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GFs spending & finances holding US back...

Super Contributor

Re: GFs spending & finances holding US back...

Had a talk with her today.  I feel it was productive.  At first I think she took it as a slight attack on her, but within a few minutes she could see that I was right and that I was deeply upset by it.  I even referenced my two past ex's that I had similar issues with and I know for sure she didn't like being compared to them at all.

 

She agreed to immediately start paying those 2 bills (car insurance and cell phone) and when the Care Credit is paid off next month she'll start paying me the $200/mo that she used to pay them.  So this month I'll be getting $200 from her, and going forward I'll be getting $400 every month.  She agreed to transfer it from her bank account to mine so that we both have a record of the transactions.

 

I told her for the next 3-6 months I'm content with this plan as she's paying all of her own bills... HOWEVER, I told her she needs to start thinking ahead now so that within 6 months she also starting to contribute to some of our combined bills.  We talked income today and agreed that she makes about 1/3 of what I make, so I said ultimately I expect her to be contributing 1/3 toward our combined bills.  I'm pretty sure we're on the same page now and that she understands.  We'll see how the next couple of months go.  She knows that I absolutely loathe when packages are showing up at the house all the time now, so we'll see if her spending drops a bit now.  She did agree that she spends too much, so I'm glad that she see it as a problem.

 

Thanks for the advice everyone, I'm hoping today was a start of better financial things to come.

Message 11 of 35
Established Contributor

Re: GFs spending & finances holding US back...

Great news! Continue to have regular, open conversations about the finances and you two should be golden.



Giving up on the images for now

Stepped out of the garden 10/9/16

Message 12 of 35
Valued Contributor

Re: GFs spending & finances holding US back...

I'm not sure that I can say anything that has not already been said. My boyfriend and I always work our finances so that either of us would be able to pay all of the bills if needed in an emergency, but we actually pay them equally. We also have a son together so I think we both like knowing that either of us would be able to pay the bills and care for our son if something was to happen to the other.

 

Beyond that, we lend money to each other all the time and always pay each other back. Maybe you need to make it clear to her that she does in fact owe you 3,500 and you are not going to absorb this cost as a household expense. I actually keep a little note in my phone of exactly how much he owes me. He knows this. It is never weird. Occaisionally he says "hey how much do I owe you?" I look in my phone and tell him. He then either gives me some or all the money that he owes. Most of this is because he is AU on most of my cards and uses them for daily expenses and then gives me the cash for what he has spent. He told me that most couples would find this a strange arrangement but I think it is perfectly normal. I previously had one of those boyfriends that expected me to pay for everything and his money was his money. I won't do that again. My bf has an ex-wife that had the same philosophy of letting him pay all the bills and then she spent everything else. He says that isn't happening again either. We are pretty happy with our formal agreement. Exchanging money is never awkward between us because we both know that the other will pay up.

 

Her issue with not paying any of the bills is a separate thing. My first reaction is to tell you to cut your losses and run away, but I am kind of cold-hearted so maybe my way isn't the best. Do you think you can live with her for the rest of your life if the situation doesn't change? If not, you should address the problem now. The longer it goes on, the more you are condoning it by not correcting her behavior.

 

Good luck to you, my friend!! It won't be easy. Us girls can get downright defensive sometimes. I hope things work out the way you want them to.

 

EDIT: Either I didn't scroll down all the way or you typed your update at the same time I was typing. Either way, sounds like you had a good conversation so maybe this will all work out!!! Smiley Happy

Message 13 of 35
Community Leader
Super Contributor

Re: GFs spending & finances holding US back...

Good going @BBS.  This seems like a very good start.  I think you should have the payments automatically coming from her account to your account in case she forgets you know.

 

Good job and may things get better from here on...

Message 14 of 35
Frequent Contributor

Re: GFs spending & finances holding US back...

Okay, I'm going to give a slightly different take. I should state that I think your gf should definitely contribute her share of the expenses and that she should definitely take responsibility of her present and future finances. The thing I disagree with is what "her share" is.

First, if she makes 1/3 of your salary, her share should be 25% of the expenses, not 33%. If you do the calculation, you would see that I'm right (i.e. 25% is 1/3 of 75%). It may even be lower -- see the next paragraph.

