Marriage Advice - Finances - How to go about it.

  1. aegeanbluecivic

    aegeanbluecivic Senior Member

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    I will go ahead and say it. I don't trust my wife with her finances. She is always running out of money and has saved no money since our marriage of 3 years ago. She should be having $800 in spending money per month based on the spreadsheet I have created of all our expenses (monthly bills). I don't know where it is going and shes possibly in credit card debt, I confronted her about it because it's concerning me greatly as I want to make sure she has money in savings as well. She refuses to provide any information and it's driving me crazy. Any experts with plenty years of marriage experience? How do you handle and discuss spending habits? Am I being too invasive?
     
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  2. SCOPESYS

    SCOPESYS Senior Member

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    I am NOT going to pass comments on anyone else marriage, especially in a Car forum, but I will point out something that you should be aware of (if not already)

    Since California is a community property state, the law applies that the community estate shared between both individuals is liable for a debt incurred by either spouse during the marriage. All community property shared equally between husband and wife can be held liable for repaying the debts of one spouse.

    I am no expert at marriage, but seems to work well for us is NO Secrets.
    All Finances are out in the open and we both know where all money comes from and where it all goes. All financial decision, especially for large amounts of money, are openly discussed and agreed upon. No surprises.

    Whatever you decide, I wish you both well.
     
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  3. 87elco

    87elco Senior Member

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    I'd go third party and get finance advice from a professional..in my experience it always sounds better coming from someone else than you
     
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  4. racer

    racer Senior Member

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    I'm thinking you two are opposites.. One with a spreadsheet, one without. She and you may never see eye to eye and that may be frustrating. Maybe she sees you as the "saver" for both of you. That said, 3rd party is a possibility since it removes you as being the bad guy. Hard part is getting her to commit to it. She will feel like you are trying to be her parent. Has she ever had a budget? Do you guy openly talk about money? savings? plans?

    Also, consider possible embarassment /fear by your partner in not wanting to confess about her spending habits. Money is highly personal for some. They don't want to talk about it. Maybe there's a family issue there.. maybe not. Maybe she likes living paycheck to paycheck and doesn't see a reason to save the way you do.

    It sounds like you keep all money accounts separate.. His and Hers. Maybe have a shared account, each one to contribute "x" amount/month. Create a reason for it (utilities, mortgage, vacation, retirement etc) An auto deduction might be best.. that way, it goes strait off the top to the account vs being spent.

    No one answer is the key. Its a marriage first - all that better/worse, sickness/health stuff.
     
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  5. OP
    aegeanbluecivic

    aegeanbluecivic Senior Member

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    Thank you for those who posted, Third Party sounds like a good idea. She doesn't really have a budget, but I've created a general expense/income sheet for her to reference. Money is talked about perhaps once every few months to determine where we stand as far as reaching our goal which is to buy a house so we need to have some serious savings for that down payment and extra money in the event of loss of income to cover those monthly expenses. When we talk about spending habits she makes the excuse that shes still young. We have a 5 year age gap between us with me being older and at times unfortunately it does feel like I'm the "parent".

    I was able to break some of her defensive barriers last night and what she told me was that she does feel insecure about her finances and doesn't want me to stress. I feel I am partially at fault as well. I've been wanting to push for a shared account between the both of us but she doesn't see the value in it and wants her own independence. I'll leave the rest to a third party. I appreciate the insight all! I understand its a car forum and all but this felt like the best place to ask with already having membership and the anonymity of identity.
     
  6. kg4fxg

    kg4fxg Senior Member

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    Nothing is easy. Hearing options from a third party would be easier. Perhaps your church or one close to you might have a finance seminar or something? I tend to follow some of what Dave Ramsey indicates about no debt.

    Some like me have one shared bank account. Others have one for the household expenses that is shared. In this day and age with identity theft I would want my spouse and myself to view credit card accounts on-line and always be on the lookout if something does not appear to be ours.

    For the most part I pay all the bills and deal with finances but then I am a CPA and the wife hates spreadsheets and numbers.

    You can Google more about marriage and finances here.
    https://www.daveramsey.com/

    I am sure there is a solution out there that will make you both happy.
     
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  7. Deezy

    Deezy Senior Member

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    I would think you would see some evidence of where the money is going. New clothes, things around the house etc. Does she party or go out often? Any bad habits?
     
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  8. OP
    aegeanbluecivic

    aegeanbluecivic Senior Member

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    Yeah I am not aware of any new clothes or new things around the house. Only thing I can think of is she is spending money on outings with friends.

    But to keep everyone in the loop, we had a "talk". She will try to be more open with her finances, she has declined to provide exact figures of how much debt she is in but will be more honest going forward and this has bonded us perhaps maybe by 5% more. The advice you guys gave me helped a lot so I appreciate it!
     
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  9. charleswrivers

    charleswrivers Senior Member

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    I've been married for 15 years and been in the Navy for 16. The little lady and I got together before I enlisted.

    I can go on and on... but here's a couple key piece of advise I give my Sailors in similar situations... and I give it because it has worked, and still works for me:

    A budget means every single dollar is accounted for. If you don't have the discipline with credit cards, I highly recommend paying yourself a an 'allowance' in cash. Make this a weekly sum of money. When this finite, tangible money is gone, that's all you have to spend on things that are wants. This includes eating out. Snacks from vending machines. Fancy stuff at hair cutterys. The rest of your money goes to paying bills, then debts, then savings, focusing on retirement. Always max out any matching 401ks if you have them. Come up with a good number that actually works... be it $40... or $100... or more... but make it something that you can *live* with.

