Author Topic: income imbalance in a relationship  (Read 12326 times)

SomedayStache

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Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #100 on: August 01, 2018, 06:41:50 PM »


I would break up with him.

If I was to limit myself to women who were “near my pay range” I’d be an awfully lonely guy. In fact, I have a near flawless relationship with my wife who’s never made more than like 20-30k and typically doesn’t work at all because I don’t find it worthwhile.

Hah!  Really hope your SO also doesn't find it "worthwhile". Otherwise you shouldn't be posting relationship advice.

Kyle Schuant

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Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #101 on: August 01, 2018, 06:53:12 PM »
If we worried what the majority were thinking, then we wouldn't be on this forum at all.

Fuck the majority. Do what is right for you.

use2betrix

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Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #102 on: August 02, 2018, 07:26:05 AM »


I would break up with him.

If I was to limit myself to women who were ďnear my pay rangeĒ Iíd be an awfully lonely guy. In fact, I have a near flawless relationship with my wife whoís never made more than like 20-30k and typically doesnít work at all because I donít find it worthwhile.

Hah!  Really hope your SO also doesn't find it "worthwhile". Otherwise you shouldn't be posting relationship advice.

Lol. Umm yes, itís a joint decision.

So far this year Iíve made about $170k and weíre 7 months into it. Iíll probably end up around $265k for the year.

If she worked full time sheíd make maybe? $30k a year. Let me correct myself, ďweĒ donít find that worth it to ďus.Ē

ebella

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Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #103 on: August 03, 2018, 12:55:30 PM »
From a wider perspective, I hear a constant drip of anxiety that his background and his skill/education level are at least somewhat playing into what the OP might see as un-advantageous decision making pattern on her partner's part. My perception is that she is anxious that this pattern will end up affecting her and their relationship disproportionately (e.g., him basically making her car his car, leaving her without a car, so he can pursue his job). There is a little bit of negativity and more than a little bit of "mine vs. his" mentality going on, which might be a self-defense mechanism brought on partially due to her not completely accepting his pattern of decision-making as part of who he is. They actually split up and got back together in the past, and the split happened after she spent some time sacrificing her career opportunities in order to stay with him in a small town. When she decided to pursue a good career opportunity in another place, he ended up following her partially because it made financial sense for *him* to do so.

Your partner will probably never approach his career and money the same way you do. You have fundamentally different ways of looking at money and career. Since I have gone through this myself, I think I can recognize it in others. The question is, are you going to be happy with accommodating his approach? Does your relationship *as a whole work*, even if you're not happy with his approach to money? Even if you end up contributing more? Is he going to expect you to float him, and how much of that are you willing to do/can you do while having a healthy relationship that works for you?
[/quote]

You nailed it.  I'm not concerned about contributing more than him (I mean I pay twice what he does for our home) nor am I concerned about paying my own way.  I think it's fair that I paid my half in law school and would never have asked him to do the same just like I never expected to use his old truck to commute to work and bough my car (his truck was unreliable, a gas guzzler, and I had cash to buy my own).  However, I have financial goals,.  One of them, is paying off my student loans and another is paying down our mortgage.  So my concern isn't him using something of mine, but the impact it will have on my ability to be debt free by 40 and stop working jobs I hate.  I've tried to explain this to him but his response is "just tell me how much I need to pay" but I'm reluctant to set a figure for my goals because I feel like his credit card debt (which he has yet to tell me the exact amount of but it's less than $10k) needs to be prioritized.  I don't want to be putting him in a tough place financially but I also don't want to be nagging him to take care of his financial issues so that we can work on our goals together (because we have a better chance of acheiving them as a team).   
I don't think his decision-making patterns will ever be like mine which I understand.  I just think he's been socio-culturally ingrained to avoid dealing with long-term planning or these types of detailed analysis of finances and logistics.  People who grew up with little money or financial literacy often think about money in the short term, as in, do I have enough to pay my bills right now, not in terms of what they want things to look like in a few month or years.  And I think there's some fear there too, because he hadn't been taught about it and considers it something only wealthy people know about. It's really hard to address this with him and not have him react with avoidance (I don't know the numbers right now, I'm too tired to talk about this, just tell me what to pay) or hostility (you're so annoying).  That's what I'm getting at when I ask people for insights. 
And to clarify, we don't live in the suburbs and don't want to.  He works there (though he would never live there).  We've been doing the new car arrangement for 2 weeks now and it's been . .ok.  I've had to get help from my boss and friends to get to and from work on the weekend when public transit doesn't feel safe after hours (there was a shooting on my walk from the train a few months ago that's probably made me more scared than I should be to go into work alone after hours when there's no security). Socializing has been ok since most of my friends have been understanding when I ask them to give me a ride or come over since I can't get to their places (not train or bike accessible) easily.  I was told I could not longer do the Big Sister volunteering program (a requirement is to have car access on weekend which I don't) which was upsetting.  I love not driving; it's the only reason I paid more to live in the only part of Atlanta where I can walk, take marta or bike to work, church, doctors, groceries, park.  I thought that was important to him to, but I think, after years of having access to other people's cars (mine and, after I moved, his parents), he doesn't prioritize walkability and transit as much as I do.

ebella

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Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #104 on: August 03, 2018, 01:01:38 PM »


