I decided to do a quantitative analysis of our joint income. It turns out that we save over $5K in taxes by filing jointly, rather than separately. Together, we would take home $140K after taxes and maximum contributions to 401(k). If we max out our Roth IRA contributions as well, then we have $130K remaining. For joint expenses, my current spending of $30K per year will likely increase. Let’s say she spends $1,000 per month extra and our rent increases by $500 per month. That means our joint expenses would go up to $48K per year. In addition to $33K in 401(k) contributions and $10K in Roth IRA contributions, we would be able to save $82K per year. I know I’m mixing taxable and tax-deferred amounts, but the total savings would be $125K. That’s not too bad. Of course, who knows if an extra $1,000 per month is reasonable. She’s not a big spender, but that $1,000 will include car costs, commuting costs, etc.
Oh, and in related news, I bought an e-ring! It’s a 1.26 carat super ideal cut hearts and arrows diamond (H color, VS2 clarity). I was very particular about buying this one. I checked all the angles and proportions, including min/max variations, studied multiple reflector images (Idealscope and ASET), and consulted with the gemologist. The angles are all very precise. I spent $8,600 (or just over two weeks pre-tax salary) and I feel good about it. (It will take me about six weeks to save the $8,600 back.) It’s in a temporary white gold setting so she can pick out something she likes later. Once I receive the ring, I will take it to my local jeweler who carries Hearts on Fire (TM) and make sure my diamond sparkles at least as much as (and hopefully more than) a similarly-spec’d HoF.