Husband refuses to deal with finances, how do I cope/cover myself? - Mothering Forums

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Old 11-01-2011, 05:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I feel like I'm the only wife who has this situation... I hope I'm wrong and that you might have some advise for me!

 

My husband believes that once he makes the money, he's done and the rest is my responsibility.  He won't sit down and talk to me about finances, budgets, dealing with credit card debt, paying bills, taxes, any of it.  He expects me to do it all and refuses to even look at it with me, but blames me 100% when things go wrong. 

 

I need some help big time.  Advise? Books? Techniques?  Thank you!!

 

 

 

 

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Old 11-01-2011, 06:12 PM
 
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I'm sorry you are in this situation.....I can only relate in that I take care of all things financial over hear, but he is willing to help.

 

Have you read any Dave Ramsey stuff?  That is the only thing that comes to mind, but I don't know if your husband would be willing to delve into it with you.  I'm not much help, but hopefully some other mamas will chime in.  hug2.gif

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Old 11-02-2011, 08:29 AM
 
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You are not alone!!!  You are not the only wife in this situation.  My dh doesn't deal w/ money at all either.  It takes all my energy to not think about me working at walmart when I'm 82 years old.  My dh doesn't deal w/ any of it, but he doesn't blame me when things go wrong.  He doesn't blame himself either....he just doesn't deal w/ it. 
I also have to take care of the cars and the house too.  He thinks sahm means I do EVERYTHING outside of work.  It is frustrating, for sure.

 

I finally talked my dh into taking a dave ramsey course.  He is half way through.  I wish I could say he has had some kind of epiphany, but he hasn't.  He did agree to putting things in Quicken every night...I do it, but he'll tell me what he charged and then we'll look at how much has gone to food for the month etc. 

 

One thing that has helped me is to read about codependency and enabling.  Am I enabling my dh?  When he ordered a new credit card bc he liked their rewards better than the one we had, I told him I wasn't paying it.   IT's super easy to pay...all on the phone, but I WILL NOT do it. 

 

One of my friends was really tired of handling all the money and she literally turned it all over.  All of it.  She said something like, "Dh, I get really stressed taking care of the children and the money and the house and I just can't do it anymore.  You're the leader of our family and we're all counting on you."  And she STOPPED doing everything related to money.  She still did the grocery shopping and all, but didn't look at any bills and didn't ask about anything.  I'm not sure I could do this, but finally he stepped up to the plate.  They even had late fees and all and a major utility turned off until dh went and paid it.  He has finally come around and grew up.

That would be really hard for me to do bc my dh doesn't think about the future at all.  He is very happy-go-lucky, but truly, my dh will sit back and let me do everything.  Sometimes it feels like a mother-son relationship and that drives me NUTSO super fast.  When I get the nerve to do it, I will tell him the money is all his and I resign. 

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Old 11-02-2011, 08:54 AM
 
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Honestly, I would open new accounts in my name only and transfer everything there leaving one account in his name only that you put a designated amount for him to spend in.

 

If he isn't making informed choices about our money he doesn't get to make choices. I'm not ruining my finances because he doesn't want to deal. As for the account that he has access to, that is his issue. I wouldn't touch it other than depositing the designated amount in it each month. Overdrafts, late fees, whatever are his issue.

 

Once he starts being a partner in the finances can he start spending the family finances again.


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Old 11-02-2011, 10:09 AM
 
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How is your dh's spending?  Is he overspending?  Racking up cc debt?

 

My dh has never been involved with our money. Honestly, it makes things a whole lot easier for me.  I do the budget.  I pay off any debt.  I set our savings goals.  I do the shopping and keep us on budget.  

 

My dh is awesome!  He is super frugal and is very careful to spend lightly and make his purchases count.  He tells me when he knows he expenses coming up and I work them into the budget. 

 

So, for us, this works great.   But if he was racking up debt that we could not pay, I would be furious.  And I would start protecting myself and our financial well-being.  I think a separate account is a great idea.  I think handing him a budgeted amount of cash and saying 'that's it' is reasonable if your dh is completely unwilling to be involved with the decision making.  

 

 

 


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Old 11-02-2011, 12:03 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Ruthiegirl View Post

My dh has never been involved with our money. Honestly, it makes things a whole lot easier for me.  I do the budget.  I pay off any debt.  I set our savings goals.  I do the shopping and keep us on budget. 

 



This is how it is in our household too. We both fork full time (although DH does make more) but I decide how the money is allocated. Most of the time I'm happy with this arrangement... however sometimes I do wish it wasn't my responsibility. We've tried him handling the finances before but it just doesn't work as well (AT ALL). Even though I don't necessarily enjoy managing the budget and bank accounts, I also have a hard time giving up control. Every now and then when I say we can't afford something he gets disappointed/upset and says he feels like he works all the time yet we have no money and then I show him how our savings is growing and growing and our debt is dwindling then he "gets it."

