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After 45/50 years old - financial security when I see other marriages failing
217

JackRatt · 04/12/2021 09:58

Hello all,

I have various friends who are currently going
through terrible divorce/ break ups (in these cases male instigated -affairs etc) and at the moment finances are completely controlled by men, who seem to be holding all the cards…

I wondered what the best way to safeguard and protect your future is? Especially if you have been a SAHM for the majority of your husbands working life?

Thank you

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Am I being unreasonable?

AIBU

You have one vote. All votes are anonymous.

NataliaSerene · 04/12/2021 13:42

Themes in this thread are reminding me of Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own

Have your daughter’s read it when they are 18-21. It helped shape my thinking as a young woman.

en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Room_of_One's_Own

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jacks11 · 04/12/2021 13:42

@WaterBottle123

Previous posters are incorrect. ONLY marry if you are the LOWER earner and have no assets.

Under no circumstances give up your job or go part time whike he remains full time

But when men refuse to marry lower earning partners, there are cries of indignation and “he doesn’t love you enough to ensure your financial security etc etc”. Yet it is fine/sensible/admirable when a woman does it.

Similar to “you do the saving so you control all the money”, yet when a man does the same he is controlling/a shit etc.

Surely the sensible thing is to be married or have a legally binding agreement re assets/name on deeds of any property, savings in joint names (or savings account each with equal going in). This protects both parties. It should not be an attempt to screw over your partner “just in case”- unless you are in an abusive relationship, when I agree trying to get things sorted before leaving is necessary.
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sst1234 · 04/12/2021 13:43

@Vintagevixen

This stuff needs to be taught in school.

No this stuff needs to be taught by parents. It’s part of raising your children.
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badassbitch · 04/12/2021 13:45

@notacooldad

So many people saying don't be a SAHM but then women seem to be scorned at for wanting careers like men and using childcare to bring up the kids
Scorn is not going to harm you or protect you.
Stuff other people's opinions. Look after your own corner.

I rarely ever post.

This, however, spoke to me. Its pertinent to my current situation (not about this subject at all). But its awesome. Thas notcooldad.
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GatoradeMeBitch · 04/12/2021 13:48

Getting 50-50 is not being shafted.

Sometimes it is. When a couple agree that her career should take a hit for 2+ years then he finds a more appealing romantic prospect while she is struggling to find work, and gets 50/50 specifically to avoid paying any maintenance, while knowing she is struggling. Often in these cases too the men avoid paying towards things like haircuts and shoes.

My advice to younger women would be to really think carefully about whether you want children. And if you have them, think financially defensively even before getting pregnant.

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blameless · 04/12/2021 13:57

@Vintagevixen

This stuff needs to be taught in school.

So true, the best advice I was given - almost too late to be useful - was that your life can be divided into predictable stages and that different priorities and financial judgements apply.
When you first meet, both partners are usually working, and between you, with a shared vision, you have a reasonable disposable income.
Children arriving can make both partners working almost impossible - it doesn't usually last forever, so maintain networks and keep up to date with any career you'd like to return to.
Secondary school for kids, often coincides with one partner making significant progress at work, an extra £30k of salary can make a dad-bod look very attractive to an ambitious colleague.
University is a very expensive time and then as an empty nester, the world is simultaneously your oyster and a time when your age may get you overlooked for progression.
Inheritances can make people feel like Jeff Bezos - I've seen plenty of couples lose hundreds of thousands as a result of one getting overexcited by a £40k windfall.
Lastly, the retirement years, even if you've been deeply in love for fifty or sixty years, what are the terms of each partners pensions - what percentage of the other half's pension is payable to a surviving spouse/partner?
Very few people play their cards to their best advantage at every stage, but if this was taught in schools, there would be fewer nasty surprises.
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TrickyD · 04/12/2021 14:01

If you expect to inherit a substantial sum from your parents, arrange for them to get legal advice to ensure money they leave stays with the ‘bloodline.”
Sorry to be morbid, but if you died and your DH remarried, all the money could be diverted off to new wife and DSCs unless you sort this out in advance.

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MintJulia · 04/12/2021 14:08

The only way to protect yourself, male or female is to retain a career, skills etc and an emergency float that is enough to pay a deposit and a first month of rent, tucked away in an account that the partner knows nothing about.
Plus at least one friend who is your friend, not a couple friend, for support.

