Financial disagreement

posted 8 months ago in Relationships
Post # 16
1631 posts
Bumble bee

Question – do you think his attitude is coming from the fact that for the past however length of time, he’s been the primary breadwinner? It’s possible that he’s looking at is as “well, I bring in X amount, so I should be able to indulge, but you bring in Y, so you should cut back”.  I don’t think it’s the right attitude, but I would take a moment to try to suss out if that’s what’s going on because if so it has serious implications for your relationship dynamics. It’s quite possible, however, that he just views the golf thing as something that was already budgeted for. 

Post # 17
517 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2019

Infuriating because of the flower situation! He should always be able to find $50 for his wife!

I think the golf thing is probably a pride and ego issue. If he suddenly doesn’t have the perks of membership and has to go as a guest or pay each time, his friends will know and realize he isn’t doing as well financially as it appears. 

Post # 20
12219 posts
Sugar Beekeeper

“for what I make this should be reasonable.”

It’s just this sort of entitled attitude that gets people into trouble. There are never any “shoulds.” His salary means absolutely nothing without taking the rest of your financial picture, ie cost of living, spending habits, assets, savings, long term goals and debt into account. 

”Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pound ought and six, result misery.” –Charles Dickens

I’d ask him to see if it’s possible to cancel. I don’t blame you for being furious. 

Post # 21
6771 posts
Busy Beekeeper

This is financial infidelity. He was probably too embarrassed to have to tell his friends he couldn’t afford the membership this year, so he put his ego ahead of your feelings and your financial well-being. If he can’t get the money back (he should try) he needs to identify what he can sell or what he can do to bring in additional money. I’d be furious. I’d be furious for a very, very long time. Especially after telling you flowers were an unaffordable luxury? I’m angry on your behalf. 

Post # 22
799 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: January 2016

It sounds like you are really really going without in order to pay off debt and begin accumulating savings. He is not willing to make the same level of sacrifice. The resulting discrepancy in your respective quality of life is causing upset. I get it. That’s hugely frustrating from your point of view, especially if the things he is willing to give up are gifts for you (RUDE!!!). That bit really takes it over the top, but, without it, this is a fairly standard scenario. People approach something with two different ideas of the commitment involved and the person giving up more gets annoyed at the person giving up less because it feels like they aren’t working towards that mutual goal with the same level of sacrifice. 

If your husband works in finance, make an appointment with a financial advisor with him. Go to the appointment with your own list of wants (don’t erase yourself to just pay off debt. if he isn’t going to do the same, it’s probably better to take up a little room and pay off the debt a little more slowly but on a level playing field where you both feel equally valued). He may listen better and work out a solution that he feels more responsible to when you are paying someone he respects to help. It sounds silly, but a lot of people become more committed to a cause when they have to pay for the solution. 

The fact that he would splurge on his own quality of life, but wouldn’t get you the Valentine’s day gift to which you are accustomed (and probably makes you feel good and adds to your quality of life) should be a separate discussion. It shows that he isn’t doing a great job thinking of your wellbeing and how your marriage and customs play into it. He might just not be thinking with his head on straight (i.e. flowers are just flowers, buy when cheaper, nvm flowers are expensive, skip all together = winning!). Perhaps you could find some dates and ways to show love that do work within your budget or are free and institute those. If the discussion doesn’t go well, I’d consider a session of counseling. It’s well worth it. You deserve to be highly valued, especially with how clearly you are prioritizing and working towards your joint financial well being. He needs to know how much his actions matter. Who knows, maybe there’s something simple you can do for him that would make a big difference or some pressure/stress he isn’t vocalizing. 

Post # 23
325 posts
Helper bee

If you have to use a credit card to put 10k into retirement, you can’t afford 7k for golf, no matter how much you earn. Also, I’m really curious how much money he makes to find 7k for golf reasonable. 

Post # 24
161 posts
Blushing bee

hock778 :  

Your husband loves you and it is all going to be okay. He didn’t get you the expensive roses because he sees that your value frugality.

Obviously, the problem in your relationship is that you care a lot about cleaning up this financial mess and getting out of debt and your husband would rather continue living the same extravagant lifestyle which neither of you can afford right now. You need to involve your husband in the process of budgeting, paying bills and getting out of debt. Unless he is 100% onboard and a real partner in this initiative you are not going to get anywhere. The leading cause of marital problems is financial stress. Being real partners in this process is going to bring you closer together in your marriage.

From what I have read YOU have been making a lot of the sacrifices and taking on this burden solo. I would be reluctant to put fault on him for this purchase because he is just doing what he does. He doesn’t understand your point of view. You need to have a serious conversation with him that doesn’t sound like you nagging him about how he spends money and communicates what the real issue is. That issue being that you are scared for your future. Men really don’t like it when their wives are scared because it means that they are not doing their job. 

If you are able to, attend some money management classes together. Dave Ramsey’s comes to mind. I don’t care for him too much but I have seen how close together his program brings couples and the success rate of people getting out of debt and staying out of debt is really encouraging.

I have faith that once he understands how important this is to you that things will get better. Don’t worry about the golf membership. Once men get the fever to pay off debt there is nothing that will stand in their way, he will probably end up selling it. I have first-hand experience in this as I watched my husband dig himself out of a pile of debt. We weren’t married yet so he didn’t expect me to help him. I am still very proud of him for this. Added bonus: he learned to cook really well during this time because he stopped buying his lunch and breakfast every day and took to packing his food. A habit that has stuck to this day.

Post # 25
3532 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: January 2021

Have you actually discussed the issue at length with your husband and made a plan of attack for paying down your debt? Or have you simply acknowledged that you’re in bad financial shape and need to do something about it? If you have no actual agreed upon plan then you will continue to run into these issues. 

