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  • Marriage and finances; many questions

    Hi all, I am a PGY2 internal medicine resident. I am planning to propose to my girlfriend either at the end of this year or early next year. I have many questions regarding marriage finances that I am wondering if people here could help me with. I like to think that I am very savvy with personal finance but my girlfriend has never really dealt with this stuff before and is not so bright in terms of finance (as you will be able to tell from below). I will be pursuing a 3-year fellowship after my IM residency and do not plan to take any gap years as a hospitalist. My girlfriend, who is a RN currently, is applying to 3-year DNP programs this summer from 2021-2024. I will graduate fellowship the same year she graduates her DNP program. For reference, I am certain I will match at either my home institution or a nearby institution and she is certain our in-state DNP program will accept her.

    Current financial information
    Me: (27 years old)
    - $175,000 student loans under REPAYE at 5.62% interest
    - enrolled in PSLF but I do not plan to pursue; I am staying in REPAYE/PSLF so I can take advantage of low payments during residency/fellowship and the subsidized interest rate under REPAYE
    - current income $70,000 but moonlighting gets it up to around $75,000
    - Roth IRA (current value): $56,000 all in index funds
    - Taxable account (current value): $13,000 all in index funds
    - Emergency savings: $5,000
    - HSA (current value): $2,000
    - 401k (current value, no employer match): $3,000
    - no credit card debt
    - car is fully paid off
    - rent+utilities/car insurance/internet is around $1600/month

    Girlfriend: (24 years young)
    - no student debt
    - DNP tuition for 3 years will run total of $70,000 (she will take federal loans for this) pending she gets accepted to her in-state program
    - current RN income $60,000; she will work a light PRN job after she starts school
    - Roth IRA: none
    - Taxable account (current value): $2,500
    - Emergency savings: close to none
    - HSA: none
    - 401k (4% employer match): $3,000
    - no credit card debt
    - currently just starting year 2 of 3 year luxury vehicle lease ($700/month payment)
    - currently lives at home with parents so no rent

    Questions:
    1. Broadly speaking, and taking into account both of our situations, is it better to combine finances or separate finances after we marry?
    2. We plan to move in together 6/2021 (at the start of fellowship and start of DNP school). Do people typically each pay 50% of the rent? How are other expenses div'ed up?
    3. As I understand it, marriage is not official until we obtain a marriage certificate from the court. When do people typically obtain this certificate in relation to proposal and wedding ceremony?:
    4. After we are court-officially married, should I transition to PAYE from REPAYE? As I understand it, PAYE is better for married people but she will have no income during the duration of the time I will remain in an IBR program (3 years). Would it be wise to stay in REPAYE to take advantage of the subsidized interest rate?
    5. For wedding expenses, who typically pays for this?
    Last edited by petthezoo; 04-08-2020, 01:35 PM.

  • #2
    Originally posted by petthezoo View Post
    Hi all, I am a PGY2 internal medicine resident. I am planning to propose to my girlfriend either at the end of this year or early next year. I have many questions regarding marriage finances that I am wondering if people here could help me with. I like to think that I am very savvy with personal finance but my girlfriend has never really dealt with this stuff before and is not so bright (as you will be able to tell from below). I will be pursuing a 3-year fellowship after my IM residency and do not plan to take any gap years as a hospitalist. My girlfriend, who is a RN currently, is applying to 3-year DNP programs this summer from 2021-2024. I will graduate fellowship the same year she graduates her DNP program. For reference, I am certain I will match at either my home institution or a nearby institution and she is certain our in-state DNP program will accept her.

    Current financial information
    Me: (27 years old)
    - $175,000 student loans under REPAYE at 5.62% interest
    - enrolled in PSLF but I do not plan to pursue; I am staying in REPAYE/PSLF so I can take advantage of low payments during residency/fellowship and the subsidized interest rate under REPAYE
    - current income $70,000 but moonlighting gets it up to around $75,000
    - Roth IRA (current value): $56,000 all in index funds
    - Taxable account (current value): $13,000 all in index funds
    - Emergency savings: $5,000
    - HSA (current value): $2,000
    - 401k (current value, no employer match): $3,000
    - no credit card debt
    - car is fully paid off
    - rent+utilities/car insurance/internet is around $1600/month

