Post # 1
I haven’t posted much on here & am a new user, but I love the great non-biased advice that I receive from the hive! Thanks in advance!
So – here’s the dealio…
Prior to getting engaged last December, my fiance & I were in a relationship for about 2 years. In the beginning, he was pretty irresponsible with his finances (high credit card debt, late payments, past/overdue bills, needing to borrow money, shopped too much. etc.). After I helped him with tips & a plan to make his situation better, his finances slowly improved and he was even able to clear out his debt! Since we got engaged, he racked up a bill – again (probably from buying my ring, which I had no clue about). We purchased a home and he’s having to use his credit card from time-to-time and his debt is starting to climb all over again. Today, he told me he got a late payment charge on his card cause he forgot to pay the bill and I’m starting to feel like he’s going back to his financially irresponsible self – only this time – we’re engaged and it’s freaking me out! I talked to him about how it bothers me, but there’s nothing that I can do to help his situation and he needs to help himself – which is going to be ‘helping us’ in less than a year. I am not a big spender and he never felt any pressure to propose or buy our house, I just wish that he could be more responsible because it’s affecting our relationship. I’ve worked and started saving at a very young age and we’re paying for the wedding ourselves and I’m afraid that our clashing views on handling money is gonna ruin us. When I talk to him about it, it’s like I’m nagging – I feel like if he would just do something about it, then I wouldn’t have to "nag". I feel like he just doesnt get it?
Post # 3
- Wedding: March 2010 - Calamigos Ranch
Set him up on automatic billpay, and maybe suggest that after the wedding you’ll handle the financial management of the household. Or propose a budget, and get him on an all-cash basis so he has to really think about going over-budget.
This can be a really hard subject to deal with, but one of the most important as you’re getting married/buying a home together. Good luck addressing it!
Post # 4
You could offer to acquire power to act on all his accounts so you could always monitor his spending and pay his bills on time, remind him not to spend $ when the balance is low, etc. In that case, you’ll have no need to nag because you control all finances.
If he’s understanding and has a habit that will take a while to change, I believe he’ll actually be happy for you to take the control. If he’s very territorial, maybe he won’t be open to that. If he’s not open to that, then your situation will warrant further discussion or even counseling. Finances is the #1 reason for marital disputes. Set goals for him to reach, set rules, and if he fails to comply, he needs to hang over his finances to you or some other repurcussions. Explain to him that in an ideal marriage, both partners bear the joy of wealth and burdens of debt so his financial habits do affect you. Unless you guys want to do a prenup 🙁 Good luck!
Post # 5
Definitely set him up with automatc billpay. I use it to pay all my major bills (student loans, car loan, electricity, everything) and it keeps me from accidentally missing a payment or getting things in late.
The good news is, he isn’t hiding this from you! He told you about the late charge, which means he wants to be honest with you and he probably knows you can help him get this figured out. I’d suggest agreeing on a spending limit for each week or month and taking out that much cash in advance. So if you each have $200 for spending in July, take it out on July 1st and pay only cash for things. Or take out $50 each week. But if you guys set up a plan to help him, make sure you are using it for yourself too. Don’t let him feel like he’s the only one who needs to work extra hard to be good 🙂
Post # 6
Yes, automatic billpay and an offer to head up these things.
Also, it may be helpful to talk w/ a financial advisor about how to organize payments and set budgets. That way it is 3rd party advice from an expert rather than what may be perceived as "nagging" from a fiance/ wife!
Post # 7
I think an offer to be the "head of the household", so to speak, on finances might be a good approach. I missed a cc payment last summer, and my husband pretty much just took things over for me from there. I was actually pretty relieved! I can stick to a budget, but finances generally stress me out. Having my husband do all our financial stuff (bills, savings, etc…) and just giving me a monthly spending allowance works really well for us. Also, it gives me a chance to concentrate on other areas that matter more to me and that he hates doing (like housework, laundry, dishes, social planning, etc…).
Post # 8
I agree that it would be a good idea to put all the bills on automatic payment. If you are considering taking over the family finances, make sure that he is involved. I take care of our finances because I am in accounting/finance as a background but my husband and I discuss what to spend/save, our financial goals and investments so it isn’t just me doing everything without him knowing.
It does seem like he really wants to change since he told you about it and hasn’t hidden the late payment charges. Good luck.
Post # 9
Great advice from everyone above– auto bill pay is definitely helpful.
I really like mint.com for tracking spending in different categories. It’s free and makes it very easy to keep tabs on things directly from your credit card purchases, bank accounts, etc. You can also set up alerts to let you know your weekly status.
The most helpful thing we do is set up a specific time to talk about household stuff– take a weekend morning every month to sit down together and discuss bills, what needs to be paid, what you’re saving for, and a joint strategy. The fact that it’s proactive rather than reactive makes it much easier to deal with, and it doesn’t feel like nagging when it’s just there on the calendar like any other chore. Because of his history, you may want to just check in every week or so, whatever works for you, but it’s much easier to communicate and head off potentially sticky situations before they arise.
Post # 10
Thank you everyone for all the great advice! I spoke to FI and I’m gonna take over the bill pay for our household. It definitely helps to hear others points of view.