I am a retired 62 year old woman. I was widowed in 2006 at the age of 46 and raised two children on my own (now 24 and 27). I used my husband’s life insurance money (about $500,000) to maintain our house, provide childcare, and send both children to college without a birth loan. pellets.
I have also invested some. I have 401(k) savings at work, up to a year. Now retired due to some health issues, I have a small pension (about $24,000 a year), a $2.5 million investment account (from which I am drawing about 2% a year on living expenses), a house is worth about $400,000. and no debt.
I remarried 6 years ago. My husband is a wonderful man with many great qualities, although he is not good at managing money. He is divorced – his wife leaves him and their 3 children, and he raises them alone. (All adults, ages 29 to 35) He is 65 years old, now retired, used to be an engineer and has a well-paying job.
I fully admit that his financial situation is different from mine – he has never received any child support from his ex and in fact has had to pay alimony. 4 years, while I have Social Security and insurance to help with my finances. He saved some while working, but in years hasn’t invested in his 401(k). He has a pension about 2.5 times my money, and he will start collecting Social Security next month. He also has about $500,000 in retirement savings.
“‘My home is the trust for my children and prenup gives him a life of interest in the house, should I cheat on him first.’“
When I married my husband, he sold his house, which was worth $100,000 more than me, but he had no equity in it (due to debt for home maintenance, car purchase, etc.). and university fees). He has to take money to pay, repay the bank with the remaining amount borrowed.
I lent him that money and loaned him $20,000 for paint, mildew repairs, and floor repairs that needed to be completed before he moved in. The first and second mortgage and living expenses have eaten up his income, and he is living on credit. He owes about $50,000 in credit cards and $40,000 for his third child’s college expenses (she also has a loan).
After we sold the house to him and we got married, he paid for everything. He paid me back everything he borrowed, paid off his credit cards, and paid off his student loans (he finally paid off this year).
We signed a contract before we got married. My house is entrusting my children and giving him a life of care in advance should I cheat him first. We split living expenses. For the first 4 years of our marriage, that split included the mortgage (we pay about $550 per month). Prenup said that if I sold the house, I would owe him $550 for every month he paid half of the mortgage; that’s about $25,000 total. I’m fine with all of that.
“‘He was very handy and did a lot of minor repairs and maintenance on his own, which I greatly appreciated.’“
We’re still splitting costs, but we’re no longer paying $550 per month when the mortgage is paid off. However, we have made a lot of improvements to the house. Some were improvements that we both wanted (e.g. replacing worn, warped floors with a new green yard) and others were necessary needs (e.g. removing cave ceilings due to leaky ductwork and repair of ducts, ceiling and floor replacement).
I’m spending a fortune on home maintenance. I realized that my second husband is basically living in my house for free. He was very handy and did a lot of the repairs and maintenance on his own, which I greatly appreciated.
Any repairs and improvements benefit me more than they do, as I will realize the added value in my home when I sell it. But I am increasingly frustrated that I am having to cover so many large expenses and am wondering if there is a reasonable way for him to pay some of these expenses.
I also realized that my net worth is greater than his. What is fairness? Should he pay the rent or some other cost related to the maintenance? Or should I just walk out and pay for anything related to the house and just appreciate the upkeep he does for me?
What is your advice for a fair arrangement?
Thanks a lot.
Second wife in Virginia
Dear Second Wife,
Before I answer your question, I want to congratulate you on achieving this. First as a wife, a widow and a single mother and again as a second wife, navigate and – for the most part – avoid the dangerous financial pitfalls that millions fall prey to everyday.
You are also a great example of playing the long game. You’ve invested, paid off your mortgage, put your kids through college, and have a large nest egg to make up for your more modest pension. You not only survive, but also thrive. You have had a good life and seem to be very happy.
This column is mainly about money, if you take the title literally, but if you are insecure and have a second chance at happiness with a new relationship – as you did with your second husband – All for what, how? Money alone will not make anyone happy.
Not only are you in a bad place, but you’ve helped get your second husband out of debt, provide him with a stable home life, and you’ve protected yourself with a decent prenuptial agreement. intelligent, and at the same time generously agreed to repay him for the contributions he had made. your mortgage if you sell. Brava!
From romance to semantics
And now I want to move from romantic to semantic. Sorry in advance. You write that you feel frustrated that your husband is not paying for any of the renovations, which I imagine run into the thousands of dollars, but that he will benefit from them for life.
You say you’re upset because friend is paying for the renovation – not because he refused to pay. Basically and objectively, you are upset with yourself, instead of blaming your husband. (He may volunteer to pay half. Rightly or wrongly, he believes his financial obligation to your home is complete.)
Your approach is a bit off-putting, so it helps to be honest with him. Tell him you didn’t expect the renovation to be this expensive, and start by asking him what he believe it will be a fair contribution. You can update your prenup to agree to return the improvement capital if you sell or split.
Take into account that you embark on these renovations without understanding or intending that he will pay for them as well. It’s probably fair to pay 50% for the most recent essential refurbishments, but less than 50% for the more expensive greenstone patio.
A surprise at the 11th hour
However, he may agree to pay 50% of all of them. It’s harder to get him to pay you 50% retroactively, especially if you go back several years. He also has a fixed income, but no one likes to be surprised with a bill at the 11th hour, and at such a late stage after the initial spending.
For that reason, I also advise against asking him to pay the rent. That seems like a rug pull and – more than that – a secret way to cover expenses you didn’t ask him or expect him to pay the first time around. After all, both of you are retired.
It doesn’t have to be 50/50. That is your house. You both benefit from living there for the rest of your life, assuming you’re still married, and it’ll eventually come to your children. He is investing in your house as a place to live, but not as an asset that he can pass on to his children.
You have navigated your financial and marriage negotiations with consideration, openness, and respect. There’s no reason why this should be different. It will be easier for him to agree if you don’t come to him with an inflexible, inflexible proposal, which is a fait colleague.
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