    Girlfriend: (24 years young)
    - no student debt
    - DNP tuition for 3 years will run total of $70,000 (she will take federal loans for this) pending she gets accepted to her in-state program
    - current RN income $60,000; she will work a light PRN job after she starts school
    - Roth IRA: none
    - Taxable account (current value): $2,500
    - Emergency savings: close to none
    - HSA: none
    - 401k (4% employer match): $3,000
    - no credit card debt
    - currently just starting year 2 of 3 year luxury vehicle lease ($700/month payment)
    - currently lives at home with parents so no rent

    Questions:
    1. Broadly speaking, and taking into account both of our situations, is it better to combine finances or separate finances after we marry?
    2. We plan to move in together 6/2021 (at the start of fellowship and start of DNP school). Do people typically each pay 50% of the rent? How are other expenses div'ed up?
    3. As I understand it, marriage is not official until we obtain a marriage certificate from the court. When do people typically obtain this certificate in relation to proposal and wedding ceremony?:
    4. After we are court-officially married, should I transition to PAYE from REPAYE? As I understand it, PAYE is better for married people but she will have no income during the duration of the time I will remain in an IBR program (3 years). Would it be wise to stay in REPAYE to take advantage of the subsidized interest rate?
    5. For wedding expenses, who typically pays for this?
    Yes, she’s definitely not so bright to want to marry someone who thinks she’s not so bright.

    Comment


    • #3
      Congrats on being becoming nearly hitched --

      Being 20 years ahead -- I'll come off quite conservative I bet :

      1. Combine finances when you decide to move forward together.
      2. So propose, but living apart for next year? -- separate cities at the moment?
      3. certificate traditionally within days of the ceremony -- unless there's a compelling reason to split the two apart.
      4. don't know - others can chime in
      5. My parents kicked in $10k, Her parents kick in $10k; we covered the rest ~$15k.

      --So you're planning proposal 1 year from now? Just an opinion -- that's a bit off to plan such a thing in details, but good mental exercise nevertheless.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by fatlittlepig View Post

        Yes, she’s definitely not so bright to want to marry someone who thinks she’s not so bright.
        I was HOPING that was slight nod to the group from the OP regarding the $700/month car lease -- and not in general speak (but did come off rather --- off putting -- suggest OP not showing her that post!)

        Comment


        • #5
          I think you're about to get a lot of flak on here for saying she's not that bright....because, she's actually wealthier than you by net worth, even after she takes out the loans for DNP school, so who is concerned about combining finances here? She has an expensive car lease, but she lives at home with her parents, so she's making a sacrifice in order to do it, as questionable as that may be. To me it's a red flag that you would say "she's not that bright", as though maybe you have a little contempt for her. Would you say that to her face?

          #1 and 2: The way my partner and I look at our finances, our retirement and long term savings accounts are separate. I have more savings than he does because I'm older, even though he's the physician. I also contributed the bulk of the equity into our home. We share a joint checking for day to day expenses - he makes 7 times what I make, so I told him I wasn't going to split things like rent/mortgage, etc. 50/50, or even as a percentage of our share of income. I'm not going to eat ramen so I can keep up with him on vacation, he doesn't want to live in a house that I can afford half of, etc.. Our paychecks go into this account, and when we have excess, which is pretty often now that he's making attending money, he takes the lions share of it into his personal savings or taxable accounts, since he does the bulk of the earning. Some goes into home renovations or improvements whcih is a joint asset. Most of my savings come from work (I'm self employed), so I can ramp that up or down as I see fit. Right now while your incomes are similar, it would be easy to split things 50/50, but once you start making dramatically more money, you might have to revisit it, as we did. Unless you have a prenup, you can separate finances all you want, but if you get divorced, I don't believe the court will care who has which account, it will all get split up.

          #3 I think most people get the certificate a few days before the ceremony.

          I don't have enough knowledge on #4.

          #5, I find that most couples pay their own way for the wedding now, we did, but that probably goes back to the reason you're asking about combining finances.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by StarTrekDoc View Post

            I was HOPING that was slight nod to the group from the OP regarding the $700/month car lease -- and not in general speak (but did come off rather --- off putting -- suggest OP not showing her that post!)
            StarTrekDoc , fatlittlepig , and nomindforfinance : OP could have edited the original post, but now the horse is out of the barn!

