Handling financial differences

I do a lot of research. It’s in my nature. It’s one of the reasons that I am on this site, but I also like feedback. Like I am reading Polysecure right now. As for did I have a fully established knowledge base before jumping in? No, but I have always been a get a gist of the theory, get real experience and modify over time person. It’s iterative self-development to borrow a software delivery theme.

Philosophically, I believe that the self is not a fixed thing. My personal experience has only been evidence of this. That being said, if trust is earned, then I have more than done so.

I am actually seeing my psychiatrist today. It’s been a wild ride.

I have been with my girlfriend for about 2 months. I am naturally nosey and talk to her from the time I wake up till she goes to sleep, so I know pretty much everything there is to know, blemishes and all.

You are right though. My wife, who I have been married to for 14 years and in a relationship for 19, would be less than thrilled if I just started throwing thousands at my girlfriend. I think the suggestion in this thread of using a dedicated spending account is a good one, as it will limit the range of help.

Does my plan I laid out in another reply make sense?
I'm not sure throwing money at a gf of two months is a great idea, no. I hear that you feel worried about her, with her "poverty." But even if you talk somehow all day long (despite both having demanding jobs and you having kids to tend to, AND a WIFE), you can't know everything there is to know about someone in two months. My recommendations still stand about holding off on white knighting her until you've been happily dating her for 18 months to two years. There's no way of knowing if this is even gonna work out.

I guess that's my apparently unpopular opinion. Both of my current partners are a good deal younger than me, and poorer, and I did not and do not throw thousands their way... not even now, after 15 years (gf) and 2.5 years (bf). And my gf's OSO is much richer than me, and he was also cautious... nowadays, after they've been together about 9 years, he does share his wealth with her much more than he did the first few years.

You could be worried about being perceived as trying to buy her love, no?
 
While it's wonderful to have the financial resources to help someone you care about, please consider that two months is simply not enough time to really know each other, or have any idea about whether and what you're compatible for in the future.

And providing substantial financial support, including housing, creates a gigantic power dynamic, whether you want it to or not.

So please consider this from your girlfriend's perspective: months from now, if she decides that an intimate relationship with you isn't what she wants... how empowered do you think she'll feel to express that? To break up with you, if she wants to? When she depends on you for her housing and expenses?

If your answer to that is, "Oh, I'd totally understand! That would be fine!", you've missed my point; how would she feel about it? How hard is it going to be for her to engage in constructive relationship conflict, when a rift in your intimate relationship might destroy her job prospects and put her on the street?

She would really be better off receiving financial aid from a party whose relationship with her has much lower stakes.
 
While it's wonderful to have the financial resources to help someone you care about, please consider that two months is simply not enough time to really know each other, or have any idea about whether and what you're compatible for in the future.

And providing substantial financial support, including housing, creates a gigantic power dynamic, whether you want it to or not.

So please consider this from your girlfriend's perspective: months from now, if she decides that an intimate relationship with you isn't what she wants... how empowered do you think she'll feel to express that? To break up with you, if she wants to? When she depends on you for her housing and expenses?

If your answer to that is, "Oh, I'd totally understand! That would be fine!", you've missed my point; how would she feel about it? How hard is it going to be for her to engage in constructive relationship conflict, when a rift in your intimate relationship might destroy her job prospects and put her on the street?

She would really be better off receiving financial aid from a party whose relationship with her has much lower stakes.
I agree. The “gigantic power dynamic” is getting at the heart of my concerns.

I fear that there will always be the potential for this, regardless of who I am with. I make more in a coffee break than she does in a 10 hour day. My money makes more than she does in a month.

I agree. It’ll be terrifying if the support is ongoing, rather than given without conditions. Maybe I could set up an irrevocable trust?

As for knowing someone, I am honestly struggling to know what other information to gather. I was listing it out, but I decided that most people don’t know that much about a person. If you have any ideas, please send them my way.
 
