:57] Yea, it if you’re trying to be in a relationship with someone and you can’t figure this out- It’s not meant to be, is it?

Lillian Karabaic: [00:03:04] I mean, figuring it out I mean, figuring it out is one of those things where like I think it’s so hard for people to talk about money. And it’s really hard to have that conversation early, especially early in a relationship about money, because you’re like, oh, how much are we gonna show? How much are we gonna open up? Like, is your net worth relevant? When you’re like, oh, I have 100k in student loans? Is how much you have in your bank account relevan? Is like it- Is it just. Is it just about your ethical stance on splitting and and how feminist you are?

Lillian Karabaic: [00:03:38] And if it ends up in one of those kind of discussions where it and there’s not a lot of roadmaps like, even even in the case where you’ve got two women in a relationship or two men in a relationship, you’re just like, oh, there are no gender standards to default on if we don’t want to do any mental work around this. Right?

Lillian Karabaic: [00:03:56] And that ends up being one of those those situations, where it’s hard because we don’t know what the roadmap is for these kinds of discussions, because no longer are we getting married at 16 in a pre-arranged marriage with, you know, whoever liked us the most in primary school.

Will Romey: [00:04:10] And whoever’s father owns the big farm down the road.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:04:12] Exactly right. This was originally brought up in the fourums by FiFiFum who said I (he/himi) have been out with someone (he/him) who insists on paying for stuff. This is super new to me, because my date paying philosophy is generally presume an equitable split. Oh, and the invite her ask should pay – at minimum offer, expect to pay, especially if they selected the venue or activity. Equitable can include 50/50 splits each time or taking turns, paying your own check, proportional share with income disparate couples, especially the longer you’ve been dating or together.

Will Romey: [00:04:49] Yeah, that all make sense.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:04:52] So the equitable split thing is really interesting, because I feel like that is one of the cases where, generally I’ve made less money then whoever I am in a relationship with, not always.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:05:02] BUt I don’t make a lot of money, so generally I’ve made less and I feel like I get closer to the proportional share as I get deeper in the relationship. So I’ve live with my current partner for four, four or five years and we do we do 50/50 split on everything except rent.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:05:23] And this was our way of being like, OK, you do make literally like five times what I make. So like rent is one of those things when we moved in together. I was living in like a not super great apartment. I had a great roommate. It was a great location. But like it smelled like smoke constantly from my downstairs neighbor. It was very dark. It didn’t have a lot of windows. And it was it was you know, it was a property management company that anybody in Portland knows what the level of quality of their apartments are. And it had 70’s shag carpet everywhere.

Will Romey: [00:05:54] Nice.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:05:57] It was a look. It was definitely look. And I was unwilling to I was – I didn’t want to pay that much more in rent, even if I was moving up in housing. But my partner had much more expensive housing preferences. And so the discussion essentially became like, OK, well, I don’t really want to pay for half of an apartment that has, you know, in-unit washer dryer, a dishwasher, all these things I perceive as something that “fancy people” have, because it’s going to impact my ability to save and spend money on the things that I want.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:06:29] And I just don’t want that proportion of my rent – my total salary going to rent versus my partner was like, “this is a rounding error in the amount that I make, because I work in tech.”.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:06:40] And so and I. They had come from a very fancy apartment building. And so the place that we moved into was sort of a compromise. But because it had those sort of fancier things that cost more in the rent, we ended up doing- We didn’t do it proportional by income because I literally would be paying almost nothing in rent.

Will Romey: [00:07:01] That sounds like a good compromise.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:07:01] Yeah, but I ended up doing- We ended up doing like 60/40,.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:07:04] Albeit maybe a little more long term than the scenario we were talking about.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:07:10] Right. Exactly. And but that that came from like despite that split, we still split groceries equally down the middle and I don’t pay for their groceries that I’m not going to eat and vice versa.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:07:20] So I don’t drink alcohol and so I don’t pay for beer – for the house- unless we are joint buying it because we are hosting people at the house.

