Friday, June 18, 2010

Fun with Finance

Its starting to get real. This whole living together, buying a house situation. I'm trying really, really, really, really hard to not let it freak me out, but it is a BIG DEAL. A REALLY BIG DEAL.

The last time I bought a house, I made the decision on my own. It was new construction and slightly out of my price range, and the lady put the screws to me. "That one is the only one left that backs to open space. It might not be available tomorrow. I've got other people coming later to look at it. If you give me a check for 200 dollars, it will hold the house for you for 30 days."

And that's how I came to own this particular house. Impulse purchase. I spend more time agonizing over whether to get diet coke, coke one or diet vanilla cherry coke at the grocery store checkout line. I didn't really take into consideration what my boyfriend at the time wanted, or even let him look at it before I put the deposit on it. My decision. My house. My money. Me, me, me. You want to move in? Great. You pay me. I gain equity AND get the tax write off.

But being both girlfriend and landlord had some drawbacks. And of course, we all know how it ended (with him asking me to be a groomsman in his wedding, of course).

This is different. I care what Prof wants. I want him to be happy, and I want me to be happy, and most of all I want this to not be a financial disaster for either of us. And every once in a while, I can feel this upwelling of panic that I immediately squash back down.

Once we sign papers, putting the two of us together forever as owners of a four bedroom, 2.5 bath house, its over. We are forever committed. For good or bad, our credit and finances will be mixed. Honestly, if you ask me, buying a house is more of a commitment than getting married, and I'm really looking at it that way. If I wasn't in this, I wouldn't be doing it. If I didn't think that Prof was the best person for me in the whole universe (ok, maybe at least within a 30 mile radius), I wouldn't be doing this. So its scary because it is COMMITMENT, and long term and all of those things I hate.

But its also scary because its financial. We are going to have to figure out who pays for what, and make it fair. He makes more than me, but I'm an heiress (ha!) and have more cash reserves to put down on the house. How do we make that fair in the long run? What happens in the event that it doesn't work out? I mean, it has to be considered. It would be ridiculous to take this much risk and not consider the possibility that it might not work out long term.

So, after having "get financial planner" on my New Year's Resolution list for something like 6 years, I finally did it. This week, I am the proud new owner of a Primerica financial advisor. We met for almost 90 minutes yesterday and I laid out what I have now (pathetic. I don't think that my fleet of kayaks actually counts in the "assets" column, which is truly tragic), what I will have when Dad's house gets sold, what I want to do with this house and how many exotic vacations I want to go on. He gave me homework, which totally blows. There is a reason people don't do this, and its because it requires talking to your human resources section to determine exactly what the disability insurance covers (good luck, those people are idiots who think the Aflack duck is a turkey).

Getting my financial house in order is making me feel much better about the future and I'm really glad I finally got off my ass and made an appointment. The next couple months are still going to be really difficult (notwithstanding talking to human resources), but feeling like I'm on firm financial ground is really going to help when Prof and I start merging our assets.

(no, I did NOT say merging our asses, get your mind out of the gutter. I don't even know what that means, but I know you were thinking it).

First round of house visits coming next week. Oh my god, my stomach just turned. Anyone got any spare anxiety meds they can share?


Katy said...

I totally agree that merging finances is right there in line with a ring and a cake and a ceremony and foofy dresses. I'm happy for you (and Prof). I have been saying for a while that I need to meet with a financial planner (and an attorney to draft a will if there should happen to be any money left at all if I croak). It sounds very adult to have a financial planner. Blah.

PS I'm not sharing my good meds with you but I will drink heavily with you now that I'm free to do so. :)

trish said...

Remember my "Dover bumps"? I think buying a house is one of the most stressful situations ever. Especially for those who agonize over chosing a Coke product. ;)