Sounds like a good guy, he has a job, maybe loan him the car.
[/quote]
Yes and I did.;)

ebella

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Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #105 on: August 03, 2018, 01:19:08 PM »
I still think it would be helpful to know exactly what the parameters of the debt are here on both sides (are we talking 10k or 100s of ks?), and what the general monthly budget is.  I'm having a hard time getting my brain around why buying a beater is such a big deal for a household earning 160k/year.
My debt: $283,000.  That's my federal student loans for college and law school (ranging from 4-7%) and my new mortgage (4.85%)
His debt: Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card debt which he says is a little less than $10,000 (though he hasn;t yet told me exact number.  I assume interest is 15-20% as it's Chase Sapphire.
My income: $94,000 and is set by statute (as in, not negotiable and no raises or bonuses) and I get no 401k but I max out my HAS so after taxes it's like $5000 a month. 
His income: $40,000.  I don't know what his monthly take home is after taxes since he just got the raise.  He doesn't contribute to any kind of retirement.
My monthly expenses: my IRA, $900 student loan, $1000 mortgage and $200/mo property taxes $500/yr for my law license/taxes/bar dues. My cellphone, clothes, travel, Amazon.
His monthly expenses: The HOA and homeowners insurance $400.  He also pays for netflix, $300 for 2 storage units, his cellphone and his credit card debt. I'm going to have him pay for all car stuff except we will split insurance and registration
Split pretty evenly: groceries, household stuff, utilities.  He prefers to pay when we go out together so I usually end up covering more of our at home costs like toilet paper and detergent.

But to answer your question: It would cost $100 a month for parking; we only have one deeded spot and there is no secure street parking.  Also I don't want us to have 2 cars.  Being a two car household is so against my values (as in, I'm the sort of person who's not having children because of carbon impact)

me1

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Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #106 on: August 03, 2018, 01:55:01 PM »
I saw your responses above and I am reticent to comment, because you don't seem to take well to comments that don't say what you want to hear. I guess most of us don't, though.
I made about 6 times more than my SO last year. We don't have any of the issues you seem to have. we also have one car and agree how to use it. if we lived somewhere where we couldnt make it work, we'd buy another. 
So, to me this reads like your question is about a lot deeper issues than whether to let him use your car. And you seem like you are letting him use it but are still resentful about it. You can't do your volunteering because of it, you have to bother your friends for rides... etc. How is your relationship otherwise?
Resenting him for how he spends money is not really good for a relationship.
 
If you want another way to look at it, you may be making ~2x more money but you have 28x more debt!
That seems like the real hair on fire emergency, and a lot more higher priority than whether he gets a $5K raise or buys a $5k car.
« Last Edit: August 03, 2018, 02:07:56 PM by me1 »

sokoloff

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Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #107 on: August 03, 2018, 02:02:38 PM »
If you want another way to look at it, you may be making ~2x more money but you have 28x more debt!
That seems like the real hair on fire emergency, and a lot more higher priority than whether he gets a $5K raise or buys a $5k car.
Mortgage debt doesn't count the same as personal debt, IMO. Even student loans for an advanced degree that one uses to make an above-average income need to be considered as "other than a simple numerator/ratio", IMO.

Several of your other points are spot-on, though.

If person A has a car they need in order to live the life they want and person B has the same arrangement (two cars total), it seems disingenuous for person A to then claim that the world is worse off if persons A and B move in together (better for the world/overall carbon footprint) and that after moving in together that they can only make the world right by dropping down to one car between them, which will necessitate person A dropping a charity activity that they previously enjoyed and still feel positively about.

ebella

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Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #108 on: August 03, 2018, 02:39:25 PM »
I saw your responses above and I am reticent to comment, because you don't seem to take well to comments that don't say what you want to hear. I guess most of us don't, though.
I made about 6 times more than my SO last year. We don't have any of the issues you seem to have. we also have one car and agree how to use it. if we lived somewhere where we couldnt make it work, we'd buy another. 
So, to me this reads like your question is about a lot deeper issues than whether to let him use your car. And you seem like you are letting him use it but are still resentful about it. You can't do your volunteering because of it, you have to bother your friends for rides... etc. How is your relationship otherwise?
Resenting him for how he spends money is not really good for a relationship.
 
If you want another way to look at it, you may be making ~2x more money but you have 28x more debt!
That seems like the real hair on fire emergency, and a lot more higher priority than whether he gets a $5K raise or buys a $5k car.

Oh I agree that my debt is a hair on fire emergency.  But, I thought people were telling me to not keep score?  If we're keeping score, I look at mortgages and student debt differently as long as the person is paying it off with a viable plan.  For me, I'm hoping to double my salary next year when I move out of government, as the reliable public service employment (and loan forgiveness) I went to school to do is fast becoming non-existent.  If I get a job at a firm I could make $190,00 as my base salary and pay off my student loans before the 2020 election (my new goal).  I would never expect him to shoulder the burden of my student loan debt and if we do a pre-nup that will be expliicit.
However, $200,000 of that is debt I took out largely because he moved to be with me and I wanted to accommodate his possessions (5 bikes, a large record collection) and have more space so he's feel happier moving to be with me instead of sharing the studio I rented.  His credit score was not great so I was the only person that applied for the mortgage.  Before we were together, I was very happy to continue renting a studio.  Now that I've bought, I pay less on the mortgage than I did renting less space alone because he pays HOA and insurance without being on the hook for the debt.  I'm trying to make that a win/win. 
The car I don't care about per se, I just am concerned he's not taking financial responsibility for his career and lifestyle choices.  I certainly have taken full reponsibility (to the tune of $283,000) to get the degree for mine and live in a location where (for basically any legal job I have) commuting costs will be zero and commuting time without a car will be less than 30 minutes each way.  I feel like the car is symptomatic of not addressing his life choices in a long-term or strategic way which, in turn, is symptomatic of his background (and I don't fault him for that).  I want to be debt free and able to do work I love and I want that for him too, but I don't see that happening when he's resistant to financial planning.

me1

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Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #109 on: August 03, 2018, 03:00:03 PM »
I hear ya, and I may have misread the debt to all be student loans, but it seems it's both house and student loans, so that makes more sense. But either way.... you ARE keeping score. You can't seem to help it.
If you really weren't keeping score none of this would be an issue. But it is. And that's ok, if that's how you feel.
To me it reads like your financial plans are a lot more important to you than the guy. Is that true?
It may be hard to admit to yourself that it is, after all the history you guys shared. But if it is true, than I think the fair thing to do to him and to you would be to let him go.
He is not going to change. His priorities don't seem to line up with yours. Being financially independent seems really important to you. But there is more to it than that. If you will really be making 4 times more than him in a year, how insignificant is the car issue and whether he asks for a raise? What tiny percentage is that going to add up to in your budget at that point?
My SO has the potential to make a lot more than he makes right now (but still probably not as much as me), and he is relatively frugal most of the time.  But I don't really take what he will or won't be making into my calculations.  I have a projected FIRE date based solely on my current salary. It would be great if we could get there faster, but I can't make him ask for a raise (it doesn't even work like that for him), and we still don't know if he will ever land a non-temporary job.  But I want him to be in my life, and I want to make it work for us, not for me.
To me it reads like you are asking relationship not financial questions.