 

For awhile I'd send him weekly financial updates showing where the money was going but he never read them so now I just do everything and he is welcome to look at or ask about our finances at any time which he chooses not to.

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Old 11-02-2011, 12:35 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MommyDOK View Post

 

One of my friends was really tired of handling all the money and she literally turned it all over.  All of it.  She said something like, "Dh, I get really stressed taking care of the children and the money and the house and I just can't do it anymore.  You're the leader of our family and we're all counting on you."  And she STOPPED doing everything related to money.  She still did the grocery shopping and all, but didn't look at any bills and didn't ask about anything.  I'm not sure I could do this, but finally he stepped up to the plate.  They even had late fees and all and a major utility turned off until dh went and paid it.  He has finally come around and grew up.
 



I don't know why you consider the DH to have "grown up" in this situation--- it sounded like the DW threw a fit, put them in serious financial jeopardy.  It was no more unreasonable for him to expect HER to do all the financial work then it is for her to expect HIM to do all the financial work.

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruthiegirl View Post

How is your dh's spending?  Is he overspending?  Racking up cc debt?

 

My dh has never been involved with our money. Honestly, it makes things a whole lot easier for me.  I do the budget.  I pay off any debt.  I set our savings goals.  I do the shopping and keep us on budget.  

 

My dh is awesome!  He is super frugal and is very careful to spend lightly and make his purchases count.  He tells me when he knows he expenses coming up and I work them into the budget. 

 

So, for us, this works great.   But if he was racking up debt that we could not pay, I would be furious.  And I would start protecting myself and our financial well-being.  I think a separate account is a great idea.  I think handing him a budgeted amount of cash and saying 'that's it' is reasonable if your dh is completely unwilling to be involved with the decision making.  

 


OP--- this poster brings up a very good point.  It is not necessarily better to do finances one way or the other (one person having responsibility versus shared responsiblity).  In our household, I take care of actually paying the bills and most day to day matters (and actually, thinking about it, long term investments, etc...) but DP & I have set our goals/savings levels/spending levels together.  I usual have a better grasp simply because I do pay the bills (and make the vast majority of the purchases).

 

I think the problem comes in when one person abdocated financial responsibiliy AND decides to be in complete denial about their financial situation.  If one person is happy being given an allowance and not really knowing about the money, that is fine.  If one person, though, refuses to educate themselves about the finances and then totally ignores the financial planner's decision--- that's not going to work out so well.

 

What is "going wrong" in your situation?  Are you overspending?  Do you have a budet and DH doesn't stick with it?  Do you have a budget and *you* don't stick to it?  Where is the breakdown?

 


 

 

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Old 11-02-2011, 02:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Honestly, I would open new accounts in my name only and transfer everything there leaving one account in his name only that you put a designated amount for him to spend in.

 

If he isn't making informed choices about our money he doesn't get to make choices. I'm not ruining my finances because he doesn't want to deal. As for the account that he has access to, that is his issue. I wouldn't touch it other than depositing the designated amount in it each month. Overdrafts, late fees, whatever are his issue.

 

Once he starts being a partner in the finances can he start spending the family finances again.


If we were equal earners, this would be easier to push for, but he makes 90% and I'm not sure if his ego could take it.  It's good advise and I'm seriously considering it. 

 

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Old 11-02-2011, 03:10 PM
 
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One of my friends was really tired of handling all the money and she literally turned it all over.  All of it.  She said something like, "Dh, I get really stressed taking care of the children and the money and the house and I just can't do it anymore.  You're the leader of our family and we're all counting on you."  And she STOPPED doing everything related to money.  She still did the grocery shopping and all, but didn't look at any bills and didn't ask about anything.  I'm not sure I could do this, but finally he stepped up to the plate.  They even had late fees and all and a major utility turned off until dh went and paid it.  He has finally come around and grew up.
 


I did it.  I took my allowance and my budget and lived in peace.  It was sad day for my xh the day we got divorced and he had to take all the debt.  I realize this could have been very dangerous.    I never expected to get divorced.  But I have to say it was nice to just worry about my little budget and my little bit of money.  


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Old 11-02-2011, 06:10 PM
 
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Originally Posted by JollyGG View Post

Honestly, I would open new accounts in my name only and transfer everything there leaving one account in his name only that you put a designated amount for him to spend in.

 

If he isn't making informed choices about our money he doesn't get to make choices. I'm not ruining my finances because he doesn't want to deal. As for the account that he has access to, that is his issue. I wouldn't touch it other than depositing the designated amount in it each month. Overdrafts, late fees, whatever are his issue.

 

Once he starts being a partner in the finances can he start spending the family finances again.



