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Old 01-21-2018, 04:57 PM
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Default Advice on wife's idea for our finances

Hi Everyone,
I have never been real good with money. Never got into serious troubles but haven't done as good as I could, and occasionally put us in a short term bind. After 20 years my wife has had it. She has stated that she wants to take over our finances and wants to limit what I can do. Based on things I've done in the last few months, this is probably a very good idea.
First some background. I work, she is at home. In general she has been in charge of our finances the last 15 years - thank goodness, but I have still managed to muck things up on occasion. Causing money to be pulled out of our savings due to overdrafts, putting too much on a credit card so it either took a couple months to pay off, or for her to use our savings to pay it. I have been doing things like this a little more often in the past year. She got really angry last week and said she wants to make changes in how our money is handled and distributed.
Her idea is for me to have a limited account, in which she is joint on it. With our bank that is a savings account that limits you to 6 transactions a month, I am fine with that, and I am also fine with her providing me with a small weekly allowance and gas money to that account. And extra money in an emergency.
What I want input on is the rest of her ideas, I am not against them, not at all, they just seem stringent. We have discussed them at length in the last week and I agree in principle, but looking for others thoughts. Let me state first that we both have put in place Powers of Attorney, so should anything (God forbid) happen to either of us the other can take things over. Also other than the current money situation our marriage is very good and trust is high, except me messing up our finances occasionally.
Her other ideas are for me to be removed from our current joint checking and savings accounts, so they are in her name only. She also wants my paycheck direct deposited into now her checking account, I checked at work and they will do that. Her idea is that if I am on a separate account with her on it, so she can monitor it, and it is different from the bulk of our money I can't mess that up, like I have been doing.
After all these years of joint accounts it seems weird maybe because I am sort of a control person. But I do agree we need a fix. After all of our discussion this week I am actually ok with this and pretty much in agreement.
Any thoughts?
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Old 01-21-2018, 05:49 PM
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After 20 years your wife finally had enough (?).

Go along with her plan.

So What’s your biggest money management problem - unplanned purchases, lots of small purchases, something else?

Probably will be good for you to know your financial weaknesses.
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Old 01-21-2018, 06:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jluke View Post
After 20 years your wife finally had enough (?).

Go along with her plan.

So What’s your biggest money management problem - unplanned purchases, lots of small purchases, something else?

Probably will be good for you to know your financial weaknesses.
My biggest problems are unplanned purchases and lots of small purchases. She will go online to check our account and find out I have taken us close to zero. Also it is so many smaller ones, she has a hard time keeping track, and will mess up her budgeting. I know she has been very patient.

I agree, I think it is time she limits me. With a small allowance, she has suggested $20/week plus gas money, and an account that allows only 6 transactions I will have to be very disciplined.

It will be weird not being able to see >98% of our money as it is in her accounts. I guess that is the price to pay for messing up so much.

Thank you for you input.
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Old 01-21-2018, 07:01 PM
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Go along with her on whatever she wants to do! I had to divorce a husband (dubbed Mr. Big Bucks by my son) that put us in such a horrible bind, it was the only way to get out. It didn't matter what I did or said as long as he could buy what he wanted with a credit card he figured he could. Kind of like the old Cathy cartoon - "How could I be out of money I still have checks left?" In our situation it was rather different as I was working full time too and I don't know how many times he would talk about his working his butt off and he should be able to buy what he wanted or words to that effect. What he never seemed to notice that I was working my tail off as well, making more than him, and I had the burden of trying to pay bills without money. At that point our minimum payments on credit cards was $1100/month!

So in a sense, you guys could be in a lot more trouble than you think. You may be thinking all is well in your marriage, without counting the money problems, but you may find that the money problems is eroding the trust of your wife in a very fast way. How can she trust you in other areas if you are not trustworthy in this area? In other words, she has had it and it sounds like this has been festering for a long time. If you love your wife and want to keep her, it doesn't in the least matter what we think, do what she asks! Be grateful to her for taking this huge responsibility onto her shoulders.

