I would suggest that this isn’t a single conversation about how she spends, either spoken or written. Have you considered relationship counseling? If you two want to get married, I think working out these differences now would serve you both very well. Disagreements about money are one of the top three reasons marriages split up. My DH and I have been in marriage counseling for about 18 months now and every session lately we’ve been having aha! moments for why we do what we do. There’s no blame, there’s no guilt, there’s no “you should do things my way, just because”. We are learning who we are, and why we are, and how to change some of the programming we’ve gotten along the way by well-intentioned but also wounded family and friends. I fear that without something deeper like that, you’ll simply continue to have conversations where one or both of you are really frustrated with what the other is doing. Or worse, NOT have conversations. Consider DR the canary in the coal mine – the canary can tell you that something is wrong and needs to be resolved. But the canary can’t fix the problem. I think you would be very well served to seek out some deeper resolutions to how you and she can work together to build a life together. If it’s you and she both trying to impose your own way of doing things on the other, you’ll be having these same conversations for the next 20 years. Been there, done that. Ain’t much fun. But once you start seeing how we bring some unknown assumptions to every decision, and how to change those assumptions, things get a lot easier. Not easy, but easier.
I’ll step up and say something I’ve said before on this list. Sometimes it’s enough to go through the DR class to get a couple back on track financially. But sometimes DR simply reveals deeper issues between how two people (doesn’t matter the gender) work with stuff like money. I know from my own experience being married now twice, my first partner had a very simple strategy – spend it all. That marriage lasted quite a while before we finally threw in the towel because we were tired of arguing all the time. My second partner and current very-much-loved DH, has another relatively simple strategy – save it all. I’m trying to run a business where money coming in and out is like the flood of blood through the veins. It’s gotta move to be useful. So simplistic money management strategies weren’t working anymore. Tack on top of that the fact that I went through my divorce and picked up a number of “oh my gosh we might not have money tomorrow so use it today” habits, which I’m still unlearning, and you’ve got a recipe for financial mis-management on both sides that will never ever agree. Not without some stronger tools and deeper understanding of the mechanisms involved.
We had a discussion a couple of days ago about new year’s resolutions and I shared mine about finishing paying off the credit cards this year. She discussed other things, but not finances. Then, she told me that she was working on paying off her cards and was making progress. At that point, I asked her about whether she had been using her credit cards and she denied it. I then said, “Are you sure because I can tell that you have been spending more money than you have?” At that, she told me that she has used them a little bit for Christmas, but not much.
So, I logged into her account this morning (I have the password because this is how I manage our joint checking account) and looked at her credit card activities for her one card. I calculated out $3400 dollars in credit card purchases since August. Granted, she is also paying 600 a month into the balance, but the total balance has gone up by about 2000. She did have nearly 1000 in car repairs as part of that, but she did not have enough savings to cover it because she has gradually windled down her 1000 that she had saved.
So, I am tempted to put all of this into an email that I send to her, partly because I have no idea whether she lied to me or whether she is just not aware. Like I said, she tends to be in denial about these kinds of things. She also told me that my constant worry about spending money took some of the fun out of Christmas for her so it may be that she was lying to me because I have been doing a fair amount of nagging when I see her buying things such as the recent laptop, running shoes, and kindle. I also complained some because we bought two expensive things for our 6 year old son, meaning that we were not able to stay within the allotted Christmas funds this year. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted my kids to have a Christmas, but I was working on finding really good used deals in places like E bay.
Of course, another issue here is that I feel guilty for looking at her personal credit card account and she may be upset at that. And, I do not have access to her other credit cards so I really don’t know whether she has put more money on those accounts either.
Why the email instead of in person? Well, it is so that both of us can have some space in a possible heated discussion. It also allows her to think about how she wants to respond before she responds. And, I tend to get really angry if I think that someone is lying to me so it would allow me the same kind of distance for thinking first. In my life, I’ve learned that I can regret what I’ve said in anger and it is not always easy to take it back. I truly do care about her and want to do this in a way that allows her to preserve her dignity, but also in a way that she can at least be aware of what she is doing.
Maryland just passed a law that same sex couples can marry, but I very much hesitate to do this until I feel more confident with the financial side of things. In all other ways, we truly do live as a married couple and we do own a house together so we are somewhat tied financially. If she ends up in bankruptcy, I’d be in trouble too. But, we have been friends since 1989 and a couple since 1996 and we do plan on spending our lives together. We are raising two children together. It would be so nice to feel confident enough to go ahead with this.
