Help with spouse and finances (read: lots of debt)

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BlckhwkPlt
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Joined: Fri Aug 26, 2011 9:15 am

Help with spouse and finances (read: lots of debt)

Post by BlckhwkPlt »

[Check post dates before responding. This thread started in 2011 and the OP has updated more or less annually since: 11/2012, 10/2013 1/2015 - admin alex]

NEW UPDATE. DO NOT REPLY UNTIL YOU READ THE LAST UPDATE! 06/27/2016

Long time lurker, converted Boglehead, but also just starting out and in deep, but I can still see a light. Disclaimer: this is long.

Without giving marital advice, as I know we have some glaring issues, I need some ideas as to how to split finances. My husband has, without telling me until after we were married, a large amount of unpaid debt. He is also one who 'doesn't care' about finances as he has told me. I have an excel sheet and a budget plan where I track spending to the dollar. I know where we stand each month, and how much we can save/use to pay debt. Obviously we have differing opinions. He HATES when I ask him if charges on the joint account will be able to be expensed or not. He says I'm 'watching his every move' and 'scrutinizing' all spending, when in fact, I'm just trying to keep us in a budget and put them in the right category on the excel sheet.

Income:

me: $58K per year, ~$15K per year in National Guard pay. 5% pay $1 for $1 match, $.50 on the dollar for another 1% of pay from civilian employer. I currently contribute 6%. $1560/2 weeks net paychecks from civilian job.

Him: $35K per year, plus monthly commissions averaging (net) $2600. No contributions anywhere. Work provides him a vehicle. $1154 net bi-monthly paycheck in addition to the commission checks.

Savings: None - I wiped mine out to save my mother from losing her house, job etc. I do not expect this money back, ever. He has none either.

Our debt:

Me:

1.) CC's my mother took out in my name (Yes, this happens more often than you think) $7500. Varying interest rates from 3%-10.99% Currently paying more on the 10% which also has the biggest balance. Some of these had been charged off before I found out about them. I'm just paying these people to get them paid and forget about them. I'll have to worry about credit later on, as right now I have other issues to deal with. The charged off cards I am trying to work out deals with, so have yet to begin paying them. $128 minimum on the highest balance card ($4100 @ 10.99%) but paying $262

2.) $25K in student loans at 6%. $263 to pay minimums.

3.) $9600 at 6.6% on truck note (would be paid off but see debt #1. This was supposed to be a graduation gift, but I had to assume the note.) Will be paid off August 2012. $430

Him: I have no idea to how deep he's in. Here's what I do know about:

1.) Student loan of $4500 @ 2.9% interest plus another student loan @ ??% for a total of $362

2.) $1000 in unpaid speeding tickets. Have not paid. I think this should be his problem. He just got another one that will have to be paid as well.

3.) $600 at 5% left on a loan the bank gave him when he was underwater on his car. Should be paid off in October. $300/mo

4.) 3 or 4 random collections for under $600. Not paid.

Budget:
Rent $1100
Electric/Cable/Internet/Water: $229
Netflix: $9
Horse lessons: $150 (highest per month, may be as little as $50)
Food/toiletries/cleaning supplies/pet food: $480
My hair: $20
His Hair: $20
Gas (my commute is long and truck avgs 15mpg) $500
Renters/Auto: $621/6 months
Eating Out: $75
My Cell: $85
His Cell: $170
Gym: $72 (used a lot)
His extra class at gym: $65
His blow money: $200
Total with debt payments: ~$4520

Take home: $8,028
Left: $3108

Because of the $3108, he thinks we are well off and don't need to pinch pennies. I also know there is more on his end for debt but he has not told me about it (again - I know we have issues to resolve.)

I want to split our finances. He is not on board with the budget, or cutting expenses (like his $170 phone bill he says he absolutely needs for his job in outside sales.) Even with his debt, he wanted $200/month in 'blow money' and I'm worried that I'm going to end up financially stretched even more than I feel I am now. This has caused a lot of arguments, so I have now put everything on auto pay bill wise, and am letting him have 'what's left' after we pay expenses in the joint account. If his expenses go over, he won't have money saved for things he wants or won't be able to pay his debts.

The 10% card is on track to be paid off in 18 months. Because of my jobs, one with long hours, the other taking up more than one weekend a month based on certain factors, I don't get to go anywhere very much. I would like to be able to put $500/year towards a plane ticket/spending money to go see my oldest friend once per year. The joint account money pays my entertainment (horseback lessons 2-3 times per month for a total of $100-$150/month.)

My questions:

1.) I'm thinking of a 60/40 split. I would not contribute my Guard pay at all. I am thinking that should go into my TSP. This would leave him having an 'extra' $600-$1200/month based on expenses that month (for example, in October we have auto insurance due, and we pay 6 months in advance along with needing tires for the truck.)

2.) I would be left with $1500-$1700 per month after putting my portion of income (sans Guard pay) in the joint account. How much should I put in savings as an e-fund before I start putting more towards debt?

3.) Is there a magic potion to fix bad spending habits? :( For the record, he's 34 and I'm 26. Seems like it should be switched around...

I would appreciate all responses, sarcastic and serious; thought I've ruled out chloroforming him on weekends as an option to control spending. Anyone who can share their experiences as well would be welcome.
Last edited by BlckhwkPlt on Mon Jun 27, 2016 2:44 pm, edited 4 times in total.
JasonR
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Post by JasonR »

...
Last edited by JasonR on Fri Aug 26, 2011 12:27 pm, edited 2 times in total.
2sls
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Post by 2sls »

I'll take a stab at this- for one you seem very mature. I don't know how to tackle the central problem but there are definitely ways to reduce some of the bills (like the cell phone, unlimited plans are $40 from Puretalk for example , and the gas bill, use Penfed credit card which gives 5% gas cash back).

As a couple my wife and I also struggled initially- she didn't want me to track her finances but gradually she came around and now both of us can see all of our activities.

I think you have to be persist in tracking down all the debt your husband has as you can only act on the information you have available.
nimo956
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Post by nimo956 »

The first thing I think you both need is to establish an emergency fund. With $5k in expenses each month, you should shoot for around $30k, but I'd say for now to just take 3 months or so to build up $10k.

Next, it seems like you have a lot of very small loans. While it does make sense to target the ones with the highest interest rates, I would recommend getting many of these small loans out of the way first to free up cash flow. You can then direct the extra savings that would normally go towards paying those minimums towards the higher loans. Paying off a loan also has the added benefit of making your progress tangible, which could go a long way in making you feel like your situation is under control.