Will Romey: [00:07:29] And that’s different.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:07:30] So then we would get it. And also like I get expensive vegan cheese and they get expensive, not vegan cheese. And I so like we will split out the bill based on that. And this is also one of those things where it’s- I think even more relevant now because my partner travels like three to five days a week for work. And so I essentially live alone in my fancy apartment.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:07:56] *sad chuckle*

Lillian Karabaic: [00:07:56] And because of that –

Will Romey: [00:07:57] With your vegan cheese.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:07:57] I do end up spending more on groceries simply because I whenever I’m buying groceries just for myself, I’m buying them just for myself. Right?

Will Romey: [00:08:04] Yeah. You’re not splitting them yea.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:08:05] And it turns out splitting groceries for two is slightly cheaper per person and groceries for one.

Will Romey: [00:08:12] Makes sense. The bulk discounts.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:08:14] Yeah. It’s the like not having to buy an entire bottle of oil, when you want to buy it. Is it things like that – anyway?

Will Romey: [00:08:22] So this is one of those things where I, obviously, as Will was saying if you’re in a relationship with someone, hopefully you have open enough communication where you can kind of navigate this.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:08:33] But it’s really hard in the beginning where you feel it out like what is the point at which you start having the discussion of like, OK, what what’s your financial situation look like? Right?

Will Romey: [00:08:44] Like, that’s not a leading question.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:08:46] The first night, you don’t ask like, “are you regularly overdrafting your checking account?” If you are, maybe you’re a bit of a nerd. But and like I don’t know, that would be a red flag to me.

Will Romey: [00:08:58] If it was the first question.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:09:00] ON the first date!

Lillian Karabaic: [00:09:01] But at the same time, like it’s like money is about values more than it is about the hard numbers, as we’ve talked about a lot on the show. And so usually like disagreements about like the core premise of money, can point to a values difference, which often.

Will Romey: [00:09:18] Yea makes sense!

Lillian Karabaic: [00:09:19] Ends up meaning different things in relationships. That being said, I think a lot of opposites attract and I think a lot of spenders end up getting with savers.

Will Romey: [00:09:27] Yeah, I mean, yeah, I mean, that’s a desirable quality maybe in each other.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:09:33] And so then, you know, you just kind of got to build that in. One of the things that I’ve talked about I think I’ve talked about before in the show is when it comes to getting partners on board. So if you start listening to this show or or, you know, reading up on finance and really decide like, I’m going to get my finances together and you’re in a relationship with someone at really any stage the biggest thing I recommend is not being the person that comes home and are like, “we’re going to get everything together with our finances.

Will Romey: [00:09:59] Get it all squared away.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:09:59] When it cut back on everything, we’re gonna cut the cable. We’re going to, you know, blah blah blah, we’re gonna save all this money and then we’re going to retire in five years. You know, whatever the really ambitious like over-eager, I’ve decided this is the way we’re gonna do it now.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:10:13] That usually doesn’t work. What I recommend is if you start to want to make financial changes, unless this is something that you enjoy geeking out about with your partner. The thing I say is show by example.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:10:26] So in the very beginning, it’s like, oh, you aren’t always freaked out about paycheck to paycheck. Maybe you you are on to something or like, oh, I see that you have a budgeting ritual where you actually sit down every Sunday night and like, you know,.

Will Romey: [00:10:42] Work on the budget.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:10:43] Work on the budget. Or like I see you sending in your quarterly taxes instead of stuffing it under my bed in shoeboxes. So like those kind of things like leading by example. I think as you start to get more and more confident with money, it really does show and the people closest to you start to notice.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:11:00] And that, I think is better than trying to be prescriptive, because especially if you are a saver and your partner is a spender and that’s just your natural inclinations, they are going to rebel if you try to impose something on them because it’s going to feel like they have been boxed in.

Will Romey: [00:11:17] Yea.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:11:17] And all of those negative associations people have with like budgeting are going to come up.

Will Romey: [00:11:21] Right you don’t want someone forcing you to do that.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:11:23] And if you are on board generally about it, but you have different slightly different spending priorities. So like obviously, I have slightly different spending priorities than almost anyone. We’re all unique in that way. I’m a huge fan- if you do have combined finances or if you have some combined categories, making sure each person is still at least has one slush money category that is their own.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:11:45] No, no judgment spending.

