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kjc143
Posts: 13
Registered: ‎01-30-2012
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Financially UNstable Fiancee

What is the best way to merge finances with someone who's not great (at all) at managing their  finances?  My fiancee hasn't really learned that there is opportunity cost for everything that you do, and  that whatever your current choices are,  you HAVE to give something up in return. We're beginning the process of merging things together, and to a point he really seems ok with abdicating all rights to truly help manage our finances in the future.  I know that's not smart because if I handle everything  then if something happens to me, he'll have no idea where to jump in.  In addition, he just needs to learn how to do this as an adult, anyway.  Does anyone have suggestions on how to do this in a way that works for both of us?  (1. Doesn't overwhelm either of us, 2. We build up a good savings, 3. Doesn't result in a parent-child relationship - I really don't want to tell him what his 'allowance' is every month)

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FrugalRican
Posts: 2,876
Registered: ‎02-02-2012
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Re: Financially UNstable Fiancee

The real question is: Does he WANT to learn?

 

I was in a past relationship for 6 years and she just handed everything over to me and never really cared. She had bad credit, outstanding loans, etc.

It drove me bananas.

 

In my current relationship, I sit down with my girlfriend and we talk about our finances.
We've seen each others credit reports/scores and know each other's balances.

 

It's a whole different ball game when you have someone who is playing as your partner on a team rather than just being the coach to a player who doesn't want to win.

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webhopper
Posts: 7,230
Registered: ‎09-16-2011
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Re: Financially UNstable Fiancee

[ Edited ]

I recommend a book called My Total Money Makeover, get the book and the kit, and it will give you guys a methodology in setting financial goals and creating a budget together... using this program, both parties are responsible for the finances and budgeting, so you get to eliminate the "mommy-mode" or "parent-child" aspect of the relationship.   The program will help him have insight into managing finances in a way that minimizes risk and helps to create a managed cash flow and mutual goals.  He can't literally abdicate all financial rights... He needs to be accountable in that he plays a role in deciding the budget. He can decide that yes, you pay these bills, but also he needs to not neglect financial decisions and discussions alltogether. That is not a loving way to handle the financial merger.


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kjc143
Posts: 13
Registered: ‎01-30-2012
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Re: Financially UNstable Fiancee

SynnDiesel, I'm honestly not sure if he wants to learn and that's where the stress is coming from for me.  It also doesn't help that he's a procrastinator (and I try NOT to nag) and my family as a whole went through financial stress when I was in my last few years of college so one of my primary goals in life is to never be financially unstable again.  His laid back approach to financial management worries me about our future together.  I also believe that for a couple to be successful this is one item that true partnership isn't an option because if we can't find common ground there will always be friction.

 

webhopper, I will definitely check out My Total Money Makeover and hope that it's a tool that sheds some light.

 

Thanks guys!

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drkaje
Posts: 3,492
Registered: ‎07-25-2008
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Re: Financially UNstable Fiancee

Helping and/or teaching is fine but I really wouldn't want to parent an adult.


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IOBA
Posts: 2,696
Registered: ‎08-13-2009
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Re: Financially UNstable Fiancee

kjc143 - DO NOT merge your finances!

 

* You keep your cc, loans, and bank accounts in your name, to yourself.

 

* Let him keep his to himself.

 

This way, you are less likely to suffer from his lack of financial interest.

 

* Don't bail his butt out either, when he gets into financial stress/distress.  You can offer to help him figure out solutions, but let him suffer the consequences of his choices.

 

* If he will learn (and you have said he doens't care to at this time), then try different approaches.   The book & kit someone recommended.  Monopoly money.   

 

* Are you in a community property state?  If so, then his bads (not paying bills, etc) could affect you as creditors try to get you to pay.

 

Last, you might want to reconsider marriage to him.

 

Please let us know how things progress.

