Re: My wife is making my financial life miserable
10-29-2011 01:54 PM
drkaje - you did a great job expressing your thoughts.
cc - there is no easy answer. Either she makes changes or she doesn't. Either she can make changes or she can't.
This is a generic, blanket statement that may or may not apply to your situation --- the people I know who have had spending money issues have had emotional or mental disorders. Some disorders are diagnosed, others have not been.
For example - the x I mentioned earlier - diagnosed with being Malignant Narcissistic.
For example - an old roomie not mentioned - depression, obsessive compulsive (OC).
For example - a friend - emotional issues that she was not loved, so she compensated by buying herself gifts.
For example - a friend - emotional issues from being abused, so she compensated by buying herself things because she was "entitled" to them and the world "owed" her
I am not in your home, I have not met your wife, and I have no idea what the underlying issues really are. But there is always a reason for the things we do. And finding the real reason is sometimes a painful struggle.
If her dad can set her straight, bring him onboard! Let her be angry with him, or you, or God - whatever it takes so she doesn't financially ruin your lives!
You mentioned your wife did not finish high school. That was important enough to you to mention and it's probably a factor in this situation. Maybe your wife doesn't feel like she can accomplish the basics of being financially responsible.
I am a big advocate for making the finances a family affair. I won't disclose all of the finances to the kids, but I did start educating them early on with pieces of the big picture. As young as 6 yrs old, they were part of deciding if we were going to order a pizza or cook a pizza, go out to eat or rent a movie. I would phrase it something like, "Ok, Molly suggested pizza for family night. That would cost about $20 for a pizza to be delivered to the house. That would use up all of the "family fun" money. It also means we can not rent a movie at all this month. What would you like to do?" One of my favorite ones was this - "Ok, if we go out to eat, that will cost us about $60. That is equal to about one month of cable or three nights of pizza delivery." The kids usually made good decisions. And they learned the if we did this, it affected that.
Bring her dad in. See if he can help.
Ask your wife what her financial goals are too.
And if you can/will, bring the kids on board and make it a game.
And keep us posted!
You seem to have some insight regarding my dilemma, so I'll toss this idea out there and see what you think:
I am convinced that my wife feels helpless regarding the finances in our house. It frustrates her that I don't earn enough to allow for the regular frivolous purchase - and she spends to compensate for that frustration.
I am of the opinion that if she earned her H.S degree (which she is one remedial-level English class from earning), got a part-time entry-level job that pays $7-8/hour or more (kids are in school full-time now) and had some pocket money in the range of $400-600/month, she would empower herself more and focus less on what I provide.
The problem is, she doesn't seem to be on-board with taking that last class even though she would attend for free (I am a faculty member of the college) and only have to attend one day a week. I am sure this is due to the fact that she has been, by choice, a stay-at-home mom for a decade now and is a little scared to enter the world of academia and business (God knows that would be a rational fear). Any advice/thoughts you might have (and that goes for everyone contributing here) would be appreciated.
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