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How do I make this work?

New Member

How do I make this work?

I am hoping someone on here has been in my shoes and can give me some guidance.  I have been married to my spouse for over 10 years.  During that time, we have been on a financial roller coaster nearly 100% of the time.  I am the primary breadwinner while my spouse earns about half of what I bring home.  We have joint accounts on everything and always have.  We lost a house a few years ago, back before I had my own career and I wasn't allowed to manage the finances because "he made the money."  We somehow managed to tread water enough to not file bankruptcy.  Fast foward to now.  Here we are, sinking in 6 figure student loan debt.  Additionally, one of our biggest problems is that my spouse will log in to our joint bank account, see a $$ amount, and go spend like crazy.  Paying bills is not a forethought and the money is just blown on stuff.  My spouse cannot get credit at all.  He is still of the mindset that "I make money, I can spend it."

 

Here is where I am struggling today.  I have added AU cards for my spouse on all of my current cards.   He has run up my utilization on both cards to 80%.  I have been working my butt off for over a year to get my credit in better shape.  I am tired of living in the 500 range on credit scores and living a cash life.  I have been taking every measure possible to cut spending and pay bills on time.  But he just came behind me and blew my utilization out of the water.  I treat my cards like debit.  I don't spend what I can't immediately pay off.  I cannot pay off this kind of debt immediately and I am furious.  I know once it is paid down, my scores will recover.  But that isn't the point.  I added him as an AU to help his scores as he cannot get a card and didn't have any good TLs reporting.  I'm pissed at myself for handing him the cards.  I am pissed that I had an entire conversation with him that these cards are to stay in his wallet with no use and reiterated, seriously don't  use them unless absolutely necessary.  Instead, he comes home with new clothes and things we don't need after his spending spree.  

 

Eventually, I would like to be in a good place financially to purchase another home.  He seems hellbent on keeping us in "can we even get a rental with our scores" territory.  This isn't a new problem.  He has always been very financially irresponsible.  I've dealt with it this long but I am at my wits end.  I am not the very best at managing money either, though I have been making a valid effort to shape up and get with the program.  I have taken control over all of the household finances and should have done that a long time ago.  I have learned so much about financial management on these forums and have gotten some really great advice from supportive people.  I am just stumped here.  We are now in our mid 40s with children.  It is beyond past the time that he should have grown up.   How on earth do people stay married when one simply will not grow up and act like an adult??  When we moved to a neighboring state for my job, he wouldn't get off his behind to find work for 9 months.  I was applying to jobs for him because he had no motivation or was "too busy" at home with our kids.  He finally did get work and quit after 6 months, to go another 6 month stint unemployed.  He just has no desire to care for our family financially.  He doesn't seem bothered by leaving the burden to me.  

 

Sorry for the book-long post that is jumbled and probably rambling more than anything.  I am just at a loss on what to do with this whole situation.

Message 1 of 22
21 REPLIES
New Member

Re: How do I make this work?

Adding, my husband was the breadwinner for the first 5 years of our marriage.  He then lost his job and our moms paid for us for a year while we tried to recover.  (All still during the time I wasn't allowed to manage finances).  Once I started my career, I took over finances because I was making double the money he ever did and didn't give much choice.  Though I still couldn't fully manage finances completely as I didn't have access to all of our accounts.  Yes, even the joint accounts.  

 

my Fico8 scores all in upper 500s/lower 600s range.  Those are actual Fico, not CK or some other fako score. I have brought those up over the past year from the upper 400 range.  

 

My husband is in the low 500 range right now. 

Message 2 of 22
Valued Contributor

Re: How do I make this work?

im sorry to see yet another post about this.. i posted this before on another post.. my exhusband was the same way could not stop spending money.. we got married at 22 and were divorced at 28.. when we got divorced my ex father in law showed me a book in which he kept track of how much my ex husband had borrowed through the years to pay bills..  i was naive, or chose to keep my eyes closed or both.. it was in the thousands of dollars..

 

ive kept in touch through the years and to this day nothing has changed.. i dont have any advice for you really just want you to know you are not alone.

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Message 3 of 22
Established Contributor

Re: How do I make this work?