As for knowing someone, I am honestly struggling to know what other information to gather. I was listing it out, but I decided that most people don’t know that much about a person. If you have any ideas, please send them my way.
Honestly, the answer here is _time_, and there’s no other substitute. I mean, in the situation of a partner facing bankruptcy I _might_ make some exceptions but the reality is that there is no way of knowing someone THAT well, that quickly. (And don’t take this personally; I give the same advice to anyone pondering cohabitation or enmeshment in less than 2 years of relationship. Admittedly I move wildly slowly, but at the same time I just cannot imagine being (using an example from fb I read recently) married to someone I’ve only known a year).

So please consider this from your girlfriend's perspective: months from now, if she decides that an intimate relationship with you isn't what she wants... how empowered do you think she'll feel to express that? To break up with you, if she wants to? When she depends on you for her housing and expenses?
Yep, I was going to say this. In fact that whole plan has given me an earworm…

🎶 don’t you want me baby 🎶
 
Honestly, the answer here is _time_, and there’s no other substitute. I mean, in the situation of a partner facing bankruptcy I _might_ make some exceptions but the reality is that there is no way of knowing someone THAT well, that quickly. (And don’t take this personally; I give the same advice to anyone pondering cohabitation or enmeshment in less than 2 years of relationship. Admittedly I move wildly slowly, but at the same time I just cannot imagine being (using an example from fb I read recently) married to someone I’ve only known a year).


Yep, I was going to say this. In fact that whole plan has given me an earworm…

🎶 don’t you want me baby 🎶
I guess we will have to agree to disagree. People are not that complex, despite the wide belief to the contrary. I will cite the ability to form patterns with machine learning and act on them as evidence of that.

Also, I am in a 19 year relationship. I know about the effect of time. Time builds new experiences and people change based on those. If you depend on time to know a person, then I would argue that you did not know them then, you simply know them now.

When I say I know a person, I mean I know them. I am incredibly thorough, down to current and past PII.

Can you explain the song reference?
 
When I say I know a person, I mean I know them. I am incredibly thorough, down to current and past PII.
I think you are focusing on information about a person, whereas a large part of compatibility is discovered through sharing experiences with a person, and it's hard to do that without spending months in a relationship.

But you seem very determined to convince total strangers that our conventional wisdom doesn't apply to you, so, best of luck. 👋
 
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When I say I know a person, I mean I know them. I am incredibly thorough, down to current and past PII.
By PII, do you mean personal identification information, such as SSN, driver's license, past addresses, credit history, etc?

Like, things an employer's HR department might need and/or things an investigator running a background check might turn up?

If so, this is very weird to me. Two months is way too soon for a boyfriend to know all that information.

And, an FBI dossier of legal information about a person does not remotely come close to knowing a person's emotional compatibility with you for a serious relationship.
 
I was thinking about helping her change something more fundamental that’ll help her long term.

Her hours were cut substantially, so she’s now paycheck to paycheck. That’ll work for the time being, but it’s not sustainable.

She got incredibly sick after her initial covid bout and ended up with a massive amount of medical debt. I referred her to a lawyer to begin bankruptcy discussions. She is extremely diligent about bill payment, but there’s no way that she can have that hanging over her at her current pay. I may cover the legal fees.

She also, due to child poverty worse than mine, never finished or even really started high school. She’s extremely intelligent, but she just had little opportunity. I was thinking of paying for tutoring for her GED.

She has expressed interest in a trade. I know how to navigate the financial aid system and at her level of poverty could probably make quite a dent in that alone. I may help with startup or the remainder of the cost of schooling.

Now, with a trade in hand, I can use my network to get her a job. With the elimination of her bills by moving to my ADU, she can begin saving. Once she has enough to be independent from me financially, I can then help her to invest any excess.

That’s my general plan.
I love your way of thinking about how to help. None bails her out but gives her way more opportunity to flourish on her own. 👏
 
People are not that complex
True, but people are almost NEVER how they portray themselves to be. They put on a front or a show in the beginning. This can last several months even while living together. You can never know what they are hiding until they show you and it takes a long time before they start forgetting to keep up appearances. I know people who were together three years before getting married and once the deal was done the switch flipped and the real person came out....it was horrible. That was the longest I've ever seen. Usually you are good beyond a year and a half to two years but a couple months.....you have no idea who that person really is.
 