            Comment


            • #7
              I’m not so bright because I can’t figure out why she is not so bright (maybe someone can enLIGHTen me) Maybe the nurse is actually much more bright than the person who thinks she’s not so bright.

              Comment


              • #8
                Even if you really do not mean it harshly try not to say disparaging things about your spouse or soon to be spouse on the internet or really anywhere. I assume you just mean that she is not financially literate but it comes off wrong.

                1 I think it is way less complicated to combine.
                2 if you are married and have combined finances then it is a moot point, but sharing costs is not a bad idea if not.
                3 I think the marriage certificate came a few days after our ceremony
                4 idk
                5 I do not think there really is a typical. Some cultures differ then others. My wife and I paid our own wedding costs.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Lordosis View Post
                  Even if you really do not mean it harshly try not to say disparaging things about your spouse or soon to be spouse on the internet or really anywhere. I assume you just mean that she is not financially literate but it comes off wrong.

                  1 I think it is way less complicated to combine.
                  2 if you are married and have combined finances then it is a moot point, but sharing costs is not a bad idea if not.
                  3 I think the marriage certificate came a few days after our ceremony
                  4 idk
                  5 I do not think there really is a typical. Some cultures differ then others. My wife and I paid our own wedding costs.
                  Yes, what I really meant to say was not financially literate. But reading my post again, I can see how what I typed sounded disparaging from a grammatical standpoint. That is obviously not what I meant.

                  Thank you for your advice!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by nomindforfinance View Post
                    I think you're about to get a lot of flak on here for saying she's not that bright....because, she's actually wealthier than you by net worth, even after she takes out the loans for DNP school, so who is concerned about combining finances here? She has an expensive car lease, but she lives at home with her parents, so she's making a sacrifice in order to do it, as questionable as that may be. To me it's a red flag that you would say "she's not that bright", as though maybe you have a little contempt for her. Would you say that to her face?

                    #1 and 2: The way my partner and I look at our finances, our retirement and long term savings accounts are separate. I have more savings than he does because I'm older, even though he's the physician. I also contributed the bulk of the equity into our home. We share a joint checking for day to day expenses - he makes 7 times what I make, so I told him I wasn't going to split things like rent/mortgage, etc. 50/50, or even as a percentage of our share of income. I'm not going to eat ramen so I can keep up with him on vacation, he doesn't want to live in a house that I can afford half of, etc.. Our paychecks go into this account, and when we have excess, which is pretty often now that he's making attending money, he takes the lions share of it into his personal savings or taxable accounts, since he does the bulk of the earning. Some goes into home renovations or improvements whcih is a joint asset. Most of my savings come from work (I'm self employed), so I can ramp that up or down as I see fit. Right now while your incomes are similar, it would be easy to split things 50/50, but once you start making dramatically more money, you might have to revisit it, as we did. Unless you have a prenup, you can separate finances all you want, but if you get divorced, I don't believe the court will care who has which account, it will all get split up.

                    #3 I think most people get the certificate a few days before the ceremony.

                    I don't have enough knowledge on #4.

                    #5, I find that most couples pay their own way for the wedding now, we did, but that probably goes back to the reason you're asking about combining finances.
                    Yes, I now realize how my sentence could be perceived in a bad way. What I really meant was that she's not financially literate and she has told me that many times too. I had given her my WCI book so she can read up on some things but she said she's just not that into dealing with financial stuff. Her parents have also said that I should be the one managing the finances in the future since she doesn't really know how to manage money. There are many things that I am "not that bright" in but she is very adept at so it all balances out.

                    Thank you for laying out a breakdown of your finances with your SO. That helps a lot!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by StarTrekDoc View Post

                      I was HOPING that was slight nod to the group from the OP regarding the $700/month car lease -- and not in general speak (but did come off rather --- off putting -- suggest OP not showing her that post!)
                      I did not mean in general. Was only trying to say that her financial literacy is very poor, which she would be the first to admit. But I can see how my original post's wording can be perceived in a different way.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by StarTrekDoc View Post
                        Congrats on being becoming nearly hitched --

                        Being 20 years ahead -- I'll come off quite conservative I bet :

                        1. Combine finances when you decide to move forward together.
                        2. So propose, but living apart for next year? -- separate cities at the moment?
                        3. certificate traditionally within days of the ceremony -- unless there's a compelling reason to split the two apart.
                        4. don't know - others can chime in
                        5. My parents kicked in $10k, Her parents kick in $10k; we covered the rest ~$15k.

