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Am I being Generous or Stupid?


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My husband just informed me today that he has $16,000 worth of credit card debt on cards that charge him 24% interest and that he's worried and stressed out about it because at that rate, he can't seem to get the balance to go down. This is just the latest in an eight and a half year relationship where it seems I'm always coming to his financial rescue.

 

When we first met, I rescued him from his modest living conditions. He had lost everything he had to a fire at the home he was renting. He had not carried insurance so he couldn't afford to replace anything. He came to my house after our first date and basically never went home. We married six months later. I bought "us" a new car, added him to my credit cards… he settled right in. Less than two years later, he quit his job to take another, better job. I was all excited because I thought that the financial burden would finally be off me. But within two weeks he decided this new job wasn't really what he wanted to do. So he decided that since he didn't have a job at the moment, he'd go into business himself as a photographer (his new found passion). In the meantime, I supported him and made his child support payments for him and went into debt because I couldn't afford to support all of us on my salary. After nearly a year of that, he went back to work at his old job. So we were back where we started only this time I had accumulated $30,000 in debt (roughly the equivalent of his missing salary that year). Since then, he has been trying to keep his photography business going (it's been 6 years and last year was the first time he didn't have a net loss for the year) on the side but has been irresponsible in his spending by buying every do-dad and gadget available for his cameras. I've taken out home equity loans, refinanced my house, and when I was laid off two years ago I withdrew my retirement to pay off debt (loosing nearly half of it in the process from penalties and taxes)… each time getting us out from under loans and credit card debt because he has a problem with spending. Now it's happened again. Another $16,000.

 

When I met him, I had a small mortgage and a little leftover debt from my first marriage. We still live in the same house I had then, but the debt I'm in personally has nearly doubled from bailing him out so many times. And, my retirement fund and savings account are gone.

 

I keep waiting for some sort of reciprocation on his part, but it never seems to happen. Last time I checked, the husband was supposed to be the provider. Am I a fool for ever believing he would support me at some point? Am I wrong for feeling taken advantage of? Have I been a idiot for letting myself get in this situation? My first husband disrespectfully helped himself to my inheritance after my parents died. It eventually led to me divorcing him. It was a horrible, ugly divorce that took two and a half years to finalize and it still creates turmoil in my life today. I don't want to go thru that again, but this can't go on. I don't have anymore tricks up my sleeve to save him/us from financial ruin. The first of our 3 children will be expecting to attend college next fall but we won't have any means to pay for it.

 

Feeling like a doormat.

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Hey bb,

 

You are definitely being taken advantage of, no doubt,

 

You are his "sugar momma" persay who covers him in every way,

 

You need to have a talk with him about this situation,

 

It needs to change immediately, you don't want to shortchance your children's education,

 

Education is very important and a key to their future,

 

My previous ex did the same thing to me financially,

 

And I left him the second I found out he had some income saved up,

 

You will only be a doormat if you let yourself be,

 

And I want the best for you, so please talk to him and work out the finances,

 

He needs to work 2 jobs if he cannot pay off his OWN debt,

 

Don't be his babysitter, he needs to be a man and take a stand,

 

Hugs,

 

Rose

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Finances, or rather the conflict over them, is one of the biggest factors that leads to divorce....it's not something to take lightly.

 

I don't think the issue here is that he is not main provider - I think it is that there seems to be a great imbalance and a general disrespect for your & your family's financial health - I mean if this means your children are going to be in a bad position in order to continue their education, it has gone way too far - never mind no savings...not positive.

 

I do think we are also treated how we allow - early on you seem to have set up the situation where you bail him out.....of course not too long to change that.

 

Marriage is a partnership - including when it comes to money. It's not so much about whom is making what, but about working with what you DO have, including budgets and limits.

 

It's time that you set your foot down, and have him start taking responsibility towards the financial health of this marriage. Time for some third party advice too I think, in form of counselling...because the debt is just the icing on the cake at this point.

