My girlfriend is a busy woman, and she’s looking to retire early. She’s calculating how soon she can retire based on net worth accumulated from investment returns. We’re both in our late 20’s. She wants me to manage her investment accounts, including her IRA, and achieve results that are above normal market returns.
She’s basing her expectation on 10% annual returns, which isn’t hard to achieve with ETFs. But, as with any investment, there’s no guarantee. She said it’s my responsibility to beat the market and generate 10% annual returns. I don’t want to take the blame for a bad year as it’s something that I don’t have control over.
“‘She’s looking to retire early.’”
I told her that I don’t want to manage her investments, and that it’s not fair that she’s pushing this responsibility onto me, and blaming me if things go awry. She got angry and said how busy she is at work, and how stressed she is. And she said that if she can’t trust me with her money, she can’t trust me at all.
I don’t think it’s fair for me to shoulder investment risk all by myself while she calculates how soon she can retire based on returns that I generated for her.
Conscripted Fund Manager
We’re all busy people.
There are no conscriptees in relationships, especially when it comes to requests involving your or their finances. There are only volunteers. First off: Change your signature to “Volunteering Fund Manager” because you are free to say no. Divorce yourself from your girlfriend’s response and her emotional reaction — regardless of how fierce it may seem — when you politely decline.
Your reply could go something like this: “It’s not a question of trust. It’s a question of responsibility. I don’t want to be responsible for someone else’s investments. Not yours. Not my father’s. Not my next door neighbor’s. It’s not personal. I’m not a CPA, and I’m not a financial adviser. But even if I were both, I would not be comfortable managing your investments. I am asking you to respect that.”
“‘Don’t be held hostage to other people’s anger. ‘”
If she protests, you don’t have to do anything else except stick to your statement. Just because people get upset with you it doesn’t mean that you have to manage their investment accounts, sign over your home to your partner or your entire estate, or do any number of things that make you feel uncomfortable. Don’t be held hostage to other people’s anger.
Start as you mean to continue, and use this as a template for all future relationships: professional and personal. It does not bode well that she believes you should provide financial services. You are not to blame for her being busy or stressed. If you overrule your own wishes now, you will set an unhealthy and unhappy precedent in your relationship. And if your girlfriend does not respect your wishes?
Tell her you’re busy.
You can email The Moneyist with any financial and ethical questions related to coronavirus at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow Quentin Fottrell on Twitter.
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