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I'm 56 and feel like a financial failure this late in life.


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My partner has a college degree, and a fabulous career. We have been together for 6 years. When I met him I had a really good job making pretty good money (enough to be self sufficient). The job at the time starting causing me anxiety attacks so I had to quit. I landed another job within a couple weeks and worked there for 3 years. Along came the pandemic and the company was taking a big hit financially. So I decided it was too unstable and I quit to find more rewarding work. I decided I wanted to be a Caregiver. I have spent most of my life working Customer Service jobs and I had enough. I have always wanted to work with Seniors and love spending time with them any chance I could get. So I took this job at a home care agency. My partner supported me greatly and said it will all be ok. Sadly Caregivers make HORRIBLE money, so I also have another part time job as a Pet Sitter. My paychecks are NO where near what I use to make working full time but I am so much happier. I make enough to pay my half of the bills (including my mortgage) and thats it. 

Anyway, my partner is a Mechanical Engineer and makes pretty darned good money. We split the bills and in addition to his half, he insists on paying for things like vacations and dinners and shows out. Usually I don't mind, but sometimes it bothers me and I feel stupid that I can't afford to pay for our vacations and such. He keeps telling me that he WANTS to do this and that I pay enough for things. Why do I feel so weird about it? Sometimes I like to buy dinner when we go out. He doesn't always let me and knows I don't make much. 

I am kind of freaking out lately as we need a major home improvement repair (roof) and I have no $$ saved to get it done. I have been able to pay for repairs in the past but I can't do it this time. I feel really crappy that I am so unstable financially and he is not. I have NOTHING saved as I cashed out everything I had (401k)to buy my house back in 2007. And my house is the only thing I own. I am afraid he is going to leave me when he realizes that I literally have NO money. 

I think he has a pretty good idea that I make so little, and keeps telling me that "we are OK" when it comes to paying for major things. I feel so crappy about this. And I feel like such a loser. Also, we do not share bank accounts. He has his and I have mine. I have no idea what he has, nor does he of mine. I am embarrassed that I live paycheck to paycheck and he is able to save for retirement (he told me how much he has saved for "our retirement "and I was amazed). He has offered to pay all of the bills to which I said no. I need to feel like I am paying my share as I have always been self sufficient.  

I'm just so embarrassed and I avoid discussing financial things with him as I am afraid that he will learn that I have nothing. Am I over reacting? I feel like such a loser. 

Thank you for listening. 

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Nah, I wouldn't say you are a loser at all.

You changed jobs over the years and that should be okay.  Things happened, which is normal.

You have your own home and you do contribute so all is good.

I feel it should be okay that he makes more.  I'm sure this is often how it is between couples, where one will make more than the other.

Hey, he offers to pay for trips etc, that's okay. I say enjoy! 🙂 

You;ve been together 6 years - why no joint account?  Is there doubts or fears of doing this?

Anyways, It doesn't sound like he would leave you over you not making as much as he does.  Some of the 'male' partners sometimes actually prefer that, knowing they are the main provider.

But I do suggest you plan on discussing this stuff with him so you do not drive yourself batty 😕 .  Communication is important!

 

 

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4 hours ago, Willowgirl55 said:

Im just so embarrassed and I avoid discussing financial things with him as I am afraid that he will learn that I have nothing. 

Sorry this is happening. How long have you lived together? Do you co-own the house or does he pay rent toward your equity in the house?

It may be time to consult with a CPA and financial advisor. It may also be time to consider downsizing if the overhead on the house is becoming unmanageable. 

Cashing out a retirement account with penalties to buy a house (you couldn't afford otherwise) is why you need better financial advisors.

While it's nice he contributes financially, you are not married and may be looking at an abysmal social security check if your income is this low.

It's not too late to secure a better future and retirement, but you need to make some significant changes and get sounder financial advice.

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4 hours ago, SooSad33 said:

Nah, I wouldn't say you are a loser at all.

You changed jobs over the years and that should be okay.  Things happened, which is normal.

You have your own home and you do contribute so all is good.

I feel it should be okay that he makes more.  I'm sure this is often how it is between couples, where one will make more than the other.

Hey, he offers to pay for trips etc, that's okay. I say enjoy! 🙂 

You;ve been together 6 years - why no joint account?  Is there doubts or fears of doing this?

Anyways, It doesn't sound like he would leave you over you not making as much as he does.  Some of the 'male' partners sometimes actually prefer that, knowing they are the main provider.

But I do suggest you plan on discussing this stuff with him so you do not drive yourself batty 😕 .  Communication is important!

