I am 74 years old and fall in love with a 24 year old man. He said he wanted to get married, but he only had the house he inherited.
I am a self-employed, but my income is meager. I have to pay for everything, which makes me feel uneasy. He may eventually be able to work, but all he has found is a part-time job. Should I sever this relationship because of poor financial conditions?
-Too much love
Dear in love,
I will try the impossible, which is to put aside this obvious age difference for now.
If you didn’t mention your age, what I will tell you is: you are pulling all the weight here and you feel uncomfortable. Your boyfriend doesn’t sound very responsible. In all likelihood, when someone writes to me, a stranger, asking if they should end their relationship, the answer is: “Yes! End this relationship.”
Now, let’s talk about this huge age difference. I can’t let myself not worry about your boyfriend taking advantage of your generosity here. Yes, many people fall in love with someone older or younger than they thought. So I don’t want to make any general generalizations about what it means to be too young for a 74-year-old.
But I think that when you live in a completely different place, the age difference becomes too big. Even if you all fall in love with pure intent, this is definitely one of them.
Except for the fact that he is dating a 74-year-old man, your boyfriend is not that unusual for someone who is only 24 years old. Most people in their 20s don’t have much assets. It is not uncommon for people of this age to have a series of part-time jobs and side jobs instead of occupations.
At the same time, you are 74 years old and don’t have much income, which is certainly not uncommon for people at retirement age. You should retire at some point. I’m afraid you can’t wait for your boyfriend. You said he might “finally” be able to work. Somehow, I think when he has no choice but to pay his own bills, “eventually” will happen faster.
You say you pay for everything, so I assume he lives in your house. Since you said that he inherited the house, and hope he can move in, you can make a clean break.
Whenever you end a relationship, you need to act quickly to clean up your financial situation. This includes closing any joint bank accounts. If your boyfriend is an authorized user of any of your credit accounts, he will be deleted. If you have listed him as a beneficiary of a retirement account or life insurance policy, or included him in your will, be sure to remove him as well.
However, unwinding knots can be more complicated than separating your money. There is nothing I can say to make this part easier.
Just know that it is not too late for you to fall in love again. But make sure that anyone you consider dating in the future is in a similar life state as you. This does not mean that you must be the same age. But that person needs to be a mature and independent adult, not a person who is mocking you. Anyone who does not want to be your equal partner is not worth your time.
Robin Hartill is Penny Hoarder’s certified financial planner and senior author.Send your tough money questions to [email protected].