MKinVA

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Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #110 on: August 03, 2018, 09:08:53 PM »
Why can't you just drive him to work on the weekends? He uses the car during the week while you walk to work, and then drive him on the weekend so you have the car. Many family live for years with only one car. Sure it takes some scheduling and compromise, but it works.

On the relationship, you need to get on the same page. If you don't have the same goals (very specific goals), there will be resentment that will fester and ruin it. You see your future very clearly, it seems. Where does he fit in? How does he enhance that future? Or...

catccc

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Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #111 on: August 03, 2018, 10:14:06 PM »
My partner and I have quite the income gap.  For most of our 10 year marriage, when working, he has earned anywhere from $3-20K and I have earned around $80-90K.  Just in the last year he's really stepped it up, grabbing an opportunity and landing a job that gets him almost to 1/2 of my salary, earning 40K.  Which is super exciting because this is big bucks to our family. He's also eligible for a 403b and a 457b, and we put a lot into both of those, so his take home pay is about $160 a month!  But there is no resentment that he always has earned less, or currently saves more (I only have a 401K).  One reason this works is because despite the income gap and varied savings rates, we are both on board for joint FIRE.  We also have 2 kids, and we both took some time being a SAHP, so there's very much a family mentality and not a mine v. yours mentality.  We are in this together.

So I wouldn't be worried about how much he is earning, I would be worried about what his plans are for the future, and whether they are compatible with yours.  Which you've said is the real issue here.
The car I don't care about per se, I just am concerned he's not taking financial responsibility for his career and lifestyle choices.

Talk to him about this.  If he's not on the same page, and this is really important to you, there are a lot of threads about getting your SO on board.  I think it will be a slow process given the lifestyle he has as you currently describe.  But it's worth a try.  Good luck.

CrustyBadger

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Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #112 on: August 04, 2018, 06:34:27 AM »
Man people love to jump to advising people to break up! Thatís so frigginí intense!

OP, I totally agree that this is a relationship issue and that you and your BF need to ACTUALLY TALK ABOUT THIS, but I donít think that necessitates that you break up just because your relationship has a communication issue that happens to be the most common communication issue in existence.

Fucking hell.
Note to self, donít mention any goddamn fallibility about my marriage on MMM forum.

Well, it is a very common marital (or relationship) issue, but incompatibility in dealing with finances is also a highly common reason for splitting up.  You can certainly work on discussing how to deal with finances, and come to have common goals surrounding finances. But if you don't, it's not a great way to start out a marriage.

ebella, I wonder if you guys might be interested in doing some preengagement or premarital financial counseling?   Do they have that kind of things where you live?  I don't know what your plans are for marriage, but it seems like you are definitely starting to think somewhat like a joint economic unit.  You mentioned "our" mortgage, for example, and you are making other decisions (like where to live and how to handle debt repayment) thinking of both of your needs.

Premarital financial counseling would be the opportunity for both of you to back up and start from scratch. You would each talk about your individual financial goals and ways of dealing with finances, and why it is important to you.  Then together you would create a plan for how you would prioritize things as a couple. 

Your decisions might make sense for your goals, but his goals might be different.  And you both need to have the same goals to be able to work as a team.

me1

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Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #113 on: August 04, 2018, 06:51:28 AM »
Man people love to jump to advising people to break up! Thatís so frigginí intense!

OP, I totally agree that this is a relationship issue and that you and your BF need to ACTUALLY TALK ABOUT THIS, but I donít think that necessitates that you break up just because your relationship has a communication issue that happens to be the most common communication issue in existence.

Fucking hell.
Note to self, donít mention any goddamn fallibility about my marriage on MMM forum.

I guess I will just STFU and crawl back into my hole. Sorry for having opinions on a post where someone asked for opinions. Knew I should have kept my mouth shut.

Hargrove

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Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #114 on: August 04, 2018, 11:38:32 AM »
@ebella, here's a for instance. I'm not guessing at your situation; this is a post about communicating.

Do you have a fear of working indefinitely in a job you hate? I get a little of that from your last couple posts, but mostly you say the reverse - that you want financial freedom, you want to pay off debt, etc. However, in your mind, you may draw a straight line through these things while he does not.

This is step 1 of talking past each other.

So say HE has a fear, that you don't know about exactly, that he's not quite telling you (so you get avoidance when you bring up the topic). Say he thinks you'll resent him for not handling his bills and retiring early or something, but instead of talking about that, he's talking about the reverse - doing well enough by you financially that you're satisfied.

Here's what happens: you talk about fixing your fear instead of the fear itself.
Now he reads your signal as the beginning of the resentment he's afraid of.
He addresses fixing HIS fear instead of the fear itself.
He loves you, so he just asks you to give him a number to fix it.
"It doesn't work that way" you reply, perhaps reasonably...
"I can't even fix it??" he hears, confirming finances are just another one of life's unsolvable problems...

I am sure if that sounds plausible to you, it's totally not intentional, and that's all normal (and fixable). It's hard to go from a rut to smooth communication sometimes, but the "opener" skillset is talking about how you feel instead of what has to get done. If you try to quit smoking, for example, the goal and the steps to get there are awfully simple, but that doesn't make DOING it any easier.