I do think that, while on the surface it is hurtful that he forgoed flowers but not his golf fees, there are other relevant factors to consider that might help you understand where he is coming from, which is important when you sit down to talk about it. 

First, flowers *are* a waste of money. They’re nice and all but definitely something I’d consider frivolous and not worth spending on when you’re trying to tighten your belt. And it seems you’re only now angry about that because you’re comparing apples and oranges. You weren’t upset until you saw him spend a lot of money on something *you* consider frivolous. 

Yes, the golf fees are a lot of money, but a social life is important. When budgeting to reduce debt or save for retirement or whatever else, it’s important to be realistic and understand that no matter what your finances look like, you’ll want to make sure your budget is sustainable, and one that includes absolutely NO space for a social life isn’t sustainable and will get derailed. 

Perhaps his intention was to maintain his golf membership and essentially treat that as his social life for the duration of the season. I used to do basically the same thing when I was in university and had barely enough money to survive – I’d spend $1100 a year on a student season pass for snowboarding and that is what I did for fun every single weekend for 8 months of the year. Sometimes it makes sense to spend a bunch of money at once on something that will keep you happy, entertained and healthy for several months. 

Another factor worth asking about is whether there is a penalty for suspending the membership. Most country clubs have a much higher fee for new members as well as a large waiting list for limited memberships, and don’t allow you to simply suspend a membership for a season. So if he didn’t pay it this year does that mean suddenly he is unable to get a membership next year? Or if he is able to, he’s paying significantly more for it? Or if he is able to suspend it for a season, is there a fee associated with that? Just saying, there likely is, and although it’s important to reign in your short term spending while you pay down your debt, it’s also important to think about long term impacts. Some items just aren’t worth cutting from the budget because of their long-term impact. 

I get why you feel upset, but I think you also need to separate your feelings about the flowers from the green fees. And you need to make an actual budget together instead of just cutting what you thinks needs cutting and hoping you both agree on those items as they come up. 

It sounds like you both have an issue with frivolous spending, but in terms of understanding money he has more of a background than you do, so that will absolutely affect his perspective on things.

The fact that you were unemployed for several months and contributed to the shared debt before and during that time is also relevant here. In his shoes, assuming you don’t have kids and the spending was all by two adults spending on themselves, I can 100% understand how he might feel it is unfair to be asked to take on the same burden of debt servicing. When you were unemployed, I assume he paid all the bills? And when you went shopping or spent other frivolous money, it was from the income he produced? 

Yes, in a marriage you are a team and it’s not “mine” and “yours”, but at the same time there is always the potential for one partner to feel taken advantage of or used and you need to be conscious of that. And even if they don’t feel used, if the person bringing in less (or no) money is the one who suddenly starts telling the other what they can or can’t do with their money, that’s almost always going to cause conflicts. It sounds very much like you’re the one who has suddenly decided paying off your debt is important and instead of making the plan together you’ve taken the reigns and started dictating to him. Of course that’s going to leave a sour taste. 

I’m not saying your husband is in the right here. But I am saying he probably has reasons for why he did what he did, and that most likely neither of you are in the right or wrong. You have misaligned priorities and perspectives on your financial situation and you are both responsible for figuring out how to align them. Instead of fuming for days over a perceived slight, focus on the *actual* issue and ask your husband to sit down and make a plan with you. 

If you need to hash out the emotional aspect do that too, but leave it at the door when you sit down to make your budget. 

Post # 26
14965 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

I think you guys need a concrete plan.. not just a idea like “hey we should try to spend less, sell some stuff, and pay off some debt”.  More like, here’s our non negotiable expenses, this is what we have left over.  2k a month of that goes to debt, 500 into savings, and 300 of it for us to enjoy as we please…  or whatever number makes sense.  Of course if you think, hey I make 200k a year, i should be able to spend 7k on golf if I want, it doenst sound too insane, just 3.5% of your salary right?  But take in to account maybe 401k dedcutions, medical insurnace, taxes, etc.. break it down to what you actually take home each month… does almost 600 a month on golf still sound affordable?  Personally, I don’t think that even on a 200k income (you said way north of 100k, so I’m assuming still under 200k), 7k a year on golf is really that reasonable, esp since you even say you guys live beyoud your means.  If it’s stuff and things you guys want, then I guess sure, it’s reasonable.  But if it’s any sense of financial security you guys want, time to stop living big until your salaries truly can keep up and give you both.

Post # 27
13677 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

I’m going to be honest, I get a sizeable bonus every year as part of my compensation package, and I’ve told Darling Husband in no uncertain terms that it’s MY bonus to decide how to spend.  I work really hard to get a good bonus and I would be annoyed if Darling Husband tried to tell me how to spend it.  That being said, we have no debt other than his student loans and our mortgage, and a minimum of 50% of the bonus goes into our joint savings account, with another portion going into our joint vacation/travel fund.  If we carried debt, I would certainly use the bonus money to pay down debt or build up savings.  

I think it’s unfair that he spent $7k of a bonus without even consulting with you, but it is his bonus.  I think you guys need to get on the same page about paying down debt and financial security.  A 7k golf membership is absurd if you don’t have an emergency savings account and are paying off sizeable amounts of debt. 

Post # 30
4057 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

JiminyCricket :  i have to say, I’m the same way. My bonus is my fun money, as is my husband’s. Usually we use some of it for a trip or something together, but that’s a mutual decision. 

Plus, at least in our house, it’s not “planned for” when budgeting bc it varies. So it’s essentially found money and wouldn’t negatively impact when debts were paid if spent frivolously.

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