I'm afraid though that I don't know how to mend poor past behavior. Possibly try sitting down and discussing your long-term goals. Explain what delayed-gratification is. Do you ever want to buy a new car, a house, pay for a child's college education, retire comfortably, etc? If so, try to make it clear that none of these things happen by magic. The only way to get them is to save diligently each and every month, and that means making a decision between what you want now and what you want in the future. For example, how important are the things he buys with the $200 in blow money per month? If it's things like music or movies, how often do you end up listening to or watching them again? Wouldn't it be better to put that money towards something more permanent like house, or new furniture, etc.

Just as a disclaimer, I'm not married, so take my advice with a grain of salt.
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mptfan
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Post by mptfan »

I don't want to sound harsh, but I agree with JasonR, you guys are going to split up eventually because you are so different with money. You should start planning for that now, and you are doing the right thing by splitting your finances with him. Trust me when I say this... you will not change him. You may try, but eventually, after digging yourself in deeper, you will realize this.

A word of advice...next time don't marry someone until you know everything about their finances. :wink:
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serbeer
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Post by serbeer »

No rock climber in the right state of mind would try to continue to climb the rock with one hand paralyzed and another person grabbing his/her feet. Plus, it looks like you are trying to climb while blindfold is on too. They can stay where they are (until water and food run out) or call helicopter if there are means to do so.

Yes, situation looks stable at the moment, but it is more like a coin balanced on its rim. Loss of any of the jobs would immediately take you under. To prevent it, you have to build emergency reserve, in cash/money market, not stock, but for that you have to get buy in from the paralyzed hand, and the hand is, well, paralyzed.

Split will only work until one of the jobs is lost. Or not covered medical need or expensive car repair, or dental work arises. Eventually, the same thing will happen to the money you will save as to the money you had saved before and it will only buy you some more time before you find yourself at the abyss once again.

You can continue to live with looming threat over your head (but cannot afford to have kids if you want to stay off welfare or plan on ever retireing), or try to make moderate changes (that will be insufficient in long term while increasing tension in family in short term), or choose to make radical changes. These are the options and only you can pick one.

I don't expect you'll get many replies since most people on this board will not offer advice unless they think it will help and most stick to financial advice which is not effective in this case.
JasonR
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Post by JasonR »

mptfan wrote:I don't want to sound harsh, but I agree with JasonR, you guys are going to split up eventually because you are so different with money. You should start planning for that now, and you are doing the right thing by splitting your finances with him. Trust me when I say this... you will not change him. You may try, but eventually, after digging yourself in deeper, you will realize this.

A word of advice...next time don't marry someone until you know everything about their finances. :wink:
Okay, I deleted my post because I thought it sounded too harsh, but since mptfan has mentioned it, I'll say that I agree with him completely.

OP sounds like she has a lot on the ball, and it's a shame if she wastes time on someone who doesn't seem to share her values.
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BlckhwkPlt
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Post by BlckhwkPlt »

JasonR - I agree, with the acting like a child portion. I mentioned that when he got yet ANOTHER speeding ticket. Harsh is fine - being a female in the military I have extremely thick skin.

mpt - hindsight is always 20/20. Had I known, we would have pushed the wedding out a ways. Granted it was only $6K but I didn't have a job at the time and took him at his word that we could 'afford' it. I got a job shortly beforehand, but that doesn't change the fact we could have paid off a lot with that $6K and not had to worry about it now.

nimo - spot on with e-fund, but not sure if, when couples don't share finances, I'm supposed to save enough to cover his 'portion' or not or we 'save' together. I will still have access to his account, as well as the joint account, and maybe I should just go and move the 'extra' out each month at month end for savings...I don't know. I told him I was coming up with a plan, and I'm still working on that one. We don't have a savings goal per se (just save what we have left over each month after staying within budget) so I'm not sure how I cover this area when splitting finances.

As far as what he spends his 'blow' money on, I don't know nor care. I told him if he forgot to take his lunch and ate out where it could not be expensed, that was out of his blow money. Fishing stuff, ammo, etc. was out of blow money, and I give it to him in cash so he doesn't feel like I'm 'watching' him.

2sls - I'm not in the 'mood' for more credit cards after dealing with the ones I'm currently paying 'for' my mother. I'm not even sure I could get any at the moment, so I will settle for paying cash for all.

sebeer - radical is him taking over finances for a month and just watching how money dwindles. At that point, he can see where erratic spending takes him. I'll be more than able to cover vehicle repairs etc. with my Guard pay and my portion of income if need be.

I've never done married but separate finances. I've read online where it's workable, and have friends who do this, but we just have a kink in the hose so to speak when it comes to finances. I'm not sure if said kink is permanent or not, but I'm willing to work on it to try to sort it out.

All that said, I come from a broken family, and maybe I'm just super hardheaded, but I think that you do everything in your power to resolve issues versus opting for the 'out.' No offense to any one who thinks differently. He does need/has agreed to counseling, for this and other matters, so that's a start. This guy is the TYPICAL (wrote the book on him) passive aggressive, so that plays in to this a bunch. He's also a man (no offense, guys ;) ) so the pride factor kicks in with debt, even though I could give a crap less, I just want to pay stuff off and move on debt free. I also think there's some issues stemming from the fact I have a killer 'side' job, while he's 'just' a salesman. But I digress...

Now as far as paying attention to financial advice: I'm looking for answers to my questions in the original post. While I may not follow the marital advice given (read the part about being hard headed,) I will for sure follow the financial advice as to what I should save e-fund wise (just enough for my expenses? his expenses too?) and how I should go about paying off debt from there. If there are married couples that have separate accounts, I'd love to hear from them as well :D
stoptothink
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Post by stoptothink »

mptfan wrote:I don't want to sound harsh, but I agree with JasonR, you guys are going to split up eventually because you are so different with money. You should start planning for that now, and you are doing the right thing by splitting your finances with him.
There is a reason finances are the primary cause of divorce...I am in the midst of finding out that reason.
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tyrion
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Post by tyrion »

My wife and I have somewhat separate finances. It works fine. But we have basically compatible ideas on spending money, so that's the biggest factor.

I cover the mortgage and credit cards (used for food, gas, etc).

She covers utilities (electrical/gas, water, cable, phone, her cell).

She also works a lot less, because most of the time she is dealing with the two small kids. So our income/expenses split mostly works, and we both have a little leftover spending money.


In your case you would probably want to split expenses in a way where you can cover the things that he is likely to drop the ball on. And set up his accounts so they autopay whatever he is responsible for. Then let him sort it out.