You have explained in your last couple posts more about how his avoidance makes you feel - have you communicated these things with him? If so, did you explain them along the lines of (for instance) "Can we talk please? Something is bothering me and I hope we can figure it out as a team - it's causing me a lot of stress. I am afraid of working through my life at a job I don't like, and looking at a future, I want us to on the same page about managing money so I don't have to be afraid of that happening. I feel hurt when you avoid me when I bring up finances, because that fear is what I'm trying to address when I do it. I would love you if you repaired bikes or fixed toilets, and that's not the problem - it's not about the number we each pay for things every month, but about how we look at planning a financial future. Is that ok? If not, can we pick a time to talk about it later?"

This does a few things. It gives the option for him to talk about it later, which reduces the stress of the conversation. It confirms your love for him and that this is not a signal towards any fear he may have - basically, it orients the discussion around YOUR feelings, instead of what he may or may not be doing. This is extremely valuable. The response to "help me I'm afraid" is usually very direct and easy to read! It also sets up the conversation for him to talk about how he feels instead of focusing on totally grasping, right now, "the finances." Listen to what he says and reflect it. Don't defend yourself if he says something and you feel hurt - rephrase to be sure you have it correctly first and check with him if you do. He will feel like you care about where he's coming from, and you may be able to both unwind your anxieties about this.

I like to tell the story of driving around happily in a hilly area with lots of curvy roads. My girlfriend at the time was not having a swell ride because she was getting nervous, but she didn't talk about that, she remarked sarcastically about the speed limit and my ability to read. I was angry, because I am like, SO GOOD at reading street signs! Actually, I was angry because I felt I was being blamed for her anxiety about "perfectly reasonable" speeds, and that hardly seemed fair to me. So I said how I felt about her comment, and got her to say she felt unsafe, which I totally didn't want, so I said if she ever felt afraid or unsafe, and she told me that instead of impugning my ability to read, I would always slow down for her. She tried it once, couldn't believe it worked, I wasn't annoyed about the sarcasm anymore... everybody won. But it can be hard to talk about the issue directly, sometimes. We feel more vulnerable doing it, and we can get carried away in completely irrelevant conversations very easily.

Though these "for instances" of talking past each other may not hold bearing on your situation, they're the sort of thing a therapist is supposed to help you do in counseling, and you may find a pre-marriage or couples therapy session extremely helpful. We often think of therapists more like mechanics you go to when something is broken, rather than facilitators for communication and health, but they're way more valuable as the latter.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2018, 11:46:12 AM by Hargrove »

Hargrove

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Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #115 on: August 04, 2018, 12:09:52 PM »
Quote
Níah, you have your opinion and I have mine. Who says mine is more valid than yours?

Gah! Paradox!

Mezzie

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Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #116 on: August 04, 2018, 04:47:02 PM »
Financially, my husband and I are similar to you and your SO. I make over 2x what he does and likely always will. I have a career I love and get life satisfaction from; he has a job that pays bills. He's good at it and has good friends there but has to do extra things to derive life satisfaction. He has less formal education than me and fewer choices despitebeing brilliant. He is bad with money. All of that was true before we got married and I did not expect that to change (good thing, too, since it hasn't).

Before we got married, I helped him pay off his debt (that is, I made a budget for him because he didn't even know about some of his debt, let alone how to pay it off).

After marriage, everything got combined. We each get the exact same personal spending and savings each month despite adding very different amounts to the same pot. What matters is that we both work hard. No one is slacking; I just get paid more per hour. He trusts me to make the family budget, and I update him on it. He makes requests (say, a replacement car) and, if it's possible, I rework the budget to meet those requests. If not, he knows it's true that it can't happen now but that we can work towards it if we agree on certain sacrifices.

We plan to retire the same year. He has some side hobbies that might earn extra income and knows if those reach $X, he can quit his job and we'll still be on track. He also knows that if he becomes overwhelmingly unhappy at his job, he can just quit and we'll figure it out. On my end, I have a disability that he supports me through. It may lead to me not being able to work as much as I do (or at all). Again, if that happens, we'll figure it out. We respect and are dedicated to one another.

I'm the one who worries about and plans for our future. He's the one who makes sure we have fun now. It's a wonderful balance.

Ours is not the only way such a relationship can work, but it is one way, and it semed relevant to share.

On a side note, if not for the disability, we would likely be a one-car family right now as I love public transit. The compromise was a used electric car for me to assuage my carbon footprint guilt a bit. Is $100/mo for parking worth keeping your Big Sister gig? Only you can decide. I'd probably go for it.

babybug

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Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #117 on: August 04, 2018, 07:11:48 PM »
I agree, it's more of a character and relationship issue than an income one. 

If he loves his low paying job, fine. But he sounds beyond entitled, expecting her to cover his housing and now transportation by sacrifing her own money, comfort and boundaries. Even a shade abusive.

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Villanelle

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Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #118 on: August 05, 2018, 08:01:46 PM »
You are engaged but he has yet to tell you how much debt he has?

More and more you are giving the impression that the two of you have some serious communication issues, and some uge gaps to fill before you are anywhere close to being in a healthy place from which to enter marriage.  That conversation should take less than five minutes.  So either he doesn't care that it is important to you and can't be bothered to add up the number and share it, or you haven't made it clear that is is important.  I can't see another explanation. 

Then there is the fact that he asks for a number, and you are "hesitant" to provide it.  You guys are crazy if you don't sit down before you take another step toward marriage, and hash out a specific plan for finances going forward--who pays what for what, what triggers a change in that, what retirement looks like for each of you, and more.