But more than that, you wrote earlier that she has not been able to increase her income because she has been accommodating your schedule. So her income and likely her career development has suffered for you (and your child). You should take this into consideration when allocating financial responsibilities. (I relocated for my husband, taking a 40-50% pay cut in the process. This also has significant effect on my future earnings potential.)

Also, that Care Credit debt is probably a medical debt. If it isn't for an elective medical procedure, then I think you should both be responsible for it. That is, she shouldn't have to pay back the entire balance to you. Health is a family responsibility.

So I think before assigning individual liabilities, you and she should first sit down and figure out what all the bills are: lay it all out on the table, including individual debt. Then discuss what is shared and what is individual. Then you need to look at other financial responsibilities -- to your child(ren) and your future (savings and retirement) -- and how to take care of those.

I suggest starting a joint account where each of you put in your share to cover the family expenses. Then start an (custodial/trust/529) account for your child to which you both contribute. This assumes you both are contributing to retirement and savings. Any money left over after everything has been covered is yours/hers to do with. I also think that seeing as you will likely have more left over, you take charge of building the family rainy day fund.

I think once she sees what's coming in, what's coming out, and what the future needs are, it will be easier to control her spending.
Message 15 of 35
Valued Contributor

Re: GFs spending & finances holding US back...

TP is correct. 

 

If two people have the same income, each pays 1/2. If the 2nd person makes 1/2 the 1st it would not be equitable for the 2nd person to pay 1/2 if you believe joint expenses should be paid according to an income ratio. In this case the 2nd person has 1/3 of the total income and would therefore contribute 1/3 to the joint expenses.

 

Likewise if a person makes 1/3 of the the other their % of total is 25%. Thus, based on income ratio that person would pay 1/4 of the joint expenses [NOT 1/3]

Fico 8: .......EQ 850 TU 850 EX 850
Fico 9: .......EQ 850 TU 850 EX 850
Fico 4 .....:. EQ 809 TU 823 EX 830 EX Fico 98: 842
VS 3.0:...... EQ 835 TU 835 EX 835
Fico 8 BC:. EQ 892 TU 900 EX 900
CBIS: ........EQ LN Auto 940 EQ LN Home 870 TU Auto 902 TU Home 950
Message 16 of 35
Contributor

Re: GFs spending & finances holding US back...


tacpoly wrote:

But more than that, you wrote earlier that she has not been able to increase her income because she has been accommodating your schedule. So her income and likely her career development has suffered for you (and your child). You should take this into consideration when allocating financial responsibilities. (I relocated for my husband, taking a 40-50% pay cut in the process. This also has significant effect on my future earnings potential.)


These were pretty much my first thoughts when OP mentioned they had a child together. There's always two sides to a story, and I wonder what OP's gf's perspective is on all of this. Maybe she shops excessively because there are aspects of her life with which she feels unfulfilled or depressed?

 

BrutalBodyShots, absolutely no disrespect, but have you sat down with your gf lately and just talked about things outside of her financial obligations and how bad she is with money? Like have you asked her things like if she's happy, what she wants from this relationship, and what her personal/career goals are?

 

Despite your experience with past gf's, I don't think most people in a relationship want to feel like they're dead weight or being carried by the other person. Most people take tremendous pride in their financial independence and careers. The reason your gf may shut down when you try to talk to her about her bad money habits isn't because she's a gold digger or entitled brat, but it may be because she already feels horrible and it eats at her enough that you've had to be her financial superman so many times. That would make anyone feel small. And maybe because of this, the only available outlet she sees to re-inflate her self-worth is to buy nice things.

 

I know some people might read the above and think it's nothing but garbage psychobabble, but I think a lot of people with past or current money problems know what I'm talking about. Bad money habits are sometimes legitimately symptoms of other issues. Anyway, I don't know you or your gf, so none of this may remotely apply. Also, I'm definitely not excusing her behavior; I'm just trying to provide another perspective from which to maybe approach things. Regardless, it's obvious you think pretty highly of her for you two to have had a kid and to have stayed together for 5 years considering your sensibilities on responsible personal finance. If you felt like she was anything like your exes, you two would've probably broken up long ago. I hope you guys are able to figure things out.