Will Romey: [00:11:47] Yeah.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:11:48] So really, I think it’s really important. You know, my partner likes to spend a lot of money on fancy cameras and camera equipment that would probably give me –

Will Romey: [00:11:57] She says with a fancy camera next to her for her birthday.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:11:58] It Was my birthday. It’s really nice! But like. But I would probably freak out if that came out of like a combined finance situation, because it is it is a lot of money, even though I like – no judgment. My partner has a much bigger net worth and has their finances completely together.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:12:16] Beyond even what I do because they have a bigger shovel to work with.

Will Romey: [00:12:19] Yea.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:12:19] And so there’s no judgment there. But at the same time, like I spend a lot of money on like really silly costume stuff that would probably stress my partner out, if that was coming out of the same budget. And if you’re someone that’s like, oh, but I don’t need that slush money, that’s fine.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:12:33] Just save it. Right?

Will Romey: [00:12:35] Yea, save your slash.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:12:36] Save your slash, give it to your partner. Give but give that space to your partner, to which every partner is in a situation where they like to spend more money. And, you know, if you’re in a polyamorous relationship or something, that’s like your date money for other partner, that’s also a good place to buy gifts.

Will Romey: [00:12:54] The slush Fund.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:12:54] Yeah. The slush fund, because then the other person doesn’t see it coming out of the budget. That’s true. They don’t know. And and that also helps. I think folks kind of recognize that their values are not going 100 percent line up with their spending all the time. But that’s OK because you each agree that it’s important to have their money in a different place.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:13:14] I think the first date is like one of the biggest stress ones because it’s hard to know when you’re just meeting someone how they’re going to react when you offer to pay, when they offer to pay.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:13:26] Or like if you want to split it and they’re like, “oh, no” – but I think that things get more complicated and more emotional as you go on.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:13:34] Like the first date is like- First dates are awkward no matter what?

Will Romey: [00:13:36] Uh huh.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:13:38] Generally, Right? So like the money is just one small, small part of it. But it gets a lot fuzzier when you are like in a relationship. I think if you don’t live together, but you’re in a long-term relationship that gets like even more frustrating.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:13:55] One thing that happened early in my relationship, before I live with my partner was that like we were constantly square cashing and Venmoing each other back and forth like one to six dollars for either like groceries, because one of us would buy groceries and then like the other would send like half the groceries.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:14:12] Or back and forth for like split bars at bills.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:14:17] The biggest problem was like at a coffee shop. If you could just do one transaction, you want to just do one transaction – or like close out one tab in the bar, but then you’re sending one to six dollars. And it actually was just super annoying, because we both used YNAB, and so we did not want to have to like constantly reconcile all these one to six dollar transactions.

Will Romey: [00:14:36] Oh yeah. It’s a pain in but. I mean that’s that’s why I kind of like to leave a couple of bucks in my Venmo account just for that. I guess that’s maybe a slush fund sort of thing

Lillian Karabaic: [00:14:42] It’s is sort your slush money.

Will Romey: [00:14:42] The money I don’t need to necessarily account for, but it’s useful to have digitally there.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:14:49] Yeah. I’m also the kind of person that like I I was always terrible at remembering that someone owed me money or I owed the money at the bar. Like it would be like, oh, “I’ll get your drink next time.”.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:14:58] Like, I just had no memory for that. And so I would want to do it instantly. But the great thing is, because majority of my split transactions are with my partner. We do not have combined accounts, but we both YNAB, and we have a shared todoist task list where we enter the transactions assigned to the other person.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:15:18] So like when we go grocery shopping, we’ll actually like enter that transaction into the todoist lisit- and it’s shared so it will get immediately added.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:15:26] And then we have accounts in YNAB for the other person that are setup as a we have credit cards. So we only have to reconcile that account- We say we do it once a month, but in reality we do it like once every three months, where we actually go through and reconcile that YNAB like each other as a credit card?

Will Romey: [00:15:43] That’s a good way to do it.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:15:44] It’s really great because when we spend that money at the grocery store, I actually just split the transaction as though I’m splitting it to another card. But it’s actually to this like just ledger that we have going on in YNAB. Obviously, that’s like a way more over the top way of dealing with it, but it has worked really well, especially because we’re often not in the same city.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:16:03] And because of that it makes it a lot easier to like, you know, have a record of, you know, when I go out and do a big grocery shop or something, when they’re not here, it makes it easier.