One of the best ways to prove that you are trustworthy with money again, is at the end of the year, you scoop up what you have left in your accounts (as you have been savings as much as possible) and present it to her for the 'family' savings. Do that each year. Your wife doesn't sound like the kind to want you buying her expensive pieces of jewelry or whatever for Christmas or birthdays. What she needs for her own peace of mind is money in the bank and a husband that is on board with the finances. This doesn't mean that you can't discuss the finances and make future plans, but no over the top plans.

At one point Mr. Big-Bucks decided we had to go on a family vacation to his aunt and & uncle's home. This was a two day trip by car, a week there and two days back. Other than the money I had managed to save in a coin jar we had NO money for this 'vacation' at all. 5 people on vacation and no money. This was not something we should have been doing and then we had to bring his mom home with us for three weeks and then I had to drive her back and pick up stepson and bring him to our house. At least MIL paid for the food and hotel on the way there, But I had yet again no money for the trip. I remember at one point I was totally exhausted and called him about getting a room for the night and he said well we really can't afford it sleep in the car! I got home and found during the time I was making this 900 mile drive and sleeping in the car, he had bought some worthless piece of software for over $100! And when I say worthless, it was, he could never get it to work right. Your marriage may have not devolved into this kind of situation at this point, and if so be thankful. But I think your wife has put you on notice that it is do this or else. If you love her, do it. That is my advice about what she wants to do. If you show her you are trustworthy in this area, and it may take a long time as in years, eventually things might change.
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Old 01-21-2018, 07:02 PM
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I don't agree. You are acting like an irresponsible child. Your wife is not your mother. It's time for you to grow up and behave like a responsible partner to your wife.

You need to make yourself accountable for every penny you spend. You should track every expenditure you make in a notebook or spreadsheet as you make it. Keep all the receipts. Ask yourself, do I really need this item? At the end of each day, you should sit down with your wife and go over the list of what you spent and why. Break your bad habits by not repeating your unnecessary purchases as you see they were not necessary or even important.

Every major purchase should be discussed between you before it is made. No impulse purchases because it's on sale or whatever your excuse is. Spending for large purchases should be made jointly, with a plan. If you violate this principle, return what you bought.

Make no mistake, it's your behavior that needs to change. You can give yourself a cash allowance every week and hand over the debit and credit cards for safekeeping if you think that will help you while you are changing your behavior. Keep the joint accounts, but don't have easy access to taking money out of them.

Marriage is a partnership but you haven't been acting as a financial partner in your marriage. If you can't do that, then maybe you are headed for divorce. Your wife is communicating to you that she will not put up with your behavior any longer. Couples counseling might be helpful in preventing a divorce.
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Old 01-21-2018, 07:41 PM
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Gailete, thank you for your reply. While I haven't caused the problems you had to endure, I do NOT make things easy on my wife. Hearing another woman's perspective is very helpful. As I have started to get responses, my wife has been reading them with me.

She said she is not even thinking divorce, but is tired of all of this and wants it to stop! She called out 2 of your comments: "Go along with her on whatever she wants to do!" and "But I think your wife has put you on notice that it is do this or else." Especially the latter one. While it has been a discussion over the last week, she has been pretty adamant that we have to do things this way. Because I have tried in the past to do better, but still cause problems (not as major as yours, but plenty bad in my wife's view), she is pretty much at the "or else" point.

I do hate that she feels the only way to handle this is to essentially cut me off from the majority of our money and put me on an allowance and a restricted account, but as this week has progressed I am more and more in agreement, and need to "Go along with her on whatever she wants to do!"

Your perspective is very helpful.
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Old 01-21-2018, 07:57 PM
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AnotherReader, I posted this in part because my wife does feel a little bit like having to be my mother, but feels it has to be this way.

Major purchases have never been a problem they have always been joint decisions, it is all the smaller and unplanned purchases, as noted by Jluke, that causes the problems. It is more the number than the amount of an individual purchase.

