(Closed) Financially Unprepared for Marriage??

posted 6 years ago in Relationships
Post # 3
701 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: January 2013

You are not a terrible person, but that’s a tricky situation. I agree that he should be willing to move since you make the majority of the money.

Before moving forward with marriage,  I would get financial counseling so that he can see how important it is for him to be contributing. That way he can see all the numbers and what needs to be done to reduce debt and build savings. 

Post # 4
355 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

You don’t sound like a terrible person!

I am wondering though how long he’s had his business. Is it new and maybe needs time to become profitable? Or is it time to start thinking about cutting losses?

It’s okay to be the breadwinner regardless of gender, but it’s not fair to expect you to shoulder all the burden forever. No wonder Fiance doesnt see a problem. He gets to be his own boss and it doesnt really matter how successful his business is because you cover almost everything anyway. And he pays for what, the equivalent of the cable bill?

Unless this is a new business or something you think he’d be willing to walk away from if profits don’t increase, I think he’s being a freeloader.

Post # 7
701 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: January 2013

@bookworm126:  It sounds like your relationship is very lopsided. You are giving, and he is just taking. You have to compromise for him (not moving for a higher paying job), and he gets his way (staying self-employed). It’s not  fair to you at all.

Post # 8
1835 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 2012 - Oak Tree Manor

@bookworm126:  I think the PP’s advice about going to financial counseling is GREAT advice. Are you recent college grads where you could go back to your campus for some financial counseling? If it not, there are a lot of investment companies that provide financial counseling. And you may be able to get it through your insurance – I have USAA for insurance, and they do financial counseling by phone. I know it’s an uncomfortable topic to broach, but you have to be able to talk about money if you’re going to spend the rest of your lives together – although I hate to say it, money will be an issue your whole lives.

What would be best is to work with a financial counselor (they’re usually free because they want you to invest with their companies) or get a book on personal finances, and write out a plan. Figure out what age you want to retire, how much you’ll need to save in order to retire at that age, how much you’ll need to save for a downpayment for a house, how much you’ll need to allocate each month to pay off your student loans, etc. If your Boyfriend or Best Friend gets involved with the plan, and he’s cooperative, he’ll probably see that you two will need more than your $40k/year income to meet your financial goals (like saving for a house – expensive!!!). If even after that, he’s still unwilling to find a way to contribute more (either by taking a second job, seeking help to grow his business, or switching careers) and still pressures you not to move to another city for a higher-paying job, then you really do have a problem.

As far as your debt goes – a lot of other bees will recommend this too, but Dave Ramsey’s books are a really proven way to get out of debt. You should definitely look into that, it’s really good advice (even for people who aren’t in debt but want to live frugally and save more!).

What type of business does he run? Is it truly something tied to where you live, or does he have local clients that he doesn’t want to give up?

Post # 9
3569 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

You aren’t a terrible person. You are a smart person, the number one reason for divorce is money. It has a major impact on a lot of aspects of your lives.

1.I think you guys need to sit down go over ever bill, and decide how you guys are going to pay it.

2. You guys need to talk about his business, how long does he think it’s feasible to stay in business if he not making a profit? I think there should be an end date. He should sell the business or get rid of it if it doesn’t turn a profit and if it start accumulating debt.

3. Explore all you jobs options, I think if you are the breadwinner then your job placement becomes more important.

4. Talk about how you guys are going to handle your finances, and what separation you guys will have, so if the business goes south or has some type of liability they can’t come after your assets.

5. Make a plan for paying of your debt together. Read some books, also go counseling too. Or find a checklist there are plenty online.

By the way I am in similar situation. My Fi owns his own business and has for about nine years. The difference is he has a lot of clients and is making a profit. I decided to move to where he is, but we sat down and talked about all of that. The truth of the matter is I don’t know that I would have moved with Fi if he was making less them me, or wasn’t turning a profit.


Post # 10
85 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

@bookworm126:  You are most definitely NOT a terrible person!

I am in a similar situation in that I know that I will eventually be the breadwinner BUT my SO currently works and pays 1/2 of everything. One day, he will stay home with our future children while I work. We agreed to this situation before we got engaged but that doesn’t mean that if in the future he finds something he loves and wants to work that I won’t be okay with that. I just want us to be happy equally 🙂

That being said I think you need to have a candid conversation about your financial situation and what you want/see for yourselves in the future. If he expects you to support your family then he has to make sacrafices as well. Also, it worries me that this business (assuming it is the exact same type of business his boss had before your Fiance took over) has been open for 15 years and still isn’t turning a profit. 

I am a true believer that relationships/marriage need to be fair but maybe not equal. Right now your relationship is neither. Talk it out with him and just trust that he loves you. I  find that as humans our initial reaction (even if it’s in our heads) is to think about our individual wants/needs first and then others (even if we love them more than anyone else). 