True, but people are almost NEVER how they portray themselves to be. They put on a front or a show in the beginning. This can last several months even while living together. You can never know what they are hiding until they show you and it takes a long time before they start forgetting to keep up appearances. I know people who were together three years before getting married and once the deal was done the switch flipped and the real person came out....it was horrible. That was the longest I've ever seen. Usually you are good beyond a year and a half to two years but a couple months.....you have no idea who that person really is.
Well played, voice in my head.

In all seriousness, I am generally wary of others. If they get past that barrier, I extend full trust. If they break that trust, then they aren’t a part of my life anymore.

The way that I see it is a cost benefit analysis. Best case, I get a loving partner that is also my best friend. Worst case, I lose some money and I have helped someone escape the cycle of poverty. I mean poverty, she was once homeless. I see that as a risk worth taking.

A side story, since it’s getting too heated. I have these rather snooty neighbors, which comes with the territory when you view houses as both an asset and a place to live. I have never adapted to money. I still shop at Goodwill. Since my job can be stressful, I often sweat and sometimes even have messy hair by the end of the day. Well, I was trying find space in the recycling, since we just did a major clean and some visitors come up to their house and start asking them about the homeless man digging through the trash next to them. To which the respond. “That’s our neighbor.” That made my day. lol
 
I find the cost benefit analysis point at odds with previous points. If that is really the case then give your gf the money. And step back from your relationship, allow her to get back on her feet. Then start again. As you seem to be able to afford to give financially, you may also think about giving emotionally. Otherwise as others have said you will create a power dynamic which may affect not just your relationship with your gf but also with your wife. This conversation re cb analysis, money and a two month gf makes me feel (as a woman) feel uncomfortable.
 
It seems like the general consensus is to avoid giving her any money as it is a recent relationship and because the potential for a power dynamic exists. I guess that’s fair. We did start in the same place, but we aren’t in the same place.

I still think that she needs to remove her medical debt, either through bankruptcy or negotiation with creditors. I think that she needs her GED and to work on a trade. These things will help her lift herself out of poverty without having a dependence on me. I will be her emotional support and help her navigate the system, but will not utilize my own money toward this.

There are social services in place that can be utilized if she becomes destitute. These would have been her only recourse had we not chanced upon each other online some months ago. At the very least, I can help her research the tools that are at her disposal.
 
I'm not sure why a majority here are opposed to you helping your girlfriend financially. The power dynamics between two people, wealthy and poor, I think, exist even without monetary exchange. May I ask what the age difference is?

With the power dynamics already questionable, the remaining issue is finances. It’s not like you’re going to miss half a percent of income… as long as this condition isn’t chronic. If you find yourself in this situation often, that’s another conversation.

But I wonder what your girlfriend wants for herself. Does she want a GED and trade school? Does she have higher aspirations? Are you pushing this on her, or is she likely to take the opportunity and run with it?

I’m interested in knowing where your bias plays into this. Who is the architect of these ideas? Like, would you give her money to pursue something you didn’t see the value in? Or is your support limited to pre-approved educational degrees? If she has lofty ambitions, like law or medicine, would you pay for that? Or are you drawing the line at trade school?

A GED and trade school will do nil to close the income gap between you both. It won’t solve all of her problems, it won’t solve power dynamics, it won’t necessarily bring her out of poverty or solve debt problems…

If she truly has income ambition, why aim low? If you care about the power dynamics, why not help her reach a level of equivalent income, or an income that is similarly empowering (i.e., affording a home in your neighborhood)?

And if she doesn’t have income ambition, why push any of this onto her in the first place?
 
I'm not sure why a majority here are opposed to you helping your girlfriend financially. The power dynamics between two people, wealthy and poor, I think, exist even without monetary exchange. May I ask what the age difference is?

With the power dynamics already questionable, the remaining issue is finances. It’s not like you’re going to miss half a percent of income… as long as this condition isn’t chronic. If you find yourself in this situation often, that’s another conversation.