 

 

Thank you. Yes he seems to enjoy being the "bread winner ". 

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2 hours ago, Wiseman2 said:

Sorry this is happening. How long have you lived together? Do you co-own the house or does he pay rent toward your equity in the house?

It may be time to consult with a CPA and financial advisor. It may also be time to consider downsizing if the overhead on the house is becoming unmanageable. 

Cashing out a retirement account with penalties to buy a house (you couldn't afford otherwise) is why you need better financial advisors.

While it's nice he contributes financially, you are not married and may be looking at an abysmal social security check if your income is this low.

It's not too late to secure a better future and retirement, but you need to make some significant changes and get sounder financial advice.

6 years. He pays rent. Correct we are not married. I've been working full time since 1983 so it (ss)can't be that bad. Not sure how a CPA can help oyher than confirm I have no money. There are no receipts involved in what he pays. 

Edited by Willowgirl55
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15 minutes ago, Willowgirl55 said:

6 years. He pays rent. Correct we are not married. I've been working full time since 1983 so it (ss)can't be that bad. Not sure how a CPA can help oyher than confirm I have no money. There are no receipts involved in what he pays. 

I agree with the others.  I turn 56 next month.  In my early 20s I worked as an elementary school teacher and one reason I left was the abysmal pay -but we all make different choices.  You want to enjoy your work and these service professions like teaching and what you do -typically low paying as you knew when you went into it.  You are working very hard and you have a good work ethic and solid values -what could possibly be loser about that? 

As a separate matter if you two are not going to marry then yes I'd sit down with a financial planner -just you- and figure out how you're going to make ends meet without his financial contribution - how would you get your $ out of the house? 

Also I'd consider getting a college degree online if it will let you do a side hustle that makes more $ than pet sitting. And if there are scholarships, etc (you are over 55 so maybe there are for older adults).   Sounds like your caregiver job is set hours so you have time to do this.  Because you two are not married I don't think you're taking care of yourself sufficiently financially for your retirement/future. What if you get injured and can't work?  

Also as far as vacations -if he wants to go on vacations outside of your budget that's his choice and if he wants you to come he should pay for you or chip in for your part IMO.

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You are not a loser. Your financial status is not you. 

You're afraid he will leave you over this? Then you have to face that fear and tell him. 

Too bad you put the cart before the horse and moved in without discussing the financial situation and what is what. 

So no time like the present. 

If you want to change you situation, you have to figure out a way to change it. As someone else said, look into night school. Learn a trade. 

Lastly, I say if it's just about not paying as much, then how about doing more - bake him a cake, do his laundry, clean out his car... little things to show love and appreciation. Appreciation goes a long way when the load is lopsided.

He may like being the bread winner and unless he uses it like a weapon,  what's wrong with that? 

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49 minutes ago, Lambert said:

You are not a loser. Your financial status is not you. 

You're afraid he will leave you over this? Then you have to face that fear and tell him. 

Too bad you put the cart before the horse and moved in without discussing the financial situation and what is what. 

So no time like the present. 

If you want to change you situation, you have to figure out a way to change it. As someone else said, look into night school. Learn a trade. 

Lastly, I say if it's just about not paying as much, then how about doing more - bake him a cake, do his laundry, clean out his car... little things to show love and appreciation. Appreciation goes a long way when the load is lopsided.

He may like being the bread winner and unless he uses it like a weapon,  what's wrong with that? 

Yup! Oh I do many things to show my appreciation (yup even cleaning up his car). When I am able to buy the grocerys I always pick him up something special. I do try to treat him to dinner as well. He likes to do his own laundry (me too) so that is put of the question. Night school, will have to give that a thought. 

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I’m not reading this about finances although start saving now and go back to school if you’re looking for a better career. This is more about your feelings of low self worth and lack of confidence. 

To be blunt with you, this is something you need to fix with yourself as it’ll eat at you if you can’t feel happy about who you are. No one can give you that confidence or feeling of accomplishment. 

I think you should seriously consider what you’re doing with your career and where you’d like to be in the short/long term. It’s not about the money. It’s about you feeling like you can provide for yourself even if he’s gone tomorrow. You don’t feel good? Do something about it. Start brainstorming now.

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As I read this, the only one who seems to be concerned about your earning power, is you.  He seems perfectly fine with the relationship.

He may not know the exact number in your bank account, but I'll chance to say he has a pretty good idea how much you make.  Most people care more about one's work ethic and character then they do someone's check book.  From what you've shared, you have both.  You bought a home, you aren't afraid of working hard and you are eager to do your share.  You certainly aren't looking for a free ride and he's sees that.

