Tuesday, July 03, 2018

A Detrimental Partnership

Some things in your life, you do well. You know a lot about those things, maybe from experience, maybe from formal education and training, maybe from educating yourself. You do those things well and will likely be able to do those things well until you die or unless you get serious dementia.

Imagine if someone came into your life who clearly, objectively, provably, wasn't very good at doing one of those things, or at least nowhere near as good as you, yet you now were compelled to partner with them in the matter, meaning they would get to make a lot of the decisions, or you were expected to clear every significant decision with them.

This is what can happen when a man who has his financial act together marries.

Most women marry men who do, or will, earn more than them and/or have more wealth than them. This is done intentionally. Dr. Laura frequently refers to men "providing for" and "taking care of" a wife financially, and insist that men who aren't already in a position to financially support a wife and children (and "lay down his life") isn't marriage material and notes that "in the day" he wouldn't be allowed (by her father) to date a woman. While others may use different terminology, a lot of other people, even "independent" and feminist women, take this approach, whether they will admit it or not. A man must earn more than they do, whether they plan to pull back on or pause their own career or not. This is because marriage, socially and especially legally, is mostly a financial matter. Dr. Laura, again, vehemently denounces the idea that a first marriage between child-free people involve a prenup, because they're "supposed to" share finances. (Meanwhile, the state laws already form a de facto prenup.) One of the first things women tell each other about their recent dates is what the guys do for a living. That isn't a personality test, it is a financial signal.

The laws of many states indicate that all earnings during the marriage are "community property" to which each spouse has a 50% claim, regardless of who actually earned the money and regardless of how the spouses behave. People addressing this subject remind wives that their husbands earnings are also theirs, and they get an "equal say" (a veto, really) in financial decisions.

During the first hours of his Wednesday, February 15, 2017 show, Tom Leykis was on fire. I've heard just about all his material before (and so, it's always good when he can talk about something he hasn't been able to talk about, at least not explicitly, before), but this was like a revelation.

His commentary was essentially this:
  • Don't take financial advice or give financial veto power to someone less successful than you.
  • Most women marry men who have/earn more than them (meaning, the wife has been less successful).
  • Husbands and wives share finances and husbands are expected to consult with wives.
  • This means that the average husband is compelled to do defer to someone who knows less than he does about building wealth.
  • This is a compelling reason for men to avoid marriage.
Some people get indignant and say, "Is that all you care about? Money?" Most of these same people will refuse to sign a prenup, which means they care an awful lot about money because they think marrying will give them a financial advantage against their spouse-to-be that the customized prenup would negate.

Don't kid yourself. When there's a divorce, or when the marriage is strained, or when money is tight in the marriage, it becomes very clear how important money is and just how much it is cared about.

If Leykis is to be believed, and we have no reason to doubt him on these matters, he's a multimillionaire, having a ranch in Santa Barbara, a house in the Hollywood Hills, multiple vehicles, multiple businesses, having earned seven figure salaries during his employment in terrestrial radio, and having protected himself with prenups and having his children aborted. He is also an atheist who doesn't give to churches. He has a weekly hour devoted to financial advice, and often gives financial advice during other hours of his show. He has sound advice for earning, saving, investing, and insuring. He takes pride in knowing how loans and credit work, which investments are paying off, and the detail of his own financial situation, including the costs and revenues of his businesses.

How would it make sense for him to marry a woman who has much less financial sense than he does, and have to run decisions about investing, buying, or selling by her? How does it make sense for any other man who has his financial act together? Keep in mind that Tom and other guys are conscientious shoppers, so it isn't like a wife would save money in that regard (as if she could offset the added expenses she'd bring along).

Sure, some women leave everything up to their husbands when it comes to money. And sure, some guys are lazy and ignorant when it comes to earning and managing money. But again, most women marry men who do, or will earn more than they do.

What is the solution? For Leykis, it is: DON'T MARRY. Don't even get in a relationship. But if you do, have separate housesholds and keep everything separate.

In my own marriage, my wife has recently taken an interest in the details of our finances. I have always kept her updated. She has always had access to our accounts, our bills, etc. It is just that she previously expressed little interest. She says that has changed because of my stress over our finances. Now she'll ask me about every transaction that shows up in one of those all-unifying apps (which gives me stress). She can look it up for herself, but she doesn't. You'd think the app would make it clear, but it doesn't. I review all transactions to make sure nothing gets screwed up and there are no fraudulent charges. I have done this all along.

My wife claims using this app is going to help us save money, but it's not, because we can't - not in any substantial amount. We don't live high on the hog; we have significant expenses I didn't anticipate when we decided to have children and buy our house. Because she wasn't honest with me. So, basically, her using this app is an annoyance to me and another thing to put her into a bad mood.

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