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haulingthescoreup
Posts: 28,115
Registered: ‎04-01-2007
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Re: Financially UNstable Fiancee

[ Edited ]

kjc143 wrote:

What is the best way to merge finances with someone who's not great (at all) at managing their  finances?  My fiancee hasn't really learned that there is opportunity cost for everything that you do, and  that whatever your current choices are,  you HAVE to give something up in return. We're beginning the process of merging things together, and to a point he really seems ok with abdicating all rights to truly help manage our finances in the future.  I know that's not smart because if I handle everything  then if something happens to me, he'll have no idea where to jump in.  In addition, he just needs to learn how to do this as an adult, anyway.  Does anyone have suggestions on how to do this in a way that works for both of us?  (1. Doesn't overwhelm either of us, 2. We build up a good savings, 3. Doesn't result in a parent-child relationship - I really don't want to tell him what his 'allowance' is every month)


Just an observation here from someone feeling her age more and more, every day:

 

In a marriage/ partnership, you don't necessarily need to have each partner equally capable of doing everything. For instance, I might be the go-to person for laundry and check-book balancing, and my partner might be the one who grills and pulls out the toolbox to keep things running.

 

Sure, it's always possible that "something might happen to you", but chances are, it won't. If your fiance is genuinely happy with you handling the finances, and that includes you having veto power when he wants to buy a bass boat or something, then why not? A friend of mine, a gifted engineer and salesman, explained that his wife handled all the money details in their 30-year marriage by saying, "We go with our strengths."

 

If he really, really is OK with you alloting the money most of the time, then why not look on this as the exact equivalent of one of you doing the laundry, another vacuuming, the first emptying the litterbox, and the other keeping the cars maintained? It's all just Stuff --the day-to-day details of managing a household, and there's nothing wrong with one of you being in charge of a certain area, as long as you both agree on how everything breaks out.

 

Money is a definite power party in a partnership, and you both need to understand how it affects your relationship (you seem to think that you might wind up being the mom) and your long-term goals.

 

I'd give it a try for a good six months, if not more, before you get married. Take over as much of the $$$ stuff as he's comfortable with. Have regular meetings (or less formally, quick update sessions) about what you're doing and why. Gauge his reactions to what you do, and explain your reasoning if he gets cranky. If it turns out that he's a whiner about not getting to blow money on random junk, then that's probably your message that this isn't where you want to be forever.

 

If it turns out that he's a pouter, or a whiner, or a rager, and he wants to have all the fun of using money and none of the responsibility, then he's probably a perpetual child, and not someone that you want to share a yoke with. You want to find this out now, not later.

 

Try not to get too caught up in all the "oughts." Find out where both of you really are, and see what makes sense for your own unique relationship. :smileyhappy:

 

 

edit to add: and if, God forbid, something happens to you, he will have a model to follow when he's on his own.

 

I do worry a bit about you saying "he just needs to learn how to do this as an adult, anyway." We women have a bad way of trying to mother the men in our lives, and change them into some version of an Ideal Man. He's a human being, just as you are, and he should be allowed to bring his own unique strengths and weaknesses into your relationship, just as you should be. When you start assigning "needs" to your partner, it might be saying more about you, than it is about him. Just a thought. 

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Valued Contributor
IOBA
Posts: 2,696
Registered: ‎08-13-2009
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Re: Financially UNstable Fiancee

haulingthescoreup - that was very nicely said.

 

OP - let us know how things work out.  I think combining the advice (keeping the credit individual, not bailing him out) plus what hauling said would be a great combo.

Member
liebsaz
Posts: 24
Registered: ‎02-02-2012
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Re: Financially UNstable Fiancee

Am I the only one that feels that a partner with a poor financial record, and no ability to manage their own finances is a deal breaker?

 

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GregB
Posts: 1,670
Registered: ‎05-24-2007
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Re: Financially UNstable Fiancee


liebsaz wrote:

Am I the only one that feels that a partner with a poor financial record, and no ability to manage their own finances is a deal breaker?

 


NO, you are not!

 

Run! Quickly!

 

I have only seen this work out one time, ever.

 

FWIW this is the first time I have ever used large fonts in a post. 

 




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