Don't be so hard on yourself.  

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I'd feel the same way as you. I need to feel self sufficient or else it feels like losing an important part of me. I do think you are being really hard on yourself. You ARE self sufficient, you've just taken some hits. You can do this. You can get yourself back to a more financially secure position. You have the work ethic. You have the grit. And you do have your house. You just need to buckle down on the brass tacks of your financials for a bit, this doesn't have to be a forever situation. 

He has your back now. That's a good thing to know. You'll return the favour when he needs you. Don't worry too much about that. He knows it too. 

Now go kick some ass. Even getting a ball going on Emerg savings will help you feel better. 

For the roof? Well... How handy are you? I had a similar situation after my mom passed, was up to my eyeballs trying to keep up with expenses and needed to repair the roof. Gathered those I know who could help, and we did it. You don't have to... But the idea is, you are smart. You can creatively conquer this too!! 

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Hey Willow!

 

I just deleted my long ramble. What I wanted to say is, your partner seems cool with supporting you and proud of you. You seem like a great team! 
 

If he is okay providing for you, are you okay to just allow that?

 

Have the conversation with him, tell him how you feel. He will probably put your worries to rest.

 

If you need financial security or, you would like a higher paid job for yourself, then by all means go after that. But what I am seeing here is that you quit all that to do something that you are passionate about; and your partner understands that. It’s okay you know, to not meet evenly, especially if he has more traditional attitudes.

 

I see so much guilt in modern women, so much pressure to bring home to bacon and match their partners salaries. Sometimes it’s okay, sometimes people bring different things and contribute in other ways. 
 

x

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1 hour ago, mylolita said:

I see so much guilt in modern women, so much pressure to bring home to bacon and match their partners salaries. Sometimes it’s okay, sometimes people bring different things and contribute in other ways. 

But he's not her partner for that purpose -they own a home together it sounds like so they're financially partners but they have no kids together and they are not married.  So given her individual financial situation -which is all that matters - if he leaves she needs to feel the security that she could take care of herself far far more than if they were married.  

I am exactly her age.  Never felt any pressure as far as salary but I was more than financially independent when we got married, insisted on contributing to the household income from my assets when I was a SAHM and I now work part time and make much less than husband but if heaven forbid something happened to him I would be financially comfortable even without his salary/assets because of the nest egg I built over the years. And I could get a much higher paying job if needed because of my skills and career.  But since we are married it gives me far more financial security and if we weren't I'd absolutely feel more vulnerable especially if I didn't have my personal savings to fall back on.

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I see no problem if you are going to be self-sufficient. Meaning that, even if your partner leaves or God forbid something happens to him down the line, you would be fine living off your pension tomorrow. You dont have to own millions for retirement. But you would have to be able to be living from your own pension. Meaning to have enough for monthly expanses and to have some leniance for other expanses. If you are unable to do that tomorrow, then that would have to mean you changing your way of life in terms of maybe selling the house to live somewhere more affordable maybe. 

Its not so grim as you presented. You have 2 jobs and sustain yourself, albait with the help of your partner. Maybe he will be able to help even more in terms of future. But you cant relly on that for the future. So you would have to at least think what would happen if you are on your own and to be ready for that.

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14 hours ago, Willowgirl55 said:

my partner is a Mechanical Engineer and makes pretty darned good money. We split the bills and in addition to his half. He has offered to pay all of the bills to which I said no. I avoid discussing financial things with him as I am afraid that he will learn that I have nothing.

As a couple living together you need to be able to talk about finances frankly. He already can figure out you're not earning a 7 figure income.

For example, let him pay the bills, as offered. There's no reason someone living in your house making significantly more than you should only be paying 50%. It should be prorated. 

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8 hours ago, Rose Mosse said:

I’m not reading this about finances although start saving now and go back to school if you’re looking for a better career. This is more about your feelings of low self worth and lack of confidence. 

To be blunt with you, this is something you need to fix with yourself as it’ll eat at you if you can’t feel happy about who you are. No one can give you that confidence or feeling of accomplishment. 

I think you should seriously consider what you’re doing with your career and where you’d like to be in the short/long term. It’s not about the money. It’s about you feeling like you can provide for yourself even if he’s gone tomorrow. You don’t feel good? Do something about it. Start brainstorming now.

Yup...you're right it's more within myself. I'm seeking out counseling as well and I think it might help ! Thank you ! 