Given the situation, I was going to suggest the very same thing. If he wants to stick his head in the sand, he can do it without jeopardizing the family finances.


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Old 11-02-2011, 10:03 PM
 
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I'm still not understanding what the real problem is.  Is it that you're just tired of being in charge of the money?  Or is it that your DH is overspending and expecting you to work miracles to make everything else fall into place?

 

I have been in charge of the finances pretty much since we got married 13 years ago.  I've gone through periods where I get frustrated the DH isn't more interested in our finances and doesn't want to participate in the details of our finances.  DH is happy to talk in generalities, but it's hard for him to decide that we should budget $100 for this and $200 for that. So basically DH and I talk big picture, and I implement the nitty-gritty details of the plan.  There have been times when we've made less-than-stellar financial decisions (mostly spending more than we should).  When that happens, DH is pretty open to doing whatever needs to be done to fix the issue.  For the most part, I enjoy the control that comes with managing the finances. It's gratifying to me to know that I've made some great decisions.  The size of our bank account, our excellent credit, our well-funded retirement and college accounts, our ability to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle are due not only to DH's ability to earn a good income, but also MY ability to manage our finances.

 

The recommendation to put all of the money into an account with only your name on it sounds incredibly agressive.  If the real problem is your DH overspending have you tried talking with him about it?  When we had that issue at the beginning of our marriage, we switched to DH carrying only cash.  That worked really well for us for a number of years.  Although we don't do it anymore, it served its purpose. 


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Old 11-03-2011, 09:35 AM
 
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If he wants you to be completely in charge of this then you need to either tell him no or completely take charge -- which means, in your case, giving him an 'allowance' so you can make sure the important bills get paid. I don't get the ego thing. eyesroll.gif And... like the pp, I'm not clear whether he is overspending & frivolous or you just don't like managing the money. Does your family make enough money to pay all the bills or would you be short no matter how the money was managed? What kinds of things 'go wrong' for you?

I am in charge of our family finances and the way that works is that DH keeps his spending in check. He doesn't spend money without talking with me first (except for routine, agreed-upon things like food/gas/etc.) and I've worked hard to 'train' him to shop wisely for good prices on groceries & stuff. I also make sure to let him know how much money is in our long-term savings, what our credit limit is, how much we'll get from our tax return, things like that. So he is in on the big picture (though I'm not really sure he cares or even totally hears me sometimes lol) but I try not to clutter up things with talk of the little things like whether the checkbook balanced or how much the water bill was. He isn't really financially-savvy or frugal so things like budgeting and balancing and stuff would be a disaster if he was in charge of it. But I am also slowly starting to give him little tasks -- like when a bill comes, I might occasionally ask him to write out the check & put it in the mail & remind him to log the check amount in the register. This still leaves 97% of the burden of the budget on me (which I really don't mind, TBH) but it's taking little steps to empower him more too so that maybe someday it will be closer to a 50/50 effort. In the meantime, he trusts me to handle things & I trust him to not go out & buy things we can't afford. I don't know if this is at all helpful to you though because maybe your issue is completely different...

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Old 11-03-2011, 02:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow, so much good advise!  I wrote big long reply and then lost it, new to this.

 

One problem is that DH overspends.  But not in a way that he believes that's what is happening.  He thinks he can keep it all in his head and keep track.  He is appalled when I tell him how much he is spending and he won't believe me.  He won't look at any of it with me.  He's never balanced a checkbook in his life.  His parents handed him money when he needed it, with the stipulation that he was frugal (ie no planning but uptight about money being spent).  For years I kept all the finances tidy, and all he did was complain.  I got seriously ill and was not able to keep up with it and told him he had to help.  He has never been willing, he just let the bills go unpaid and everything fall apart.  I managed to get things set up on autopays so our finances "coasted" for many years now.  This was OK because he was making enough money and was not spending much.  This year he started to travel more, spend more and his income went down.  Checks started bouncing because if he goes to the ATM and sees a balance, he will pull money out, in spite of me telling him not to, that it's spoken for.  I give him specific directions, he ignores them or just doesn't both to pay attention.     He makes good enough money that we should be comfortable, but instead I am always scrambling to patch things together. 

 

Recently I have been trying to sort everything out and get back in the drivers seat because I can't stand the stress it causes me.  I have discovered that his over-paid business manager made tons of mistakes and was doing a horrible job.  I have decided that in order to protect my families income, I have to take over managing his business finances.  This is after years of swearing I would never do it b/c I have past experience with running businesses with spouses.  Both people have to be on board and able to work together.  We aren't very good at that in general, but when money is involved it's historically terrible. 

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Old 11-03-2011, 03:14 PM
 
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Can you hire someone to handle the business finances? That sounds like it could cause a big rift in your marriage.

