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Was married to a complete opposite

SoCalGardener
Established Contributor

Was married to a complete opposite

I wish the Internet had existed a thousand years ago when I got married. I would've come to a place like this to find advice and support, since my spouse and I were diametrically opposed when it comes to money!

 

He was, and still is, of the mindset that "oh, everything will turn out fine!" I was, and still am, very much in the "you MUST save for the future!" camp.

 

We were married for 30 years. At some point along the way I separated our banking--after his carelessness caused one too many NSF checks, which are anathema to me. So I opened the BofA accounts I still have today, and used those for important stuff, and kept our joint accounts for little things, and periodically checked to make sure they were okay.

 

We're still very close, and see each other often despite living thousands of miles apart now. He's seven years older than I am; he's in his early 70s. He has, for the most part, been blessed with exceptionally good health; I, on the other hand, have not. Our financial situations couldn't be more different. After many years of homeownership (with me), he's now renting a place; he has little savings, not too bad credit, and is happy as a lark. I own a 7-figure home outright, have lots of money in the bank, stellar credit, and am, well, not happy as a lark. So was he right all along? It looks like his method worked best, if you're considering overall happiness, but mine definitely wins for overall security.

 

To be clear, the source of my unhappiness is my continuing battle with chronic illness, that's left me isolated, alone much of the time, and unable to do the things I love. Pre-COVID, I had a near-fatal illness that wiped out my immune system; I was already primarly bedbound, only going out for medical appointments, before the pandemic; once that hit, I HAD to stay home because I couldn't risk exposure. He's perfectly healthy; he's fit, thin, in great shape, and spends a great deal of time doing the things *I* have always loved, like swimming in the ocean, hiking in the mountains, etc. While I sit here on my bed all day with a laptop and TV.

 

I can't imagine (financially) living the way he does. He has plenty of income (both Social Security and VA compensation) that covers his basic needs and leaves a little over each month, but virtually no savings. I just can't imagine being in my 70s and living like that! All things considered, I'm glad we're divorced. I don't know where we would've been when hit with all the catastrophic medical bills I've had, if we had stayed together. Scares me to think about it.

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Message 1 of 20
19 REPLIES 19
sccredit
Valued Contributor

Re: Was married to a complete opposite

I think the sweet spot is somewhere in the middle. People have different tolerances. 

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Message 2 of 20
SoCalGardener
Established Contributor

Re: Was married to a complete opposite


@sccredit wrote:

I think the sweet spot is somewhere in the middle. People have different tolerances. 


Definitely true! And my tolerance level was finally reached.

 

What's odd though, in my case, is that my husband and I were both brought up in a financially responsible manner. His two siblings are on my side of the financial fence, not his! Smiley Happy

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Message 3 of 20
CH-7-Rebuilding
Valued Contributor

Re: Was married to a complete opposite


@SoCalGardener wrote:

I wish the Internet had existed a thousand years ago when I got married. I would've come to a place like this to find advice and support, since my spouse and I were diametrically opposed when it comes to money!

 

He was, and still is, of the mindset that "oh, everything will turn out fine!" I was, and still am, very much in the "you MUST save for the future!" camp.

 

We were married for 30 years. At some point along the way I separated our banking--after his carelessness caused one too many NSF checks, which are anathema to me. So I opened the BofA accounts I still have today, and used those for important stuff, and kept our joint accounts for little things, and periodically checked to make sure they were okay.

 

We're still very close, and see each other often despite living thousands of miles apart now. He's seven years older than I am; he's in his early 70s. He has, for the most part, been blessed with exceptionally good health; I, on the other hand, have not. Our financial situations couldn't be more different. After many years of homeownership (with me), he's now renting a place; he has little savings, not too bad credit, and is happy as a lark. I own a 7-figure home outright, have lots of money in the bank, stellar credit, and am, well, not happy as a lark. So was he right all along? It looks like his method worked best, if you're considering overall happiness, but mine definitely wins for overall security.

 

To be clear, the source of my unhappiness is my continuing battle with chronic illness, that's left me isolated, alone much of the time, and unable to do the things I love. Pre-COVID, I had a near-fatal illness that wiped out my immune system; I was already primarly bedbound, only going out for medical appointments, before the pandemic; once that hit, I HAD to stay home because I couldn't risk exposure. He's perfectly healthy; he's fit, thin, in great shape, and spends a great deal of time doing the things *I* have always loved, like swimming in the ocean, hiking in the mountains, etc. While I sit here on my bed all day with a laptop and TV.

 

I can't imagine (financially) living the way he does. He has plenty of income (both Social Security and VA compensation) that covers his basic needs and leaves a little over each month, but virtually no savings. I just can't imagine being in my 70s and living like that! All things considered, I'm glad we're divorced. I don't know where we would've been when hit with all the catastrophic medical bills I've had, if we had stayed together. Scares me to think about it.


It sounds like financially you are both living the way you want.  In your case your problems are health and not money which is too bad because money can't buy health.   I would just say, with your desire for security, at least you are not dealing with financial difficulties along with your health issues.   That would be a horrible spot to be in.   Good luck with your health.    And good for you guys for working out a relationship that works.

Message 4 of 20
Horseshoez
Valued Contributor

Re: Was married to a complete opposite

My wife and I were kinda the same but different; both from broken homes, both of our childhoods included periods of significant affluence as well as financial despair.  When we met in our mid-30s I'd been self employed for over a decade and she had a corporate job, and we were both in debt, me because I'd helped my mother start a business of her own, and my future wife because she'd severely over spent and didn't understand credit.

