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Fiance is broke, but too proud to admit it

Established Contributor

Fiance is broke, but too proud to admit it

I just moved in with my fiance two months ago. I'll also add that he has ADHD. Leading up to the move, I explained that I was apprehensive since we hadn't sat down to work out all of the logistics and financials. He'd always say we can do that this weekend, but it never happened. He striked me as someone who was good with money, he had savings, never used credit, budgeted, and generally had good money habits. 

 

Today, he only gave me one fifth of the rent payment, with a check for the remainder to be cashed next week. He never discussed this with me. I was a bit miffed because I had a lot of payments coming out of my account today, and his underpayment could have left me in a lurch with my financials. Luckily I had the necessary buffer in my account that it wasn't an issue. 

 

We were grocery shopping a couple of weeks ago and split the bill; his portion overdrafted his account. I made him an AU on my BCP (with a limit) so to help manage his cashflow and to get rewards for his grocery and gas purchases. He has this thing for going to the market nearly every day, and he drives a gas guzzler, so it made sense. I looked at what he's spent on groceries and gas this week, and it's far over what he's budgeted. Considering the figure he told me he has left over each month, it  looks like he's operating at a deficit. I also noticed he paid his cell phone bill late, and late payments are no bueno in my book. I'm looking at the possibility of using NACA for a mortgage and they require you to have paid everything on time for a year in order to qualify. 

 

He currently works a low wage job and states that he plans to get a new job soon. Frankly, I'll believe it when I see it. I've offered to take on a bigger share of rent so that he can have more breathing room, but he refuses because he's the "man" and has to pay at least half. I'm the breadwinner, but I feel compelled to take on more work to make up for his financial shortfallings. I'm also trying to pay off a substantial amount of debt, so things are a bit tight on my end too.

 

I don't know if this is an irregular blip, or the writing on the wall of things to come. I feel like I need to take control of his finances too, but that may make him feel even more emasculated. I plan to sit down with him tonight and hash this out before things get any worse. 


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10 REPLIES
Established Contributor

Re: Fiance is broke, but too proud to admit it

Well, if you were sitting doen last night I may be too late LOL. How did it go?

 

You say you are the breadwinner... how much more do you make (in percentages)? Many people around here split the household expenses based on that percentage instead of 50-50. So for example if you make 100,000 and he makes 50,000 you would pay 2/3 of the bills and he would pay 1/3. Or you could each take certain bills so you don't have to split the bill at the gracery store.

 

Like you already said, you guys definitely need to figure all this out before it gets worse.

 

One thing I am confused about though... what happened to the savings in just 2 months?



Giving up on the images for now

Stepped out of the garden 10/9/16

New Contributor

Re: Fiance is broke, but too proud to admit it

I hope things work out for you two.  I think when it comes to any relationship, and I am no expert.  I think it comes down to common goals and a common philosophy at least on achieving those goals.  You guys are definitely not on the same page.  Egos take loving sometimes especially when despite how well we know our partner, outside influences may be leading towards negative behaviors or negative process/thinking.  Perhaps if you are going to talk to him and instead of him signing on to a budget or constraint maybe you put on some music and add a bottle of wine.  Really talk about your dreams about homeownership and other things and then say I like to sit down for about 10 minutes a month or biweekly just to work on a plan.  Definitely protect all the good work you have done so far, if I did not know any better, I would say that you are financial nerd and he is a free spirit.  Unfortunately, you have to work together.  He should pay 1/2 if he wants to and you should make that allowance.  But he should not do it at the expense of a not being able to pay a phone bill.  I highly recommend financial peace university.  I loved it! It helped me see that I was already doing the kinds of things correctly since I had read Dave Ramsey's The Total Money Makeover.  Of course, personal finance is personal.  I know plenty of people who do not follow Dave Ramsey's investment advice or his advice on cutting up credit cards.  But the relationship advice is pretty good and who knows you may even find that he is the actual nerd and you are the free spender after going through the course.  Other avenues are to do the envelope system which is broken down in this video and is especially good for people who are not married but living together and trying to not necessarily combine financial houses but get bills paid without unnecessary drama. 

TU 791| EQ 795 | EX 784
Established Contributor

Re: Fiance is broke, but too proud to admit it

You basically spelled out my ex husband in a nutshell, and to be honest it should've been the writing on the wall for me. I am hopeful your talk with him went well...money can be such a strain on any relationship and you don't want to go in to a marriage where your financial future is questionable. I unfortunately learned that the hard way. 






Frequent Contributor

Re: Fiance is broke, but too proud to admit it


Simply827 wrote:

I've offered to take on a bigger share of rent so that he can have more breathing room, but he refuses because he's the "man" and has to pay at least half. 

Seems to me there are at least two separate issues going on here. Probably three:

  • His inability to handle money
  • His inability to be honest and transparent with you
  • His wonky notions about relationships:
    • Man must be provider [which, frankly, implies that he values male over female 'worthiness' and responsibility]
    • Couples work together as a team

Been there. Done that. Let me share with you the mistakes I made in the past.