So, what do people think? Should I go ahead and risk sending her an email? Any ideas on what should be approached? Any wisdom from anyone who has done something similar?
other than the mortgage (and my mom’s mortgage) is the car – and I’ve set it up so that my car will be paid off this month.
I also already have a FFEF in place (6 months) and then some.
I think my problem is that I never really did have credit card debt – so I don’t have those snowball payments that can now be applied to retirement, college savings, etc.
Most of my savings was socked away when I lived wayyyy within my means (in a smaller, older home in a cheaper area). Now that I have a much higher mortgage, higher utilities, my mom’s mortgage, a growing child, etc. –
it’s hard to put money in the bank. Thank God I did it when I had it though.
You on step #2? Will you have more wiggle room after step #2? I did not realize DR said don’t count the 3% match as far as your 15% contributions. Right now Im on step #3, then Im going to plan on bumping mine up the same way as yours. Right now my wife does 6% and I do 6% until we get the 3-6 months of living expenses up.
Your doing good so far with your 401K though, you’re still young =).
it will take some time to research this but don’t give it up. If you want roll over information, check your bank or Edward Jones or another place that you can trust. You will have to have the paper work done before you can do much other thanresearch it.
Here’s a quote from TMMO, “When calculating your 15%, don’t include company matches in your plan. Invest 15% of your gross income. If your company matches some or part of your contribution, you can consider it gravy. Remember, this is a rule of thumb, so if you cheat down to 12 percent or up to 17 percent, that is not a huge problem, but understand the dangers of straying far from 15 percent.”
Based on that statement, what do you contribute to retirement?
As I mentioned earlier, I contribute 8% to a 401K (using Vanguard) via my company. My company contributes an additional 3%. Dave says not to count that 3% – BUT I WANT TO! WAHHHH!!!
I am considering opening a Roth IRA and contributing 4% of my income which would be a total of 15%, if you count my company match – 12% if you don’t – which Dave says is “not a huge problem”.
Should I feel ok about that? I need more info about bad credit installment loans direct lenders, pleas only DIRECT!! It does still add up to 15% – so why do I feel so guilty?
I just want to have enough wiggle room to do other things – like save $2K/year for my daughter’s future, work on saving for the patio/sunroom, have the flexibility to do the things we like to do. I keep working up a budget but struggle with so many different things….(sigh)
To give you some more background info, I’m 33 years old and have about $45K in my 401K currently.
meaning no money is being added to it, for 5 years, the school is required to contact you. Now, with that said, that is the public school system. I would call the school and start talking with someone there about how to get it transferred into an IRA or some type of retirement account.
It talks about how a number of European countries are either passively or actively phasing out cash transactions for a variety of reasons. It mentions the United States in passing. I switched over to a cash-basis a number of years ago as part of the FPU classes I took; I would really rather not switch back. I was saddened to see that many people don’t want to use cash, and think it should be phased out, specifically because it requires budgeting for various expenses in advance.
I would get a durable poa. Not just a plain one, but a durable one. This will protect both you and her. All creditors will accept it and talk to you then. You will need one for each parent. DO NOT ADD HER NAME to bills in just his name. Creditors will not be able to touch her for debts in his name only if domething hapoens to him.
A durable can only be changed by the individual if they are of sound mind, ir a court rules it dissolved. I won’t go into why this can be very important with my horror story. Just know it will protect all concerned.
Get your mom added officially and get a POA. You will run into snags along the way and will need every tool available to solve the problem. I’m surprised Jan hasn’t chimed in here. I’m guessing she’ll have some advice.
So in going through a bunch of cards and bills from my parents, found out they definitely have more than 2-3 credit cards. lol. But still, they are all paid off. They are definitely of a generation and mindset that was pro cc’s. But again, there’s not debt there. Or at least I haven’t seen it yet.
I realized I didn’t frame my question entirely correctly in my previous post. My other question about paying their bills etc is that my father’s name is currently listed as the primary person. In some cases my mother’s name isn’t there at all, though she may be authorized on the account. I think that is/could be a big problem.
Last month when I helped her pay bills, I ran into a few challenges when I tried to change something because he wasn’t available to confirm the desired change.
Am I correct to think we need to put these accounts, like utilities, in HER name or at least add her? Or should I just worry about getting POA? If I understand right POA would allow me to change whatever needed to be changed, and not worry about whose name is on the account.