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Is my attitude towards money unhealthy? - Page 2

post #21 of 59
We tithe regularly but we are definitely not up to the 10% mark. I interpret it as God has blessed my family abundantly and has given us resources ie money to manage. Because of our many blessings we are able to give cheerfully and bless others. God doesn't want us to go into debt to tithe and I think that giving cheerfully of your time is sometimes even more important that writing a check. Lots of people can do that for selfish purposes. I hope that the two of you can work together and get on the same page about your finances as otherwise it is such a huge source of stress. Good luck mama!
post #22 of 59
Do you think that your dh could manage the money in a way that would allow that giving and still meet the obligations you have? Is this about your attitude towards money, or do you not trust him to be reasonable and rational in managing the money?

We have given 10% whenever we had income. The way we figured it, if we could live on 100%, we could live on 90% too. And it's always been manageable. But, we also have not been behind. We've been broke, but never actually in a hole of debt. If you're having to pay off debt, giving that much would definitely slow you down, but there are some who believe (and I agree) that generosity changes something in the way you deal with money. I don't necessarily believe in a give-to-get scheme (sounds like your husband may be coming at it from that angle, since he mentioned "testing God"), but I think that giving, even when you have very little, is an important thing that is very healthy.

I think this is not about "energy" or really about tithing.

I think you and your husband need to sit down together, and come up with a plan. Something that provides you the security you need to know that things are going to get paid and your finances are going to move forward, and somethign that allows for him the freedom to have some money to give. You both have individual attitudes and expectations about money, and you need to work together to mesh those into somethign that is workable for your situation.
post #23 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by cappuccinosmom View Post
The way we figured it, if we could live on 100%, we could live on 90% too. And it's always been manageable. But, we also have not been behind.

This I think is the point of your issue. If you were to believe that tithing meant giving 30% of your income, you would never even miss it. But you are first and foremost IN DEBT and need to deal with that stuff before you seem to be able to be comfortable with giving out more money.

Maybe have your husband research what God had to say about debt, really dig into the O.T. where he lays it out. It's not a pretty picture, and in the Christian/Jewish God's ideal world--which he laid out for the Israelites--there where very strict rules about debt and debt forgiveness. We don't live in that world and don't get our slates wiped clean every seven years with no repercussions.

Not to make this too much of a religious topic but, I think that many things the bible says God has commanded us are for our benefit. However if we are in the wrong situation or in the wrong frame of mind just plugging away at the formula doesn't make a lot of sense. You need to have a heart to heart with your hubby and lay out your feelings.
post #24 of 59
Thread Starter 
Well, we talked. And talked and talked. Or "fought" is more like it. That's my fault. I broached the topic and wasn't ready for a conversation. I was too upset and angry and riled up. I initially said I wasn't ready to talk about it, but he pushed a little and unleashed some...stuff. We both said things we shouldn't have and this morning was even worse. He has assured me that he would never give unless I was ok with it. I do appreciate that. I discovered that at the root of this is that he thinks he is making much more money than he is. So I can see why he would assume that there is some room to give. The other issue is that I need to feel like we are working at getting out of this mess, and if our "snowball" turns into "charitable contribution", we will be stuck here forever. That's not ok with me. And sarafi, I think at the heart of it, it is a religious topic as much as a financial one and that's why I'm having such a hard time with it. Unfortunately I am not so versed in the Bible, so I have no idea what it says about debt. He did bring up Jubilee last night (which I am a little familiar with) but to me that just verifies how irrelevant the Bible can be in regards to financial issues today.

This is important to him and something that comes up again and again, so we are going to have to reach some resolution. I just don't know how.

He's still talking about taking over the finances, which is also freaking me out. Historically speaking, he's been TERRIBLE about paying bills on time and has been known to just stop opening mail when he gets stressed about money. The only reason we have maintained good credit is because I took over the bills. I had to take over a couple of his business bills bcs he simply wasn't paying them. He does need to get more involved in the finances, yes. Currently he know about how much we have in expenses, but if he were responsible for figuring out what needed to be paid and when, maybe he would understand my panic!

