PIERINI FITNESS.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Yours and mine or ours?

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It’s always interesting to observe the relationship married clients have with each other when finances are involved. Basically, I put my married clients into two categories depending on their financial behavior with each other.

The first behavior is what I call “yours and mine”. These married clients consider separate the assets owned and income earned by each spouse. Often, but not always, these are clients who got married later in life or have been married more than once. They may have adult children from previous marriages.

The second behavior is what I call “ours”. These married clients consider the assets owned and income earned by either spouse as equally belonging to both of them. Since my wife and I fall into this category, I can share that, for us, the factor contributing to this behavior was getting married early in life when neither of us had many belongings or earned big money. Whatever we earned and owned got dumped into one family bucket and that’s the way it’s always been.

Certainly what people observed in their parents growing up is a factor that influences financial behavior. Another factor is the property laws of the state in which they live. California, along with a small handful of other states, is a community property law state in which the income earned and property owned by each spouse is considered “community property” of the married couple absent a prenuptial agreement. Most other states are separate property law states in which the income earned and property owned by each spouse is their “separately property”. I’m not an attorney so don’t quote my simple meathead explanation.

I use to privately chuckle at married couples and think it was odd when I observed them in difficult and uncomfortable situations due to their “yours and mine” behavior. Now that I’ve matured and am more experienced as a financial advisor, I clearly see the useful purpose of this behavior, particularly for clients who have adult children from previous marriages and may want to leave an inheritance to them from wealth accumulated prior to their current marriage.

So to each his and her own and whatever gets the job done – yours and mine or ours?

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

2 comments:

Charles Long said...

We've always been in the "ours" category. We got married young and neither of us had anything like what you said with you and your wife. It's just always been that way.

Anonymous said...

We have always been in the "ours" category too. We got married young and neither of us had anything either. But I am in a third category.

Everything we had went to a community "ours" and my wife still thinks it is all hers.

Bob