And yes I will be giving up all my credit cards, the only credit card I will have is for emergencies and that will require her to text an acceptance. Obviously if it is an emergency we will be in communication for her to know. My debit card will be tied to my restricted savings account.

As we have been through this a few times previously, she just wants to take control over all of this. We have tried a few of the things you mentioned but my wife is insistent on this approach.

We will wait a few more days for further thoughts, but it looks like I will be doing what she wants. Gailete was very supportive of that.
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Old 01-21-2018, 08:30 PM
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Gailete, thank you for your reply. I actually replied to you before I did to AnotherReader, but it didn't post. So I will try to capture everything I said.

While the problems I have caused are not any where as severe as you had to endure, they are pretty bad where my wife is concerned. It is good to hear another woman's perspective on this.

As we have been getting responses, my wife has been reading them with me. She is not even considering divorce but she says all of this has to stop! There are two of your statements that she strongly agrees with: "Go along with her on whatever she wants to do!" and "But I think your wife has put you on notice that it is do this or else."

While it has been a discussion this past week, she is very adamant on implementing this new financial arrangement. She feels it is the only way we can make the finances work, it basically is an "or else" situation.

She feels she has remove me from access to the majority of our money and put me on limited funds, so that she can get a handle on all of this. The more I think about this it is probably the best way to go. Again thanks for the input, I will likely go along with whatever she wants to do.
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Old 01-21-2018, 08:36 PM
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I can see that you are aware of your weaknesses when it comes to purchases and handling money and want to make your wife happy but I think this strict approach will cause more problems then it cures. Sooner or later if you are the only income you may come to resent it.
I think many things need to be thoroughly discussed and trust will need to be rebuilt but it won't be if she has you on a choke chain. Not to mention should this not fix the issues you have she now has any money in her name only. seems like a good move for her not you.
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Old 01-21-2018, 08:57 PM
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Gailete, thank you for response. I actually responded to you before AnotherReader, but it didn’t post. I will try to capture it all here again.

It is very useful to get another woman’s perspective. While I haven’t caused problems as severe as you had to endure, they are pretty bad in my wife’s perspective. As we have been getting responses, my wife has been reading them with me. She is not even considering divorce, but she says this has to stop!

She took two of your statements to heart: “Go along with her on whatever she wants to do!” and “But I think your wife has put you on notice that it is do this or else.” While we have been having a discussion this past week, she pretty adamant in implementing this plan. It is almost to an “or else” point.

We have tried different approaches in past, in fact we have even discussed similar plans to this in the past, but have not done them. At this point she is insistent we implement this, this time. I hate that we have gotten to this point, but I am pretty much in agreement that it is best to restrict me from the majority of the money and put me on restricted funds. Especially since fixes have only been transient in the past. It is probably best that I “go along with her on whatever she wants to do” as you have encouraged. Thank you for your input.
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Old 01-21-2018, 09:12 PM
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Gailete, thank you for response. I actually responded to you before AnotherReader, but it didn’t post. I will try to capture it all here again.

It is very useful to get another woman’s perspective. While I haven’t caused problems as severe as you had to endure, they are pretty bad in my wife’s perspective.

As we have been getting responses, my wife has been reading them with me. She is not even considering divorce, but she says this has to stop! She took two of your statements to heart: “Go along with her on whatever she wants to do!” and “But I think your wife has put you on notice that it is do this or else.” While we have been having a discussion this past week, she pretty adamant in implementing this plan. It is almost to an “or else” point.

We have tried different approaches in past, in fact we have even discussed similar plans to this in the past, but have not done them. At this point she is insistent we implement this, this time.

I hate that we have gotten to this point, but I am pretty much in agreement that it is best to restrict me from the majority of the money and put me on restricted funds. Especially since fixes have only been transient in the past. It is probably best that I “go along with her on whatever she wants to do” as you have encouraged. Thank you for your input
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Old 01-21-2018, 09:15 PM
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Smallsteps, this level of control is what I think I may have to go along with. As mentioned previously she has been essentially in control of our finances, but I have been causing issues. It is her who is resentful of the financial issues, as she should be.