 

  • I didn't have a zero tolerance policy for lying. And that means lying about ANYTHING. NOT telling you something important is the same thing as lying.
  • I worried so much about bruising his "manly" ego that I waited too long to do anything about the situation. No need to be cruel or hurtful, but I should have been firm, factual, pragmatic and, yes, kind.
  • I continued to believe he would change, when I knew in my heart that his was a lifelong pattern that, on some level, I don't believe he really wanted to alter. He was more committed to getting me to tolerate his issues than with being a better person. I should have dumped him as soon as I realized this.
  • I didn't have the balls to say, "I am better at handling our finances, so I will do that. You are better at managing house and car maintenance, so you will handle that." I should have insisted that I take care of all our finances, including putting him on an allowance and forbidding the daily market visits. Even if that meant taking all his cards away.
  • I went along with financial decisions that I KNEW were horribly stupid, just because I worried about hurting his feelings or because I lacked the energy to debate it with him. I should have flatly refused to drain my retirement fund.

Because I didn't do these things, I spent the vast majority of our long-term relationship bailing us out of financial situations that were completely avoidable. Ultimately, I ended up resenting him for the peace of mind and security he robbed us of. MORE IMPORTANTLY, I have really struggled with bad feelings towards myself for being such an idiot. It took me over a dozen years to get my self-respect back. I am STILL trying to recoup money so that I can actually retire someday.

So here's the dealio: When there is a financial disconnect in a relationship, it's doomed to failure. Doesn't matter how much you have in common. How much you both like to travel. How thoughtful he is on Valentine's Day and birthdays. How great the sex is. For a relationship to work, you have to work together towards common goals. If one party is repeatedly screwing up and sabotaging the team effort, they need to be taken out of the equation. By that, I mean that they either need to A) not be in a position where they can negatively impact The Greater Good (e.g. you take over all financial management) or B) be taken out of the picture entirely.

 

The relationship I described above was a 25 year marriage. We've been divorced for 16 years now, and are good friends. I just got remarried last month, to a man I've been close friends with since childhood. We started a romantic relationship 15 years ago. As soon as we moved in together, I saw all of the indicators that he was NOT a good financial manager, and we had periodic discussions about it. And then he proposed to me in 2007. Ack.

 

NO WAY was I going to deal with THAT again.

 

So I sat him down one night and laid it all out. I made sure to emphasize the things that HE is much better at than I am and that he should manage, but I also made it clear that for this to work, I would have to insist on taking over the financials. I also let him know that we needed to go over our credit reports. TOGETHER. And that transparency and full disclosure is a must. I also explained to him the whys of my mindset, and that it has EVERYTHING to do with making sure that we succeed financially and have a financial life that is as stress-free as possible.

 

That conversation was a long time ago now. I handle all of our finances, and love it. We have gotten a little lazy in one area (those darn nearly-daily grocery store visits he does), but I'm getting our groceries back on a budget this week. We BOTH have scores over 800 at all three CRAs. I love being in control of the finances, and know I've done a good job for us. HE LOVES me being in control of the finances, because he knows he doesn't have to worry about it at all. There is NEVER any financial friction between us. Ever. About ANYTHING.

 

I should also mention that I am the primary breadwinner in the house. He makes about 1/'3 of what I make.

 

Good luck to you with your situation!

 

 

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New Visitor

Re: Fiance is broke, but too proud to admit it

When it comes to relationship issues like this, it's going to be pretty difficult to change him. Everything you want to do ( help him improve his finances ) will have to be done through baby steps. I know when it came time for me to speak with my girlfriend regarding her credit and finances, it was just as difficult. It's taken almost a year but shes finally on the right track and has improved her credit +50 points. I'm not going to suggest you leave him or anything like the other people - but give it a shot and see if you can work through it Smiley Happy 

Established Contributor

Re: Fiance is broke, but too proud to admit it

Thanks for your input everyone. I'm glad the overall message I got from you all was to be firm, but kind, and work on it, not RUN. I posted in another forum and that was their consensus. 

 

Our initial talk went well; he agreed to me taking care of the financials. However, he never formally transferred that right to me. It appears he's still floundering, and hasn't made efforts to address the problems. I worry that it's a pattern of behavior, whereas he insists it's a temporary lack of income. I currently make about three times what he does, but I'm considering taking a new position (my dream job) which will leave me at about twice what he makes. I'm a little apprehensive since that will leave me less able to cover his shortfalls, but this is an opportunity I couldn't give up. 

 

Regarding his savings, he said he had lost most of it in a business that didn't make it. He mentioned last night selling some stock to buy a car. I think his income was bolstered recently from the sale of a few cars. Lately, he's bought a few duds, and hasn't made much profit on the deals. That explains his lack of cushion each month I worry that these financial issues will break us. I will try again to convince him to let me take over the finances and make a firm date to do so, as well as hold regular meetings regarding the finances. I'll try my best to make the situation work for us, but I also won't foolishly stay in a relationship that is doomed financially.