To sum it up:

  • Have a candid talk about your finances and your goals for the future and listen to his.
  • give him time to process it
  • Ask for a compromise BEFORE becoming engaged

And always know that things can change without our control so be flexible too. 

I hope you are able to feel better about this! 🙂

Post # 11
3053 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: February 2015

I think there should be a timeline for his business. A set number of years decided by both of you. If he isn’t making a substantial profit in like, 3 years (or whatever you 2 agree on), then it’s time to sell the business & find something else. If the business has been around for 15 years, there really isn’t a reason that I can think of that he wouldn’t be making money off of it unless it wasn’t a very successful business to start off. This is definitely not fair to you and you are VERY smart to know you guys have to talk about your finances and expectations for the future before you commit to marriage.

Post # 12
1042 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 2013

It sounds to me like you already resent him a bit so, yes, if you get married with these current arrangements then I think you absolutely will grow to resent him a lot more.

Starting your own business, or even taking over an existing business, is really hard.  I wasn’t born when my parents, who are both veternarians, took over my grandfather’s veternary practice.  Even though the practice had already been around for many years, my parents had a really rough time when they took over, so rough that they almost divorced over it.  It took a long time to get it where it is today, so I do have empathy for what your SO wants. 

For many people, it is a dream to be their own boss, but reality has to set it sometime.  I agree with a timeline where if it isn’t successful (and that’s something you 2 have to define) then he has to cut his losses.  It’s not fair to you to shoulder the load if that’s not what you want.  What’s going to happen if you want kids?  These are things that need to be discussed before you get engaged.

Talk to a financial consultant or planner or some unrelated third party that can hopefully help your SO see things on a not-so-emotional level.  That’s what my parents did and it made all the difference in the world.

Post # 13
9691 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2013

I think a timeline is a good idea.  Ask him, if, in a certain amount of time from now (1 year? 3 years?) his business isn’t making any money, what he will want to do?  Will he just want to keep it up or will he cut his losses and look for a different job? 

I think there should be an end date.  You definitely need to agree on a point in time where things will need to be changed if they aren’t better.  I think he needs to agree on a date.  You two both need to be on the same page.  Is this how he would like to live, as things are right now?  Or does he want to contribute more but he just isn’t able yet? Those are the things you two should discuss.  You are NOT a terrible person!

I have/had a similar situation with my Fiance.  He owned 2 businesses but they weren’t profitable enough to really live on (this was less than a year from starting out- last Spring).  So he sold the major one and it looking to sell the other.  Right now he’s working for his friend’s company but it isn’t a job with a salary because it’s based off of sales.  It is a very successful company though, so I am giving him some time to get things started (he only started in the 2nd week of January). 

As far as the businesses not making money, he did tell me if it comes to X date and “I’m still not making what I want to make…I will look for something else.”  For the first 5 months or so of his businesses I paid all our bills/food, and he didn’t give me much.  I make about what you make FWIW.  After that I told him I needed X amount of money per month from him to cover part of the bills and to put in our savings account if we were going to have the wedding. 

So he has been able to do that, but not through his businesses or work yet.  The only way he gives me money right now is through his side-job/hobby.  So right now, as long as I get the amount I ask for (enough to pay his half of the bills and matching what I put in the savings account), I am okay with him taking some time to get things set up with his day-job.  If he wasn’t giving me the $ I ask for each month…I would definitely be somewhat resentful by this point in time. 

What type of business is it?  How many hours is he putting in per week?  Is there any way he can take a part-time side job?  Age also plays a factor I think, how old are the both of you?  You have a little more leeway I think when you’re younger. 

Post # 15
8041 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2013

@bookworm126:  I think you need to think long and hard about it. My parents divorced because of finances. I was in a terrible 5 year on/off relationship that ultimately ended because of finances.

I wouldn’t throw in the towel just yet, but I think that perhaps the most important indicator here is whether he is ambitious or not. Is he ok not making much money and perfectly content to live off of your wage, or does he feel a bit emasculated? Is he busting his balls each and every day to try and make more money, or does he wake up late and have a leisurely day most days of the week? If he is lazy, then I would definitely put the brakes on the marriage – at least for now. If he is ambitious and it’s only a matter of time before the business takes off, then I would consider staying.

$100K is a LOT of debt. Does he have a plan on how to help you pay this off? Have you discussed future goals (kids, big holidays, home ownership) and how it will fit into your financial plan? If he is reluctant to talk about this sort of stuff then that’s a bad sign. If he is eager to pay off the debt and works hard, that’s a lot better.

My ex totally lacked ambition, I came up with plans on how we’d pay off his debt and he really didn’t care. He resented paying me half of the rent each month. We couldn’t afford to take holidays. He kept spending on selfish stuff for himself. I am SOO glad to be with a guy now who takes the finances seriously. It really is a huge thing… it impacts each and every day so you are right to be concerned.

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