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Money Talk w/ Wife aka The Pointless Journey

  1. Feb 1, 2007 #1
    I'm just curious how many people here have had the "money talk" with their wife. Last night after my monthly enema, I mean bank/credit card bill reconciliation, I noticed that the derivative of my debt function seems to have a never ending positive slope. I looked at my paystub then looked at my debt function and then made the statement to myself, "I work for everyone else BUT ME!" Being the prudent businessman that I am I commanded Money to start running some reports on things such as, interest paid, late fees, overdraft charges, things of this nature. I love my wife dearly but she manages money like my kids do, spend before the bills are paid. This has lead to a 4 year period of overspending which is directly reflected by my CC debt.
    I tried to explain how I would like to take a more proactive role in the family finance and got, "Well if I do it so badly, you do it all yourself!" This was not the team oriented response I was hoping for. I probably made the mistake by then saying, "Fine, I'll handle it all from here on out." Is it wrong to want to get ahead in life and not just break even, or be forever paycheck to paycheck? Sorry, just had to vent. Hope everyone has a swell day!
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 1, 2007 #2
    Does she work? If so, I'd split the bills 50/50 with her. I do this with my girlfriend and plan to keep things this way when married. My money is my money.
  4. Feb 1, 2007 #3
    Yeah, but it's about a 4:1 ratio in my favor. She stays at home with our two sons (3y & 7m) and has an in home daycare.
  5. Feb 1, 2007 #4


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    Well, I wouldn't assume, as your post did, that the problem always lies with the wife in these situations. In the case of my mom and stepdad, it was my stepdad who would spend and spend and spend and my mom who had to rein that in. While both partners in a marriage should know what's going on with the finances, it doesn't mean you need to divide up the work 50/50. If you're better at managing finances, then it makes more sense for you to handle it. Generally, it just seems easier for one spouse to handle all the bill paying and banking, etc., because it's easier to keep track of all the accounts. Otherwise, you run into these sorts of issues where each is spending independently and only at the end of the month do you realize that the sum of your spending is more than the sum of your paychecks.

    It sounds like it's time to sit down with the whole family and explain how far in debt you are, how much you need to save each month to get out of that debt in a reasonable amount of time, and what that means in terms of limiting purchases to basic necessities (and it may take some explanation of what a basic necessity is if everyone is in the habit of buying whatever they want whenever they want). Explain that even things like bottles of water are not necessities when there is much cheaper water that comes out of the tap in the house. But, of course, you'll all be miserable if you live without any entertainment whatsoever, so build a small entertainment/snack food type budget into the household budget. For example, everyone gets $8 ($32 total for a family of 4). That's a modest budget. That means the kids can choose to pool their efforts and rent a couple movies each month and buy some popcorn to go with it, or they can each go their own way and go to one movie in a theater, but won't be able to buy popcorn with it, or can save up for 2 months and take a boyfriend/girlfriend on a date, or can save up 3 months and buy a new shirt that they really don't need but really want, etc. You might see some of that family teamwork forming when they realize that $8 doesn't go very far if they don't share their efforts.

    Beeza, your plan works very well when you're living with someone but not married, because you do need to keep your finances separate in case you break up. But, in a marriage, it's not really practical. It doesn't matter who is paying the bills or who is doing the spending, you're both legally responsible for the debt incurred while married. And, once kids are in the picture, the reality is that you can't exactly divide up who pays for which kid, or what purchases.

    Anyway, good luck, Ronnin.

    Edit: Just saw the ages of your kids...how exactly are a 3 yr old and 7 mo old spending money? I was envisioning teens when you made that comment. :bugeye:
  6. Feb 1, 2007 #5
    I think your stuck paying for 3/4 of the bills ;). Other than that, I'd cancel the credit cards and open new ones in just your name. I'd even go as far as to have separate checking accounts-- as I know that I will.