She just wants to remove the issues with this process. The more I think about it, it is something I will have to endure. Unless she divorces me, see response to Gailete, the Powers of Attorney we have in place solve other potential issues.
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Old 01-21-2018, 09:23 PM
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Gailete, thank you for response. I actually responded to you before AnotherReader, but it didn’t post. I will try to capture it all here again.

It is very useful to get another woman’s perspective. While I haven’t caused problems as severe as you had to endure, they are pretty bad in my wife’s perspective. As we have been getting responses, my wife has been reading them with me. She is not even considering divorce, but she says this has to stop!

She took two of your statements to heart: “Go along with her on whatever she wants to do!” and “But I think your wife has put you on notice that it is do this or else.” While we have been having a discussion this past week, she pretty adamant in implementing this plan. It is almost to an “or else” point.

We have tried different approaches in past, in fact we have even discussed similar plans to this in the past, but have not done them. At this point she is insistent we implement this, this time.

I hate that we have gotten to this point, but I am pretty much in agreement that it is best to restrict me from the majority of the money and put me on restricted funds. Especially since fixes have only been transient in the past. It is probably best that I “go along with her on whatever she wants to do” as you have encouraged. Thank you for your input.
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Old 01-21-2018, 09:28 PM
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No...don't do that! And, I am a wife.

She doesn't have to remove you as an owner of the account to limit your access to it. I would not let her do that.

I would keep the main account joint. Set up another joint account that has limited funds and attach a debit card to it. Transfer a set amount of money to the new account each payday, month, etc.

You don't have access to the main account except if you have to write a check with her looking over your shoulder :-). You use the separate account for daily expenses and with a set amount of money in it. Your activities don't affect the main account, you will not overdraw it, etc.

Shouldn't this plan keep you in check?

I am a woman and I would never suggest that my husband not be on an account with me. And, I would never be okay with him wanting me off an account - especially a main account.
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Old 01-21-2018, 09:42 PM
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Can you operate solely on cash? Allocate a set amount from each paycheck, convert to cash, and only use that. Throw your debit/credit cards into a safe and don't carry it with you.

Edit: This thread has really made be chuckle.

Last edited by Tabs; 01-21-2018 at 10:06 PM.
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Old 01-21-2018, 10:01 PM
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As a woman that has gone through something like this for years with someone that makes HUGE money mistakes repeatedly, just do whatever it is she wants you to do before she chokes the life out of you. You say that trust is high, but she is telling you that she does not trust you with money at all and is taking your name off of the accounts. You have to work to earn trust again. Ask for your name to be put back on the accounts if you go six months or so without overspending. Double check with your bank to make sure you can have your checked deposited into an account with only her name on it. And once you are back on the account, I'm begging you, do NOT go back to your old ways. I think that is what sets me off the most. My husband will do something the very second I think that maybe he has finally learned his lesson, and we are right back to where we were. We just started talking to each other today after having a huge fight two weeks ago and he has the nerve to tell me that there is a $1,700 tv at Costco that he wants! This is why his name is not on our online savings account. He didn't like it either, but this is how it is going to be. His name is on the emergency savings account, but he doesn't know the password and doesn't have the debit card to it, and he never will.

I know a $1,700 tv is pretty large compared to what you say you are spending, but the small things add up too. My husband takes $300 out of the ATM every time, and he mindlessly goes back to the ATM whenever he wants cash. There are months when he will take $900 out of our checking account and not write it in the ledger, and not be able to tell me what he spent the money on. He likes to say he spends it on food and gas, but I see those charges on the credit cards that I have to wait until next payday to pay off because there isn't enough money in the checking account!