Last app: 5/26/2015 (Sams Club Mastercard)
Message 17 of 35
Super Contributor

Re: GFs spending & finances holding US back...


Yes-Its-Me wrote:

Good going @BBS.  This seems like a very good start.  I think you should have the payments automatically coming from her account to your account in case she forgets you know.

 

Good job and may things get better from here on...


Thanks for all of the replies above everyone.  Some good points and thought-provoking perspectives.  I'll try and reply to everyone individually since there was a lot of information communicated.

 

Yes-Its-Me:  That's a good suggestion.  She said for now on the 1st of the month she'll do a transfer from her checking account to mine.  I'll let this go for a few months and assuming she has no problems with it let it roll.  If she has a hiccup along the way I'll take your advice and get it going automatically.  She is responsible with making on time payments on her accounts; I'm fairly confident that since she's committed to this that she'll follow through adequately.

Message 18 of 35
Super Contributor

Re: GFs spending & finances holding US back...


tacpoly wrote:
Okay, I'm going to give a slightly different take. I should state that I think your gf should definitely contribute her share of the expenses and that she should definitely take responsibility of her present and future finances. The thing I disagree with is what "her share" is.

First, if she makes 1/3 of your salary, her share should be 25% of the expenses, not 33%. If you do the calculation, you would see that I'm right (i.e. 25% is 1/3 of 75%). It may even be lower -- see the next paragraph.

But more than that, you wrote earlier that she has not been able to increase her income because she has been accommodating your schedule. So her income and likely her career development has suffered for you (and your child). You should take this into consideration when allocating financial responsibilities. (I relocated for my husband, taking a 40-50% pay cut in the process. This also has significant effect on my future earnings potential.)

Also, that Care Credit debt is probably a medical debt. If it isn't for an elective medical procedure, then I think you should both be responsible for it. That is, she shouldn't have to pay back the entire balance to you. Health is a family responsibility.

So I think before assigning individual liabilities, you and she should first sit down and figure out what all the bills are: lay it all out on the table, including individual debt. Then discuss what is shared and what is individual. Then you need to look at other financial responsibilities -- to your child(ren) and your future (savings and retirement) -- and how to take care of those.

I suggest starting a joint account where each of you put in your share to cover the family expenses. Then start an (custodial/trust/529) account for your child to which you both contribute. This assumes you both are contributing to retirement and savings. Any money left over after everything has been covered is yours/hers to do with. I also think that seeing as you will likely have more left over, you take charge of building the family rainy day fund.

I think once she sees what's coming in, what's coming out, and what the future needs are, it will be easier to control her spending.

Understood on the 25% verses 33%.  Honestly, I'm not a stickler for exact percentages; I mean I've paid $10k of her bills over the last 4 years with zero contribution coming from her, so clearly I'm not the type to split hairs over slight percentage differences.  The agreement we've come to for the next 6 months is that she'll simply take care of all of HER bills... not any of our combined ones, so her contribution is still 0%.  In 6 months if she were to take on just one of our combined bills (electric or something) that may bump her to 10%.  Regardless, I don't expect her to be anywhere near a relative percentage to our income amounts for probably a year or longer, but point well taken on the percentages you provided.

 

With respect to her "career development" allow me to respond.  For the entire 5 years we've been a couple she's been in school; she just finished up with her Master's program 2 months ago.  I've had a career in the same line of work for 20 years.  She's had jobs (unrelated to her career goals) throughout her schooling but in no way has my career held back her career development at all during our relationship.  It may have held back a couple of the days/shifts she'd like to work, but she's been able to move things around on her end to essentially work the same "amount" which hasn't significantly held back her ability to earn that part time income. 

 

The Care Credit debt was from when we had been dating maybe 6 months, before we had a child (family) together.  She wanted to get some dental work done, didn't have the credit score to qualify for Care Credit so I co-signed for her.  The agreement when I co-signed was that she'd pay back 100% of the debt.  I completely unrelated discussion is that she was late with several of the payments (which I did not know) and my credit score took around a 100 point drop.  As a result, when I got a car loan in early 2015 with my damaged/low 600's score the best rate I could qualify for was about 4% higher than would have been the case if my score were still in the mid 700's which of course has caused me to pay a ton more interest than would have otherwise been the case.  I respectfully disagree with you that any portion of that debt is mine.