Another random comment:
My former boss had a meticulous planner for a husband, who would track all expenses. They would sit have a weekly/monthly scheduled sitdown for a beer and to go over finances for the week/month. She didn't care for the finances portion, but enjoyed the beer aspect of it. That made it less confrontational, and they had some common goals they could strive for.
mickens16
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Post by mickens16 »

I'm really sorry you are having to go through all of this. Just to be clear, did you say your mother took out a credit card in your name without you knowing about it? Then you helped so she could keep her house?

Regarding your husband, if you don't want this marriage to end in divorce, then I suggest speaking to a marriage counselor AND a fee only financial advisor. It's obvious that your attempts at budgeting are not working with him and it appears he feels as if your watching his every move. It's time for someone else to step in and show him that he needs to 'grow up.' He needs to see that his lack of responsibility will have a huge effect later in life.
nimo956
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Post by nimo956 »

Sorry, but I don't really understand maintaining separate finances if you are married. It would be one thing if you both had drastically different levels of assets (like one person has $500,000 and the other has $10,000), but you are both currently at the same level. You should use all available income to pay off all of the debts instead of using your money to pay your debts and his money to pay his. Doesn't a marriage mean that you are in this together?
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Grt2bOutdoors
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Post by Grt2bOutdoors »

Sorry to hear about your difficulties.

Here's my two cents:

Short of tying a rope around his ankle and throwing him out the door of a hovering vehicle, say 350 feet above the ground while turning... :wink: for "tough-love" counseling:

1) You can write to each of the credit card reporting agencies and request a credit freeze - that means each time any one applies for credit in your name/social security number this "block" will come up and they will have to go to extra lengths to open a credit account - anywhere. That action ought to put a halt to the "let me help myself to someone else's credit".

2) Splitting finances does not work - trust me, i've seen family members who are going through something similar try it, it doesn't fix the problem. The issue will just stagnate.

3) Start an e-fund with the both of you in mind. You thinking of "you" and "him" thinking only of him will put you on the road of separation. Easy e-fund, if you think he's the type to try "raiding" it whenever he feels like going out for a beer, but I-bonds, they have a mandatory 1 year lock-up, cashing it will be a bit more difficult that making a ATM withdrawal, plenty of threads on I bonds.

Do not leave excess funds accessible - end of month surplus after bills ends with $3,108?, Wrong. If you pay yourself first, then pay the bills, end of month surplus should be close to $100 or less. Now he won't think you have it "made". Make that excess become your monthly "tuck away" bill - if you have to keep it in a seperate account to identify it, fine. I generally use one account, when I need it, I go get it.

While making all the minimum payments, with excess funds after startin up e-fund, focus on getting rid of the credit card debt first, then the bank loan, then the student loan.
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BlckhwkPlt
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Post by BlckhwkPlt »

tyrion - My stuff is on auto-pay. I can cover what he drops the ball on no matter what, but I almost think he needs to drop it in order to realize his spending habits suck.
Just to be clear, did you say your mother took out a credit card in your name without you knowing about it? Then you helped so she could keep her house?
Yes and yes. You have no idea how awesome that situation is :)
1) You can write to each of the credit card reporting agencies and request a credit freeze
Done :) Too little too late I'm afraid, but it won't be happening again any time soon.
Do not leave excess funds accessible
Good idea. I already transferred a large chunk of what was 'excess' out of our joint account. I have left enough in there for one month of his work expenses, and his blow money. When we get paid again, it's ALL bills and household expenses that are automatically paid.

Another for the record: I see this lasting maybe until the end of next month on his end. I'm still not going to bail him out or re-combine finances 100%, but I don't see him keeping up with it long. I also am looking at my account as 'our' savings, as I will not 'need' anything out of it. I think that will be our e-fund. All my bills and what I need will be paid out of the joint account.

Thinking about buying gas and grocery gift cards for those expenses. That would make it to where that's almost an auto-pay as well and ties the money up elsewhere.

For the record: I was not always this way. I wasn't a buybuybuy type person, but I never really did save. I changed my habits after I was laid off right before leaving for military training (well, I had a break April to November.) It MANDATED I budget my money or I'd go broke and wouldn't be able to pay rent.

I will admit I do have 'expensive not necessary' purchases - when I got this job, I bought a new 29er mountain bike to the tune of $850 (was a great deal, I knew the bike shop owner) and love the thing. I had sold my last bike to pay bills when I was unemployed. I had a $2K (net) sign on bonus, and used part of that money to pay it. The rest, I gave to him as he overdrew his account :-/ I also paid $100 for 6 weeks of puppy class for the new puppy (lost the last one to cancer in May.) So he's not the only one who 'blows' money. I just have a saver attitude moreso than he does and realize that these debts NEED to be paid off and that our finances DO matter.
tcan2
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Post by tcan2 »

BlckhwkPlt wrote:JasonR - I agree, with the acting like a child portion. I mentioned that when he got yet ANOTHER speeding ticket. Harsh is fine - being a female in the military I have extremely thick skin.

mpt - hindsight is always 20/20. Had I known, we would have pushed the wedding out a ways. Granted it was only $6K but I didn't have a job at the time and took him at his word that we could 'afford' it. I got a job shortly beforehand, but that doesn't change the fact we could have paid off a lot with that $6K and not had to worry about it now.

nimo - spot on with e-fund, but not sure if, when couples don't share finances, I'm supposed to save enough to cover his 'portion' or not or we 'save' together. I will still have access to his account, as well as the joint account, and maybe I should just go and move the 'extra' out each month at month end for savings...I don't know. I told him I was coming up with a plan, and I'm still working on that one. We don't have a savings goal per se (just save what we have left over each month after staying within budget) so I'm not sure how I cover this area when splitting finances.

As far as what he spends his 'blow' money on, I don't know nor care. I told him if he forgot to take his lunch and ate out where it could not be expensed, that was out of his blow money. Fishing stuff, ammo, etc. was out of blow money, and I give it to him in cash so he doesn't feel like I'm 'watching' him.

2sls - I'm not in the 'mood' for more credit cards after dealing with the ones I'm currently paying 'for' my mother. I'm not even sure I could get any at the moment, so I will settle for paying cash for all.

sebeer - radical is him taking over finances for a month and just watching how money dwindles. At that point, he can see where erratic spending takes him. I'll be more than able to cover vehicle repairs etc. with my Guard pay and my portion of income if need be.

