Can you afford NOT to be in a couple?

by Kristina Tahnyak on February 1, 2011 · 4 comments

With the divorce rate growing, it is becoming more and more common for couples to spit up.  What happens when our DINKS income gets cut in half and our dual income becomes one?

I have a client who has made a great living and built an extravagant lifestyle by selling luxury condos.  She has been separated from her husband for five years. They live completely separately; she lives in a country house, and her husband lives in an apartment in the city.  They are friendly and often interact, but they do not live as a married couple.

My client refuses to divorce her husband because she doesn’t want to give him half of her wealth. Her riches include over one million dollars worth of real estate properties, loads of cash, as well as several investments. My client is the go to girl when developers are ready to sell their luxury properties.  She works freelance and travels the world in her spare time. She is self employed and works on 3-12 month contracts with developers to sell their condo units.

When clients come into the bank and ask me for a current account statement including their current balance, it is usually for one of two reasons…they are buying a house and need to show their mortgage broker proof of their assets for the down payment, or they are getting divorced.

More often these days the reason that clients come to the bank and request a copy of their account statement is because they are getting divorced.  In 2005 clients were asking for their account statements because my clients were buying a house, but now it’s because they are getting divorced.

After my recent family fall out I asked My Dad why he is staying with his current girlfriend.  He confirmed that he knows she isn’t the best match for him and she isn’t a good fit for our family, but he continues to stay with her.  When I asked him why he chose to stay he told me it is because he can’t afford to live on his own. I am not one hundred percent convinced that this is true because my father chooses to live on a fixed retirement income, he doesn’t have to.

When we are in a couple we become accustom to a particular lifestyle. When we leave that couple are expenses maybe less, but so is our disposable monthly income.  Could you survive if your dual income became one?

(Photo By Cliff1066)

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Dani @ OK, Dani February 1, 2011 at 8:52 am

Interesting post. New follower here.
I would be able to survive if my new hubby just up and left. I just would not be able to save as much money each month. I hope I’m never in that situation though!


2 Alotta Lettuce February 1, 2011 at 12:36 pm

Good question and certainly food for thought, but I have to point out that the divorce rate is not increasing. In fact, it’s been DECREASING since the 80s. It’s also very important to look at it in the context of demographics, because there are some groups of people for whom the divorce rate is very low and others for whom it is very high. For example, people who have a college degree get divorced at a much lower rate than those who have only a high school education.

That said, I COULD go back to living on only my income, but I certainly don’t want to!

And finally, an anecdote: a good friend of mine is a divorce lawyer, and he told me a while back that for years and years, couples fought over who GOT to keep their home after the divorce, but since the start of the most recent recession, they much more commonly fight about who HAS to keep the house.

3 Honey February 3, 2011 at 10:58 am

I could survive, I don’t know if my boyfriend could (even though he makes way more money than me!). He “needs” DirectTV, AND the highest Netflix subscription, AND to eat out to lunch every single day, etc. etc.

I pay half of the DirectTV and Netflix because I do use it, but if I were to suddenly become single, I wouldn’t have any sort of cable and would do streaming-only on Netflix (which I think is $8). I already brown-bag it every day, though I would probably not be able to have some of the more gourmet/specialty items I currently enjoy…

4 Kristina February 6, 2011 at 12:45 pm

Divorce is usually a messy situation. Dividing up our money along with our personal items makes it messier. Maybe this may be an argument to keep the finances seperate, even after marriage.

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