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Wow, I think you really need to put your foot down! While I don't agree that "the husband should be the provider," I feel that he is disrespecting you by getting you into all kinds of financial problems. He is putting his flailing photography career before his family, and I don't think that is acceptable.

 

I plan on being the main breadwinner when I marry my bf, and he would like to start his own business. We are both debt free and agree that debt, except a home mortgage, is to be avoided at almost any cost. We've also agreed that he will have a regular paying job until the business takes off or we have kids, since we'd both prefer that one of us (him, since it makes most financial sense) cares for our children, rather than using a daycare or nanny.

 

Your first husband may have disrespectfully helped himself to your inheritance, but your current husband disrespectfully has taken your hard earned paycheck, savings and, even worse, retirement nest egg. Okay, maybe he didn't 'take' it in the way that your first husband might have 'taken' your inheritance, but the money is leaving your hands and going to his at your expense and at the expense of your children and family.

 

He is bring nothing financially positive to the family. Meaning, you'd be financially better off if he was not around. That is terrible! Another adult in the household usually means more help moneywise or otherwise. It seems like he is playing for himself and you are trying to play for the team. Not fair at all.

 

Do they have marriage counselors/financial planners? It seems like you need to see one person that deals with money and marriage all at once, because both things are a problem here. There is a book you might want to check out. I haven't read it, but the author's newspaper column is great- I think it is called 'Your Money and Your Man' by Michelle Singletary.

 

Good luck. I hope your kids will be able to secure grants or loans so your husbands irresponsibility does not affect their education opportunities.

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because he has a problem with spending

 

You didn't make these bills, you shouldn't pay them. Tell him to see a debit manager or something, you pay for him again and he'll just keep coming back. You are not a bank for his private use, he needs to learn that his spending needs to change and the bills are his problem.

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You didn't make these bills, you shouldn't pay them. Tell him to see a debit manager or something, you pay for him again and he'll just keep coming back. You are not a bank for his private use, he needs to learn that his spending needs to change and the bills are his problem.

 

Good in theory...but if the debts are in both their names (joint account), the creditors don't care who ran 'em up...they'll just go after whoever's got the deepest pockets.

 

baybrat...Suze Orman would have a field day with you Get thee to a library and look up a few of her books.

 

First off, have you done anything to stop the hemorrhaging? If not, you need to remove him from credit cards that are in your name but have him down as an authorized user. Set up those cards so he CANNOT access the credit lines anymore. Call the number on the back of the card and explain to the customer service rep what you want.

 

A business that doesn't turn a profit after a certain amount of time (I think it's something like one year out of 7...something like that) is viewed by the IRS as a HOBBY...not a business. Perhaps you need to start looking at his photography in that way.

 

A financial advisor may be of some assistance to you, however, be careful in selecting one. Make sure it's someone you pay for their time and not via commissions on financial products they sell. You want someone who's concerned with what's best for you & your situation....not someone who's looking to sell you the product that makes the best commission for themselves.

 

Even the best financial advisor in the world is not going to be able to help you if your husband does not take responsibility for his role in getting you into this mess AND change his behaviors/actions so you can try to get out of this mess. Unfortunately, like any other bad habit, all the nagging in the world isn't going to get him to change...that choice has to come from within himself. If he chooses not to change a thing, then you have to figure out what you want to do. Do you want to stick around for what might be a very difficult and poverty-stricken old age with this person?

 

You might also want to take a closer look at what you believe about money and your personal worth/self-esteem and how those things are connected. This is the second partner you have had that you've allowed to create financial havoc in YOUR life. While your husband has some bad habits to be sure, you've also made some poor choices yourself.

 

You're 43...you still have some time to turn around your financial situation and get things in line to have a financially comfortable future. But it is going to take a lot of effort. If you had been investing for retirement, you probably already know the most important things to building up a nest egg are saving on a regular basis and time. You can always start saving...but you aren't always going to have the luxury of having time for those savings to grow.

 

Time to start looking out for yourself first....he's not going to do it.

