Life with one partner working and one retired

Sorry to inquire into private life, no need to answer if you mind; but if you don’t - what is your family situation, i.e. (non/working) partner, children; or plans for it?
I am asking because that affects a lot the (future) RE/expense part IMO.

Edit: I suggest another subforum titled “Success stories” or similar, where each of our accomplished members can share theirs (in a separate thread). :slight_smile:

My life partner is still working and pays effectively for her own bills. My low SWR allows me to pay for both of us and future kids (if I avoid lifestyle creep).


That’s interesting. So you’re 40 and have no kids? And your partner, is she not bitter that she has to work? I assume she is younger than you, when you still consider to have kids in the future?

My gf does not even know my real income, because she already says I have to pay more for rent etc, because I earn more. And she’s bitter that I can just “sit at home” and earn better than her, whereas she has to deal with patients every day. So I cannot imagine how would FIRE work in our case. She would every day leave home seeing me lazily stretching in bed :slight_smile: . And what would I do with her at work? Cannot travel, cannot make a trip. How do you manage it? What do you actually do when she’s at work, so that it does not feel like you’re wasting your life?


My gf and I are still living at our parents house but we’re planning to eventually move together in the near future. She earns significantly less than me and might also start to study soon.

How do you split the rent with your partner? Still 50/50 or do you pay more because of your higher income?

Yes, she is quite a bit younger and actually enjoys her job a lot. She can work from home at 80% - so we still spend a lot of time together.

Kids will probably change things again. Good thing is that I am flexible enough in any direction (pay for everyone to stay home; do just more homework myself and support my gf; etc).

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Info: I moved this conversation into a new thread.

@IdleThought That’s great that your gf is not sour about you having it easier in life :slight_smile: I’m in this situation where on one hand I have this great income and she does not and so she would like me to pay more and “invite her”. On the other hand, I came from poor Poland and got to this place with not much help from others, so why should I financially support my partner?

I feel like a good partnership is trying to keep your life in order (including financially) and then you’re just spending time together. When married and with kids, it’s of course different, but I’m not looking for that. So if you get a kid or two, and she goes back to work, then you will for sure have something to keep you busy all day :slight_smile: stay at home dad

Yes, I think a big upside of being frugal always was that I met my gf being that non-flashy dude. So yes I usually pay for dinner, groceries, etc – but we still split rent, she pays for her own hobbies, etc.

I also actively encourage her to stay in her career while she still enjoys her job.

She knows that my NW would allow us to go big if we wanted but she also knows that I like a lot of buffer (e.g., support aging parents, depression, etc etc) and that our future (grand)kids would likely benefit from this stash of cash.

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fun fact: I was once dating a girl from Eastern Europe (fairly far in the east) and she pretty much expected me to pay for everything (including her old credit card bills). So yes, glad that I ended that chapter fairly quickly …

I remember reading that there is apparently some genetic disposition for being frugal and I am glad to have found a life partner that is perfectly fine with an average non-flashy lifestyle.

Book tip: The Millionare Next Door – this one really resonated with me.


related story eheh

snopes link with the whole exchange

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I don’t know about Russian, but Polish women are pretty emancipated and they often don’t rely on the men. Of course, you can find any kind of person in any nation, if you look long enough.

But my gf is Swiss and I think she has no solid concept of money and investing. She is afraid of investing and taking risk and believes that men should pay more because they earn more. I usually keep everything 50-50 (except rent), but if I ever do invite her or bring her a gift, she is the happiest woman in the World :stuck_out_tongue:


It’s a difficult concept.
(I’m not talking about me and my GF , just to be clear and not look like an a.hole. It’s just a discussion)

What is fair? 50-50? Let’s talk about rent. Who need to pay more? I won’t use the bathroom as much as her, so maybe I should pay less? I don’t care about the niceness of the apt. should I pay less?

I make more money, should I pay more? Maybe she doesn’t understand the jobs that can pay more and have to work as hairdresser. Is that a reason to pay 50-50 because she’s disadvantaged? Or maybe she played the “pretty girl” all the time instead of studying as lawyer?
Or I should pay more because she has chosen a job that no one would have chose or something that makes people happier even if worse paid or something for the humanity as a whole?

Difficult topic.


Hahaha, I had one of those experiences too. Girl from Ukranie, litteral definition of a gold digger.

Glad my wife is rather modest but is also not exactly frugal (see my blog about the 500 CHF worth of gifts for her family). I think there is some room in the world for educational apps/games about finance and investing.


My (then) swiss gf (now wife) and I had a rule when we were dating.
All discretionary expenses (dinners, day travel, common gifts) to be split 50-50.
All non-discretionary expenses (rent, utilities, insurance, etc.) to be split proportional to income.
She earns about 50% of what I do but there is also more than a decade in terms of age difference.