I've never done married but separate finances. I've read online where it's workable, and have friends who do this, but we just have a kink in the hose so to speak when it comes to finances. I'm not sure if said kink is permanent or not, but I'm willing to work on it to try to sort it out.

All that said, I come from a broken family, and maybe I'm just super hardheaded, but I think that you do everything in your power to resolve issues versus opting for the 'out.' No offense to any one who thinks differently. He does need/has agreed to counseling, for this and other matters, so that's a start. This guy is the TYPICAL (wrote the book on him) passive aggressive, so that plays in to this a bunch. He's also a man (no offense, guys ;) ) so the pride factor kicks in with debt, even though I could give a crap less, I just want to pay stuff off and move on debt free. I also think there's some issues stemming from the fact I have a killer 'side' job, while he's 'just' a salesman. But I digress...

Now as far as paying attention to financial advice: I'm looking for answers to my questions in the original post. While I may not follow the marital advice given (read the part about being hard headed,) I will for sure follow the financial advice as to what I should save e-fund wise (just enough for my expenses? his expenses too?) and how I should go about paying off debt from there. If there are married couples that have separate accounts, I'd love to hear from them as well :D
I'm one of the married (11yrs) with seperate accounts. To be completely honest, it causes some friction. I feel as though things would go smoother if we did a joint account and I would be able to maximize my obsessive saving techniques to their fullest. Unfortunately, she was in a relationship prior to me and the guy controlled every cent she spent so she's jaded. I have compromised.
I'm the one that takes charge with bill paying, retirement planning and all things financial. We each have a checking account. We have a joint MMA for cash reserve, a joint brokerage account that only I play around with, each with 401k, each with a Roth IRA. The individual checking accounts give her a sense of freedom. Once all her financial obligations are met with me and what our family budget requires - the leftover is hers to do as she will.

So, we make this work b/c NOTHING is off limits. We openly communicate where every dime goes. If a purchase over $100 is to be made that is not a necessity item, we discuss it. We agree on monthly goals and once they are met, the leftover funds are 'do as you will'.

I can relate to the situation you are in. My wife, for the longest time, thought I was trying to control every dime she spent and 'watch' her. In reality, I wanted to do what was best for our family and due to the fact that I was the one most organized and interested in planning - I just wanted to be informed.
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dm200
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Post by dm200 »

Some married people can make it work in such situations. I would look to completely separate the finances. Trying to decide on a percentage split of expenses seems too early to decide, since there is no "buy in" from what you decide.

1. I recommend consulting an attorney about how, in your state, to best protect your assets and other critical things.

2. Be wary of "identify theft". Do not give him access to anything beyond what is necessary. Monitor all accounts and credit reports.

3. Get a PO Box for mail that he can not access.

4. I would also be concerned about effects on job/career if there is spillover on your credit and related security/clearances.

5. Be prepared for more surprises, such as child support, ex-wives, ex- relationship(s) of various kinds.

Good Luck.
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BlckhwkPlt
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Post by BlckhwkPlt »

Doesn't a marriage mean that you are in this together?
You'd think on his end :-/ But I think the speeding tickets are on him - he has not learned from his other speeding incidents, so now I think he can find a way to pay them, even if it means no 'blow money' for a few months.

I'm talking about a savings account - the joint account is paying for his AND my bills/debt and that is included in the figures above. He does not see the need to put extra towards it. I do, so I'm trying to figure out how we do that. His debt = my debt now.

I'm trying to figure out where the $3108 goes with separate accounts. we need to figure out a savings 'goal' per month after looking at the spreadsheet. The poster with the idea about beer while going over it had a great idea!
I can relate to the situation you are in. My wife, for the longest time, thought I was trying to control every dime she spent and 'watch' her. In reality, I wanted to do what was best for our family and due to the fact that I was the one most organized and interested in planning - I just wanted to be informed.
THANK YOU! This is EXACTLY what I was hoping for posting here. I'm obsessive about budgeting now with my excel sheet. He doesn't think it's necessary. He feels like I'm being a parent and controlling every cent but I am NOT. I told him - I don't care what you buy, but over $50 we need to discuss it and it can't happen all the time. Large purchases? No problem, but let's save for it first. We both have visuals into all the accounts, so that's a non-issue. I know what's going on and I'm concerned.

I get upset when he makes a purchase for work, and doesn't tell me about it. I go on there, and see a gas charge from the day before, and he hasn't called/texted or spoken to me about it when I see him that evening. It's in a funky town I don't know, I wonder. So I call. He gets mad. My compromise was him just sticking receipts in an envelope at the door. We haven't started that, but it might be a better solution.

I'm pretty close to his family as is he. No ex-wives or child support that I know of (or that they know of) :)

I really REALLY appreciate all the advice. I turn to friends or the internet for financial matters, as neither parent of mine has ever shown an ounce of fiscal responsibility.
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Post by Alex Frakt »

The good news is that you have the cash flow you need to get ahead of everything. And your husband can live with the $200 a month in play money you have allocated. And you won't take "No" for an answer :-)

Given what you have told us and since you are already basically controlling everything, I don't see a reason to formally split your finances. Doing so would only increase the risk he will do something with "his" account that will put both of you in even further jeopardy. However, I would set up a linked account just for his job expenses. You can set it up to automatically draw from your joint account as needed. Then you won't have to ask which charges get expensed which should lower the stress level. Second I would tell him you need to know about all of his debts so you can organize and pay off everything properly between your mother's debts, yours and his. In other words, make it clear that this is not just about him. And let him know that as you get stuff paid off and/or either of you lower your monthly expense (I'm thinking of his phone bill), the "blow money" for both of you will increase. But not dollar for dollar since you (as a couple) need to start saving for emergencies and the future.

As to how to allocate the extra 3k each month. I would put half into a savings account as an emergency fund. For the rest, I would split it between the highest interest debt and paying off the little stuff just to get out of it. Start with the collections to start repairing your credit history and the speeding tickets before his car gets booted or your husband finds himself carted off to jail. Tell him you are paying the existing tickets, but any future tickets will come out of his "blow money".

As you pay things off or your income increases so you have more than 3k extra in a month, I would have an allocation plan in place for what to do with it. Something like 1/3 to savings, 1/3 to prepay debts and 1/3 split between you for extra "blow money."