But I wonder what your girlfriend wants for herself. Does she want a GED and trade school? Does she have higher aspirations? Are you pushing this on her, or is she likely to take the opportunity and run with it?

I’m interested in knowing where your bias plays into this. Who is the architect of these ideas? Like, would you give her money to pursue something you didn’t see the value in? Or is your support limited to pre-approved educational degrees? If she has lofty ambitions, like law or medicine, would you pay for that? Or are you drawing the line at trade school?

A GED and trade school will do nil to close the income gap between you both. It won’t solve all of her problems, it won’t solve power dynamics, it won’t necessarily bring her out of poverty or solve debt problems…

If she truly has income ambition, why aim low? If you care about the power dynamics, why not help her reach a level of equivalent income, or an income that is similarly empowering (i.e., affording a home in your neighborhood)?

And if she doesn’t have income ambition, why push any of this onto her in the first place?
I am 37 and she is 39.

She’s actually more fiscally conservative than me, which I find extremely attractive; however, she just doesn’t make a lot.

She says that I make her want to be her best self. She has been intensely studying for her GED over the last month. I help her out with any questions that she has, but I think she would benefit more from direct tutoring.

We talk about everything. I have been slowly getting a feel for what she would like to do with her career. She’s incredibly unhappy with her current and past jobs. She was ultimately the one that suggested a trade skill.

I don’t really see a trade as aiming low per se. I have a degree and understand its value, but mine has direct applicability to my career. I also chose my field purely on income potential. I have watched a number of people get degrees and then find themselves not only in a minimum wage job but now with tens of thousands of debt.

Trade skills can make good money. Truck drivers, welders, electricians and plumbers can easily make as much as an entry or midlevel software engineer. They are also more insulated from outsourcing.

I don’t believe it’s possible to close the income or wealth gap between us. I have nearly 2 decades of self-imposed austerity, debt elimination and investment on her. My wealth makes far more than she does and it’s only growing.
 
She says that I make her want to be her best self. She has been intensely studying for her GED over the last month. I help her out with any questions that she has, but I think she would benefit more from direct tutoring.

We talk about everything. I have been slowly getting a feel for what she would like to do with her career. She’s incredibly unhappy with her current and past jobs. She was ultimately the one that suggested a trade skill.

All right. If that's what she prefers, then I'll veer away from my other points. If I were in your shoes, and falling for someone striving to better themselves, I'd want to lend a hand. It doesn't always mean throwing money at the problem. Alternatively, you could try to offer support in smaller ways to keep her moving forward. Debts tend to stick around, and if you wait to clear them in a few years, hopefully, your relationship will be mature enough that your wife will feel better about it. That could be the best way to make everyone happy, except for you, of course, because I imagine you'd like to get the best deal on that debt, and time passing would rob you of that.

I can partially relate to the situation. I dropped out of high school, but managed to earn my GED. Eventually, I pursued and earned a lucrative advanced degree. It wasn't easy; I worked part-time and relied on loans, scholarships, and funding to get by. Looking back, I doubt I could do it all over again today. The challenges facing people trying to get ahead these days, especially with the cost of living, seem tougher than ever.

I don’t really see a trade as aiming low, per se. I have a degree and understand its value, but mine has direct applicability to my career. I also chose my field purely on income potential. I have watched a number of people get degrees, and then find themselves not only in a minimum wage job, but now with tens of thousands of debt.

I agree that some educational investments don't always pay off as expected. However, it's surprising to hear someone who understands the importance of education share these anecdotes. People can indeed find creative ways to lose money on investments, but with a bit of insight or investigation, the risks can often be minimized.

Trade skills can make good money. Truck drivers, welders, electricians and plumbers can easily make as much as an entry or midlevel software engineer. They are also more insulated from outsourcing.

This statement relies on a specific intersection of two income bell curves, where the highest-earning, most skilled, and hardest-working welders might earn a salary comparable to that of the lowest-earning, least skilled software engineers. However, this isn't a reliable basis for determining average outcomes.

