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Marrying someone with debt and poor finances.

how2step's picture

What would you do if the person you love, not only has kids, but also has a lot of debt and is also bad with money. For example my gf has a lot of credit card debt yet she continues to take her kids out to dinner and lunch to eat regularely and shops at expensive grocery stores. She also continues to buy her son very expesnive shoes and sunglasses that he ruins or loses quickly and she will replace them when he ruins them. He is 9. How owuld you approach this situation?

GoingWicked's picture

After his debt was applied to our joint tax return, I took over all the finances, paid off his debt, set a budget for necessities and savings, and gave him him an allowance he can spend on anything he wants.  He complains (he’s the major bringer inner of the bacon), but I think the security of living completely debt free is worth it.  And I’m not sure our marriage would have survived otherwise.  

Monkeysee's picture

My brother did the same thing GoingWicked did with his partner, she was awful with money & in debt where he’s always been really well managed. He has full control of their finances, they’re in great financial standing & have a wonderful life. She doesn’t have kids though...

Personally, for me this would be a dealbreaker, especially if the SO is spending uncontrollably on their kids. I’ve been well off, and I’ve been ridiculously broke, and I’m not willing to go down the broke path again. Not for anyone, and especially not for their kids. If she’s putting herself into that much debt just to make sure her kids have the best of everything, good luck getting her to stop. There’s a bigger issue there than simply money.

how2step's picture

I understand this. It makes me nervous seeing what she spends on things that are unnecessary. For example her and her kids eat out way too much. Instead of making sandwiches at home they always have to go out and have them after soccer practice, ballet, etc. You are talking 25 bucks for the 3 of them when it could've cost a third of that eating at home. I'm not a cheap guy but it seems wasteful.  Her kids also are very wasteful and take a lot for granted because she takes them out so much and buys them many things. Then there's the family vacations twice a year which are not cheap. However she is smart with this. She has convinced her mother to go too so grandma ends up footing the bill most of the time. This year she has invited me but I declined to go. Between grandma and her sister she hasn't had to pay for anyones plane ticket, not even her own. Funny how that works.

Kes's picture

When I met my DH, he was separated from NPD BM, and had £80k worth of debt.  He is good with money but NPD BM is not, never has been, and quite a bit of the debt was down to her.  He paid it off within a few years as he was in a well paid job, fortunately. However, NPD BM was, and is, exactly the way you describe your partner. 

She would never eat at home, takeaways and meals out four or five times a week, 2 or 3 foreign holidays per year, constant unnecessary and lavish spending.  DH paid way over the odds in CS, thankfully that is all finished now. My advice is, do NOT combine your finances into a joint account/s. And consider it very carefully before you commit to this person whose approach to finance is so dissimilar to your own. My feeling is that this will only get worse and cause a lot of arguments between you. 

jam's picture

Maybe you should rethink the "getting married" period. If you get married she then has YOUR money to squander. She knows what she is doing to get her mother and grandmother to foot the bill for vacations, etc. 

Just my opinion but I see a future of fighting over finances and you will be angry and resentful when she dips into your hard earned money to waste on herself and her unappreciative children.

 

Winterglow's picture

I've just read over your other posts and, frankly, money is not the only thing I'd be worried about.

  • Her kids have no discipline, no manners and rule the roost.
  • Her mother is of the interfering type and is trying to force push you to marry her.
  • Her ex has no boundaries and treats her home like his.
  • You are expected to pay for all the entertainment if you are with them.
  • Your sex life is lacking.
  • And the list goes on...

My opinion is that if you decide to do separate finances that you will be berated, nagged at, ignored, sulked at, raged at, and so on until you relent. I'd keep my own place and continue dating or move on and let her get on with her husband-shopping because, clearly, all she wants is someone to pay for the life to which she has become accustomed. Don't let it be yoiu.