Starting Score: 515
Current Score: EQ08 711 EX08 731 TU08 735
Goal Score: 740+

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New Contributor

Re: Fiance is broke, but too proud to admit it

Thanks for the update!  I just wanted to say that handing over the reigns of one's personal finances makes him and you brave.

 

Try to keep the meetings brief, you do not want his eyes to glaze over.  Don't forget to mention milestones like for example,

  • with your help, honey together, all our bills are paid this month
  • our emergency savings is <$1500> 
  • we have $400 an extra going towards debt
  • we have 3 more months and this debt is gone
  • if there are no updates, still meet and toast to your ongoing progress.

Also, I encourage you to get a month ahead on all bills.  This way his short coming or your new job dream job will be less of a burden.  Or join or start a 52-week savings challenge.   

TU 791| EQ 795 | EX 784
Regular Contributor

Re: Fiance is broke, but too proud to admit it

So glad to hear there's been some progress!


Simply827 wrote:

Our initial talk went well; he agreed to me taking care of the financials. However, he never formally transferred that right to me. It appears he's still floundering, and hasn't made efforts to address the problems. ...

 

... I will try again to convince him to let me take over the finances and make a firm date to do so, as well as hold regular meetings regarding the finances. I'll try my best to make the situation work for us, but I also won't foolishly stay in a relationship that is doomed financially.


You'r being smart about this. You're doing a great job.

 

I am concerned about the need to re-convince him of something he's already agreed to. As an adult, even with the struggles of ADHD, he's able to follow through with other things in life, right? If I were you in this situation, I'd be steering things in the direction of, "So, you agreed to do this, but aren't actually following through. That's causing me to worry about finances a lot. Can you explain to me what's going on regarding the transfer of finances over to me?"

 

I'm afraid the pattern I'm noticing is that he feels it's okay to tell you something is going to happen and then never follow through on it. E.g. previously regarding a discussion of financials you said, "He'd always say we can do that this weekend, but it never happened."

 

I see a few different possibilities, here.

 

One is that he's incredibly avoidant of the topic of finances, as a psychological issue due to the topic being stressful to the point of traumatic for him. I am this way with doing math, and with any paperwork regarding my car accident. When someone is this way, it's like your brain literally refuses to focus on it. You don't have a choice in the matter, any more than you could force your eyes to focus on an object that's too far inthe distance. If he is genuinely doing everything he can to make it happen and it's still not happening, then this might be the case. And if so, he might need to you actually walk him through each step as he does it, with a lot of compassion and room to take breaks. The only way I ever got my accident paperwork filled out, after 5 months straight of attempting, was for my partner to do the actual writing while I spoke my answers while pacing wildly, and stopping frequently for a breaks as I'd get stressed out and overwhelmed.

 

If this is the case, the good news is that once you have control of the finances, he doesn't need to be bothered with the subject anymore. I'd suggest not doing the regular meetings, or if you do sharing only the barest necessity of information that he needs to know. Keep in mind this issue is dreadfully embarassing, because I'm competent in all other areas of life but that wa something I just couldn't do on my own. If this is the case with him, it's very hard to admit it and tackle it with someone else there to see how eaisly you crumble.

 

The other possibility I'm seeing to explain this pattern is very different - it's possible he feels it's okay to tell you he'll do something and never follow through. I've especially seen this with men who feel strongly about gender roles, and think that they don't need to answer to their partner. Such men generally joke amongst eahc other when they're alone about how they "handle" their woman by assuring her they'll do something but then never doing it. And they laugh about how she'll forget, or gripe about how she keeps nagging on it, or whatever. If you think this might be the case, then I'd recommend setting an ultimatum: "follow through by this date or I move out." And being ready and willing to follow through on it. Because you need to know if he's going to do this or not for your own peace of mind.

 

Emphasizing your own needs rather than his flaws can help in either case. "I need this to feel comfortable/safe/secure." He should care about what you need. If his actions aren't matching what you need, then something needs to be done about that. If he isn't willing to actually put any effort towards that, then either 1) he doesn't believe you actually need it, 2) he doesn't care about your needs, or 3) is unable to bring himself to do what you need. And none of those are good.

 

Sorry you're going through this. Best of luck!

Established Contributor

Re: Fiance is broke, but too proud to admit it

Awesome response Batsy. Thank you.

 

I think he may fall more into the former category. It is possible that the whole money aspect is traumatizing to him. His family essentially lost everything when he was younger and he did everything he could to keep them afloat. He also lost a good bit of his savings in a business venture. His ADHD is also likely preventing him from following through. 

 

Thank you for opening my eyes to this possibility. I'm not the most compassionate at times, and it's been difficult dealing with the symptoms of his ADHD. 


Starting Score: 515
Current Score: EQ08 711 EX08 731 TU08 735
Goal Score: 740+

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