Will Romey: [00:16:13] And you know about it. Yeah.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:16:14] Yes. So I don’t know what. What about groceries? What do you do? What do you do with groceries, Will?

Will Romey: [00:16:21] I buy my own damn groceries.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:16:22] You buy your own groceries.

Will Romey: [00:16:23] I don’t know, groceries are pretty splittable, especially if people are sharing meals and food. And what you’re saying about not paying for your partner’s beer or sugar-free ice cream makes sense because.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:16:38] That stuff is expensive

Will Romey: [00:16:39] Why would you pay for sugar free ice cream?

Lillian Karabaic: [00:16:41] I mean, it is good ice cream, but I just don’t want to spend eight dollars on a pint of ice cream.

Will Romey: [00:16:45] Yea. Oh, my gosh.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:16:46] So, yeah, my partner doesn’t -.

Will Romey: [00:16:47] The right pint of ice cream, maybe.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:16:49] Yeah. I mean, my thing is that like the sugar full vegan ice cream is at grocery outlet, which I live really close to for like two dollars a pint on a regular basis. And I’m like, I’m eating ice cream anyway. I just need to accept that there is going. I’d like it doesn’t have nutritional value. So – but my partner doesn’t eat sugar. So the sugar-free ice cream is expensive.

Will Romey: [00:17:11] Yeah. But I mean, of course, she’s I don’t know, splitting splitting the staples makes sense and paying for your own beer and stuff, also makes sense if you’re the only one who’s gonna be consuming that.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:17:21] Yeah. And we don’t like we when we have like fancy snacks or something like that that we got kind of without the other’s consent. That will usually be in our own budget, but if we end up sharing them sometimes I will like reimburse.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:17:37] So sometimes I will be up at 3:00 a.m. and breaking in the freezer and eat my significant others ice cream, and then I’ll just like replace it or replace the thing of ice cream. You know, at the full cost to myself,

Will Romey: [00:17:37] The replacement’s the way to go, yeah.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:17:51] Yeah, yeah. Or I’ll like, you know, put, you know, eight dollars on our ledger or whatever.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:17:57] So, I think that’s – that’s there’s a bunch of different kind of stances on it, I think. I think one of the things that’s really challenging about the asker-inviter model FIFOFUM kind of pointed out was, that this person that they’re seeing is a recent transplant to the area.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:18:15] So more of the ideas of what to do come from them, because “I know where Things are, where they exist” and then are mutually agreed upon. So like it’s kind of bad, to be like constantly suggesting things, but then this other person is always paying for them?

Lillian Karabaic: [00:18:31] If you’re doing the payer-askee model, but like, yeah.

Will Romey: [00:18:35] I don’t know with that one, it sounds like if the person who’s paying is comfortable with it and happy doing it. I don’t know if there’s a problem.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:18:43] I know, but what does that just make you shiver in the in the weird. I don’t know in the weird ways?

Will Romey: [00:18:49] I don’t know. I don’t know. It it just seems like some weird patriarchy, feeling emasculated thing.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:18:57] Yeah. I guess I just like really prefer cheap dates generally. And so I- This is one of those things where I don’t have as much trouble, but I do hate when I’m like, oh, I would like to go out with you. But like, no, I don’t want to go to that like 18 dollar place, you like, you know. Yes. It might be a great tapas bar, but like, I’m not into fancy restaurants, really. And so it’s just not my – I don’t get the most value out of my money.

Will Romey: [00:19:26] I mean, you can always suggest more affordable options like cooking at home,.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:19:29] I love groceries to cook together as a date. And then, you know, that’s my favorite frugal day. I also like bringing a picnic.

Will Romey: [00:19:38] Oh, that’s a good idea.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:19:39] No. That was like my number one courting move would be like show up at someone’s workplace as they were like getting out and then surprise them with a picnic. So food is the way to my heart.