I wish my husband was as willing to do this as you are. Just being willing to try to improve goes a long way. I really wish you luck and tell your wife that she has a soul sister here!
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Old 01-21-2018, 10:26 PM
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Written Budget! Fresh for every pay period before it begins. Both of you agree to it and when an emergency change is needed, agree in writing how to adjust. And of course cut up the cards and disable overdraft. Just another reason why these are bad for the majority. Spend less than you make on paper and don't cheat by borrowing money. Rip that band aid off fast by making those changes now and not being cute by hiding the cards. you need the urgency.
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Old 01-21-2018, 11:25 PM
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Welcome to SA.

After 20 years of having to manage the financial crises you create, your wife demands change. You agree you have repeatedly proved that you are financially irresponsible. How many times over 20 years have you had to use POA? What genuine crisis have you had in the past 30 days? 90 days?

I suggest you make the change as easy as possible for wife by removing your access to all accounts and handing over CC, Debit card[s]. I'm confident you can operate with a cash allowance, doled out weekly or bi weekly at an agreed amount. Once the money is gone, your spending halts until the next allowance date. Get gas once a week, every Sunday for example [preferably with DW in the car].

It's in your interest to be mindful of spending by 1st noting every 'spend' on a week-by-week list on your cell phone. Many of the participants here do this for 30 day sprints to identify money 'leaks.' Some of us 'give every dollar a job,' to ensure value for money.
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Old 01-21-2018, 11:43 PM
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Quote:
Just being willing to try to improve goes a long way. I really wish you luck and tell your wife that she has a soul sister here!
Amen sister!

At one point because Mr. Big Bucks was whining that he needed a way to pay tolls etc. (he was a trucker), I finally gave in and let him have one of his cards back. I think it was the next day if not that week, he called me to tell me he had bought a laptop off of some other trucker for $400 using a cash advance off the card! He was just so full of jolly good reasons for why this would save us money because instead of calling me all the time he could email me. I got exactly ONE email from that lap top and the long distance phone calls continued because a lot of the truck stops at the time didn't have wifi or you had to pay for internet access. The next thing I knew he was home doing something or other with the laptop open, remember those ribbon like wires for the early ones?, somehow he cut it with a pair of scissors. that was one very expensive email. But this sort of thing was a matter of course. He had his cell phone and I couldn't figure out why the bill then was running over $200/month. Apparently he daily called anybody and everybody. My mom only told me after we were divorced that he had been calling her daily. She didn't want to talk to him and she knew it was costing him/us money, but he persisted. I was at a wedding shower for my niece and he called three times just for nonsense, like what should we have for supper. He would call me at work to pick a fight. At the time I was working in a jail and finally had the officer answer the phone to tell him to cut it out with calling me. Everything he ever estimated the cost of was usually 1/10 of what the final bill would be and he did the same thing with how long a time something would take as well. Over the 4 years we were married, he destroyed any trust I had in him. I would have loved it if he had been willing to give up the spending. He never even tried, or his 'trying' took the form of doing something stupid like buying that laptop.
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Old 01-21-2018, 11:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Benderz View Post
Written Budget! Fresh for every pay period before it begins. Both of you agree to it and when an emergency change is needed, agree in writing how to adjust. And of course cut up the cards and disable overdraft. Just another reason why these are bad for the majority. Spend less than you make on paper and don't cheat by borrowing money. Rip that band aid off fast by making those changes now and not being cute by hiding the cards. you need the urgency.

Unfortunately in this sort of situation, your approach won't and doesn't work. Why, because everything becomes an emergency, or too good to pass up up, or whatever. Even something as silly as paying top dollar for a bottle of pop at work out of the vending machine a couple of times a day instead of buying 6-packs or 24 packs when on sale at the grocery store or WM. And since he doesn't have cash he goes to the ATM and takes out $20-40 so he can get a $1 can of pop and then the rest of the money trickles on out of his pocket. Instead of just drinking free water.

I'm sure he is very aware of what he can and can't spend but that doesn't mean that he can stick to a budget. What his wife has suggested is to take the band-aid off. He needs to earn her trust again. That will, I'm sorry to say take some time.
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Last edited by Gailete; 01-22-2018 at 12:15 AM.
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