When you hit 20k in savings in your emergency fund, switch 100% of your Guard pay to TSP L2040. Anything left that needs to go to savings can continue into your emergency fund until you get it to 30k. Once you are almost there, come back and ask us again :-)

One last thing. Gas on that truck is murder. Any chance of trading it in for something more fuel efficient? The savings on gas might be enough to cover the entire payment after the trade in if you get something cheap. Going by your username, you have another vehicle for getting your kicks so a cheap commuter car won't be the end of the world.
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Post by mfen »

You guys are definitely candidates for a 13 week Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University course. Separating finances is just a bandaid and not a very good one. Since you have been financially abused before (by your mother) I don't think you see the financial world clearly. You are like an abused child who thinks that beatings are just the normal course of things. You need a wake up call, not just your husband. If he won't go with you to the course, go by yourself.
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Post by retiredjg »

Welcome to the forum! I think your plan of separate finances is worth a try because it sounds like there is nothing else that can be tried until/unless your husband wakes up and can smell the coffee.

That said, I think there is a pretty good possibility it will not work. Your husband is immature as evidenced by his speeding tickets (jail awaits - maybe that will work) and his inability to save money or tolerate a budget. If he does not grow up or if he does not allow you to take over the family finances, bad days are coming either for the marriage or your financial health or both.

One problem I see is this - if you save in your TSP and you guys split, he is quite likely to get part of it - most likely half. If you save an emergency fund and you guys split, he is most likely going to get half. In the end, you are going to end up with little to show for your hard work. This is not to argue that you should not do it. I'm arguing that you need to be realistic and understand that he's going to be a spendthrift and possibly STILL get half the marital assets. To the extent you can, you need to protect yourself.

I'm rambling, but the point is I'm not sure that separate finances are going to work unless it is the separate finances that cause him to wake up. And that is certainly worth a try.

You said you don't want marital advice, so I'll just make a comment on your personal situation. I think you need to give some serious consideration to the possibility that you are an enabler. Somehow, by the age of 26 you have become involved with two "adults" who are leaching off of you! If your mother cannot handle her finances, she is going to lose her job sooner or later. Your helping her by not reporting the three frauds and swooping in to save her house is not going to change the outcome unless she changes. There is a reason a person with financial problems cannot get a top secret clearance - they are prone to fraud in the workplace. They embezzle, they cheat their co-workers, and they can be bribed. You have enabled that. Tough to hear, but it is true. It might have been better to just report the identity thefts/fraud and let her sink or swim.

I like the Dave Ramsey idea - great plan to get people out of debt and into financial freedom. But don't follow his investing advice - it's bad. Also, I understand the military has finance advice available. You might look into that.

I wish you luck with this and I hope it works out for you.
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Watty
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Post by Watty »

If you haven't done it already then you need to get the credit reports for both of you to make sure that he doesn't have any other debts that you don't know about. Even if you keep your finances separate there is absolutely no reason for you to not know all the details of his debt.

In addition your current situation you really need to be careful about your joint tax return since you can be held liable for all sorts of back taxes and penalties if he lies on that too. I know someone who got divorced and then found out later that there were major problems with her old joint tax returns and the IRS was coming after her for a large amount of money. I never heard how it was resolved but I am sure she spent a lot on legal fees and likely ending up having to pay a large part of it.

For all the twists and turns the good news is that between the two of you it looks like you have well over $100K in income so you should be able to get it straightened out pretty quickly once you both focus on it.

You need to watch out for the scams but it would be good to meet with a legitimate credit counselor to help you at least define the scope of your situation. If he will not go then go by yourself. This would also help get a neutral third party involved to prevent the "you verses him" head butting.

I have not used them but at the bottom of this link to Clark Howards web site there is a link to a credit counseling service.

http://www.clarkhoward.com/cac/cac_archive/#q7
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BlckhwkPlt
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Post by BlckhwkPlt »

mfen - I'm looking for one that isn't 40 miles away. We live about 30 miles from one major area, and 60 from another. I may talk to the local church about hosting one if something doesn't pop up.

retiredjg - :oops: I'm probably guilty of being an enabler. The issue with the family thing is, she's my mother. She raised me, paid for my care etc. I felt I had the means to give back to her, so I did. She has a bad spending habit. The cards etc. came right after the mortgage was caught up, or I'd have paid them instead and tried to work out a better option with the mortgage.

Watty - good idea. I have my credit report, but I've been forthcoming with my debt from my mother, student loans etc. I will look into CCCS, but the issue with those companies is - they take a fee for doing it (even though they are not for profit) and the credit card companies can still tell you they won't accept the offer. I'd rather do it myself.

With my husband - I really just want to avoid conflict. I hate it. Right now, I would rather cut an ear off versus getting into another argument over finances. I just wish there was a way to make him see what he's doing is detrimental, without pointing a finger. I'm hoping this counselor (I chose a male, thinking maybe hearing it from someone who can empathize with him) will help.

He really isn't a horrible person, but his attitude towards money has us in a rut. I'm not making excuses for him, because he is being 100% unreasonable with finances, but other than that he's a normal person.

I'm from a military family. Structure is what I love. He is the whimsical fairy you see dancing through the fields on TV. He just doesn't care/worry and needs to get a grip on reality. Jail would for sure do him wonders, but then he'd probably lose his job, and then we'd be in even worse shape, and I'd have to pay to bail him out, and then there goes more money...etc.etc.

I think most posters had a good idea that making the money inaccessible is one of the better options, but where he still can 'see' it. I-bonds are where I'm headed.

If we ever do split, I have a good friend who is a nasty (but really quite good) divorce lawyer. I'm not worried about losing half of what I have. That said, it's not an avenue I wish to consider at this point.
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Post by bogleviewer »

I would suggest to have a straight forward honest talk with a financial counselor with marriage counselor in the same room!

Everythings needs to be laid out on the table. Miscommunicatino and secrets help no one in a marriage and so it all needs to come out. Only then will you know to what extend the damages are and how to access them.

Then draw up a plan and how yours and his finances are going to be handled. Get a budget and most importantly, STICK TO IT!

If he fails, let him fail. Giving people help after bad behavior reinforces that they can get away with the bad behavior. Would you give your child a treat if he/she gave a fellow kid a black eye at school? No, you discipline, make sure he understands what the actions were that were wrong and how to handle situations in the future.

Your husband needs to learn and so I would highly suggest getting together with other professionals (so that it isnt your opinion) and draw up some conclusions and plans for the future.
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Post by nonnie »

Could someone explain to me why so many folks think "separate" finances for a married couple are so horrible especially in the case of second marriages? I had a bad financial first marriage and vowed never again and separate finances have served me very, very well over the course of my next marriage and relationship.