Will Romey: [00:19:50] Food’s great.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:19:51] Just not fancy food.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:19:53] This all kind of leads into a question about combined finances after marriage. And the reason I say after marriage is because marriage – one of the reasons that it was fought for so hard for same-sex marriage is, is a bundle of different rights that you have to the other person’s assets.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:20:12] And this is really, really important when it comes to retirement planning. So we had a listener, Alicia, write in and she said, my husband I’s have separate jobs and bank accounts and we share all household expenses.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:20:26] We’ve recently opened separate Roth IRAs, and I have separate small investments as well. We assume everything will be the same. We are very happy and plan on being married through retirement as well as forever.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:20:38] But is it better to just put money in one retirement account with therefore a bigger sum for both of us and share that? Does that produce a higher return or should we still invest our smaller shares in separate accounts? And then Alicia also said I have a separate 401K through work, which is only for me. But he could theoretically add his money to mine, or I could put my money into his larger Roth instead of my smaller – blah blah blah.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:21:01] So here’s here’s the thing you need to know about retirement accounts. Is that generally, they’re always separate. And that doesn’t mean that you don’t have shared access to the assets. If you continue to be married or if you are married for a certain amount of time, you get access to those assets even after divorce. But the thing is, is that they are usually only in your name. So Roth and traditional IRAs can only be in your name. Obviously one’s tied to you at work are only in your name. There isn’t really much of a such thing as a joint retirement account. There are some like fuzzy ways you can do it. But for most of those tax advantaged retirement accounts, they are in your individual name.

Will Romey: [00:21:44] Okay. So quick answer your question is no.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:21:46] Stick with your own retirement account. Stick with your own retirement accounts. But I want to talk about the different ways in which you get access to it – and the ways you should think about it.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:21:55] So because I one of one of Alicia’s questions was like, will we get more money if we put it in the bigger account? And this is one of those things where it’s actually irrelevant. So because that return is based not on the total amount sitting in the account, but it’s a percentage return on each dollar in the account. So if you had two accounts and they were identically invested and one was ten thousand dollars and one was two thousand dollars each. If it’s still twelve thousand dollars invested in the same shares. Right?

Will Romey: [00:22:25] Yea.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:22:26] Does that make sense?

Lillian Karabaic: [00:22:26] So they’re going to produce the same return over either one.

Will Romey: [00:22:28] Right, 5 percent of 6,000 plus 5 percent of 6,000 is the same as five percent of 12,000.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:22:35] Yes, exactly. And that compound interest is also pretty much the same. If you’re truly working on retirement as a couple, then you should treat both your and your retirement accounts as one overall savings rate.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:22:48] I wouldn’t, I would avoid comparing individual contributions with your partner. So if your partner has a better match at their work, you might want to put more money towards their work 401K vs. your work 401k.

Will Romey: [00:23:01] Right, because they’re going to be more benefit there.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:23:03] I will say I generally recommend that that folks always have some retirement stuff in their name. So I wouldn’t want you to put 100 percent of your retirement investing all in your husband’s name and none of it in your name simply because I want you to have access to some of those assets later.

Will Romey: [00:23:27] If you if your marriage was to end for any reason.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:23:30] Yes.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:23:31] So if your marriage ends because one of you dies, then you just need to make sure to name your spouse as a beneficiary. And if you are legally married, then your spouse as a beneficiary is automatically there. But it’s helps to just write it on the form.

Will Romey: [00:23:47] just to confirm that’s all working.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:23:48] Is on the form. Also, if your spouse has power of attorney for you, this is one of those areas where being legally married can really help, because while you can name anyone as a beneficiary, they will have to pay taxes to get that account, if they are not legally married to you, which is in fact the case that legally, legally decided gay marriage in the U.S. was about taxes- estate taxes on retirement accounts.

Will Romey: [00:24:13] I don’t know that, that’s not shocking.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:24:14] Yeah, exactly. I liked it because it was one of the best arguments that you can make is just argue about taxes rather than the, you know, ethics of who you love.

