When to reveal hidden accounts to the fiancé.


Pay Dirt is Slate’s financial advice column. Have a question? Send it to Athena and Elizabeth here. (It’s anonymous!)

Dear Pay Dirt,

I am a guy, I am 31 years old. He is 28 years old. We’ve been together for three years, we’ve been living together for two. I recently asked for her ring size.

His finances: minimal assets, student debt of $ 100,000 to $ 150,000 (federal, now in income-based repayment). Rough upbringing. Previously, revenues were struggling. Lately salary of $ 70K per year, with potential for growth. His mother (whom I’m skeptical of) might expect him to take care of her someday.

Me: graduate student, previously high income, maybe again. Living on savings. I didn’t tell him how much, just that it’s enough to cover my bills until I got back to work.

He said he agrees with a marriage contract that says his debts stay with him and that any savings I have left after paying for school stay with me. But he doesn’t know that I have over a million dollars in my brokerage accounts.

Should I, and when should I, and how should I, bring this up? There are reasons why I have been silent on this. I don’t want to be a sole source, finance our first home on my own (that would take assets that I would otherwise have left in the event of a divorce) or expand our modest way of life. I don’t want my money to change things between us.

“When do we talk about it?

Dear, when do we talk about this,

You need to talk about it now if you are considering getting married, not because it will change things between you, but because not disclosing something that could significantly influence the direction of your life will erode the trust between you. .

I wouldn’t assume your boyfriend would expect you to be a sole source, or expect your roles to change, if he had that information. Between the two of you, he’s the one who’s got the job, so it seems a bit presumptuous to take for granted that if he knew your money, he would want you to support him financially. He may actually find the idea insulting, especially if he went to school after what you call a “difficult upbringing”.

But regardless, you need to talk about these things before you ask the question, because it is also about what you want for your respective future and your potential future together. And you have to consider the possibility that at some point the shoe could be on the other foot. Just because you’re in a better financial situation now doesn’t mean you always will be. It is not uncommon for incomes to change in marriages where both parties are working. You would like him to be transparent in this situation, so you should be transparent with him now.

Dear Pay Dirt,

I am in my final year in college, expected to graduate in spring 2022. I plan to go to college, but will take at least a year before I do, for a much needed and encouraged mental health break by parents. . I’m definitely in the upper end of the ‘upper middle class’ and have about $ 10,000 in my savings account, although about half of that is from an account my mom opened there. has many years, and ideally I would like to put that money somewhere else.

I know I can live with my parents after this year (but it’s the suburb and I can’t drive), or maybe with friends (that would be in a southern capital), and I would really like to study some kind of job, although i don’t know if it will be full time or part time, because i want to rest and enjoy life a bit.

Do you have any tips on things to do and consider during my gap year between undergraduate and graduate studies, so that I start off on the right foot financially, for graduate school and all that comes next?

– Almost finished, for a while

Dear almost finished,

It seems like you are already thinking about what you need to do in order to be successful and happy, and you also realize that you are lucky that you can do it. This gives you a good head start over many of your future graduates.

You should use your gap year to explore your own interests and think about how they might intersect with what you want to do in the long run. I don’t think future employers or graduate schools would turn you down a year after school in the same way they might otherwise frown on a large employment gap, but if you planned to take advantage of your career resources. school to search for employment or facilitate an application for admission to graduate studies, they may not be available once you have graduated.

I think it’s important to be able to explain what you did with that year if you are thinking of going back to school, but I don’t think that means you have to structure the whole year in preparation for the make it look good on a graduate school application. You just need to be able to explain how it has helped you grow personally and / or professionally.

If financial preparation is important to you, you probably need to find a job. Your $ 10,000 is a good cushion, but it won’t give you complete financial security over a year. (Keep it in a low risk account, and please don’t buy NFT with it!) Option, and they really don’t mind doing it for a year might be the best way to give yourself some financial flexibility and more options when you return to school.

Dear Pay Dirt,

I will soon receive a large legal settlement (around $ 1 million) that I don’t know what to do with. I’m in my early 30s, I have well funded retirement and savings accounts and a very manageable mortgage with no other debt (I realize how lucky I am). My partner and I discussed cashing in the roughly $ 600,000 in equity in our home and using some of the settlement to buy a better new home. Sounds good, but we live in a big city where house prices have skyrocketed because it will easily cost $ 1.25 million to get decent housing. Is it a bad idea to buy real estate in the middle of a possible (likely?) Bubble, even if you can afford it? Would I be better off just sitting on the money for a few years and hoping the prices go down?

—Our timing is terrible

Dear Timing,

As with everything, it depends on your individual preferences at the moment. If you think about this like an economist, you want to be able to define how satisfied you would be with a newer, nicer home versus what you might buy in a market that isn’t overheated later on. . .

For some people, it may be worth paying a premium to live in a nicer place ASAP. For people who are more ambivalent about moving or don’t feel any urgency about it, a nicer home can be something you’d put off in order to get a better deal. So the real question is, how much do you and your spouse want or need a newer, nicer home? How satisfying would you be to have it now, instead of, say, five years from now? Or 10 years?

You’re also taking a risk in assuming that home prices will eventually go down, and as a resident of New York City, I have to warn you that this particular assumption might be overly optimistic.

So there is no literal formula for making that decision, but here is sort of an abstract: How would you rate the usefulness or satisfaction you would get from having a newer home now, versus having one later? Can you put an amount in it? And is that amount more than what you would save if you waited, given your educated guesses about what you might get later? There is no right answer here.

By the way, you also want to look at other considerations related to timing and your finances: tax implications, your ability to obtain financing, etc. But it’s really about deciding how important it is to have a new home. yours.

Dear Pay Dirt,

About 10 years ago my father gave me a small amount of silver and gold coins: 140 troy ounces of .999 fine silver and 2 ounces of fine gold. At the time, my mom was walking into a nursing home and my dad was terrified of losing all of his money to pay for child support. I didn’t know what to do with the coins, so for years I kept them in my freezer (heard it would protect them from fire) and then finally moved them to a safe.

I have heard that silver and gold coins do not appreciate reliably. What should I do with them? Let them sit in the box? Cash them in? How do you cash them in and know you’re getting a fair price?

-I have this treasure

Dear treasure,

I would suggest having the coins appraised by two or three different coin appraisers (yes, that’s a real job) to determine what the value is. Look for companies whose staff have experts certified by large business groups such as the International Society of Appraisers.

If the coins are very rare, you can pay to have them appraised, which allows them to be valued for the collector’s market. It seems like you don’t have any plans to become a professional collector, so what you really need to understand is the fungible value of what you have. Many appraisers will offer verbal appraisals for free, and you should be able to determine the approximate value of what you have if you talk to a few reputable numismatists. The International Society of Appraisers usefully provides a search function where you can find member reviewers in your area. Go ahead and find out so you know what to do next.


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