Nonnie
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Post by Manbaerpig »

so you paid for your mom's house, and your mom's credit cards (which you include as "household" payments :shock: ), had a gifted truck become a debt, and are telling us he's the one with the debt problem?

really? I wonder what his side of the story would be? aka was he party to the "household" decision to pay off your mom's house? her credit cards? why don't you encourage him to contribute to his 401k/Roth rather than rant about "his" spending when it sounds more like YOUR/YOUR MOM's debt?

example: if my wife decided to give her mom $100k after we were already married without consulting me I would be a little annoyed... as the agreement my wife and I have in our marriage is that our finances, debts, obligations... everything is shared
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Post by natureexplorer »

Throw him out.
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Re: Help with spouse and finances (read: lots of debt)

Post by VictoriaF »

BlckhwkPlt wrote:Without giving marital advice, as I know we have some glaring issues, I need some ideas as to how to split finances.
BlckhwkPlt,

You explicitly asked not to provide you with marital advice, only to help with a specific technical question of splitting finances. Yet, you see here more marital advice than technical one. Some marital advice is veiled as general statements, but it still feels like marital advice.

You must feel annoyed and are trying not to show your annoyance, because you are also getting some good advice. But at some point, please step back and think about these two questions:

1. Why did you foresee that you may be getting marital advice?

2. Why some of the most thoughtful and helpful posters are disregarding your wish or skirting over your wish to provide you with that thankless marital advice? (You said that you are a long-term lurker. You are probably recognizing the names of retiredjg and others.)

Good luck,

Victoria
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Post by PaddyMac »

Assuming that you love the guy and want to make this marriage work, then you need to tell him that. Then insist that the financial spreadsheets you're working on for your budgeting etc are going to make the marriage stronger and make it last - it's not there to keep tabs on him.

Then frankly, I would make a deal with him: You take over all the income, work out a plan to get debt free (I like the Ramsey idea), and save some money. In exchange, he can have a little more blow money ($200 a month isn't that much with $100K of income, try upping it to $250) if he'll work with you on this. I don't think separate accounts are the answer because you can't trust him not to rack up debt and not pay his bills.

And maybe pull back a little and pick your fights. I don't understand why you need to question him or call him because he filled up his gas tank? If someone did that to me I would feel they were controlling.

As for your mother, nuff said. I truly hope you don't intend to bail her out again. You should be paying off that debt from your own funds, not marriage-joint funds.

If you get CNBC, TIVO the series "Til Debt Do Us Part". It's about married couples where usually one person is irresponsible with money (often both of them are). Maybe you can get your husband to watch it if you are watching it casually (don't force the issue). It's only 30 mins and quite entertaining, and it's on every morning.
Last edited by PaddyMac on Fri Aug 26, 2011 6:26 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Littlefinger
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Post by Littlefinger »

Not a lot of options that I see for you. Either accept your financial reality that includes your partners habits and keep your marriage or break your relationship and control finances the way you want. I suspect you knew your choices before you posted.
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Post by travellight »

I agree with you, nonnie. Separate finances keeps it clean and avoids these kinds of stresses.
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Post by Alex Frakt »

ncounty wrote:I agree with you, nonnie. Separate finances keeps it clean and avoids these kinds of stresses.
Only if both partners are responsible. In a marriage, separate accounts will not shield a responsible partner from the actions of an irresponsible spouse.
Last edited by Alex Frakt on Fri Aug 26, 2011 6:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by PaddyMac »

Unfortunately, the problem with separate finances are that in a marriage your finances are joint. His debt will be your debt and your savings will be half his. You need to be careful if you go this route.
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Post by rr2 »

BlckhwkPlt wrote: I will look into CCCS, but the issue with those companies is - they take a fee for doing it (even though they are not for profit) and the credit card companies can still tell you they won't accept the offer. I'd rather do it myself.
From my understanding, the CCCS fee is not much -- $10/month or thereabouts. Most of the credit card companies do have agreements with CCCS and will likely accept the CCCS offer. The interest rates negotiated by CCCS with the credit card companies can be 10% or so. If that is the case, CCCS will not be very helpful to you at all since your interest rates are lower than that.
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Post by retiredjg »

BlckhwkPlt wrote:retiredjg - :oops: I'm probably guilty of being an enabler.
So what are you going to do about that? Obviously, you don't have to answer that here, but I sure hope you will think about it.
The issue with the family thing is, she's my mother. She raised me, paid for my care etc. I felt I had the means to give back to her, so I did. She has a bad spending habit.

"So I did".... Knowing that she has a bad spending habit, you bailed her out. What are you going to do next time? Do you really believe that the house and the credit cards are the only times she has strayed from the straight and narrow? She will not fix her problem until she has no other choice. Don't be a choice.
The cards etc. came right after the mortgage was caught up, or I'd have paid them instead and tried to work out a better option with the mortgage.
I realize you think this is an "explanation". But it is really just an excuse. Not trying to be mean - but you are part of this problem and you won't fix it until you realize that.
I will look into CCCS, but the issue with those companies is - they take a fee for doing it (even though they are not for profit) and the credit card companies can still tell you they won't accept the offer. I'd rather do it myself.
Check out your local credit union. They have credit counselors and can help with a plan that does NOT cost you money. If you actually can do it on your own, that's a good thing.
If we ever do split, I have a good friend who is a nasty (but really quite good) divorce lawyer. I'm not worried about losing half of what I have. That said, it's not an avenue I wish to consider at this point.
Perhaps, but even a cut-throat divorce lawyer has to work within the laws of the state.
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Post by mickens16 »

Alex Frakt wrote:
ncounty wrote:I agree with you, nonnie. Separate finances keeps it clean and avoids these kinds of stresses.
Only if both partners are responsible. In a marriage, separate accounts will not shield a responsible partner from the actions of an irresponsible spouse.
Great point Alex, she will be stuck paying all the bills with no EF while he blows through all the money and has thousands of dollars of credit card debt. If there are seperate accounts, she will have no idea and if they do seperate which seems to be a given considering the OP's responses, she will more than likely have to pay back his debt too.

I know the OP doesn't want marital advice, but financial counseling seems to be in order.
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Post by leonard »

This is really moot. You are trying to come up with a plan, but the reality is it is clear only you will be bought in to this plan.

So, while you are diligently executing on this plan - there is every likelihood that new debts that you don't know about are accumulating in undisclosed accounts.
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Post by Watty »

rr2 wrote:
BlckhwkPlt wrote: I will look into CCCS, but the issue with those companies is - they take a fee for doing it (even though they are not for profit) and the credit card companies can still tell you they won't accept the offer. I'd rather do it myself.
From my understanding, the CCCS fee is not much -- $10/month or thereabouts. Most of the credit card companies do have agreements with CCCS and will likely accept the CCCS offer. The interest rates negotiated by CCCS with the credit card companies can be 10% or so. If that is the case, CCCS will not be very helpful to you at all since your interest rates are lower than that.