 

I agree with what you said regarding sitting down and laying out all of the expenses.  That is where my head is at, but most certainly not hers.  I have my own monthly income/expense spreadsheet that I track my finances in which has been very helpful, but in presenting that to her she wants nothing to do with it.  She understands the importance of financial management, but clearly isn't as invested in it as I am.  My goal, in time, is to get her more on the "same page" with me and then we can work on a joint account, retirement, etc. but honestly we aren't even close to that point yet.  Baby steps, for sure, is going to be the way this unfolds.

Message 19 of 35
Super Contributor

Re: GFs spending & finances holding US back...


lotsOfPens wrote:

These were pretty much my first thoughts when OP mentioned they had a child together. There's always two sides to a story, and I wonder what OP's gf's perspective is on all of this. Maybe she shops excessively because there are aspects of her life with which she feels unfulfilled or depressed?

 

BrutalBodyShots, absolutely no disrespect, but have you sat down with your gf lately and just talked about things outside of her financial obligations and how bad she is with money? Like have you asked her things like if she's happy, what she wants from this relationship, and what her personal/career goals are?

 

Despite your experience with past gf's, I don't think most people in a relationship want to feel like they're dead weight or being carried by the other person. Most people take tremendous pride in their financial independence and careers. The reason your gf may shut down when you try to talk to her about her bad money habits isn't because she's a gold digger or entitled brat, but it may be because she already feels horrible and it eats at her enough that you've had to be her financial superman so many times. That would make anyone feel small. And maybe because of this, the only available outlet she sees to re-inflate her self-worth is to buy nice things.

 

I know some people might read the above and think it's nothing but garbage psychobabble, but I think a lot of people with past or current money problems know what I'm talking about. Bad money habits are sometimes legitimately symptoms of other issues. Anyway, I don't know you or your gf, so none of this may remotely apply. Also, I'm definitely not excusing her behavior; I'm just trying to provide another perspective from which to maybe approach things. Regardless, it's obvious you think pretty highly of her for you two to have had a kid and to have stayed together for 5 years considering your sensibilities on responsible personal finance. If you felt like she was anything like your exes, you two would've probably broken up long ago. I hope you guys are able to figure things out.


I actually think there is some truth to this and this IS a topic we've discussed many times.  I know for sure that since we've had our son she's been mildly depressed because of the lifestyle changes she's had to make.  I've had to make them too, but I feel I've coped/adjusted a bit better.  She was always the free spirit type that could go out every night and party, do whatever she wanted without planning, etc.  She was level-headed and grounded enough from ever letting it become reckless, but regardless a significant lifestyle change had to happen when our son was born.  Where she used to hang out with friends just about every day, it became maybe once a week.  Most of her close friends didn't have kids either, so naturally those friendships changed a bit where she became closer with the few that DID have children.

 

She did live on her own (paying all of her own expenses) for many years prior to us getting together.  She had her own place when we started dating and the fact that she was able to pay for all of her own expenses by herself and still have money left over to indulge with was quite attractive to me having come from two previous GFs that were terrible with money.  She was always the type though to spend essentially everything she made.  If her income rose significantly, her spending rose to cancel it out.  All of the bills got paid and whatver was left over be it $100 or $2000 it got spent; she was never one to save or have a long term plan.  The issue that I have is that over time the spending simply continued when her income dropped to the point where the spending taking place before her bills were being paid. 

 

I can understand the mild depression due to everything that's changed and that buying nice things can be a way for temporarily dull that.  But, the same way that excessive alcohol consumption is a "bad" way to handle that, so is excessive spending.  I'm not sure really how to fix that issue.  I've suggested counseling/therapy be it individual or as a couple and she's never seemed interested in it.  I'm not really sure what other avenue to pursue to overcome some of those underlying issues?  I appreciate you bringing this up, though, as I do feel it definitely applies to some degree.

Message 20 of 35