Will Romey: [00:24:25] Yea.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:24:26] So the other the other thing that is worth knowing about when considering together is spousal IRAs.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:24:34] So if you have a partner that is not working or makes a low income, your spouse can qualify for what is called a “spousal independent retirement account.” This isn’t actually like a special kind of IRA. It’s not different than a traditional or a Roth IRA. It’s just a traditional Roth IRA that allows a non-working spouse to have a retirement vehicle, so they wouldn’t have anything through work if they’re not working, if they’re on disability or, you know, they’re raising children or whatever.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:24:58] But you as the working spouse can put money into a spousal IRA, for your legal spouse. And those are really awesome.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:25:07] And it also allows for folks to have some money in their own name, which is very helpful. And that’s helpful. Even that’s helpful. Even like- Aside from divorce or anything like that, that is helpful because things slow down when people die. As far as getting access to money.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:25:23] And so spousal IRAs will mean that they have access to some money that is in their name. So either way, whichever death do us part or divorce do us part.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:25:34] It is important to have money in both accounts, but I would not worry about which one has the greater sum, look towards which one has the lowest expense ratio and you know, best match- If you get some match through work, but you can kind of spread it out.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:25:47] It’s it’s annoying to have a bunch of accounts, but I would recommend that you have at least one retirement account in the name of each spouse.

Will Romey: [00:25:56] Yeah, I like it.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:25:57] All right. I think. I think that’s it.

Will Romey: [00:26:00] Yeah, but you should email us or text us or tweet at @ohmydollar.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:26:04] Yes.

Will Romey: [00:26:06] Let us – Let us know your thoughts and perspectives and solutions for these things.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:26:11] I’d love to hear all of your solutions for this. Especially like if you’re queer. How do you work this out? Because you can’t – you don’t get to just fall back on gender norms.

Will Romey: [00:26:21] Also stop falling back on gender norms!

Lillian Karabaic: [00:26:24] Yeah. If you’re straight and you don’t want to fall back on gender norms, how do you have that conversation?

Lillian Karabaic: [00:26:29] I’m not straight enough to know how straight people converse with each other, but theoretically they do.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:26:34] OK. *nervous gay laugh*.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:26:34] E-mail us your financial worries, successes, how you split finances – at questions@ohmydollar.com or tweet us at @anomalily or at @ohmydollar.

Will Romey: [00:26:46] Yep.

Lillian Karabaic: [00:26:46] Our producer is Will Romey. Our intro music is by Aaron Parecki, and your host and personal finance educator is me, Lillian Karabaic. Thanks for listening. Till next time, remember to manage your money so it doesn’t manage you.

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#2

I wanted to share a cute story. :3

So Wizard and I always just paid for our own selves on our early dates, and we still bear the cost of our own restaurant spending separately. However, splitting a tab can be a real pain if it’s not a super even split, like if Wizard got a beer or I got dessert. It’s just easier to do one check, so usually one of us would pay and the other would give approximately the owed amount to the payer in cash. We realized at one point that we were passing the same ten dollar bill back and forth over and over, so we started marking it to see how many times we passed it back. Three years in, we’re on our third ten (two have accidentally been spent outside the relationship or otherwise lost), which currently has something like 60 marks on it. It has actually led us to go out for cheaper food than we might otherwise, because we can pass the ten back and forth. :wink:

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#3

That is delightful

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#4

We try hard to be delights :wink:

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#5

@diapasoun’s story is super sweet! I have to admit, though, I’ve never personally had the patience to pass money back and forth. When we started dating, bf and I pretty quickly got in a system of alternating who paid, just loosely keeping track.

When we moved in, we immediately opened a joint checking account for expenses we wanted to split 50-50. I would never advocate merging all finances at that point, but this account only ever had a month of expenses at a time. We also both happened to open personal checking accounts at the same bank, which has worked out great for moving money to each other for the larger expenses, like plane tickets (intra-bank transfers are instant).

As a side note, a friend of mine once shared he had a joint account with a roommate; you don’t really need to be in a Relationship to do this, just a modicum of trust, and a little risk tolerance.

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#6

So, obviously this is relevant to my situation (working mom with a stay-at-home husband), and I was very surprised to hear about it! I would definitely like to open an IRA for D at some point so he’ll have his own retirement savings. I had assumed there was no barrier to him just opening an IRA and putting money in it. Is this not the case since he doesn’t have a job or any personal income? Would I specifically have to open a spousal IRA for him?

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#7

Yes you do! IRAs are only allowed for people with earned income - this is why you can’t open an IRA for your teenager if they don’t have a job. But spousal IRAs - it’s just a designation when you do taxes! Not a special account, just a way to do contributions for non working spouses

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#8

I did not realize that! Thank you for the education!

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#9

It’s really easy - just like a regular IRA basically. We had one for husband for several years, may again this year depending on how the university categorizes his stipend.

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