And the other thing is...he works full commission sales. So I am assuming the worst case scenario for the winter, while he is assuming that he will make as much as the guys last winter made. I told him I refuse to be unprepared for a worst case scenario, and to him that means I don't think he can provide for his family
post #25 of 59
There are other ways besides money to give back to the church/community/whatnot. He could volunteer his time at the church (or a food bank, soup kitchen, habitat for humanit or any thousands of charities). He could donate clothes, food, etc. Why does it have to be 10% of your income? Can't it be 10% of your time? Or 2% cash, 8% time?

I'm not religious, though. So maybe my views of giving are skewed.
post #26 of 59
You guys really need a plan, and you need to do it together. Especially with a variable income like commission, you both need to know exactly what is happening with the money that is coming in and going out.

It is great that he wouldn't give without your OK. Maybe when you are planning (not fighting) you can discuss a smaller percentage, and have it in the plan to work up to the 10% that's his goal, over time.
post #27 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by cristina47454 View Post
But the fact is, I'm just ANGRY at DH for bringing this up, just as I'm starting to feel "safe"(so maybe this needs to be posted in Parents as Partners. LOL). It's like any ground I felt like we were about to make up suddenly disappeared. He says he won't do it if I'm not on board, but I know him. He'll wear me down. And truthfully, if he's "right", how can I NOT be on board? I feel so threatened by this whole thing.
I would suggest on a practical level that you give you each an allowance and have you save yours and him tithe his, for the next few months while you work it through.

Alternatively, I'd ask him to put his tithe in a emergency savings account and agree that if at the end of the slow season things are ok, the whole thing gets tithed. In other words think there are ways to set a goal of getting to tithing and honouring his feelings while also respecting yours.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cristina47454 View Post
Well, we talked. And talked and talked. Or "fought" is more like it. That's my fault. I broached the topic and wasn't ready for a conversation. I was too upset and angry and riled up. I initially said I wasn't ready to talk about it, but he pushed a little and unleashed some...stuff. We both said things we shouldn't have and this morning was even worse. He has assured me that he would never give unless I was ok with it. I do appreciate that. I discovered that at the root of this is that he thinks he is making much more money than he is. So I can see why he would assume that there is some room to give. The other issue is that I need to feel like we are working at getting out of this mess, and if our "snowball" turns into "charitable contribution", we will be stuck here forever. That's not ok with me. And sarafi, I think at the heart of it, it is a religious topic as much as a financial one and that's why I'm having such a hard time with it. Unfortunately I am not so versed in the Bible, so I have no idea what it says about debt. He did bring up Jubilee last night (which I am a little familiar with) but to me that just verifies how irrelevant the Bible can be in regards to financial issues today.
I don't personally believe God looks after our finances or cares what percentage we tithe. I think if God cared about money the world would look really different 'cause right now it's a really really privileged position to think God looks after getting us our 1500 sq foot houses while people around the world starve to death and get cholera in Haiti and all that. Ahem.

That said -

I would also encourage him (and maybe you) to look at your TIME as money. Rather than tithing 10% of your income, perhaps you could volunteer a percentage of your free time. I think this is in line with what I would classify as charity and good works. Jesus did not go to the disciples and say "Hey, give me 10% of your fishing income." He got them DOING stuff.
post #28 of 59
I am not going to address the tithe vs not tithe part at all. It's part of the mix for sure.

But honestly, I think it is natural to have one partner that is more anxious about money than the other in a relationship. I think it adds balance. DH and I are both frugal minimalists who live beneath our means. We mostly are pretty likeminded on finances.

But when DH was laid off it was a source of anxiety for me despite not being a true hardship finacially. DH never seemed worried, but eventually started to be a bit concerned about the hole in his resume. While it would be good for me to be less of a worry wart I think DH benefited from a bit a pressure from me to stay in the job hunt since he didn't have any anxiety or pressure that we were going to do without.

Anyway our info indicates that DH is more easy come easy go. He also seems more convinced that tithe blesses your family. You seem more into the details and getting on stronger footing. Neither of these positions are bad in and of themselves. I do think that a single income family living on a full commision job should directionally have a very large emergency fund compared to a family with two salaried jobs. You (and every sane person out there) are going to need more cushion (and discipline) to feel secure.
post #29 of 59
While I think there's a lot of other issues at play, your view of tithing versus his is definitely an outgrowth of your differing religions as children.