    In the end, *always* pay yourself. You work for a living, have money to put in your pocket and spend on things you want... but limit yourself to your budget. If you want something big... save. Never cheat. If you need to spend more for a big ticket item, borrow it against yourself. Example, you pay yourself a $100/week allowance but want to buy a $200 gift for the wife. To cover it, you have to spend $100 beyond that weeks allowance. Now for the next 5 weeks, only take $80 until you've 'paid back' your $100... to yourself.

    I kinda harp on this allowance thing, which may seen lame but it *really* works for people who struggle to stay in a budget because they spend and spend and then all their money is gone and they don't even know where it all went. It went *somewhere* but you have little to nothing to show for it. Most of it can probably be determined by auditing your own accounts.

    Good luck! Wealthy people get there by not spending everything they make. They save, they invest, they don't live beyond their means, and when they get raises, they fight the urge to constantly raise their standard of living to the full extent of that raise.

    I made $550 every 2 weeks take-home in my first year of marriage as a young E3. Those were some slim years. As a 16 year E7, my take home could be 6+ times that much even at shore duty w/o sea pay, but I save more money a month than I pay in a mortgage. We picked a number we were both comfortable with taking home and let the rest go into my retirement savings. Honestly, if I had that extra $1000+ a month, I bet I'd blow it on randomness and have little to show for it. Early on I did do that as that small sum turned into more... but at a certain point, I just didn't need anything else to live comfortably. I get enough $$$ to have a nice house, too many cars, too many guns and to fund any number of hobbies that come and go. I just have to stick to my budget which keeps me in check.

    Good luck! If your wife isn't receptive, she needs to get on board. You are a team and you can't win or do well at your lives together if you aren't working together. It'll create strive that can rip you apart over time. Marriage counseling, while it sounds lame, may be something to consider. You have to respect each other to be willing to work together and compromise. Finances is a spot that conflict often pops up but is just once part of all the things your marriage team will need to work together to achieve your mural goals so you can keep kicking marital ass through life. Best wishes to you, bud.
     
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  10. SCOPESYS

    SCOPESYS Senior Member

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    That to me was a Red Flag.
    You might have done better to have created that spreadsheet TOGETHER, getting her involved so she could be part of the plan, and not just presented with what YOU thought was right.
    Maybe she was involved, but you did not indicate that...

    A good long and happy marriage is a lot easier with good and open and truthful COMMUNICATION.
     
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  11. scoobysnack

    scoobysnack Senior Member

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    FWIW - I'm 41. My wife and I have been together 11 years. We have two young kids, one 2.5 the other 5 years. We live in CA and were able to eventually buy a home in a horribly overpriced area. Wife is a dentist and I do real estate finance.

    Sounds like you had a talk and she'll try to save more. In case she isnt able to turn things around it might not be a bad idea to continue this topic.

    Does she work? Do you two have children?
     
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  12. n2da2nd

    n2da2nd Senior Member

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    I seconded on this "I have created..." Not everything should be done together but finance is one of the exception. Since you two have incomes so it's better to sit down together and go over the finance of the family. That way it would be no resentment later down the road. My gf and I always sit down and discuss what should be save and what should be spend monthly. Money is a sensitive topic so it's best that there is no secret involves.
     
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  13. kg4fxg

    kg4fxg Senior Member

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    CPA Response

    I guess I am fortunate. Wife does not spend much money. She tells me what she wants little things on Amazon and I ordered. I should consider myself lucky!

    Maybe agree on an allowance in cash. No trace to what she spends. It is hard in this day an age to have credit cards married and not know what is going on. I am not rich but I focus on NO DEBT!

    ***No credit card debt - paid in full each month. Interest will kill you.
    ***No Mortgage plan to get there. It is possible.
    ***Max 401K and save.
    ***No car payments buy never finance.

    And yes, being a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA), and fully licensed in two states! I am well versed in finances and financial planning. I have counseled many. You can't save for retirement when you have debt. Your 401K returns do not match the interest on your credit cards. Robbing Peter to pay Paul.

    Long ago I used Quicken to track all expenses. Than made my own Excel spreadsheet so I did not have to enter every receipt but could enter upload credit card statements. Easy and less time. Many married couples struggle. There is a workable solution. Feel free to PM me. There is not one right simple answer to make all married couples happy. One bank account to many. Normally I say two credit cards are enough.

    Each marriage is unique. There is an answer. There is not a one fit all marriage solution. But there is a solution to make both couples agree.
     
  14. scoobysnack

    scoobysnack Senior Member

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    Totally agree. There are folks that need to master the basics first before they can move on to things like contributing to a 401K and 100% eliminating debt. But yeah, once you've got extra cash to save after covering your most basic expenses then its good to move to whichever debt is paying the highest interest rate, which is usually credit card debt. I know plenty of people that struggle to just have an extra $200 each month and its usually because they're buying too much useless crap, or because they have some outrageous cell phone plan and also want every premium cable channel along with the fastest internet package. So they're throwing at least $500 a month towards utilities and nonsense.
     
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  15. CVCTURBO

    CVCTURBO Senior Member

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    First thing first, she should have zero reasons to not show you her last monthly purchase statements from her bank account now that she's willing to try to move forward.
    Obviously we all go through relationships differently but I had an EX with the same financial problem. Quickly found out that she was pulling money out of her account at ATMs bc she picked a habit up unfortunately.... NOT saying that's ur situation by any means. But as a married couple you don't hide anything from each other no matter if we feel it will hurt the other person or not.
    Luckily we weren't married lol

    Knowing where the money was/is going is a great starting point to start wiping out what the "wants" are and start focusing on the "needs"
     
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