I don’t believe it’s possible to close the income or wealth gap between us. I have nearly 2 decades of self-imposed austerity, debt elimination and investment on her. My wealth makes far more than she does and it’s only growing.

I did consider that possibility, which is why I included the qualifier 'similarly empowering.' In my view, a significant range of wealth would indeed fall into that category. For instance, being able to afford most homes in your local market, relocating easily, and have the means to buy or lease most new cars, all while saving to build wealth, is achievable with a professional salary. My point is, if someone earns that kind of income, they likely wouldn't hesitate to move out of a wealthy boyfriend's guest house.
 
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The way that I see it is a cost benefit analysis. Best case, I get a loving partner that is also my best friend. Worst case, I lose some money and I have helped someone escape the cycle of poverty. I mean poverty, she was once homeless. I see that as a risk worth taking.
I see nothing wrong with this thinking at all. It's your money, you won't be hurt irreparably by the loss of money and you are giving in a way that could really help another person succeed without any expectation of a relationship or payback. If you get either, BONUS!

As a forum on relationships, we see all kinds here and certain things just end up badly. Most people would expect something or be devastated if someone "took the money and ran" so to speak. That is why it's discouraged. You have made it clear you have thought it out rationally.
 
Update:

I took into account your feedback and discussed plans with both my wife and girlfriend.

My girlfriend is going to study on her own and attempt to take the GED test using a voucher that her state provides by the end of summer. If she doesn’t pass, we’ll look into private tutoring.

When her lease comes up in April, she’ll move into my ADU with an apprenticeship in her targeted field.

Since she won’t pay rent or utilities, she can comfortably save $1.5k/month. Currently, she has no savings. The goal would be to get to at least $10k in savings, which should give her some level of independence from me.

After, she’ll either pursue a trade or go to community college. I will help her research funding at that time. Since she won’t be married to me, she should get plenty of student aid. Depending how far we are in the relationship, I may pay off the rest.
 
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Coming in late here, it sounds like you have a good solution that will benefit everyone.
I am in a better financial situation than Sir and Meow (my partner and my Metamour). They have their pride though, especially Sir wants to feel like a provider and protector. He actually thought that our financial differences would lead to problems eventually. We made an agreement that he doesn't touch my finances -- so as to not come off as wanting me for that benefit-- but I will contribute my fair share of household expenses as any family member would.
Example-- I pay a fair portion of the utilities and a very small amount of rent for my tiny home on their property. Recently Meow needed some expensive dental work that was not affordable to her or Sir. I needed some tile work done in a bathroom in my home in the city. We bartered that Sir did my tilework. I in turn paid the amount that it would have cost me to hire a contractor, towards Meow's dental work. It allowed me to help her out, and allowed him to keep his pride, and show off his skills!
 
Update:

I took into account your feedback and discussed plans with both my wife and girlfriend.

My girlfriend is going to study on her own and attempt to take the GED test using a voucher that her state provides by the end of summer. If she doesn’t pass, we’ll look into private tutoring.

When her lease comes up in April, she’ll move into my ADU with an apprenticeship in her targeted field.

Since she won’t pay rent or utilities, she can comfortably save $1.5k/month. Currently, she has no savings. The goal would be to get to at least $10k in savings, which should give her some level of independence from me.

After, she’ll either pursue a trade or go to community college. I will help her research funding at that time. Since she won’t be married to me, she should get plenty of student aid. Depending how far we are in the relationship, I may pay off the rest.
That sounds like a great plan! I just wanted to encourage you to also council her in the ways of smart money management. I had a very similar deal with my now ex-husband. He moved in with me and lived for free for 1.5 years, while his income went to pay off his extensive student debt. We celebrated when it was paid off... Then, instead of contributing towards the family income, he went on a spending spree and accumulated more debt (behind my back, I might add). For me, that was a dealbreaker.

Although she should have her separate account, of course, I think it would be wise to add yourself to it so you can monitor her ability to spend wisely and council her in this. Many people struggle in managing their finances, and it is a skill that is learned.
 
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