It sounds very much like you are afraid to set boundaries with him or make clear and specific requests.  You didnd't just say, "you borrowing my car long term won't work, so I'll lend it to you for X time under Y circumstances, but when that's over you need to have your own transportation."  You haven't said, "tell me how much debt you have" (or if you have he has either disrespected you by ignoring that, or you've given him the impression this isn't a serious or immediate need).  You won't say, "I need you to contribute X toward the bills in order to feel comfortable"  (Or "I propose you provide X and I provide Y", but let's discuss and come up with a specific plan if that doesn't work for you".) 

Seriously. *Talk* to your partner.  And don't be afraid to be assertive.  The worst that could happen is that your relationship crumbles and while that's awful, kicking that awful can down the road makes it more awful, not less.  Express your needs in a calm, reasonable way, be willing to compromise but don't compromise so far that you aren't okay with the final agreement.   But for heavens sake, don't let this stiff continue to linger and fester.  Speak up, be honest and trust your partner to be reasonable and honest himself.

formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #119 on: August 06, 2018, 10:43:12 AM »
The car I don't care about per se, I just am concerned he's not taking financial responsibility for his career and lifestyle choices.  I certainly have taken full reponsibility (to the tune of $283,000) to get the degree for mine and live in a location where (for basically any legal job I have) commuting costs will be zero and commuting time without a car will be less than 30 minutes each way.  I feel like the car is symptomatic of not addressing his life choices in a long-term or strategic way which, in turn, is symptomatic of his background (and I don't fault him for that).

I think that, in part, you are enabling him.

You won't tell him to get his own car and/or get a job within a short distance of where you work - you handed over your car and stopped doing an activity you love.

You won't tell him how much extra money you would like him to contribute so that you can more easily reach your goals - because you'd rather that he spend his money on HIS debt.  But it's very frustrating for you because you don't know how much debt he has or if that money that he isn't contributing to the household is even going to the debt.  [This would have been a deal-breaker for me - if my H hadn't shared his debt-level with me before he proposed, there would have been no engagement.]

Quote
I want to be debt free and able to do work I love and I want that for him too, but I don't see that happening when he's resistant to financial planning.
What does he want?  It sounds like he's already doing work he loves...

As many of us have said, you need shared goals that are pretty clear.

carolina822

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Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #120 on: August 06, 2018, 01:06:00 PM »
However, $200,000 of that is debt I took out largely because he moved to be with me and I wanted to accommodate his possessions (5 bikes, a large record collection) and have more space so he's feel happier moving to be with me instead of sharing the studio I rented.

So, why is he still paying $300 a month on storage units? That's a car payment. Or a few months to save for a beater that can get him to work on the weekends. Or three parking spaces for said car, since that seems to be one of your sticking points on the two car thing. (Yes, I get the environmental impact part too, but ideally the two-car thing wouldn't be long term. Either way, I don't think it's quite fair for you to unilaterally decide he doesn't need a car since you already have one. Nor is it fair for him to assume he can just drive yours whenever. Ok, I'll stop with the car thing now.)

I promise I'm not some conservative "don't live in sin" type, but I do believe strongly that it's a bad idea to combine finances, mortgages, etc. when you're not married or in some other form of legal partnership that protects both parties in the event of a split. I'd say the same thing if you and a friend wanted to buy a rental condo or invest in a startup together. You love this man and enjoy living with him, to the point that you went into debt to buy a house that would accommodate his needs. That's fine - but it's YOUR house, not his. Until you two are able to communicate and either be on the same page financially, or accept that you're never going to be and make peace with that, you need to keep your finances separate. That means that he gets to make his own career decisions and until he buys into the whole "work together as a family" thing or asks for your advice, you need to assume that things aren't going to change and decide whether that's a dealbreaker or not. (I don't know if it would or wouldn't be for me - it's a tough thing, for sure, and I'm sorry you're there right now.)

MDfive21

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Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #121 on: August 07, 2018, 11:21:42 AM »
i don't normally recommend this, but you two are prime candidates for financial peace university.  only because you need to learn how to budget as a team.  i'm 'this close' to dragging my wife to it myself.

ebella

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Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #122 on: August 08, 2018, 08:02:00 AM »
You are engaged but he has yet to tell you how much debt he has?

More and more you are giving the impression that the two of you have some serious communication issues, and some uge gaps to fill before you are anywhere close to being in a healthy place from which to enter marriage.  That conversation should take less than five minutes.  So either he doesn't care that it is important to you and can't be bothered to add up the number and share it, or you haven't made it clear that is is important.  I can't see another explanation. 

Then there is the fact that he asks for a number, and you are "hesitant" to provide it.  You guys are crazy if you don't sit down before you take another step toward marriage, and hash out a specific plan for finances going forward--who pays what for what, what triggers a change in that, what retirement looks like for each of you, and more.

It sounds very much like you are afraid to set boundaries with him or make clear and specific requests.  You didnd't just say, "you borrowing my car long term won't work, so I'll lend it to you for X time under Y circumstances, but when that's over you need to have your own transportation."  You haven't said, "tell me how much debt you have" (or if you have he has either disrespected you by ignoring that, or you've given him the impression this isn't a serious or immediate need).  You won't say, "I need you to contribute X toward the bills in order to feel comfortable"  (Or "I propose you provide X and I provide Y", but let's discuss and come up with a specific plan if that doesn't work for you".) 

Seriously. *Talk* to your partner.  And don't be afraid to be assertive.  The worst that could happen is that your relationship crumbles and while that's awful, kicking that awful can down the road makes it more awful, not less.  Express your needs in a calm, reasonable way, be willing to compromise but don't compromise so far that you aren't okay with the final agreement.   But for heavens sake, don't let this stiff continue to linger and fester.  Speak up, be honest and trust your partner to be reasonable and honest himself.