                        --So you're planning proposal 1 year from now? Just an opinion -- that's a bit off to plan such a thing in details, but good mental exercise nevertheless.
                        We currently live in same city. If all works out in terms of matching and her getting into DNP school, we will remain in the same current city.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by petthezoo View Post
                          Hi all, I am a PGY2 internal medicine resident. I am planning to propose to my girlfriend either at the end of this year or early next year. I have many questions regarding marriage finances that I am wondering if people here could help me with. I like to think that I am very savvy with personal finance but my girlfriend has never really dealt with this stuff before and is not so bright (as you will be able to tell from below). I will be pursuing a 3-year fellowship after my IM residency and do not plan to take any gap years as a hospitalist. My girlfriend, who is a RN currently, is applying to 3-year DNP programs this summer from 2021-2024. I will graduate fellowship the same year she graduates her DNP program. For reference, I am certain I will match at either my home institution or a nearby institution and she is certain our in-state DNP program will accept her.

                          Current financial information
                          Me: (27 years old)
                          - $175,000 student loans under REPAYE at 5.62% interest
                          - enrolled in PSLF but I do not plan to pursue; I am staying in REPAYE/PSLF so I can take advantage of low payments during residency/fellowship and the subsidized interest rate under REPAYE
                          - current income $70,000 but moonlighting gets it up to around $75,000
                          - Roth IRA (current value): $56,000 all in index funds
                          - Taxable account (current value): $13,000 all in index funds
                          - Emergency savings: $5,000
                          - HSA (current value): $2,000
                          - 401k (current value, no employer match): $3,000
                          - no credit card debt
                          - car is fully paid off
                          - rent+utilities/car insurance/internet is around $1600/month

                          Girlfriend: (24 years young)
                          - no student debt
                          - DNP tuition for 3 years will run total of $70,000 (she will take federal loans for this) pending she gets accepted to her in-state program
                          - current RN income $60,000; she will work a light PRN job after she starts school
                          - Roth IRA: none
                          - Taxable account (current value): $2,500
                          - Emergency savings: close to none
                          - HSA: none
                          - 401k (4% employer match): $3,000
                          - no credit card debt
                          - currently just starting year 2 of 3 year luxury vehicle lease ($700/month payment)
                          - currently lives at home with parents so no rent

                          Questions:
                          1. Broadly speaking, and taking into account both of our situations, is it better to combine finances or separate finances after we marry?
                          2. We plan to move in together 6/2021 (at the start of fellowship and start of DNP school). Do people typically each pay 50% of the rent? How are other expenses div'ed up?
                          3. As I understand it, marriage is not official until we obtain a marriage certificate from the court. When do people typically obtain this certificate in relation to proposal and wedding ceremony?:
                          4. After we are court-officially married, should I transition to PAYE from REPAYE? As I understand it, PAYE is better for married people but she will have no income during the duration of the time I will remain in an IBR program (3 years). Would it be wise to stay in REPAYE to take advantage of the subsidized interest rate?
                          5. For wedding expenses, who typically pays for this?
                          1. Combine
                          2. 50/50 or have a joint account and pay for everything together out of that joint account
                          3. Propose, obtain marriage certificate, have wedding ceremony
                          4. Will defer, not familiar with those
                          5. See #2 or have wealthy parents/ in-laws

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Fiancee and I pay 50/50. I'm an attending radiologist. She is a nurse. I'm ponying up all the money for the home build, so I think it evens out.

                            Her parents shouldn't have her rely on you for finances. She needs to obtain some knowledge and gain some responsibility. If you get divorced or if you die, then she will need to know this. It'll also make it easier when it comes time to save for certain things (some people just never get around to it...).

                            Get rid of the lease. That's lesson number 1.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Combine everything and don't look back.

                              Comment

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