Swim_Mom's picture

Sounds like my ex-H. I always suspected I was reining him in when we were married. I had no idea how much. When my DH and I began dating, I joked I would need to see his credit report to go much further. He immediately sent me a screen shot of his well above 800 credit rating. I was not really joking - this is also the way I manage my finances and my life. I do not have any respect for people who do not do the same (I am not talking about circumstances like medical bankruptcy, which my friend went through and dug out in like 2 years). I have not much more than disdain and contempt for ex-H  due to his idiotic and childish decisions that have gotten him deeply into debt and likely unable to pay his half of college expenses (that and the fact he chose to move across the country 6 months after our divorce and has never been a real father, but that's not the topic of this thread). DH's ex isn't much better. So not only can someone like this ruin your life if you attach yourselves through marriage, I don't know how you can have any respect or trust in that person. RUN.

tog redux's picture

Kids I can tolerate, being poor with money is a deal breaker for me. Others are willing to be Mommy or Daddy to their partner and take over all finances and give them an allowance, but I am not. To me, it's a sign of immaturity and serious impulsivity if someone can't stop him or herself from ending up in tremendous debt, and I'm not willing to deal with that.  "Bad with money" to me is a cop-out - it just boils down to not spending more than you earn.

I get that people can end up in debt for reasons beyond their control, and that's different. But racking up credit card debt for stuff and meals and trips is a red flag to me of what kind of partner that person will be.

TwoOfUs's picture

Lol.

When I met DH he had about 200K of ‘debt’ in the form of child support. 

lieutenant_dad's picture

My XH spent frivilously, and I stupidly supported it to make him feel better. I, in turn, was miserable while married and contributed to that debt.

That led to me being 25, needing to get out of a bad relationship, with a maxed out credit card, basically no savings, student loans, and a new car.

I put my life on hold for 2 years, living with my parents (calm down, Ste re: I paid rent, all my own bills, and my SF got to dictate how long I lived there), seeing DH in a really uncomfortable way (he was also living with his dad because of money issues with BM). Both of us knew we were at rock bottom.

So, I paid down all my CC debt as fast as possible and squirreled away money as fast as possible. DH did an accelerated trade school program so he could get out working, started telling BM no, and fixed his *really* shoddy credit. He even managed to get a small credit card to pay his gas and help rebuild his credit.

We bought a house and moved in together. House payment is half of rent around here. We set up a budget. Put money into savings, retirement, 529 accounts, and anywhere else we could stash little bits here and there. We WERE one month away from being debt-free (sans mortgage), but our HVAC system went to heaven. So we paid cash for that and need to rebuild our savings while we finish paying off our 0% interest CC of new kitchen appliances (that we could also pay off with cash, but like having the extra each month when issues arise).

I say all this to paint a picture of how I would handle the situation again because I have been happy with the results. I'd make sure that I was financially okay before moving in and on with someone. I would make sure they are financially okay. I would make sure that they would be willing to live on a fairly conservative budget. I would make sure they would be willing to put away as much in savings as possible. DH and I had many, many budget talks before we moved in together. We did mock budgets to figure out, roughly, what we could and couldn't afford. We are at a point where we need to visit a financial planner to figure out next steps because we're both in financial territory that we're unfamiliar with, which is financially stable. We Both recognize we don't have the skills moving forward and need that help.

I know what it's like to be in a relationship where my spouse wanted the newest and nicest of everything, and pouted and acted childish when he couldn't get it. I know what it's like to have a spouse who won't work full shifts or will skip days at work because he'd just rather not and we "had the money" for bills. I had panic attacks in my sleep because I'd dream about how broke we were despite having motorcycles, flat screen television (back when those were new and pricey), sports car, gaming computer, etc. I *never* want to be put in the position again of not being financially free because I am weak-willed and my spouse takes advantages of that while having entitlement for bigger and better than they earn.

I wouldn't move forward with someone until they got their ducks in order. Until they were willing to work out a budget and *stick to it* before living with me. Until they had sufficiently saved an agreeable amount. Finances are a big deal breaker and trigger for me, and I'm not interested in being with someone who can't meet me in a financially healthy middle. I don't need someone to save every penny, but I also can't be with someone who has a larger junk food budget than they do savings account. It puts ALL of us in danger - including making me the breadwinner and sole responsible party to make sure something that should be joint gets done. And I won't be in that position with another adult.

Curious Georgetta's picture

And you have no direct involvement in her spending habits , think how it will impact you when you are inextricably linked to this on a daily basis. You will replace grandma and her sister as the personal money tree.

If you were to have children, is her behavior the behavior that you would want modeled for them? If you were to have children, would you trust that she could adequately support them if something were to happen to you?