Oh I've asked him straight up about the debt.  Here's how the conversation goes (assume we're at home eating dinner):
Me: How much is that debt exactly?
Him: Maybe around $10,000.
Me: Ok but what is the exact number and interest rate?  If we know that mybe we can do a balance transfer to get rid of the interest rate.
Him:  I don't know off the top of my head
Me:  Well it should be easy enough to look up.
Him: Yeah, but not now.
Me: Ok, well maybe do it tomorrow on your day off while I'm at work.
Tomorrow tolls around, and nothing.  This literally has been going on for weeks.
I'm not sure what I can do except try to force him to look it up in my presence while I sit over his shoulder.  That feels infantalizing to me, like telling a child they need to brush thier teeth before bed and watching them do it to make sure.

Retire-Canada

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Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #123 on: August 08, 2018, 08:06:46 AM »
I'm not sure what I can do except try to force him to look it up in my presence while I sit over his shoulder.  That feels infantalizing to me, like telling a child they need to brush thier teeth before bed and watching them do it to make sure.

I sympathise, but at some point you have to either accept this as the way it is and forget about optimising that debt or put your foot down and say you are not marrying someone who can't get their shit together.

ebella

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Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #124 on: August 08, 2018, 08:36:16 AM »
Or instead of asking him what his debt amount is you could openly communicate to him that you have a serious relationship need for openness about finances and that itís a non-negotiable for you that you both be proactive and responsible about money moving forward.

He obviously has no clue what your needs and expectations are.

My DH is like that about numbers too, and I simply stated in clear terms that I needed him to be far more engaged about our finances and that we were going to talk about it openly, honestly, and FREQUENTLY, as a normal and healthy part of our relationship and that talking about money was going to be as normal as talking about our day at work.

DH still sucks at knowing actual balances because heís hopeless with numbers, but I have access to all of his accounts, so I update him regularly on the state of all of our accounts and we talk about what those numbers mean on a daily basis just like talking about work. Talking about work usually is the same as talking about money because work generates money, so they really are the same issue.

You two arenít actually talking and itís a real problem.
Not once in that exchange that you posted did you say *anything* to him about *why* you are asking about his debt other than to offer a suggestion for a balance transfer, which he may or may not even care about. Thatís not communicating.

Neither of you have any actual clue about how either of you feel about that debt.
Thatís crazy!
Common...but still crazy!

ETA: you realize that you are more open and honest with strangers on the internet about your real feelings than you are with the man you want to marry. You do see how ass-backwards that is, right???
I post a lot of feelings and opinions here, but nothing compared to what I share with my DH.
[/quote]

I have stated that to him, in those exact terms.  To make things more concrete, I told him (the dame day I wrote the original post) that I wanted us to have a night once a month (at least) where we sit down and talk about money.  I suggested doing it on a day he doesn't work so that he is less stressed.  I tried to do it last night (after sending him yet another copy of our budget) but he said we should do it next week because he will know his actual takehome pay.  So he's well aware that this is important to me.  I'm honestly not sure what more I can do to emphasize how important this is to me.  I would talk about it everyday but he tells me I'm nagging.

sokoloff

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Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #125 on: August 08, 2018, 08:48:43 AM »
You've made a great first step, which is always the hardest.

I can sympathize with your current standoff, as my DW is often less patient with my natural timeline. Over time, what we've found to work well is for her to ask me what timeframe would be realistic and reasonable, let me propose a timeline, and then we write down what we just agreed to. Do I hit it everytime? No, but way more often than not.

"When do you think you can come up with an inventory of your debt balances and interest rates?"
"Next Friday"
"OK, I'll count on that. Let's plan to talk next Friday night and see what we can do to build a better future with regards to killing all of our debt."

He's going to stumble a few times. Make it clear that it's disappointing, but then let him make a new commitment. He'll eventually (and quite soon, probably) start making thoughtful commitments and hit them. (My problem was that I would make a best-case, knee-jerk, guess and then some problem would come up. For the simple case of just logging into a website to look up a balance, this is less of a factor, but when it's a "repair XYZ", there are often delays and multi-step processes, each with their own chances to fail/cause delays.)

Keep pushing, but be smart about the pushing. Be firm that this is important and you won't accept not making progress jointly. Be a little more flexible and supportive of whether individual steps of progress come in August vs September. Focus on "getting better" rather than "being excellent" at this. Continually getting better beats starting out excellent. (Math geek: In "y = mx + b", the m term dominates over b.)

MDfive21

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Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #126 on: August 08, 2018, 08:59:31 AM »
if he's not willing to get the #s himself, and he just says 'how much do i need to pay' maybe he just wants you to do it.  get his approval and pull his credit report.  it's getting ridiculous.  if he wants to play house with you he needs to do his part and if that's strictly in the emotional support arena that's fine, but one of you has to work the finance for the family and it can't be done without knowing the numbers.

honestly, if he agrees to a budget for himself, turns over the keys to his finances to you and allows you to do it, that's preferable to dragging him along kicking and screaming.  i've been there in both ways and i'd rather just do it and know it's done right.  don't try to fix him if he doesn't want to be fixed.

historienne

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Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #127 on: August 08, 2018, 09:05:05 AM »
Oh I've asked him straight up about the debt.  Here's how the conversation goes (assume we're at home eating dinner):
Me: How much is that debt exactly?
Him: Maybe around $10,000.
Me: Ok but what is the exact number and interest rate?  If we know that mybe we can do a balance transfer to get rid of the interest rate.
Him:  I don't know off the top of my head
Me:  Well it should be easy enough to look up.
Him: Yeah, but not now.
Me: Ok, well maybe do it tomorrow on your day off while I'm at work.
Tomorrow tolls around, and nothing.  This literally has been going on for weeks.
I'm not sure what I can do except try to force him to look it up in my presence while I sit over his shoulder.  That feels infantalizing to me, like telling a child they need to brush thier teeth before bed and watching them do it to make sure.

This is...really not great.  I'm not saying break up, but please don't get married until you can have conversations about this stuff that end productively.  Maybe that means investing in couples counseling for a few months.  Maybe it means doing the Dave Ramsey thing, as someone else suggested.  But once you get married you own each others' financial decisions, so you absolutely need to be able to talk them through. 

