On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter
by Columnist Tom Blake
In last week’s eNewsletter, Champ Wayne asked senior women their opinions about sharing dating expenses 50/50. He said he can’t afford to pay for first-class airfare, 5-star hotels, and pricey restaurants. Included below are the responses of nine women (responses edited for length and clarity):
Bobbi, San Mateo, California, emailed, “I understand the 50/50 arrangement. My partner and I had that type of relationship. Sometimes he would pay the entire bill and then I would reciprocate the next, but most times we shared.
“Some restaurant portions are too large for each to consume so we’d share an order. “I have no problem sharing expenses. I am financially secure so no big deal and it’s only fair to both parties especially with the rising costs everywhere. Unfortunately, I am now single again, as my partner passed some time ago.
“Most women in our age group should be willing to share expenses.”
Bonnie, San Juan Capistrano, California, “How nice that Wayne explained his circumstances, and his wish to have his resources to rely upon through his retirement years.
“California is expensive. I hope that he can continue to live here, as it sounds like he is happy doing so. “For the woman who cares about his life, security, and planning to remain solvent…she will stand out in the crowd and would be worth a relationship.”
Bring your calculator on dates?
Gail, “I see nothing wrong with sharing the cost for entertainment and travel expenses. However, I would add some conditions.
“Each person in the relationship would first have to be honest and committed to each other—- this does not necessarily mean they are married but committed and not still looking for someone.
“Once that is done, they need to discuss with all honesty and be willing to show proof of their annual income. This would be confidential. Their most recent tax return could suffice.
“So now, each person knows the other’s annual income. Then, the incomes are added (just for illustration purposes) and used to figure percentages.
“For illustration: “Female X has a yearly income of $50,000Male Y has a yearly income of $80,000
“Combined the income is $130,000. Female X makes 38% of the total Male Y makes 62%. “Hence, when they travel, dine, or purchase groceries, etc., the female would pay 38% and the male 62%. Our smartphones have calculators, so each person’s share would be easy to figure on the spot.
“I feel this would be the fairest and most honest way to do things. “I didn’t consider each person’s assets- that would be up to the couple.”
Confession from Tom: Gail’s example above unburied an old memory. More than 30 years ago, a woman I was dating and I agreed to share expenses on a trip to New York City. I kept track of every penny each spent (a little anal one would think).
On the flight back to San Francisco (coach class), I said to her: “I calculated what we both spent, you owe me .83 cents.” She went ballistic. That’s probably why we stopped dating.
Shari, “A senior woman who is dating should insist up front that she believes in paying her dating expenses. That puts both parties on an equal footing. In that way, the woman is not beholden to the man. Also, it does not put undue pressure on one party to pay for everything.
“And when both parties pay, either one can suggest places to go without hard feelings creeping in. I wouldn’t dream of letting a man pay for all the dating expenses. Consensus: Avoid 5-star and pricey places.
Sandy, “Regarding Wayne’s 50-50 sharing of expenses: 1) What if the girl of his dreams could not afford half of the first-class flights and five-star restaurants? 2) Would he want to limit his net to women in a specific financial or social bracket?
“Stephen and I are both Champs who met online and married in 2014. While we were both working – there was a significant financial disparity. We were both employed in long-term career positions but his financial remuneration was greater than mine. We both had our own homes and stellar credit scores.
“I addressed this by being transparent about my finances within the first four dates because I was asked about my ‘pension.’ It was my hope that Stephen could decide if I was acceptable including my less than stellar portfolio before knowing each other too long.
“For us, neither finances nor medical history prevented our commitment and marriage.
“My message to Wayne: I could not afford half of first-class airfare or five-star restaurants. He might be throwing away an opportunity with a woman whose value exceeds her balance sheet.
“And not being able to afford those privileges does not mean a woman is poorly educated, lacking in intellect or culture. It is just a financial inequity.”
Gina, “Interesting that Wayne gave the example of first-class air, five-star hotels, and expensive wine and dinners. Does he have to fly first class to enjoy the trip otherwise he doesn’t want to go?
“If he wants to cultivate a relationship with a special-quality woman, he can hold off on the first class and five-star trips and instead be creative with his time and attention and do what he can afford. “If a guy I was newly dating said ‘I love to fly first class and only go to 5-star hotels, let’s plan a trip and split 50/50,’ I’d say no.
“Once there is a strong connection and a desire to spend more time together, within the first three to six months, a couple can have a conversation about travel dreams. The man can be honest about what he can afford and ask how she feels about sharing expenses.
“A man who has similar values, world views, and, is a good listener, and is thoughtful within his means, goes a long way.”
Cris, “The key is to discuss expense-sharing early so your companion knows what to expect. A conversation starter could be ‘I’d love to take a cruise next fall, it would be fun if you could join me. Is that type of expense in your budget?’
“This should open the door to a conversation about future travel and a discussion about what type of situations they would each pay their share of expenses.
“I’m sure many women would have no problem paying their share, especially if the alternative was to not travel at all. And, I bet many women have no problem picking up the tab for dinner once in a while.”
Nancy, “First time responding to your newsletter. “Money is an intimate topic…When I was single I would sometimes make a bet with a friend that money was a more intimate topic than sex.
“To prove the point I would engage a guy at a bar in a conversation which eventually led to a discussion of sex–likes, desires, things they had tried, etc. They spoke openly. But when I questioned their net worth or annual income, they clammed up!
“I can afford to share expenses with my significant other but I would much rather offer to do it than be surprised when a check arrives or I feel obligated to contribute a pre-arranged amount.
“Looking back over the last year together, I can say that my ‘voluntary’ contributions have greatly exceeded 60%….and I don’t feel bad about that because it was voluntary. And I must admit I enjoy seeing him smile when I randomly pick up a check, suggest we have dinner ‘on me,’ or prepay a hotel bill.
“My advice to Wayne is to discuss the topic of sharing expenses, in generalities, and suggest that he and his partner share expenses informally, but do not expect a rigid 50/50.
“His misfortunes are not her problem. Figuring out a fair way to share expenses is…as a couple. Not by edict.”
Kathy, “If I were dating right now I would want to split expenses; I don’t like to feel that I owe anyone, anything. Paying my way has always made me feel like I’m an equal partner in a relationship.
“When I remarried my husband after four years apart, we came into the relationship with separate checking accounts and a household account that we both pay equally into monthly. It works great, I wish I’d done this the first time around.
“There’s no discussion when I come home with a bag of new clothes or even a new car that I’m spending his money, or too much money. It’s made life so much easier.”