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8 hours ago, Kwothe28 said:

I see no problem if you are going to be self-sufficient. Meaning that, even if your partner leaves or God forbid something happens to him down the line, you would be fine living off your pension tomorrow. You dont have to own millions for retirement. But you would have to be able to be living from your own pension. Meaning to have enough for monthly expanses and to have some leniance for other expanses. If you are unable to do that tomorrow, then that would have to mean you changing your way of life in terms of maybe selling the house to live somewhere more affordable maybe. 

Its not so grim as you presented. You have 2 jobs and sustain yourself, albait with the help of your partner. Maybe he will be able to help even more in terms of future. But you cant relly on that for the future. So you would have to at least think what would happen if you are on your own and to be ready for that.

Quite correct...future needs to be considered. 

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20 hours ago, SooSad33 said:

Nah, I wouldn't say you are a loser at all.

You changed jobs over the years and that should be okay.  Things happened, which is normal.

You have your own home and you do contribute so all is good.

I feel it should be okay that he makes more.  I'm sure this is often how it is between couples, where one will make more than the other.

Hey, he offers to pay for trips etc, that's okay. I say enjoy! 🙂 

You;ve been together 6 years - why no joint account?  Is there doubts or fears of doing this?

Anyways, It doesn't sound like he would leave you over you not making as much as he does.  Some of the 'male' partners sometimes actually prefer that, knowing they are the main provider.

But I do suggest you plan on discussing this stuff with him so you do not drive yourself batty 😕 .  Communication is important!

 

 

Thank you...I do have to muster up the courage . 

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I think he would be upset or bothered that you think so little of him in that he is with you because of your financial situation and actually consider dumping you over it.  You sound like a hard worker that is responsible with her money so why is that enough for you?

 I agree it is time to tell him what I would guess he already knows and simply doesn't care.  Talk to him and let him decide instead of you deciding how he feels about your finances.

 Going back to school is fine if you need to but research careers that you are interested in and then find out if they require a degree and exactly what degree.  Otherwise it is a waste of time and money.  There are a lot of really well paying jobs out there that do not require a degree.

As far as the roof goes.  What about a short term second job to rustle up some extra money?   A few nights a week plus a weekend day and you could build up a saving account. I would say an equity loan but you don't want to add more to your bills if you can help it.

Looking at what you have I can tell you that you are not a loser.  You own a home, pay all your bills and are responsible with your money.  Doesn't sound like a loser to me.

I know people your age  still living at home that have way less than you.  I wonder how they feel?

 Talk to him, once this is all out in the open you will feel much better.

Lost

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22 hours ago, Willowgirl55 said:

6 years. He pays rent. Correct we are not married. I've been working full time since 1983 so it (ss)can't be that bad. Not sure how a CPA can help oyher than confirm I have no money. There are no receipts involved in what he pays. 

He can afford to live on his own, so the good news is he wants to live with you.

However don't be fooled by future talk like "our retirement". His pension plans and SS are his alone. You both know that. In reality you have zero security.

And you're not making smart financial choices allowing someone with several times your income to live there for a bargain.

This is why for the duration of the time he lives there he should be paying much more. He is under that roof too so why can't he finance the repairs? You can't afford it, your credit is probably too poor for a loan and even then, you don't need more debt. 

Right now you don't need to go back to college, engage in expensive therapy, etc. You simply need to speak up. You seem terrified that if you do, you'll lose the tax-free rental income you're getting from him and be out on the street.

Consider downsizing. Perhaps to a more affordable 55 community. Your overhead is simply too great for your income and letting him pay a dirt cheap flat fee for room and board is foolhardy.

 

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1 hour ago, Wiseman2 said:

He can afford to live on his own, so the good news is he wants to live with you.

However don't be fooled by future talk like "our retirement". His pension plans and SS are his alone. You both know that. In reality you have zero security.

And you're not making smart financial choices allowing someone with several times your income to live there for a bargain.

This is why for the duration of the time he lives there he should be paying much more. He is under that roof too so why can't he finance the repairs? You can't afford it, your credit is probably too poor for a loan and even then, you don't need more debt. 

Right now you don't need to go back to college, engage in expensive therapy, etc. You simply need to speak up. You seem terrified that if you do, you'll lose the tax-free rental income you're getting from him and be out on the street.

Consider downsizing. Perhaps to a more affordable 55 community. Your overhead is simply too great for your income and letting him pay a dirt cheap flat fee for room and board is foolhardy.