Also - I don't remember if you are thinking about kids at some point, or not.  But if so, you REALLY need to get this sorted first.  An extremely common pattern among my friends goes like this (and yes, it's almost always gendered this way, although obviously it could be reversed and can happen in queer couples too. Maybe I only see this version of it because I, a woman who has her shit together, tend to be friends with other woman who have their shit together):
Couple without kids: woman takes the lead on life logistics, including finances, maybe has a small degree of irritation about it, but it really doesn't matter because she loves her partner and gets a lot of emotional benefits from the relationship
Couple has kids: woman keeps doing most of the life logistics stuff, but there is now 3x as much stuff to do (daycare! doctor's visits! buying the right formula! making sure a growing kid has clothes that fit!).  Plus she's usually doing at least 50%, often more, of the hands-on childcare.
6-12 months in: woman's resentment boils over like a volcano and she absolutely loses it at her partner.  Sometimes this leads to renegotiation and a more equitable division of labor, sometimes not.  In all cases, it's extremely unpleasant and tough on the relationship.  Worst case scenario, couple splits up because woman can't handle being the only grown-up in the family.

So yes, I agree that you can't treat your partner like a child and sit over his shoulder while he does what you tell him to do.  You can, though, insist that he put in the work if he wants to be in a relationship with you.  Couples counseling might really help to get this message across in a way that doesn't explode the relationship. 

ebella

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Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #128 on: August 08, 2018, 09:16:49 AM »
Definitely not planning on kids...ever.

historienne

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Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #129 on: August 08, 2018, 09:24:05 AM »
Definitely not planning on kids...ever.

That definitely lowers the stakes!  I still think you want to be able to talk this stuff through, but it's possible to make his finances stay his problem in a way that it wouldn't be with kids.

I do think you need to pick a side, though.  Either you are a financial team, or not.  If you are, then he needs to bring numbers to the table so you can make joint financial decisions that benefit the relationship as a whole.  If not, then you should take him up on his offer to pay his fair share of ongoing costs.  That probably includes paying for his own car, so that you can use yours on the weekends, or maybe paying you for the use of your car so that you can afford to take the occasional Uber/use Zipcar, etc.  Also, obviously, you'd need a prenup before getting married.

Retire-Canada

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Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #130 on: August 08, 2018, 09:26:07 AM »
Also, obviously, you'd need a prenup before getting married.


Or don't bother getting married. Without kids in the plans there is not a really compelling reason to do so.

Villanelle

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Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #131 on: August 09, 2018, 02:50:15 PM »
You are engaged but he has yet to tell you how much debt he has?

More and more you are giving the impression that the two of you have some serious communication issues, and some uge gaps to fill before you are anywhere close to being in a healthy place from which to enter marriage.  That conversation should take less than five minutes.  So either he doesn't care that it is important to you and can't be bothered to add up the number and share it, or you haven't made it clear that is is important.  I can't see another explanation. 

Then there is the fact that he asks for a number, and you are "hesitant" to provide it.  You guys are crazy if you don't sit down before you take another step toward marriage, and hash out a specific plan for finances going forward--who pays what for what, what triggers a change in that, what retirement looks like for each of you, and more.

It sounds very much like you are afraid to set boundaries with him or make clear and specific requests.  You didnd't just say, "you borrowing my car long term won't work, so I'll lend it to you for X time under Y circumstances, but when that's over you need to have your own transportation."  You haven't said, "tell me how much debt you have" (or if you have he has either disrespected you by ignoring that, or you've given him the impression this isn't a serious or immediate need).  You won't say, "I need you to contribute X toward the bills in order to feel comfortable"  (Or "I propose you provide X and I provide Y", but let's discuss and come up with a specific plan if that doesn't work for you".) 

Seriously. *Talk* to your partner.  And don't be afraid to be assertive.  The worst that could happen is that your relationship crumbles and while that's awful, kicking that awful can down the road makes it more awful, not less.  Express your needs in a calm, reasonable way, be willing to compromise but don't compromise so far that you aren't okay with the final agreement.   But for heavens sake, don't let this stiff continue to linger and fester.  Speak up, be honest and trust your partner to be reasonable and honest himself.

Oh I've asked him straight up about the debt.  Here's how the conversation goes (assume we're at home eating dinner):
Me: How much is that debt exactly?
Him: Maybe around $10,000.
Me: Ok but what is the exact number and interest rate?  If we know that mybe we can do a balance transfer to get rid of the interest rate.
Him:  I don't know off the top of my head
Me:  Well it should be easy enough to look up.
Him: Yeah, but not now.
Me: Ok, well maybe do it tomorrow on your day off while I'm at work.
Tomorrow tolls around, and nothing.  This literally has been going on for weeks.
I'm not sure what I can do except try to force him to look it up in my presence while I sit over his shoulder.  That feels infantalizing to me, like telling a child they need to brush thier teeth before bed and watching them do it to make sure.

"We;ve had this conversation multiple times, and yet you still haven't given me the number.  This is extremely important to me, so I need for it to be a priority for you.  Please have the number tomorrow night and we will discuss if after dinner.  I need for this to be the last time we have this conversation."

Then, he either has the number, or he doesn't.  If he doesn't, at that point, I'd likely be reconsidering being with this man.  That may seem extreme over just a failure to produce a number, but this is so much more than that.  It means he's a shitty partner who doesn't value what is important to you when you've made the exceptionally clear to him  Why would you ever consider tying your life legally to someone like that?  It truly seems like you are afraid to stand up to him and set firm boundaries.  I wonder why that is?  Are you afraid if you set a boundary that he doesn't like he will leave you?  I don't mean to be glib about matters of disappointment in love as I know they can be extremely painful and earth-shattering, but if that's who he is, this is never going to work out.  Refusing to stick up for yourself is not a sustainable relationship strategy.  Refusing to ask for what you need and stick to your guns will not somehow make him respect you more.  It will make him respect you less.  *MAYBE* this is just a case of him not really understanding this is important to you, because it does seem like you've shied away from taking it past just a light "it would be nice to know" conversation.  That seems unlikely, but possible.  So you need to take it past that light conversation and have the hard conversation.  Hard conversations are critical to healthy relationships.  Make it very, very clear that you need this and are frustrated and aren't going to wait any longer.  He will either see that and give you what you need, or he will--without words--tell you that he doesn't care if it is important to you and he either can't be bothered or is hiding something.  Either way, I don't see how anyone who is thinking even semi-clearly would continue a relationship like that. 