 

StepUltimate's picture

Without going into detail, I am in the situation you will be in (& others posted warnings about) if you marrry this woman, as my DH has money/spending issues. It is threatening to destroy our marriage. We took Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University at my urging, and I thought my DH agreed with those sound financial principles. Unfortunately, I was very wrong. He has now decided to finance a luxury purchase in an effort to satisfy his midlife crisis... and he recently ordered a $50k+ vehicle he knew I am not on-board with. Especially since we rent and he has zero savings beyond $15k in his 401k account! Yes, it is financial insanity. And it's called financial infidelity. Thanks to StepTalk, I saw this coming and demanded we get separate checking accounts late last year.

This threatens to end our marriage (my trust is SHOT OUT now) and at my insistance, DH made us an appointment with a marriage counselor, 1st meeting is this morning. Unsure if it will help...

So my jaded opinion is RUN, FOREST RUNNNNNNNN!

SteppedOut's picture

Oh man StepU, I am sorry... things were going so good for you with skid out of the house too!

SayNoSkidsChitChat's picture

It won’t get better and you deserve better. It’s okay to be selfish here and divorce his cheating, financially abusing ass!

Harry's picture

Would be a major life change.  Eating at home vs out.  going on vacation vs staying home.  buying for kids vs stop buying.  It’s either going to work or not,  you have time to find out before moving in.  Major life changes are hard and she has to be committed to it .

SayNoSkidsChitChat's picture

RUN!!!

MrsStepMom's picture

My husband didn’t so much make poor financial decisions but he did stick his head in the sand a bit with how ex spent. I hate to say he “allowed” it because he cannot control another person but that’s the best I can describe it. Circumstance and me saying I won’t be in debt period have calmed most spending. I used to spend a lot more freely as well but I made a lot and it was just my money so I could. Now I really don’t spend at all minus necessities, once in a while a clothing item. I did have to buy some clothes for both of us when we moved from CA to the Midwest since, you know, snow. That was a bit of money since coats are exactly cheap even for cheap ones. Other than that if we “spend” it’s small, usually a useful thing in the end but not necessary and we talk it out first. We spend a bit more than I wanted on our garden this spring but we both really wanted to start growing more of our own veggies. I cook every day and love having it right outside, plus, although I am not a organic “nut” there is obviously a HUGE quality difference so that is a plus. 

He had debt coming in but most of that is paid and it wasn’t an obscene amount. I had maybe $2k but had the cash, it was just stuff I put on my cards doe points. I usually never have more than that on CCs ever unless some emergency occurred. 

MrsStepMom's picture

My husband didn’t so much make poor financial decisions but he did stick his head in the sand a bit with how ex spent. I hate to say he “allowed” it because he cannot control another person but that’s the best I can describe it. Circumstance and me saying I won’t be in debt period have calmed most spending. I used to spend a lot more freely as well but I made a lot and it was just my money so I could. Now I really don’t spend at all minus necessities, once in a while a clothing item. I did have to buy some clothes for both of us when we moved from CA to the Midwest since, you know, snow. That was a bit of money since coats are exactly cheap even for cheap ones. Other than that if we “spend” it’s small, usually a useful thing in the end but not necessary and we talk it out first. We spend a bit more than I wanted on our garden this spring but we both really wanted to start growing more of our own veggies. I cook every day and love having it right outside, plus, although I am not a organic “nut” there is obviously a HUGE quality difference so that is a plus. 

He had debt coming in but most of that is paid and it wasn’t an obscene amount. I had maybe $2k but had the cash, it was just stuff I put on my cards doe points. I usually never have more than that on CCs ever unless some emergency occurred. 

Thumper's picture

Are you desperate? Desperate thinking that you are not worthy of a healthy, balanced relationship?

Right here, right now if your in your 20's and 30s you might figure---ahhhh, I can deal (sorta)..but when you hit your late 40's LIFE smacks you in the face and goals are retirement.

Come on dude...she is a mess. AND she will take YOU for everything you have and then some.

She is a user---she uses her mom AND she is using you.

 

Exjuliemccoy's picture

OP,  you have enough data to make a logical decision. Why are you hesitating?