+1

Any "credit counsler" that charges a large fee is probably a scam. A valid one really should not cost much from what I have heard.

I don't think you are anywere near not being able to pay off the debt where they might write some of it off. I would guess you could get it paid off in well less than a year unless I missed something in the numbers that were posted.

What they could do is to help you understand your situaion since they have seen things like this , and a LOT worse, and then help come up plan for getting control of your expenses in the future.
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Post by OhioGal »

nonnie wrote:Could someone explain to me why so many folks think "separate" finances for a married couple are so horrible especially in the case of second marriages? I had a bad financial first marriage and vowed never again and separate finances have served me very, very well over the course of my next marriage and relationship.

Nonnie
Separate accounts work out wonderfully for us. Everything is simplified.
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Post by norookie »

:happy
Last edited by norookie on Wed Dec 05, 2012 12:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by CordMcNally »

Just a few bulleted observations that I have: (you may not agree with but it's always nice to get outsider opinions who have no horse in the race)

1.) You seem to have your stuff together and being in the military you've developed thick skin, however, your BS tolerance is too low. Your mom got a credit card in your name and racked up a bunch of debt. I wouldn't stand for that no matter what. Identity theft is a phrase that comes to mind.

2.) I know you said you didn't want marital advice but I think you're going to want some sooner rather than later.

3.) I admire the effort and desire you've shown and that's more than what most people in your situation would show.
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rphurley
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Post by rphurley »

No marital advice offered, but mom is a thief and belongs in jail. You seem to be an enabler; thus you will always have this problem until you change your behavior.

I'm sorry if I'm being harsh, but like many folks here, I have experience on my side.
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Re: Help with spouse and finances (read: lots of debt)

Post by grabiner »

BlckhwkPlt wrote:Savings: None - I wiped mine out to save my mother from losing her house, job (she has a TS clearance, and with a recent foreclosure, she really could lose it and thus her job) etc. I do not expect this money back, ever. He has none either.

1.) CC's my mother took out in my name (Yes, this happens more often than you think) $7500. Varying interest rates from 3%-10.99% Currently paying more on the 10% which also has the biggest balance. Some of these had been charged off before I found out about them.
These two things suggest that she has a serious problem. Your mother got into financial trouble, and you helped her out; that is a reasonable thing for you to do. But she also tried to get out of deby by committing a crime (identity theft); she should not have a security clearance, and her clearance would get pulled if you reported the crime in order to clean up your own credit.

If you don't want to be an enabler, you need to threaten your mother. The cards she took out in your name are her debts, and you need to tell her that you will contact her security officer if she doesn't pay them.
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Post by Opponent Process »

I've promised to stop doing this but just this one more time, I can't resist, last time I promise, I'm going to blame the victim, and that's you. this is why people blame the victim, because the victim is suffering from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. who pulled the trigger? the victim. who's to blame? the victim. what does the bully say? stop hitting yourself? stop hitting yourself.
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Post by Dale_G »

BlckhwkPlt, you wrote:
I get upset when he makes a purchase for work, and doesn't tell me about it. I go on there, and see a gas charge from the day before, and he hasn't called/texted or spoken to me about it when I see him that evening. It's in a funky town I don't know, I wonder. So I call. He gets mad. My compromise was him just sticking receipts in an envelope at the door. We haven't started that, but it might be a better solution.
Read it twice - and then read it again. Maybe you could relax just a little bit, concentrate on the big issues, and put the smaller problems out of mind.

I hope you are successful.

Dale
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BlckhwkPlt
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Post by BlckhwkPlt »

Sorry for the delay, somewhere this thing stopped giving me e-mail notifications, then I went to a horse riding lesson and then I just got sidetracked.

As for my mother: this was pre-marriage. None of his money went towards the initial bailout/credit cards were done before we were married. It's ~$7500 now that we are paying. He knew this going in to it. I learned my lesson here - no more bailouts. Should have just looked at the news channel to realize those don't work. I don't know about others compassion when family members are involved, but I feel that those who have the ability to help others should do so. I honestly would have probably let her take the cards out anyhow had she asked or at least taken out a consolidation loan, consolidated her cards and drug the payments out to where they were low. The good news now - she's on a budget and seems to be sticking to it and doing a lot better. Time will tell. It still sucks that it happened, but I look at some other people and their situations with lending 6 figures to family/friends and never seeing it, and I figure it could have been a lot worse.

As far as marital advice - I mentioned he's agreed to a counselor. I tried calling them back today when we were playing phone tag, but their office closed at noon. How about that for hours on a Friday? We're going to get the marital advice situation going. Maybe after meeting with said counselor, I'll come back here and we can all compare notes :D

As for my husband, I compiled a lot of advice here, made an outline as to a course of action, and went for it after the horse lesson this evening. He agreed to everything, and agreed to cut back some things on his cell phone bill. I need to see if it's worth going to a different plan at that point after cancellation fees etc. If he kept his plan (I like the internet etc. on mine, and it would only be fair for him to keep his) and just lowered his coverage, he would have to get a new phone number for alllll of his clients. With the number of people that he calls it would be pretty difficult. I'm ok with him cutting back on certain features and keeping the unlimited minute plan, and his data plan.

1.) Money will still go into the joint account. His work expenses will go into a separate checking account that he has. If he needs more, I will transfer it, but also explicitly stated that it was for work expenses only. I am a joint account holder on that account, so I will be able to see what is spent. Receipts will go in an envelope right inside the door, so I can reconcile the account at month's end before he sends them off for reimbursement. He will not use the joint account for work expenses and I won't have to ask him what charges were on the joint account. Less arguments, we are both happy with that. My Guard pay will go into TSP.

2.) His 'blow money' will be in cash, auto paid into his checking account mid-month. I'll have the same amount, but due to my crappy schedule will probably just bank this to go on said trip to see my friend. I asked him to really look at it, and realize that in one year, his blow money would pay off 25% of what is left on the truck. He said he would be more than willing to cut it back :shock: This after I showed him the expenses, explained the importance (or at least how important I thought it was) of paying down our debt etc. and showed him the potential when we start eliminating bills.

3.) We will keep $1,000 liquid in my savings account for emergencies (already done.) At the end of the month, the 'excess' we have will be allocated 1/2 to debt 1/2 to savings. Savings will be in the form of I-bonds, or savings certificates at the credit union we use which charge a penalty for early w/d.