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We've been in marriage counseling for more than 6 months now... which is creating another financial burden on me because insurance doesn't cover it.

 

The "tip of the iceburg" was the way he was being a bully and acting generally disrespectful of me and of the children. After all this counseling, he's beginning to understand why I've been so unhappy and how his actions have impacted our relationship. He also keeps telling how he's ready to really listen to me now. But I have two problems with that... The first is that it took someone else (a counselor) to convince him that what I had to say is important and worth listening to. The second is that after 8 years... I'm feeling like it may be too late. Especially when our problems are compounded by the financial situation.

 

The thing is, now that I have no "nest egg", I won't be able to survive on my own. If I stay with him, I can "fix" the situation (yet again) by switching his debt to one of my credit cards at almost 1/5 the interest he is being charged on his card... which really helps me in the end because less of his money will be thrown away on interest which puts us as a family in a better place financially. However, this is the 4th time I've had to do something like this. Do I believe this will be the last time? No. I'm almost certain it will happen again.

 

I don't even know how to get angry about this because as you guys have pointed out, I let it happen by teaching him how to treat me and what he could get away with.

 

I'm really alone in this. I have no extended family or support system to fall back on. I feel doomed. BTW... I really appreciate your responses... I have no one to talk to about this.

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Maybe you two should go to a seminar about money management, or finance management. I'm sure there are some seminars running in your area. I'm going to one next Tuesday called millionaire mind, it's free for the evening seminar... BUT don't get suckered into buying stuff at these seminars, i'm sure they will sell books/tickets/videos or whatever for hundreds of dollars promising you millions of dollars.

 

I think you need to take his name off your account and limit his spending. He treats money like a little kid, you need to start controlling his spending like a little kid. He will probably get mad, but tell him the truth. You can't support him anymore with only your salary, you are in DEBT. Credit card debt is the WORST! The interest on those are outrageous! Cut those credit cards up immediately! Get him a line of credit, the interest rates on those are much lower. Or just give him a debit card that is only connected to his OWN account.

 

Make sure you control the finances in your home. Your kids only option now is to take out student loans cuz of his huge accumulated debt. Go talk to your banker, tell him about your credit card debt, and he may be able to help you out with a lower interest loan to pay off those cards.

 

Limit his spending, and stop letting him walk all over you. He's having a great time with his 'hobby', while you're working your * * * off. Make him get a job to support himself at least!

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I want to reply to each of your responses... this is so wonderful and much appreciated.

 

I twisted his arm and enrolled us in a 12 week financial seminar at our church last year... Anyone ever heard of Dave Ramsey? Problem was that he signed up for something else that kept him from getting to the class on time so he missed half the material each week. Not exactly the commitment I was looking for. I tried to implement the plan myself but he always had an excuse for not following the rules. Once all his exceptions started filtering in, I became impossible to even tell how much money was coming in, much less how much was going out.

 

He does have this debt that we're dealing with now on separate credit cards that are only in his name. I haven't taken him off of mine yet. I told him that mine are off limits a couple of years ago and he hasn't touched them. He has some integrety.

 

I'm aware of the IRS business/hobby thing and it's something that has had me worried for years now. I'm scared to death of an audit. He does no accounting for his business at all. The only time he ever gets a financial picture of how he's doing is at tax time. He couldn't tell you if he's making money or loosing it at any other time of the year.

 

I know I'm responsible for being in this situation. I'm very non-confrontational. I hate to fight or argue and I get walked on as a result. I hate feeling so unsecure. I need money put away for emergencies. Living like this has me scared to death. All it would take is a significant accident to interrupt one of our incomes and I'd loose everything.

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hmmm, tricky situation huh. I think the best option to do if you love the guy is arrange something between you where you can shift the debt (possibly him paying for it?) and start from scratch.

 

Another thing I think that needs to be added, is once you get yourself sorted out is then think of a way to stay sorted out.

 

For example: Ditch the credit cards!!!!!!!! Seriously, if you know he gets into so much debt WHY decide to have credit cards - let alone on both your names?!