The two most common reasons for divorce are differences over money and differences over parenting. You already know you are incompatible in these two areas, so think with your head and not your heart.

caitlinj's picture

I could not be with someone who is in debt or who does not know how to handle money. It would be a complete deal breaker for me. However that is just one of the reasons you need to move on and leave her in your past. The others are she has kids who are at best entitled and rule the house, and at their worst are rude, lazy and disrespectful. She also has an ex who is invasive and treats her house as his own. Him going into her house is a no no and red flag. So are his weird phone calls and texts. Don't even get me started on her mother. Let her continue to use her mother(not you). At least the mother gets to meddle in her relationships and control her life. At least her mother is getting something back for all of the money she is being used for. lol. You are not.

flmomma08's picture

Personally, my DH is irresponsible with money and I am the opposite. We clashed a lot in the beginning but thanks to separate finances we have survived. I would never combine finances. It doesn’t really affect me because I already own a home. I just worry about my own accounts and he handles his. I can see this being an issue if you wanted to buy a house together though. 

marblefawn's picture

I dated so many men who never had any money because they'd immediately spend what they earned. They are great to date because no matter what stupid idea I cooked up, they always had money to pay their own way and tag along, so I didn't have to skydive alone in Cuba! But you don't marry these people. And you sure as hell don't marry a package of three of these people if you don't want to foot that bill or live life on the edge of financial ruin.

She doesn't have the same emotional connection to money that you do. She uses money in a way that is completely contrary to how you use money. This is no indictment of either of you -- it's simply fact. But it's a problem that sinks a lot of marriages.

So, do not to legally bind yourself to anyone like this. When you are legally bound to her, her legal troubles are your legal troubles. And money troubles bring legal troubles. She will always be living on the edge because she acts rich. She's self indulgent and she's bred more people she's teaching to be self indulgent. It never occurs to her to worry about money because she's happy to siphon it off other people who won't say NO. She does not need a big fat pile of money...or any money, really...to feel secure enough to sleep at night. So if that matters to you, I'd be on my way from this disaster in the making.

If you pair up with her, you will say "No" to the spending and she will shame and guilt you into giving in or she'll just take the money she needs without regard to anyone else. That's how she lives now, she is showing you exactly who she is, so why wouldn't she do the same with legal access to your money?

I totally believe that old saying, "The poor stay poor by acting rich; the rich stay rich by acting poor."

I have to wonder why you need anyone to tell you she is a disaster. It's clear you see it, so why ask the question? How could you even find her attractive when you say she's sponging money off so many people??? How is that appealing in anyone?

If she can't support herself and her kids, she should NOT be dating anyone. She should be getting her shit together so she's self reliant and then she can put herself out there to date. That's how others know she's a good bet to date -- she has no financial need to complicate a relationship. And if she's self reliant, she won't feel stuck with someone because he pays all her bills. Everyone is better off paying their own way when dating. So yea, she also has priority problems if she's dating without having her house in order.

hereiam's picture

How would I approach this situation? Not by marrying it.

The biggest issues in your relationship, are the top reasons for divorce.

1wonder woman's picture

Well... I'd run if I were you... She sounds just like my boyfriends ex-wife... one of the reasons he divorced her was because she spent money like crazy... what ever she wanted and what ever their kids wanted she saw to it they got it.  She still has not changed... she is in debt out the ying yang. She and her kids are spoiled rotten!  She never makes paying her house payments her top priority.... always late. I have always said in TIME you will see exactly why someone else divorced the person you are dating... yep there is always a reason.  I'd make sure her debt is paid off before marrying her.  Plus once you have already spoiled rotten kids it will be even harder for her to tell them NO.... My boyfriends ex-wife can't tell her kids NO and you see where they are now... divorced.  Remember you can't change her ... so you better think twice before marrying her... 

Rags's picture

Don't marry this financial disaster.  It will adversly impact your own financial security if you do.

No one with this kind of issue is a quality equity life partner.

Take care of you.

Cut her loose.

Old sm's picture

I married a man exactly like that; however, I didn't realize how much debt he had and how poorly he handled finances until after we married and combined our accounts.  His spending on himself and SD almost wiped out my savings covering his ass. A 5yo does not need a $100 pair of tennis shoes.

After a few years of trying to get him financially stable, I finally gave up and separated the accounts. I took over the bills that had to be paid-electricity, water, etc. I refused to pay for the non essentials such as cable. I forced him to be responsible for his credit card and his medical bills. I knew the house was covered and if he didn't pay cable, we didn't have cable. I could live without it.

Once he realized that I wasn't paying his debts and nonessentials anymore, he was forced to get his own butt out of debt. He started to cut back on buying stupid things for himself and SD.  He still does some stupid buying but I won't pay for it and if he gets repossessed, he gets repossessed. Not my problem.

Years later, our accounts are still separated and he's more responsible. Looking back, if I had known about his finances, I may not have married him.  I would strongly suggest you reconsider marrying your financial disaster.