As far as your family finances, it does sound like you need to keep all your money in a separate account and only transfer his 'allowance' into your joint account. Or see if he'd be willing to do a cash system (when he runs out of cash, that's it 'til next paycheck).

I can't believe he wouldn't pitch in while you were sick... that's horrible. greensad.gif He sounds either financially clueless (or a financial mental block) or like he just doesn't care... and I hope it's clueless... that you can fix! Would he be willing to take a class in finances or something?

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Old 11-04-2011, 04:28 PM
 
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...yeah... given that update... 100% suggest moving the bulk of the money to an account he doesn't have access to, unless he's willing to stick to a cash allowance system. 

 

It is actually appalling to me that he not only remains intentionally oblivious, but disregards the instructions of the person with a better grasp of the family's finances. That seems like denial, to me... he doesn't want to talk about how much he's actually spending, he doesn't want to believe you when you say the ATM balance isn't available, he doesn't want to take care of things when you can't... that's really not okay.

 

Tally up the overdraft fees (and any late fees accrued because of financial mismanagement) he's caused in the last 90 days and slap that number in front of him. If that doesn't get his attention, shred his ATM card, move the family money to a different account or do whatever you have to do to get control back. I cannot fathom a grown man risking his family's financial future because he's too stubborn to realize that actions have consequences. =/


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Old 11-04-2011, 09:29 PM
 
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We have two joint checking accounts.  DH technically has access to both but only uses one.  The one his ATM card is linked to has our gas / grocery / etc. money in it and I watch the balance and let him know when it's low and that there's nothing more to spend from it.  The other, which is technically a joint account but for which he doesn't have an ATM card, holds the money for the major bills, which of course means there's money sitting in that account that's already been allocated much of the time.  I do it that way because he also has that mentality that if the account has money in it, that money can be spent, and if we only had one account, it could very well be disastrous.

 

This system works pretty well for us (as long as I closely watch the balance in the account he uses...he tends to not do that and has been known to overdraw).  I manage all our finances, pay all the bills, and do all the other day-to-day financial grunt work, and oftentimes I wish he wanted to be more involved in the nitty gritty of it all, but we've come a long way in terms of managing our money.  I've learned both our strengths and our weaknesses and used that to our advantage to create a workable (not perfect or ideal, but workable) system for us.  For me, a big part of that system is just making sure that I stay on top of things so that I can say to him on any given day, you have X amount in your account, or I can say, we don't have any more to spend this week.  He never questions me on that, though, and trusts that I am keeping the budget in check.  Our best months are the months when I stay really on top of things; our worst months are the ones I get behind.

 

If you're willing to take on the stress of the day to day budget and really get on top of it, that's what I would suggest doing.  Figure out how much money is left in the categories he spends and tell him EVERY DAY.  In months that are tight I do this with DH and it annoys him to some extent, I know, but it also keeps our spending in check, which is critical.

 

Your DH HAS to get on board to some level.  It may not be the level you'd prefer, but I think it sounds pretty reasonable from all the responses on this thread that it has to be at whatever level you can make it work (and then you can aim to improve from there).  Yes, it may mean more effort on your part than may seem "fair" at times, but I always look at fairness as an across the board thing.  I may do more than my "fair" of handling the budgeting stress, but he does more than his "fair" share in other areas, so overall it balances out, and that overall balance is what makes our marriage...and finances...and everything else...work.

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Old 11-10-2011, 05:07 AM
 
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Originally Posted by mamadonna View Post

We have two joint checking accounts.  DH technically has access to both but only uses one. 

 

We did something similar and it worked well.  We had two joint accounts and we each managed one.  That way if we absolutely needed to make a transfer due to someone's irresponsibility, it was easy to do.  Another possibility would be to have a third account just for bills that you manage (so you each have a "personal" account and there is also a "bills" account that only you can transfer money in and out of).  I also had a savings account that was just in my name, so he couldn't see or take that money.

 

Good luck.


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Old 11-10-2011, 06:31 AM
 
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Interesting how many here do the bulk of the financial management. I do it here although dh is good about actually discussing it with me. I would love for him to do but quite frankly he's not very organized & a procrastinator so I know that wouldn't work well.

 

With spending what works really well for us is we have 3 joint accounts. One is our "bills" account where all the money is deposited & all of our bills come out of. Then I transfer from there the grocery/gas/discretionary spending to the other 2 accounts - one is "mine" & the other "dh's". The only account he can use with his card is his & so it's not possible to (unintentionally or otherwise) go over his limit. My account is set up similarly. He can technically access the other accounts but he doesn't unless I specifically ask him to for some reason (rare) & certainly without checking with me. It works really well for us because he really struggles to keep track of what he has spent (if I have $200 I can tell you at any point how much of that is left - he doesn't seem to be able to keep a running tally like that).


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