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I think you need to lay down some rules and have him start MAKING some money. Sometimes responsibility comes before what we want, with 3 kids, and all of the debt he needs to prioritize... weigh the options. Do I work at a job as a photographer that makes no money, but its fun. Or do I go and get a job that can pay the bills.

 

Even if he isnt MAKING the big bucks, thats fine, but to go and spend spend spend that is just making the situation even worse. I would tell him that he HAS to get his act together and start contributing financially. If he wants to keep the photo business/ job then he can get something part time on the side to help pay down that interest. I for one wouldnt continue paying his bills... thats not going to teach him any responsibility. Youre paying for all the bills, home, debt etc. while he buys trinkets for his camera. If that camera starts making him the big bucks, then cool, let him do whatever with it. Otherwise its time to lay down the law and have him pay some bills.

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why dont you shift the debt into your name, and have him sign a contract with you (in case the relationship goes to divorce) that he will pay that balance entirely on his own. at 16k im sure the interest alone is a big hunk of cash each month. he can still make the minimum payments to you, and the interest wont kill you as much. Just tell him that if he fails to make the payments its divorce time, the courts WILL make him pay up, especially if you have kids... hell have to get a job if it gets to that point.

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why dont you shift the debt into your name, and have him sign a contract with you (in case the relationship goes to divorce) that he will pay that balance entirely on his own. at 16k im sure the interest alone is a big hunk of cash each month. he can still make the minimum payments to you, and the interest wont kill you as much. Just tell him that if he fails to make the payments its divorce time, the courts WILL make him pay up, especially if you have kids... hell have to get a job if it gets to that point.

 

I think this is what I'm going to end up doing. It just gets so complicated... and I have to be careful about how I try to make him "responsible" or else I end up shooting myself in the foot. Let me mention again a detail that may have been lost in my previous post, he does have a "regular" job... he has a regular, if modest income with zero benefits (so I end up providing all those too). The thing is, it does cost "US" about $300 a month in nothing but interest. He can't get a loan or another card that will have interest as low as mine... so by holding out and not helping him, I still have this excessive interest payment coming out of our combined household income. If we were talking about "his money" vs "my money" and we lived in a rental house or appartment, it would be a whole lot easier to just leave. But he's on the deed as of the last time I refinanced, and also on the mortgage (not because I needed him to get it, I included him so he'd feel like it was his home too, and it would help him repair his credit rating that was trashed by his first marriage). After all, the reason I had to refinance was to cover the $30,000 of debt he caused me to accumulate by not working for almost a year... I didn't really want to take it off his hands completely.

 

All of you that said that I need to fix myself are right. I need to take a stand and put my foot down. I'm just so co-dependent that it kills me to make someone mad at me. I don't understand where this comes from... or even if knowing where it comes from would help me overcome it. I seriously need individual therapy... but I can't afford it.

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I think you just need to start figuring out how to cut your finances from him. I know you feel like you need to help him out, but the fact that his income, or lack there of and you supporting him and his spending habits is or has ruined your own credit report along with your finances.

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just wondering how that talk ever went down... did you ever discuss this yet?

 

My girl has a lot of debt (not so much as your man) and it isnt nearly as much of a concern, it isnt really affecting me so much, other than she cant help out a LOT. Just makes me realize how important it is to keep a handle on money, even if it is 'his money' or 'hers'

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My husband just informed me today that he has $16,000 worth of credit card debt on cards that charge him 24% interest and that he's worried and stressed out about it because at that rate, he can't seem to get the balance to go down.

Would this work for you?

 

"Hon, I've been so disrespectful of you in the past, trying to fix your debt instead of trusting you to find the extra work or the raise that will pay the banks what you owe them. I think I've hurt our marriage doing that. I want you to know that I respect you and have every confidence that you'll get this taken care of before _____ starts college. You don't need me to fix it. But if it will help, I can pick up a bit more of the housekeeping while you're working on this. Thanks for letting me know what's going on."

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