@wrote:

I am hoping someone on here has been in my shoes and can give me some guidance.  I have been married to my spouse for over 10 years.  During that time, we have been on a financial roller coaster nearly 100% of the time.  I am the primary breadwinner while my spouse earns about half of what I bring home.  We have joint accounts on everything and always have.  We lost a house a few years ago, back before I had my own career and I wasn't allowed to manage the finances because "he made the money."  We somehow managed to tread water enough to not file bankruptcy.  Fast foward to now.  Here we are, sinking in 6 figure student loan debt.  Additionally, one of our biggest problems is that my spouse will log in to our joint bank account, see a $$ amount, and go spend like crazy.  Paying bills is not a forethought and the money is just blown on stuff.  My spouse cannot get credit at all.  He is still of the mindset that "I make money, I can spend it."

 

Here is where I am struggling today.  I have added AU cards for my spouse on all of my current cards.   He has run up my utilization on both cards to 80%.  I have been working my butt off for over a year to get my credit in better shape.  I am tired of living in the 500 range on credit scores and living a cash life.  I have been taking every measure possible to cut spending and pay bills on time.  But he just came behind me and blew my utilization out of the water.  I treat my cards like debit.  I don't spend what I can't immediately pay off.  I cannot pay off this kind of debt immediately and I am furious.  I know once it is paid down, my scores will recover.  But that isn't the point.  I added him as an AU to help his scores as he cannot get a card and didn't have any good TLs reporting.  I'm pissed at myself for handing him the cards.  I am pissed that I had an entire conversation with him that these cards are to stay in his wallet with no use and reiterated, seriously don't  use them unless absolutely necessary.  Instead, he comes home with new clothes and things we don't need after his spending spree.  

 

Eventually, I would like to be in a good place financially to purchase another home.  He seems hellbent on keeping us in "can we even get a rental with our scores" territory.  This isn't a new problem.  He has always been very financially irresponsible.  I've dealt with it this long but I am at my wits end.  I am not the very best at managing money either, though I have been making a valid effort to shape up and get with the program.  I have taken control over all of the household finances and should have done that a long time ago.  I have learned so much about financial management on these forums and have gotten some really great advice from supportive people.  I am just stumped here.  We are now in our mid 40s with children.  It is beyond past the time that he should have grown up.   How on earth do people stay married when one simply will not grow up and act like an adult??  When we moved to a neighboring state for my job, he wouldn't get off his behind to find work for 9 months.  I was applying to jobs for him because he had no motivation or was "too busy" at home with our kids.  He finally did get work and quit after 6 months, to go another 6 month stint unemployed.  He just has no desire to care for our family financially.  He doesn't seem bothered by leaving the burden to me.  

 

Sorry for the book-long post that is jumbled and probably rambling more than anything.  I am just at a loss on what to do with this whole situation.


I think you need to speak with a marriage councelor not a credit board. But as a credit board member,

1. Remove him as AU on all cards

2. Open seperate bank account so he does not have access to current income.

3. Freeze credit reports so he cannot add you as a cosigner for anything or open new credit in your name.

4. Don't worry about his scores.  You can always buy a cheaper house without his income counted in.

 

Message 4 of 22
New Member

Re: How do I make this work?

Thank you.  It feels very isolating, to be honest.  I keep thinking that surely there are other people that have this figured out.  But we always seems to be drowning.  I feel like I have kept my eyes closed for a very long time, allowing a lot of my own expenses to be neglected and whatnot.  Credit scores aren't everything and don't establish a person's identity.  But I don't feel like it should have to be such a stretch to make sure our scores are at a minimum of "get a place to live" range.  For so long, I wasn't allowed to manage any of the finances.  Well, I take that back.  I was allowed to use our debit card for groceries and would need to ask permission for gas.  But again, I wasn't making the most money then.  I say I wasn't working back then, but I mean outside of the home.  I did have three stay at home jobs that brought in income, just not as much as his.  So for him, "I wasn't working." 

 

Anyway, today feels like a huge struggle.  I am just so mad that I've been trying so hard to protect my score.  It is my fault for giving him AU on my cards.  I honestly felt like he had been trying like I had.  That we had a shared goal of "buy a house" and he was on board.  Every conversation we had suggested that he was in complete agreement.  Then I wake up and find my cards all but maxed out on unnecessary things.  I feel like this is never going to end.  I don't know how to approach the "lets split finances and get separate bank accounts" conversation.  We have young kids so leaving seems drastic, but staying seems detrimental because we are always struggling financially even though we make great money.  It shouldn't be this hard.

