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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.

lastqueenofscotland · 04/12/2021 14:35

I’m not talking about 50 years ago, I’m saying now, in 2021 if a NT woman in her 30s does not have the most basic financial literacy, take some responsibility and learn something before becoming entirely dependent on someone else. Yes lots of men are financially abusive but I do think SOME women could do an awful lot more to protect themselves.

If you WANT to become an SAHM I think you need to appreciate the risk and keep some funds and at least a toe in the door of a career, even if it’s just reading industry papers and keeping in touch with old managers

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sweatervest · 04/12/2021 14:37

as others have said ... ALWAYS have your own bank account. even if you're not earning.
it's saved me tbh and was the best advice i've ever had.

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LuluBlakey1 · 04/12/2021 14:47

I know this is awful but I have a secret bank account. I put money into it regularly - £100 here and there. I have been doing it for 7 years and put some money from another account I had which DH knows about but never sees and the payment from an insurance policy my mum had which paid out when she died. There is £16,400 in it now. I am not planning on leaving DH- we are very happy but I just want a little bit of security. We each have an ISA and joint savings too and my money from my house when I was single, which went into our first joint house deposit, is protected in an legal agreement.
If we get to retirement age together it will be a nice treats account.

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thepeopleversuswork · 04/12/2021 14:47

@ancientgran

I just think it is so hypocritical to say a lower earning woman should make sure she's married but not tell men the same because they have as much risk of losing what is their's

In theory that's true..

But in practice, in a scenario with a lower earning man and unless the lower-earning man is a SAHP, marriage just skews the financial odds further in the man's favour.

The point of marriage is to protect whichever partner is taking on the bulk of the childcare (with the assumption that its negatively impacting their lifetime's earnings, which it usually does).

In the majority of marriages where both parents work outside the home the woman is still doing the lion's share of the childcare, domestic work, mental load and all the rest of it. And therefore likely damaging her own career potential even if she is out-earning her partner.

So on the point of divorce a man who earns less than his wife but does little or nothing in terms of childcare or domestic labour can easily walk off with half of the assets most of which were generated by a woman who had to do two full jobs (a job and then all the domestic jobs).

I've seen this happen in at least half a dozen situations: a woman is run ragged trying to hold onto a high-flying job, a bloke is doing a "creative" or part time job which he enjoys but which brings in very little money, doing minimal childcare and no housework. The woman gets pissed off with the imbalance and kicks him out. They divorce and he gets half the assets.

In the vanishingly rare scenarios where a man stops work altogether to be a full time parent and is in the home its more than fair for him to take half of the assets in the case of a divorce. In the case of the vast majority of marriages where two parents are working, its a lose lose for the woman.

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thepeopleversuswork · 04/12/2021 14:52

@IknowwhatIneed

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.

Yep.

And how often on here do you here this phrase "it works for our family". Which is code for "it works for him because he can focus on his career/golfing/after hours drinks with the lads while I take care of the kids and I go along with it because he pays the bills".

Being a SAHM is very superficially attractive when you have small children, a low-paying job, childcare is expensive and you are exhausted. It must be very tempting.

Over the long term, the childcare you pay for to keep your foot in the door is probably the best investment you'll ever make.
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mostlydrinkstea · 04/12/2021 14:58

Even if you think your marriage is secure get your ducks in a row and make sure you are financially independent. I learned the hard way. My now ex husband gave no indication that he was thinking of divorce until he walked out. www.news24.com/w24/selfcare/love/relationship/runaway-husbands-when-your-loving-partner-walks-out-of-your-marriage-without-an-explanation-20210709

I had gone back to work full time having been a SAHM so it has not been as brutal financially as it would have done if I was part time or volunteering. It is still very, very tough starting again in your late 50s when you thought you had a loving stable relationship.

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oneglassandpuzzled · 04/12/2021 15:29

If you're a SAHP tot up how much you're saving the family budget on childcare, cleaning, dog walking, taking children to doctors' appointments, dogs to vets, laundry, gardening, cooking.

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StEval · 04/12/2021 15:32

daisydoh

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.

I guess you can't win

Win at what?
I dont offer up my life and choices for others to comment on so their opinions are irrelevent.