I grew up Catholic too. Tithing is regarded different "in the trenches" in Catholicism (I'm not even sure what the Vatican says regarding tithing) than in Protestantism, especially Evangelical Protestantism. I was always taught to give what you can joyfully BUT take care of yourself first. And gifts of time, volunteerism, etc, were as valuable to the parish as money. When I was growing up, my parents' income could be in question from month-to-month, and while I believe they always put something in the basket, I strongly doubt it was anywhere near 10%. But my father was a member of a volunteer music group/the organist for decades, my mom a Eucharistic minister, both of them participated in leading various groups at the Church, etc. And I and my younger sibs were all altar servers as tweens, and volunteered at Church events, etc. Our volunteerism was our primary family tithe.

Catholic parishes can do this, can teach that volunteerism is as important as money, because they are part of a larger organization which also supports them. Many Protestant churches are not, or even when they are a part of the larger organization, that organization does not provide them monetary support. Thus the focus on money as tithe is a lot more extreme.
post #30 of 59
If you pay off your debt first, then give, you will save so much in interest that you would actually be able to give more altogether. Would that argument help?
post #31 of 59
I am not religious either.

however do you think you could make a tithing 'debt' which you would pay off last, once your 'real' debts were paid off? That way you'd be back paying the tithe - it would be accruing 'interest' (i.e. what you're not paying right now) until you are in a better financial position.
post #32 of 59
You guys might benefit frm Dave Ramsey. You would appreciate the very practical sort of "do these steps in this order" sort of thing, and your dh would appreciate his religious influences.
post #33 of 59
Quote:
OP, I guess I would have to disagree that tithing is about giving to God first. Tithing is giving money to a very earthly organization, composed of very real human beings.
That may be what it seems from a non-religious perspective, but for people who are in a denomination where tithing is something you do, it's not about giving to an earthly organization at all. Tithing is our way of putting God first by making our faith a priority in our budget.

OP, I would really recommend checking into if there is a Financial Peace University class at any of the churches in your area. Dh and I did the Total Money Makeover program a couple of years ago and managed to totally get out of debt. You may be able to find a class by going to www.daveramsey.com

Quote:
He's still talking about taking over the finances, which is also freaking me out. Historically speaking, he's been TERRIBLE about paying bills on time and has been known to just stop opening mail when he gets stressed about money.
In that case, I think that him "taking over" the finances would not be a wise choice. What with marriage being a partnership and all, I really think that it's best for both partners to be involved with their finances.
post #34 of 59
I think I would open a savings account named "tithe" and put 10% in it for 6 months. At the end of the time? See how you are doing. Did you make it through OK? Then donate it. It may let you feel secure for now and DH could feel as if you are working towards that goal...
post #35 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by cristina47454 View Post
He's still talking about taking over the finances, which is also freaking me out. Historically speaking, he's been TERRIBLE about paying bills on time and has been known to just stop opening mail when he gets stressed about money. The only reason we have maintained good credit is because I took over the bills. I had to take over a couple of his business bills bcs he simply wasn't paying them. He does need to get more involved in the finances, yes. Currently he know about how much we have in expenses, but if he were responsible for figuring out what needed to be paid and when, maybe he would understand my panic!
From this I get the sense that, in your view, his taking over the finances means you do not have a regular update of what is going on such that he could blow off paying bills long enough for it to impact your long and short term financial situation.

After nearly 7 years (Nov 8, woo hoo!) of marriage, I am finally realizing that my managing the finances doesn't give my husband a license to bury his head in the sand about them. I'm not saying that is what you would do; that's what my husband has done. By the same token, I have responded in a way that says, yes, this is all my responsibility. I'm finally realizing it isn't.

So, for us, that means putting the budget down on paper - a copy for each of us - and having a conversation around it. Monthly. We have excess in our budget and we're squeaking by at the end of the month. There is no financial reason for that. It happens because we have different priorities and don't communitcate about them well enough and try to spend on all of these things rather than coming together and prioritizing them as a couple. It's happening because we're not communicating effectively about finances or much of anything else for that matter.