 

Downsizing. I pay far less for my mortgage than most people pay for rent. Downsizing and moving would cost me more financially. When I bought my home I made sure it was something I could afford and I've never missed a payment for that reason. And therapy is covered by my insurance. My partner has paid for repairs also. He paid to put new steps in the front of the house as they were dangerous. He's done alot of work also replacing things that need updated. Downsizing definitely not the answer. 

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2 minutes ago, Willowgirl55 said:

Downsizing. I pay far less for my mortgage than most people pay for rent. Downsizing and moving would cost me more financially. When I bought my home I made sure it was something I could afford and I've never missed a payment for that reason. And therapy is covered by my insurance. My partner has paid for repairs also. He paid to put new steps in the front of the house as they were dangerous. He's done alot of work also replacing things that need updated. Downsizing definitely not the answer. 

Your responses to taking actions are quite passive in tone/word choice -why is that? (Previous posts).  You can't really afford the payments because almost all your $ goes to them, right? So what about a retirement nest egg? Do you have an IRA or similar? He's committed to taking care of you financially for now -meaning chipping in more $ but he's not interested in taking care of your future or providing for your future -meaning his actions don't show interest in that. 

That is on you.  As it should be - meaning he's not your spouse so if he wanted to set up a trust fund for you that would be quite generous but he knows he has no responsibilities.  Since it is on you I'd stop with the "yes I should think about that' yes I need to muster up the courage -and today take a step toward providing for yourself for your future.

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6 hours ago, lostandhurt said:

I think he would be upset or bothered that you think so little of him in that he is with you because of your financial situation and actually consider dumping you over it.  You sound like a hard worker that is responsible with her money so why is that enough for you?

 I agree it is time to tell him what I would guess he already knows and simply doesn't care.  Talk to him and let him decide instead of you deciding how he feels about your finances.

 Going back to school is fine if you need to but research careers that you are interested in and then find out if they require a degree and exactly what degree.  Otherwise it is a waste of time and money.  There are a lot of really well paying jobs out there that do not require a degree.

As far as the roof goes.  What about a short term second job to rustle up some extra money?   A few nights a week plus a weekend day and you could build up a saving account. I would say an equity loan but you don't want to add more to your bills if you can help it.

Looking at what you have I can tell you that you are not a loser.  You own a home, pay all your bills and are responsible with your money.  Doesn't sound like a loser to me.

I know people your age  still living at home that have way less than you.  I wonder how they feel?

 Talk to him, once this is all out in the open you will feel much better.

Lost

I agree. Schooling at point is not going to generate me more finances right now. I am actually looking for a 3rd job to fill in around my caretaker job and pet sitting. I've been with my little senior client for a year so I just up and quit in her as it would devastate her. Just need motivation to get more work and that is what I will do. Getting back into an incredibly boring office job 8 hours a day is something I refuse to do thisblate in my life. It sucks the soul right out of you. I've never NOT had at leas a full-time job. Never had to collect unemployment or live off the state.  So I'm proud of the fact that I've always been able to pay for things and not go under. Just have to work on saving. 

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7 minutes ago, Willowgirl55 said:

When I bought my home I made sure it was something I could afford and I've never missed a payment for that reason. Downsizing definitely not the answer. 

Ok Ok. whatever you feel is best. Then what's the problem? You claim you have "no money", but every suggestion including his offer to pay the bills is being shot down. So do whatever you're doing as it seems to be working for you just fine.

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15 minutes ago, Willowgirl55 said:

Schooling at point is not going to generate me more finances right now.

One of my friends got her license in massage therapy in her late 40s and is 61 now and works pretty much full time at it still.  That was schooling.  She couldn't do office jobs either mostly due to medical conditions/issues.  I've been working for decades and what I find is office jobs that are entry level/don't require degrees are often more boring - unless it's a sales job and the person likes the rush of selling/comissions. 

You paint office jobs with a broad brush and you are entitled not to want one and have your opinion -the upside is -as I do at almost 56 -I can telework a great percentage of the time so it doesn't matter (as much) if I have a bad cold or my back hurts, etc. and while I have an office and have in every single job I've had since 1991 (I was a classroom teacher prior to that) I've never been bored because my office job is related to what I went to grad school for and what I am so passionate about. 

It happens to involve a desk and computer -and right now given my family situation -a larger part of it is that than ever.  But since it calls upon my background, skills, brain work - not boring.  Parts of it are.  Like caregiving has boring parts too, right? 

Given your precarious position as far as no/little savings I'd be careful to brush aside huge categories of options right now especially since you don't seem motivated to do more than ponder possibilities.  Don't do a full time office job if that doesn't suit you.  Be open minded about what a vast category it is.  

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