 

After we married and had our first child our finances hit a classic good-news/bad-news situation where instead of us becoming financially smart, we simply earned enough to get out of debt, then enough for very expensive house and cars in the suburbs, and then the recession hit.  The fees I was able to charge as a contractor were literally halved and she lost her VP level job with a Fortune-500 company when it imploded almost overnight (and along with it went "high 7-figures" worth of stock options).  Instead of learning our lesson, she opted to burn through her "low 7-figure" 401K to start up her dream business, and along with a sizable SBA loan, spent every dime before the doors opened up.  I'd been coaching financial prudence but by then she was coming to the conclusion I was going to become her ex-husband sooner than later, so my advice didn't count.  Then the other (two) shoes dropped...

 

The first shoe was the debt we ran up on our credit cards while trying to keep her business afloat; we finally closed it after amassing nearly $100,000 in debt.  The second shoe came when I found out my (now former) business partner had effectively done the same thing as my wife, he'd started another business, much of it on credit, and much of that credit in my name (to this day I don't know how he obtained over a quarter of a million in my name), and this new business had yet to turn one red cent of revenue against hundreds of thousands of expenditures.  I took a second consulting gig working mornings in Boston and then evenings 75 miles north into New Hampshire, and even though I was billing over $20,000 per month, it wasn't enough to feed the credit beast.

 

When my wife found out about the debt in my name she promptly announced we were separating; we sold our house at the bottom of the market for a significant loss, and we went our separate ways.  She filed for a Chapter 7 in 2014 and was discharged later that year, I however wasn't so fortunate; I'd taken a well paying job with one of my clients and due to my income, I had to file a Chapter 13 in 2015, finally achieving my discharge early last year.  The irony  of all this is, my wife figured out through all of this I may not have been such a bad guy after all, and we ended up getting back together a few years after separating.  Now we're making good money, we're out of debt, we have significant savings, and are looking at buying a new home in the next year or two.

I categorically refuse to do AZEO!

Message 5 of 20
SoCalGardener
Established Contributor

Re: Was married to a complete opposite


@CH-7-Rebuilding wrote:

It sounds like financially you are both living the way you want.  In your case your problems are health and not money which is too bad because money can't buy health.   I would just say, with your desire for security, at least you are not dealing with financial difficulties along with your health issues.   That would be a horrible spot to be in.   Good luck with your health.    And good for you guys for working out a relationship that works.

Thanks, all around! Smiley Happy

 

People with good health don't always realize just how much that means. It's like a lot of things, I guess: you don't know what you had until it's gone. Money definitely cannot buy health, or happiness, at least in my experience. I'm dead serious when I say that I would gladly give a million dollars for one month of good health--an entire month free of pain, able to do anything I wanted, no restrictions caused by health issues.

 

I'm very proud of the post-marriage relationship we worked out. It was rocky there for a while, with hurt feelings on both sides. But once that passed, and we realized that we actually liked each other, it got a lot better. I'm happy to say that we've done things, like attend our daughter's wedding, as a couple, not seething with hatred for each other! We often (pre-COVID) have entire family get togethers here at my house, where he flies in, my daughter, son-in-law and our two grandchildren come, and we do things as a family. It's pretty awesome, really.

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Message 6 of 20
Jnbmom
Community Leader
Super Contributor

Re: Was married to a complete opposite

Well they say opposites attract.

 

It looks  like he is doing well, he's happy doing what he likes and making it work.

 

Of course we all want to be financially stable . Funny though I know quite a few people that have a lot of wealth and are miserable and others with just enough that couldn't be happier lol.

 

My dad always told me you can't take it with you 😆

 

I just want to have enough to retire on and do  the little things that we never do because we work all the time . 

 

 

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Message 7 of 20
SoCalGardener
Established Contributor

Re: Was married to a complete opposite


@Jnbmom wrote:

Well they say opposites attract.

 

It looks  like he is doing well, he's happy doing what he likes and making it work.

Yes, definitely. And I'm happy for him. But I think about the stress--I mean extreme stress--I used to feel, when we'd be arguing about money and his philosophy was "everything will [magically] work out!" I'm a realist. I use logic for everything. I'd ask him "HOW will money appear in our savings if we don't put it there?!" To which he had no answer, of course. He just thought the universe would somehow magically provide.

 

 

Of course we all want to be financially stable . Funny though I know quite a few people that have a lot of wealth and are miserable and others with just enough that couldn't be happier lol.

 

My dad always told me you can't take it with you 😆

 

I just want to have enough to retire on and do  the little things that we never do because we work all the time . 

 

My mom said the thing about not taking it with you, too! When she was older, she finally started allowing herself a little frivolous spending. Her thing was playing slot machines at casinos. She'd get a twinkle in her eye when asked about that and say "you can't take it with you!" Of course, she was 100% financially stable, was not by any stretch a heavy gambler, never spent more than a few hundred dollars at any one visit. It made me really happy to see her doing that, because I really couldn't remember much, if any, of her spending money on herself in the past, just for the fun of it.

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Message 8 of 20
805orbust
Established Contributor

Re: Was married to a complete opposite

Wow! You guys are very brave to share your stories here @SoCalGardener  and @Horseshoez. It's nice to know that we're not alone in having to deal with the rocky times in life.  You guys have definitely had challenges that may break some people and have come out on the other side better off for it. I both salute, and thank you.

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Message 9 of 20
Horseshoez
Valued Contributor

Re: Was married to a complete opposite

Thanks @805orbust, even at the worst of times, I've always been a "glass is half full" kind of guy, and I believe that has helped me get through the rough patches.  To kind of steal a line often used by Winston Churchill, my approach has always been to, "Keep buggering on!"

I categorically refuse to do AZEO!

Message 10 of 20
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