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MichaelG
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Hi everyone. I have a complicated issue here. I'd be very very grateful for any advice. The upshot is I don't know to what degree I can mingle my finances with my wife. Here's the specific, long-winded problem.

I'm sort of married as of June. We had the ceremony, but didn't actually sign any papers.

The reason for this is simple(ish). My wife's home/apartment for the last 6 years before we met was a BMR in San Francisco. For those that don't know, that's a Below Market Rate apartment. This is rent controlled, but also has strict income requirements. You can't make too much or too little. You have to turn in bank account info and tax info every year.

In order to avoid having her kicked out of her home, we didn't sign marriage papers, thinking that even if we filed taxes separately, it could show up on her info and she would get kicked out (our combined incomes would be too much, or perhaps have too much in the bank).

I guess that's my first question. Is that true? Can we not legally get married without losing her home? Maybe that's a question only someone familiar with BMR could answer.

In any case, not being married, we have other financial issues. I have her as an authorized user on my credit card, but otherwise our finances are separate. I'd like to give her access to a bank account, but once again, I'm not sure if that would get her kicked out. She has to pay for rent every month on her own, since we don't have a shared bank account.

On a related note, she can't get healthcare from my employer. I could make her a "domestic partner", which she certainly qualifies as, but don't know if that would also get her kicked out somehow.

In general, I'm not very clear on tax law, and only vaguely familiar with BMR law. If anyone could help me come up with a way to merge our finances I would be ecstatic. I may not have done the best job of explaining it, so I can answer any other questions if that would help.
Post Sat Oct 01, 2016 5:29 pm
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oldguy
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quote:
and she would get kicked out (our combined incomes would be too much, or perhaps have too much in the bank).

I guess that's my first question. Is that true? Can we not legally get married without losing her home?


Yes, it's true. (I'm a landlord, I've owned subsidized houses). A tenant must report earnings and bank accounts, number of people in the unit (new kids, child custody changes, marriage, divorce). If you have too many people the govt will insist that you move to a bigger unit, and conversely.

But you are asking us, the tax payers who are paying some of your bills for you, to help you keep gaming the system - have you thought this thru? lol.
In my world - born before WW2 and lived with govt food rationing, grocery rationing, gas rationing - we don't do welfare, section 8, food stamps, yada - we try to avoid those things. So you won't like my answer - "get married, move out of the BMR, (make room for someone who needs it) , and get on with your lives". Co-mingle your money into a joint account, file your taxes jointly, license your cars, title your credit cards together, etc. (Then, instead of 'she' pays the rent, it will be 'we' pay the rent - an important distinction for your far-future).
Post Sat Oct 01, 2016 6:28 pm
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MichaelG
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There's certainly that side of it. There's also the fact that she's based her life around this location, and that moving to another apartment would be beyond our means unless we move far, far away from the small business she's attempting to get off the ground. The government's laws around this are disjointed in that way.

In any case, I understand that this is your opinion, but as it's both simplistic and in no way an answer to the original question, I can't say that I appreciate it.
Post Sat Oct 01, 2016 8:01 pm
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ken-do-nim
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quote:
Originally posted by MichaelG
There's certainly that side of it. There's also the fact that she's based her life around this location, and that moving to another apartment would be beyond our means unless we move far, far away from the small business she's attempting to get off the ground. The government's laws around this are disjointed in that way.

In any case, I understand that this is your opinion, but as it's both simplistic and in no way an answer to the original question, I can't say that I appreciate it.


So where do you live? Have you moved into her apartment with her? I think she'd have to report that to her landlord, and then aren't your bank statements fair game as well? Not sure you can win this one, but I'm not familiar with this law.
Post Sat Oct 01, 2016 10:00 pm
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oldguy
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I understand that this is your opinion, but as it's both simplistic and in no way an answer to the original question, I can't say that I appreciate it.


I recognize that you meant simplistic. But since simplistic and simplicity come from the same root, let's go with that. I'm an engineer, in design meetings I'm the one who always pushes to reduce the part count (as a way to statistically increase reliability and mean-time-between-failures.) And as an investor, I've learned that simple portfolios are are a far better way to become wealthy than complex investments. Same with math and physics - a simple elegant gadget-free solution gives better results. Same with Art - simple, elegant, and sleek wins over busy cluttered pieces.

quote:
Hi everyone. I have a complicated issue here.


Getting back to your question about how to fix your complicated issue - remove the complications early in life and live your life simply w/o needing to stay one step ahead of the Govt/IRS with every new decision that you encounter. And there are many - eg, hows to title a house some day, how do we title/finance a car, how about our SS checks if we're unmarried, who will be the legal guardian of our kids, and many more. Each off-center decision now will snowball into big ones in later life. Before these things start happening, you could easily sort out the bad decisions, fix them, and move forward in the right way. You don't build a life around a decision to stay in a BMR at all costs - instead you make a pivotal life-changing decision and then build on it to build a life together.
Post Sat Oct 01, 2016 10:20 pm
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