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HolidayTime2021 · 04/12/2021 15:33

@oneglassandpuzzled

If you're a SAHP tot up how much you're saving the family budget on childcare, cleaning, dog walking, taking children to doctors' appointments, dogs to vets, laundry, gardening, cooking.

other than childcare- nothing
working couples do all of the rest.
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oneglassandpuzzled · 04/12/2021 15:50

HolidayTime2021

I know working couples where the high-earning men don't lift a finger domestically but 'pay' their wives an allowance as acknowledgement of the fact that they are enabled to work at the level they do. And that if the wife were knocked over by a bus they would have to buy in a number of services to replace what she did.

Wouldn't suit me, I've always worked, but it gives the non-working woman some financial security.Can't see why you have a problem with it.

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oneglassandpuzzled · 04/12/2021 15:58

Sorry, that should read 'couples' not 'working couples'. Man in very high-earning salary, woman doesn't work.

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Cocomarine · 04/12/2021 16:02

Oddly written post, and I wasn’t surprised it was a one post wonder. Article fishing?

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MrsBobDylan · 04/12/2021 16:29

I am always surprised at how some women become passengers in their own lives.

I worked through the first 12 years of having kids and have been a SAHM for the last two because my middle child needs full time care.

I am married and do all the life admin. I am on our mortgage and house deeds because I oversee all of that, I have kept my pension going and am training in a career which I will build up once my son moves into supported living accommodation.

I married an honourable, decent person and he has given me no cause for concern in the 20 years we've been together. But I would be a bloody fool to rely on anyone but myself.

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vivainsomnia · 04/12/2021 16:49

But I know a lot of women who were lawyers, bankers etc but became SAHPs because they prioritised their husbands career. They now have teenage or adult children and don't work
If your husband is in a high paid job and you're a lawyer, banker or other high earning profession, then you cwrtaiy can afford private schools, a nanny, and expensive baby sitters. It is such an excuse that you have no choice but to give up a career so that your husband can have his.

Two of my friends have very good careers as do their husbands. They each have 4 children and my friends continue to work. All 4 had jobs that meant travelling at times. One had a nanny and managed to work the overnights between them. The other had alive in nanny. They are fantastic parents who manage to make it work.

It's also all good to say that as long as you get a good deal from the divorce, you'll be fine. However, spousal maintenance is now much rarer, and although you can do well with the majority of the house and a hefty child maintenance, everything changes when the kids are off to uni. Rarely the age to draw the pension, time to give ex his share of the home, and no more maintenance.

I am seeing a few mums in their 50s suddenly finding themselves with no money and little choice but to get any job. They hate it and their lifestyle is nowhere near what it used to be. No more gym membership, fancy holidays, nice new cars.

Being a sahm is a massive risk no matter what. I would never have taken the risk however appealing it's been at times.

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Dashel · 04/12/2021 16:55

Any couple also needs to consider the illness or death.

A high earning partner Can buy in services and may have insurance as part of their package, but if you are a struggling couple, insurance might be out of budget.

Personally I wouldn’t want to be dependent on my DH, we both have savings, cars are in our own names and although he has a better pension than I do and earns a lot more, but he is older and his last employer was extremely generous when it came to pension contributions.

He is very supportive of my increasing my pension pot and all decisions are joint, especially financial ones. I think that is really important.

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Redcart21 · 04/12/2021 17:07

Women need to be financially literate from a young age. It is no good sorting all this out after marriage and when DC come along. Finances need to be planned ahead. It is up to parents and families to teach their children this and prepare them accordingly

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Udouhun · 04/12/2021 17:49

It's important to get educated and have a proper career. That way, even if you're a sahm for a couple of years, you have something to go back to. If your only option is nmw jobs, you're bound to be in trouble. I know I'm biased as a teacher, but I would argue that your road to financial wellbeing starts in the classroom.

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fournonblondes · 04/12/2021 18:21

Circumstances vary from each family. Sahm sometimes comes out of lack of family or close red of help. Even if childcare can be paid it may not be adequate. I went through so many nannies, au pairs and after school help. However, regardless of circumstances always keep your state pension payments by national insurance voluntary contributions, private pension if possible , do not stop saving, keep a separate account and an eye in how to make money and come back to work ASAP if you can. Even if you are married.

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thepeopleversuswork · 04/12/2021 18:21

@Udouhun

I agree. Too important to leave this to whims of parents.