Anything less leaves you vulnerable.

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ComeAllYeFaithful · 04/12/2021 14:08

What if you WANT to be a SAHM?

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Applesonthelawn · 04/12/2021 14:10

Never be a SAHM. If you are not married, don't entertain the idea for a single second. Always have paid employment.

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RosesAndHellebores · 04/12/2021 14:12

I had a pre-nup to protect my assets
Engaged, married, children in that order
Have some financial independence and own bank account
Do not give up work forever.

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ElectraBlue · 04/12/2021 14:13

  • Get married if you have/want children. Although if you are the high earner it might be a different story
  • make sure the property you live in is owned jointly
  • don't completely give up your career. t could be going part time or starting your own part-time business or retraining to do something that will offer you flexible hours if you don't/can't work full time but don't opt out completely
  • have your own bank account and always keep an 'emergency fund'.
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Orchid876 · 04/12/2021 14:14

So if you are a SAHM and your DP controls all the finances, you do need to take steps to protect yourself, and quite urgently as some things could take a bit of time. So
a) Get married
b) Get earning
c) Insist that you control the finances equally
If the DP is resistant to c, that's a big red flag, and indicated financial abuse. You need to enact a and b quickly so you can extract yourself from the partnership. If the DP is on board with c, regardless of a and b, you need to start saving some money in your own name.
Ultimately, the decision that one parent is going to be a SAHP needs to be a joint and mutually beneficial arrangement, so they need to be married and share finances. If the working partner is resistant to that, you have no choice but to earn your own money, and ultimately probably leave, as the relationship is never likely to be an equal one.

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Orchid876 · 04/12/2021 14:17

@ComeAllYeFaithful contrary to some others I think it's fine to be a SAHM, but only if you're married and have legally joint finances and property, with an opportunity for the SAHP to build up their own savings in their own name if the working parent is.

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SenselessUbiquity · 04/12/2021 14:18

There is lots of good advice on this thread, but what I would suggest hasn't been said loudly enough (though someone did say it) is that: while continuing work is really helpful and can be the difference between a failed relationship being a temporary set-back, or permanent misery: DON'T allow your partner to give up work thinking you hold the cards - do not end up supporting your scumbag shitty cheating lazy ex who has your children because he was "primary carer". (He might not be lazy, he might not cheat, he may not be lazy or a scumbag but - come on people, statistically, how many men who aren't these things are in failed marriages?)

Also - it's disingenuous, to use a classic mn word, for everyone to be feigning such surprise at those who say "what, we are all supposed to be working now?" WOHMs get it really fucking hard from so many directions it really feels as if you are not supposed to be working. There are systemic pushes and pulls from all directions to stop you working and I imagine it can be really hard to resist these consistently if you are in an apparently stable cohabiting relationship with a reasonable earner. Even one "extra" thing in the balance in favour of not working, like a child turning out to have SN or some extended family complications, must really make it feel impossible. People at work are absolute shits to women about caring responsibilities, and it really makes you feel like you aren't supposed to be there or trying to do it. I only never doubt it for a single second because I have no one else, not because it seems like a natural obvious thing to be trying to do.

This is an important thread because the path of least resistance - just doing what everyone seems to expect you to do - could work out very badly.

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LittleBearPad · 04/12/2021 14:19

@ComeAllYeFaithful

What if you WANT to be a SAHM?

Then know you’re putting yourself in a precarious position.
Build up savings in your own name and a pension.
Develop your skills so you can find employment if you need to.
Beyond school age, in particular, think very carefully whether the risk of not having a job is worth it.
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happydappy2 · 04/12/2021 14:20

I feel I have to intervene here-it can really benefit the partnership if one of you is happy to take on the role of SAHM. It's not for everyone (clearly) but if husbands earnings are enough to afford a decent life style on 1 salary and he then progresses his career because he can travel at the drop of a hat, stay late for meetings with no problem etc etc then it might be that he ends up earning way in excess of what was 1st thought possible. Agree 100% with previous advice though-the SAHM must take control of finances and understand what comes in & goes out-where things are invested etc etc. Always have both names on deeds for properties, be married ! For some families having a SAHM takes a lot of stress out of day to day life. There is loads of volunteer work to do to prevent being bored when children are older.