4.) Will pay speeding tickets off. Next time, we will pay them, but blow money for whatever amount the ticket was will disappear.

5.) Financial counseling - he said yes to pulling CR's, and yes to seeing if we can have our budget reviewed. Credit union does in fact offer it. I also just pulled up an e-mail where he asked if the military offered anything like that, after we were married. I'm pretty sure I've seen it on one source at some point or another. I will check into services offered down that avenue as well. We aren't too terribly far from a large military installation, and I'd be willing to drive there for help if need be. FPU is definitely an option, I just have to find a class for us to attend. We are looking for a new church anyhow. This could be a god way to find one.

For the poster who mentioned getting rid of my truck - wish that were a better option for us. With our lifestyle (two dogs, his family has land we are always hauling crap to/from, my bike, etc.) It just wouldn't work. I ran some numbers, and to get a smaller, reliable V6 pickup, it would be almost even money based on taking that much away from debt, the fact my truck is high mileage and not worth much more than is owed and the fact those suckers hold their value. My truck, while 155K miles on the clock, has been well maintained, and I know it's history. There is a good chance that next year it will be sitting for about a year at a time, so the mileage will be cut back to maybe a tank a month just to roll it around a day or two a week.

I wasn't even planning on presenting my findings to him tonight, but there was so much good advice here via this thread AND personal messages I received, that I said screw it and went through with it. Some people had it a lot worse than this if you can believe it! Others just had sound advice. I think showing him the spreadsheet, as well as a bulleted outline (remember that structure I mentioned growing up?) from Word that covered all of what I was saying, emphasized how important I thought this was. I also pointed out the fact that we have it good, we are both healthy and need to capitalize on this income to retire early, buy stuff we want, yatta yatta.

I also pointed out that the issues we have are nothing. If any of you are religious, spiritual, have some sort of voodoo magic...my boss at my civilian job was diagnosed yet again (third time) with non-Hodgkin lymphoma this afternoon. Please pray/think about him/send him magical healing powers. We were hoping for something else so they could use a different cocktail to try to kill it. The doctors are telling him it's probably not treatable. He is understandably upset, and is really going to have to sort things out internally. I can't even begin to empathize with him; not sure anyone can unless they are terminally ill. He is literally one of the greatest people I know :cry:

Well, I feel a little better about the financial plan now, like I have a better idea than 'we're splitting our money like business partners the end.'

Someone bump this in a few weeks (a few paychecks later) and I can continue to update/solicit advice.
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Post by CordMcNally »

Looks like you guys are off to a good start. I hope it continues!
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BlckhwkPlt
Posts: 44
Joined: Fri Aug 26, 2011 9:15 am

Post by BlckhwkPlt »

P.S. Sorry if I didn't address every single post. I did read them all, I just didn't have the time to respond to all, and need to be up early tomorrow to go play Army all weekend. I'll try to reply to any additional replies next week!

P.P.S. Dale - I know I need to let the small things slide. I have a hard time not getting upset when people to tell me they will do something and then do not follow through, no matter how big or small. It's something I know is a fault that I need to learn to control and work on. These are some of the other issues we need to work on, but this is a personal finance board, so I'm coming here for ideas on personal finance, and the counselor for other issues unrelated.
Naikansha
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Joined: Tue Nov 09, 2010 8:32 pm

horsey expenses

Post by Naikansha »

Hello, I'm glad to see you are seriously working on these financial issues, which are often difficult to resolve when spouses have different attitudes and practices regarding money.
I just wanted to comment on your horsey expenses. Based on my own experience, I can assure you, if you don't know this already, that over time these will grow and grow. You will 'need' new tack, one or more new animals depending on what kind of work you do with them as your current animals age, then you will find out about new trainers with higher fees who will give you important new ideas as you yourself improve and your horses become more advanced in their work, vet fees rear their ugly heads more and more, and on and on. Of course working with horses is tremendously fun and interesting, but I want to suggest you develop other interests so you can easily drop out of the horsey world. You will find there will be lots of money you will be able to save and invest in a more frugal manner and I believe that will help both you and your spouse as your personal needs change as you age. I myself had a great time with horses but eventually realized there were other things I could do that were as much fun and interesting, and far less expensive. I dropped out and haven't looked back since.
I wish you all the best.
letsgobobby
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Joined: Fri Sep 18, 2009 1:10 am

Post by letsgobobby »

hello, you're brave for posting so kudos for that and welcome.

my psychiatry head says that the only relevant advice is marital advice. so i'm glad he's agreeing to take steps and see a counselor.

good luck!
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celia
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Location: SoCal

Post by celia »

I'm glad to see that there is a hope for solutions, but this needs to be continued without so much pressure on you. You both can certainly benefit from the advice a credit counselor and marriage counselor can offer, but only if both of you participate.

Keep in mind that now that you are married, your first priority should be to your marriage. Your mom's problems are not yours any more (not that they ever were). Most likely she will find herself in similar situations again and you should tell her NOW that you can't and won't bail her out again. You are now married and have to think about your spouse and future together (ie, pay off debt and save for shared goals). Even when you bail her out, she will probably continue her bad habits. In effect, it's money down the drain since the same thing happens whether you help her or not. So don't help her.

Then think of that as separating off a part of the financial picture you won't have to deal with again.



Next, I would look at your and your husband's finances from his perspective. If you were him, would it be fair to live with any "rules" being proposed? Will the same rules be applied to you? If not, anything that is agreed to will not work for very long. He also needs to have a chance to make the "rules", even though you may not like some of them.

We're one of those couples with a joint checking account for shared/family expenses and individual accounts for our own no-questions-asked discretionary spending. This might work for you also. We wrote down what things would be covered by the joint account and what kinds of things our individual accounts would cover. This was to minimize issues in the future.

Your husband could start with a "fixed" amount in his discretionary account besides his play money that would be used for his reimbursable work expenses. Let it be his responsibility to add the expenses up and get reimbursed. Also let him look for another phone plan for his phone number. He can do this and would probably be more interested in what he ends up than you would. Getting the lowest possible cost isn't the goal here, but his trying to help cut the expenses is.

The last thing I want to emphasize is that "savings" is one of the first bills that should be paid. It needs to be planned for and money automatically transferred to an untouchable savings account each month, not just "left-over" money at the end of the month. He should also set up automatic contributions to a retirement plan or IRA. Think of that as savings that you don't touch until your 60's.
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