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Shmithecat2 · 04/12/2021 18:24

@Udouhun

It's important to get educated and have a proper career. That way, even if you're a sahm for a couple of years, you have something to go back to. If your only option is nmw jobs, you're bound to be in trouble. I know I'm biased as a teacher, but I would argue that your road to financial wellbeing starts in the classroom.

Because everyone is afforded the privilege of a sound education Confused. Blimey, how ignorant can you get?
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4amstarts · 04/12/2021 18:28

Nothing wrong with being a STAHM of course but it's a choice - one that women knowingly take but then like to use the old excuse "well I furthered his career" when it comes to splitting assets in a divorce forgetting it suited them at the time that they didn't need to work and were home all day with the kids (or not even that when they went to school)

You should always hope for the best plan for the worst. either go back to work when the kids are in school or accept that the price you pay for not working and expecting/allowing your partner to bear the financial responsibility of carrying the entire family is that you are then in a vulnerable position if the relationship breaks down and need to have a back up plan in place

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Chasingaftermidnight · 04/12/2021 18:40

Women need to be financially literate from a young age. It is no good sorting all this out after marriage and when DC come along. Finances need to be planned ahead. It is up to parents and families to teach their children this and prepare them accordingly

I’ve been astonished in the past at the lack of basic financial literacy displayed on this site. There was a thread a few months back started by a mum who had just returned to work full time from her first maternity leave but was expecting her second child in less than 3 months. The number of posters who laid into her about going back full time (‘why did you even bother having kids’ etc) was extraordinary. She kept trying to point out that going part time for less than three months would put her in a much more precarious position during her upcoming maternity leave, particularly as her employer offered a reasonably decent maternity package based on salary - going part time would have cost her twice as much again during her second mat leave, she’d essentially be giving up free money. The number of posters who didn’t seem to understand her position was really astounding.

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CorvusPurpureus · 04/12/2021 19:35

[quote thepeopleversuswork]@ancientgran

I just think it is so hypocritical to say a lower earning woman should make sure she's married but not tell men the same because they have as much risk of losing what is their's

In theory that's true..

But in practice, in a scenario with a lower earning man and unless the lower-earning man is a SAHP, marriage just skews the financial odds further in the man's favour.

The point of marriage is to protect whichever partner is taking on the bulk of the childcare (with the assumption that its negatively impacting their lifetime's earnings, which it usually does).

In the majority of marriages where both parents work outside the home the woman is still doing the lion's share of the childcare, domestic work, mental load and all the rest of it. And therefore likely damaging her own career potential even if she is out-earning her partner.

So on the point of divorce a man who earns less than his wife but does little or nothing in terms of childcare or domestic labour can easily walk off with half of the assets most of which were generated by a woman who had to do two full jobs (a job and then all the domestic jobs).

I've seen this happen in at least half a dozen situations: a woman is run ragged trying to hold onto a high-flying job, a bloke is doing a "creative" or part time job which he enjoys but which brings in very little money, doing minimal childcare and no housework. The woman gets pissed off with the imbalance and kicks him out. They divorce and he gets half the assets.

In the vanishingly rare scenarios where a man stops work altogether to be a full time parent and is in the home its more than fair for him to take half of the assets in the case of a divorce. In the case of the vast majority of marriages where two parents are working, its a lose lose for the woman.[/quote]
Ah. It would appear you know my 'creative' ex husband.

There seems to be a lot of him about! Grin.

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SofiaMichelle · 04/12/2021 19:47

@THisbackwithavengeance

I think a lot of SAHMs expect to get divorced and yet keep the house, lifestyle and income and not have to work.

And then come crying on MN about how unfair it all is and how they don't see why they should have to get a job.

Getting 50-50 is not being shafted.


This. In buckets full.

And also, what on earth do you mean by "especially if you have been a SAHM for the majority of your husband's working life"?

Most people's working life is ~40 years.

No one is a SAHM for anywhere near 40 years. You'd have to be popping kids out for 25+ years!
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JudgeJ · 04/12/2021 20:34

@Ozanj

Keep working and offer to be the ‘saver’ while your OH pays the bills - this means you have all the control over finances in case there is a break up. Top tip 1 from my gran who was abused all her married life.

If someone were to suggest that the man had 'all the control over finances' the outrage here would be massive.
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