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SenselessUbiquity · 04/12/2021 14:24

If you want children (you will need to be thinking about this well before 40 / 50 obv) find a man who wants them as much as, or more than, you. Women can have children under any circumstances; men who want to be active fathers need to find a woman who will bear their children and then allow them to do so. This is important; it sounds counterintuitive as society is set up to make women think that men "let" them have children, but actually, men who want children, and know it, and are able to think straight, know that to be a dad they have to have a good relationship with a woman, and that allows her to set the terms - that is, to be a dad, you need to be prepared to support not just your kids but their mum, and one neat legal shortcut to all that happening is he can marry her. Don't allow yourself to be brainwashed into thinking children are a privilege men can choose to afford to women. It's the other way around.

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RosesAndHellebores · 04/12/2021 14:25

I've said it before and I'll say it again. So many of the dc's friends parents split when the dc became older teenagers. Husband's meeting a younger model having been married for 20 years plus to a woman whose sole topics of conversation were the children and tennis club. They hadn't worked for 20 or more years and were frankly unemployable. They became very bitter and resented their three bed terraces that were part of the settlement. So sad and yet so predictable.

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Thursdaymiami · 04/12/2021 14:25

Problem is most people become SAHM when they really can’t afford it.
I don’t mean can’t afford day to day life. I mean there isn’t enough money to pay for an extra pension, pay into savings etc which is what should be happening when you’re not working. The main earner should have enough money to be doing all the extras for the non earned

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Applesonthelawn · 04/12/2021 14:27

I don't doubt that families are happier and less stressful if one parent is the SAHP. The problem comes when you separate. There can be a happily ever after, but there often isn't.

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IknowwhatIneed · 04/12/2021 14:28

I’m leaving my marriage of 30 years in a fairly secure financial position. My advice

  • if you have kids, get married
  • make sure you’ve build a solid career before having kids, to the point where you can step back if need be and return at a decent level
  • keep your contacts/some level of work if at all possible
  • have independent finances whether that be savings, investments or means to make your own money
  • don’t overstretch yourself financially on the basis of 2 incomes - can you cover all your bills on your income, or reduce outgoings to that level if need be
  • never assume he’ll look after you if you split. If he doesn’t support you to be financially independent while you’re in the relationship (eg “paying” you as a SAHM), he’s never going to support you if you split
  • have a runaway fund you can access easily if you need it
  • don’t have more kids than you can afford to support by yourself

    I watched my mum stay in the most abusive if relationships because she couldn’t afford to support herself and the kids. I swore I’d never put myself in that position and that thinking is making a painful split so much easier, because I have options and know that financially we’ll be ok.
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Applesonthelawn · 04/12/2021 14:31

I think it's as much about the loss of career advancement than whether you can keep up with pension payments etc. I had 18 months off when DS was little (as a single parent, and I could afford it). It took me seven years of hard slog to regain the salary level I had before I left for hte 18 month break. The longer you stay out, the worse it will be.

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Bubblecap · 04/12/2021 14:34

I always worked and actually had a decent quite well paid career. I even managed to stay in employment when suffering from serious MH crisis which involved me being an in patient in a psychiatric hospital on a few occasions.

I do know two long term SAHM one in mid fifties and one in her late forties. Last dc are about to finish A levels. They couldn’t cope emotionally with being away from their dc. One was the higher earner in her marriage and the other had an OK PT job. They have been SAHM for 18 and 20 years. I always thought they were mad making themselves so vulnerable and I’m the one who actually has a piece of paper that’s says I’m mental, well it has my diagnosis and care plan on.

It’s now 35 years NI contributions for a full state pension which I just made when I retired early. My own projected pension income including state pension which I do not qualify for yet is currently about 15k per year, DH is about 25k per year. He is the higher earner. My career took a big hit due to my MH issues. I turned down promotion more than once and went PT not because of childcare but to preserve the delicate balance of not ending up as an in patient again. When we met at work we earned exactly the same, it’s funny how life turns out.

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IknowwhatIneed · 04/12/2021 14:34

Absolutely @Applesonthelawn how often do you hear someone deciding to not return to work because it doesn’t make sense for the partner (usually the man) to reduce hours because he’s the higher earner/has better prospects. Short term gain in a reduction of childcare costs but long term pain because while his career progresses, she looses her footing in her own career. All well and good until it falls apart and he wants his strong salary for himself and she’s effectively starting her career from scratch.

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