    Also keep in mind that I come from a divorced family that fought over money, so my views may be somewhat skewed.

    Moonbear, I know of a lot of married couples that handle their finances separately. Most don't have kids, but a few do. I like being financially responsible for myself and nobody else. Although I know that legally I'd also inherit the crazy spending of whomever my future wife is. I don't want kids, so that may help my case a little bit.
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2007
  7. Feb 1, 2007 #6
    Well I know one thing for certain, I don't want nor need any more credit. I'd take my wife's cards and just shred them but I do enjoy her companionship at night :tongue2: . Yes, I too know others who do the 50:50 system as well. I honestly don't know how they do it.

    Moonbear, I have 3 stepdaughters (19, 17, 15), the youngest still living at home. I have managed to get the older two on their way. I started with my family at 19. Two areas my wife cannot control her spending, Ebay and groceries. I think she honestly just gets bored being trapped at the house all day and spending gives her some release. It wasn't nearly this bad when we both had office jobs.
  8. Feb 1, 2007 #7
    I don't spend money I keep as much of it as possible. The thought of buying something makes me feel guilty.

    I guess I'd make your perfect wife *bates eye-lids*.
  9. Apr 2, 2007 #8


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    I think you shouldn't be so hard on your wife. A good wife is worth her weight in tires: A man needs a wife
  10. Apr 2, 2007 #9


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    I don't have a wife, but I have a boss who is worse than the typical stereotype, so it isn't strictly a woman thing. My personal theory is that it is a cognitive dissonance or willful ignorance thing. It is almost as if he thinks that as long as he never looks at the company bank account, there will always be money in it.
  11. Apr 2, 2007 #10
    The solution is simple: cancel all the credit cards, besides one with a small limit for doing online transactions.

    Debit cards are a convenient electronic currency, and they won't let you spend ahead of what you make. The only advantage of a credit card is that it allows you to go into debt, which you don't want any more of.
  12. Apr 2, 2007 #11
    Yep, I think there is some validity to that theory. On a side note I just got my oldest daughter back living at home. Kids are like boomerangs, the harder I throw them out the faster they move back in. Oh well, this yoke isn't getting any lighter.:rolleyes:
  13. Apr 2, 2007 #12


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    If your wife doesn't work, tell her she needs to if she can't be responsible.

    I tried to control my (now ex) husband's spending. I had to take over the finances. Then he figured out that he could get money by forging my name to bank loans and credit card applications, request a guest card in his name, have the bills sent ot his office and I'd never know. It worked until one day when one of the loan companies called me to let me know that they were moving my account to their new office nearer to me. I told them they had made a mistake, I'd never even heard of them. They told me that I had just cashed another check for $1,700.00 a few days earlier. They faxed me a copy of the check, my name had been forged and it was deposited in a bank I did not know I had an account with. I then pulled a credit report and well, I'm not going to tell you how much credit card fraud there was, but the next call was to my attorney. I agreed not to press charges as long as he (my ex) paid off the debt and write a letter admitting the fraud to each of the companies involved. The divorce decree required that he pay off all the debt.

    I hope for your sake your wife isn't too far gone.
  14. Apr 2, 2007 #13
    No, I just have to audit everything and to bring up every charge I don't feel is justified. Damn, I'm sorry to hear about your ex. It's hard to believe that a person could be that deceptive and walk all over someone's trust.
  15. Apr 2, 2007 #14
    The other advantage of a credit card is limited fraud liability.

    Moreover, if a crook gets ahold of your credit card, all s/he can do is damage your name. If they get ahold of your debit card, you're cleaned out.
  16. Apr 2, 2007 #15

    Ivan Seeking

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    One word - scissors
  17. Apr 2, 2007 #16
    If you want to take yourself out of the "bad guy" light. Go, as a couple, to a financial guidance counselor. Let a third party tell you what needs to happen, in order to plan for your future.
    Overdraft charges alone, should be better spent investing in your futures.
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