After marriage, she transfers 90% of her monthly income to my account for handling expenses ( mortgage payments, amortisation, monthly maintenance, investing, stocks, etc.) and keeps the remaining 10% for discretionary expenses on her part.

She currently works 80% and plans to do so until our daughter gets to 5, after which she would like to go back to full-time.

She would continue working full-time after I (plan) retire early and the expectation is that I manage the kids daily tasks and the cooking. Seems fair to me.

We have almost no conflicts on the financial side (touché). I would say that her frugality outpaces mine in many areas. She is also on board with the FIRE concept but would like to retire in CH (unlikely to happen).


I think the comments are deviating slightly from the thread title, but I would be interested in seeing the conversation continue in both (one for couples where only one is retired, one for general budgeting experience in cohabitation)

I don’t know if you really mean it like I understand it, but for me that would be a dealbreaker. I would never feel bitter because my girlfriend has a job where she can work from home and earns good money. I’d be happy because she is and I would work on improving my own situation.

You should travel and do whatever you like. You worked hard for it, made your choices and now you face the good and the bad consequences.
Imagine you don’t like to do workouts, but you get in good shape and feel good.
Your girlfriend doesn’t like to do workouts as well so she doesn’t do it.
Now you are fitter than her and feel great while she doesn’t because she is lazy.

Would you stop doing workouts then and live a worse life than before because she gets’s bitter when you are feeling good? This would not work for me.

No that’s not true, but it’s what lazy people say all the time. You started with worse conditions than she did and you worked hard to improve your situation.

That’s what I’m seeing with woman all the time. I also had some trouble with girlfriends because of that as well.

  • I wouldn’t want to live in a shared flat
  • I don’t want to travel for my job
  • I don’t want to move all my friends are here
  • I don’t want more responsibility
  • I don’t like to leave my comfort zone

She expects you to suffer all the downsides and her to just enjoy the benefits.
She lives her own life and has the face the good and the bad consequences.

100% that! Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.
You can support her if you like. If you both try your best and you are working with the same effort on the same goal - that’s fine. Everybody can contribute according to his abilities and you share the oucome as a team.
But just complaining and demanding? No…

Seriously think about it. It’s not your job to provide a happy life for her.

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Sorry I forgot to quote that, but it pretty much sums it.
Pretty emotional topic for me. :smiley:

BTW. woman usually don’t expect the better earning partner to support the other partner if they earn more money themselves.

True story that happened last year.
We know a couple where the woman earns about 4 times the amount of the man, both working full time. She saved a lot while he couldn’t save any significant amount.
She wanted to take a break to take and get her PhD.
Her expectation was that he should pay for her while she doesn’t earn anything because she doesn’t want to use her (six figure savings).
His face was priceless…


My girlfriend and I are a couple (not married), 37 and 38 y/o, 1 child and a second one on his way. During our relationship that started 11 years ago, we have always had our own wallet and bank accounts.

We used to share the same credit card and, at the end of the month we checked the detailed statement for “personal” or “common” expenses and paid our share accordingly. For example, vacations, restaurants, food or stuff we needed for the house were shared 50/50, the rest of the bill was personal stuff.

After 10 years, we decided that my wife would reduce her work time to 20% to take care of our kid, so I started paying for basically everything, thus drastically reducing my saving rate. Is it really fair? I don’t know, but our relationship based on mutual interdependency is working pretty well. I am happy that my little girl is being taken care of by her mom.
My girlfriend recently increased her work time to 40% because we are getting more help from her parents, she’s even considering 60% since she can work from home.


Thanks for showing another perspective. I think you situation is perfectly fine and I could imagine acting like you in the same situation. Doesn’t sound like you get exploited here - just partners working together with differtent tasks.

+1 for your girlfriend because she’s trying to stay independent.

Raising a kid is an effort and requires skill and dedication to do a good job. If one parent chooses to stay home to provide quality nurturing, then it’s only fair that they get compensated for it. On the other hand, parents do have kids out their own will, so you can’t just say, that the mother is doing all the work without getting paid.

It’s such a minefield for numbers people, that I see it as the main justification got getting married. Then you just say: what is mine, is yours, you put your trust and can forget about these dilemmas. Not that I would like sign up for such a deal anytime soon :slight_smile:

One thing you can do is for one person to say: ok I earn little and my limit is 1000 per month. The other person can then seek for a flat that costs over 2000, but then bear the extra cost. It’s good to negotiate in advance who will pay how much.


Nah, there’s plenty of normal ex ussr girls. You’re just observing selection effects. Just keep in mind a few things: only a small percentage of ex ussr people speak english, there’s catastrophic poverty (most earn a few hundred dollars a month tops) and very limited mobility - these aren’t schengen countries, you can’t just catch a plane there to a better life; you need skills or a suitor or something. Most dating is also very localized; remote relationships are very difficult. Hence the kind of girl you’d catch on dating sites talking in english to you across half the world naturally tends to be the gold digger kind. Go visit Kyiv in person.

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