I would try to make your husband's desire to manage the finances an opportunity to have regular monthly discussions. If that is a challenge in the beginning, and you have a joint checking account, check it on weekly basis. Look at the checkbook to see if any checks have been written or check your account to see if they have been paid on line. In this way, you can also manage your own financial anxiety and attempt to be a full financial partner. I can imagine that if your husband is going to be territorial about financial management that this may be challenging to say the least. But, it sounds like a communication and coming together as one process that you all are still working on. I recognize it because I'm there, too.
post #36 of 59
I really think this is much more of a relationship issue that a money issue. You guys need to have a plan, and you need to be on the same page. Maybe a couple of counselling sessions would help? Sometimes you just need a mediator.

As for the tithing, my pastor's view is that 10% is a nice figure that works for a lot of people. But it doesn't work for everyone. To him, the most important thing is that it feels sacrificial. Not just rolling up on a Sunday morning and seeing what change is in your cup holder. For some people, who have a high income and minimal expenses 10% is a breeze and they need to give more for it to really be a sacrifice. For others, every dollar given is a dollar right out of the food budget, so $10 a week is sacrificial.

I don't know what your budget looks like, but maybe there is something you can cut back on and then use the savings for giving - like coffees out, maybe downgrade the cable, cut back on frivolous spending, etc. Maybe make 10% a goal, but realize that you aren't going to get there overnight.
post #37 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Laedi View Post
There are other ways besides money to give back to the church/community/whatnot. He could volunteer his time at the church (or a food bank, soup kitchen, habitat for humanit or any thousands of charities). He could donate clothes, food, etc. Why does it have to be 10% of your income? Can't it be 10% of your time? Or 2% cash, 8% time?

I'm not religious, though. So maybe my views of giving are skewed.
I am a strong Christian who regularly attends church, and I totally agree with this. Volunteer! Give of your time to others! Bake things for people! It certainly does not have to be just money.
post #38 of 59
You lost me after the first few sentences when you stated that you weren't overindulged growing up and then proceed to list a whole bunch of ways in which you were. Add to that the continuing generosity of family to step in to meet your budget shortfalls and I will say that I do think your ...wouldn't necessarily call it attitude...towards money is skewed a bit.

It does sound like you are well aware of your current financial challenges and this is a very good thing. Not being on the same page with your partner is going to make getting ahead tricky if you don't agree on financial goals and values. I'm not against tithing so long as you are brutally honest about what your budget is and what debt you are accepting to allow this to continue. Maybe it will help you value the other 90% a bit more?
post #39 of 59
Let me preface my response by saying that in my opinion tithing the way mainstream Christianity teaches it is not biblical. Unless you live in the land of Israel and take your tithe to a Cohen (a descendent of the priestly family) you are not fulfilling the command. BUT if you want to have a nice church building and programs for your family, well, those things cost money.

Maybe you and your husband can decide on a smaller percentage that you are comfortable with. Once you see the blessing of giving you can gradually increase the percentage until you are giving 10% (or more!).

We did this. We came to the conclusion that a lot of our financial problems were because we were stingy. Dh wanted to give a full 10%, but I handle the bills and only felt comfortable giving 5%. Soon after, finances became much, MUCH easier and we were able to give 10%.

I felt that it would be better to give 5% happily than 10% grudgingly.
post #40 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by just_lily View Post
I really think this is much more of a relationship issue that a money issue. You guys need to have a plan, and you need to be on the same page. Maybe a couple of counselling sessions would help? Sometimes you just need a mediator.

As for the tithing, my pastor's view is that 10% is a nice figure that works for a lot of people. But it doesn't work for everyone. To him, the most important thing is that it feels sacrificial. Not just rolling up on a Sunday morning and seeing what change is in your cup holder. For some people, who have a high income and minimal expenses 10% is a breeze and they need to give more for it to really be a sacrifice. For others, every dollar given is a dollar right out of the food budget, so $10 a week is sacrificial.

I don't know what your budget looks like, but maybe there is something you can cut back on and then use the savings for giving - like coffees out, maybe downgrade the cable, cut back on frivolous spending, etc. Maybe make 10% a goal, but realize that you aren't going to get there overnight.
Excellent post!
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