Message 5 of 22
New Member

Re: How do I make this work?

Thank you for the solid advice, Kree.  Yes I agree a marriage counselor is needed.  I posted here because I thought I could get advice regarding how other people approach this type of relationship.  Surely I can't be alone in this type of marriage.

Message 6 of 22
Valued Contributor

Re: How do I make this work?


@wrote:

Thank you.  It feels very isolating, to be honest.  I keep thinking that surely there are other people that have this figured out.  But we always seems to be drowning.  I feel like I have kept my eyes closed for a very long time, allowing a lot of my own expenses to be neglected and whatnot.  Credit scores aren't everything and don't establish a person's identity.  But I don't feel like it should have to be such a stretch to make sure our scores are at a minimum of "get a place to live" range.  For so long, I wasn't allowed to manage any of the finances.  Well, I take that back.  I was allowed to use our debit card for groceries and would need to ask permission for gas.  But again, I wasn't making the most money then.  I say I wasn't working back then, but I mean outside of the home.  I did have three stay at home jobs that brought in income, just not as much as his.  So for him, "I wasn't working." 

 

Anyway, today feels like a huge struggle.  I am just so mad that I've been trying so hard to protect my score.  It is my fault for giving him AU on my cards.  I honestly felt like he had been trying like I had.  That we had a shared goal of "buy a house" and he was on board.  Every conversation we had suggested that he was in complete agreement.  Then I wake up and find my cards all but maxed out on unnecessary things.  I feel like this is never going to end.  I don't know how to approach the "lets split finances and get separate bank accounts" conversation.  We have young kids so leaving seems drastic, but staying seems detrimental because we are always struggling financially even though we make great money.  It shouldn't be this hard.


yes.. i wasn't "allowed" to manage the finances either or have money.. so i thought he was handling it.. i never asked any questions.. just went to work and came home and pretended like everything was fine.. he was handling it all right by going to daddy and borrowing money just to pay rent and the basic utilities.. to this day i dont know how i ever let myself be in that situation but.. i was young and very naive i suppose..

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Message 7 of 22
Established Contributor

Re: How do I make this work?

I am in a similar situation. My Fiancee of many years works at home and earns far less than I. She also has little financial sensibility and can't plan ahead.   So we keep seperate accounts. I take care of all the household needs, and she can spend her money on clothes and bars as she likes. We do have one joint account, but it is kept with a minimal amount of money as anything I put in there gets spent quickly.

 

This works for us, because we've always done it, not sure if seperating already joint finances would work,

 

EDIT: as a side note, I did spend many thousands of dollars paying off her credit, only to have it charged back up again.  Money I didn't really have to spend, but "If my cards get paid off, I can help contribute to the household more" she said. Love her, but I've never gotten a dime in money unless I ask her to buy some milk at the store and she ends up paying for it.

Message 8 of 22
New Member

Re: How do I make this work?

Sasha - same here for those first 5 years.  Since I've become self-aware of the credit process, I have begun tackling the mess made on my reports from joint accounts.  Late payments still hurting (think 180d +) from payments I was oblivious to, because I didn't have access.  That tide turned in our relationship when I began the role of breadwinner and didn't give much say to him in regards to access accounts.  I kind of grew a backbone and stepped up.  Maybe all of that is weighing on me too because I remember how it all felt to feel so alone and dependent.  I am just so dang mad that the progress I've been making has been somewhat haltered with one or two swipes of AU cards.  Step one, admit the problem.  Ha!  Step two, cut off the AU access.

 

Message 9 of 22
New Member

Re: How do I make this work?

Kree - That is what I'm afraid of I guess.  That splitting finances after all these years will be a nightmare.  Or feel like we are glorified roomates, with my bills and his bills, after spending years and  years of everything together.  I'm honestly not trying to hold on to the nostalgia of it all.  I just want to protect what I'm building.  If he isn't on board, he can hurt his own scores.  I don't intend to let this happen anymore.  If I can't help his spending habits, I can at least do myself a favor and protect what is mine and only mine (my score).  Ugh it just sucks so much to have to make these choices!

Message 10 of 22