You need to stop being afraid to be assertive with him.  Things like wanting to know a partner's financial picture before engagement (or marriage), wanting your partner to contribute toward household expenses, wanting him to buy his own vehicle so you aren't stuck without yours--these are very reasonable.  And yet you seem to be acting as though you think they are hugely unreasonable demands so you are afraid to make them.  That's not how one treats a partner.  It's not fair to him, assuming all of this is really just cluelessness on his part.  And if it isn't cluelessness, then you are making a massive mistake combining your life with this mine.  So find out which of those two it is, and act accordingly. 

The_Dude

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Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #132 on: August 09, 2018, 04:11:38 PM »
A potential solution to avoiding resentment about the SO's earnings is to not treat all income and expenses in a marriage as joint.  I get that culturally this is the "normal" thing to do.  However, in the modern times that we live in it doesn't need to be a given. 

My wife and I do not share finances and split shared expenses 50/50.  Its great, as we don't fight about spending and saving. 

When I discovered the concept of early retirement my wife also wasn't on board with it.  But with our separate finances she didn't mind if I worked towards this goal and I didn't mind if she made other choices that would result in more working years for her. 

We have been together nearly 20 years, have kids, and as long as we are both healthy and capable our finances will continue to be separate. 




Hargrove

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Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #133 on: August 09, 2018, 05:18:54 PM »
Whoa. We went from caution right back to intense.

Neither the words "brazen" nor "clueless" accurately describe a scenario of serious anxiety. His difficulty with switching career gears, his opinions on socioeconomics, his relatively narrow comfort zone, and his significant challenge communicating about it all may not mean anything like "he doesn't care." If his ego is tied into something he thinks he has already failed (living up to his SO financially), it will be much harder for him to meet in the middle on this than may seem obvious (or desirable). That, however, may be what you "have to live with" if you stay with him, rather than someone who "doesn't value you."

Jesus.

If you are out of ideas on ways to approach the conversation and the relationship is worth it to you, involving a therapist would be a great idea. People who are otherwise reasonable and caring can have areas they are terrified to tackle. That sucks, and it's frustrating, and you may decide to opt out, ultimately, but it's also not impossible to work through.

Simple Dad

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Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #134 on: August 09, 2018, 06:48:23 PM »
If he is getting $5000 raise, have him buy a cheap car or better yet a motorcycle.  Motorcycle would be much cheaper if he is comfortable riding.  I am not familiar with the Atlanta area but I would think he could pick up a small truck or car for under $3000 easily.  Seems like a simple enough solution.

ebella

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Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #135 on: August 10, 2018, 12:54:51 PM »
Whoa. We went from caution right back to intense.

Neither the words "brazen" nor "clueless" accurately describe a scenario of serious anxiety. His difficulty with switching career gears, his opinions on socioeconomics, his relatively narrow comfort zone, and his significant challenge communicating about it all may not mean anything like "he doesn't care." If his ego is tied into something he thinks he has already failed (living up to his SO financially), it will be much harder for him to meet in the middle on this than may seem obvious (or desirable). That, however, may be what you "have to live with" if you stay with him, rather than someone who "doesn't value you."

Jesus.

If you are out of ideas on ways to approach the conversation and the relationship is worth it to you, involving a therapist would be a great idea. People who are otherwise reasonable and caring can have areas they are terrified to tackle. That sucks, and it's frustrating, and you may decide to opt out, ultimately, but it's also not impossible to work through.

Yea I think it's this.  We had the discussion (only about his credit card debt) two night ago because (on the advice of someone in this thread) I told him he could either tell me or I could pull his credit report.  The conversation...didn't exactly go well.  He didn't understand why his credit card debt affected me and I explained that, if we're sharing expenses and he's using my car to commute, the fact that he has ($9000 at 14% interest) credit card debt and, therefore, less money to afford an alternative means of communication or split expenses evenly is an issue.  He was like "well just tell me how much you need" and I was like "I am not going to give you a number that puts you back in debt, that's not worthwhile for either of us."  I explained to him the reason I want us to get on board financially is, if I am sharing a life with him, I want to be able to get rid of my student debt and have jobs I like.  He asked me if I would be able to get such jobs and that I should just go get jobs I like.  I explained that, if I did that, we could not afford to live how we live and that the reason he has been able to work a job he likes is because he's had people sharing expenses (whether it's housing or transport). He was like "well, maybe you just aren't cut out for work" which offended me (I've worked since highschool and, while I haven;t always been paid for my work or worked full time while in school one could hardly accuse me of eschewing work).  But I explained that it's not that I don't want to work; it's that I don't want to do work that makes me miserable (aka what I do right now).   He said alot of other weird things like he likes being poor because it feels comfortable and like home and I just don't understand.  I explained that, technically, he is not poor and I'm not asking him to be different than what he's used to, I'm trying to give us both more freedom from big banks.  I showed him my bank account (on my phone) so he could see how I was being transparent with him and that, if his credit card debt was lower I could do an interest free loan for him to pay the credit card debt off.  Eventually we sort of came to an agreement that his credit card debt was something we needed to address together.
The next day, when we were both at work, he texted to thank me for forcing him to have this conversation and apologizing for unfairly directing frustration at me.  That he loves me and cannot imagine life without me and is sorry his job caused me difficulty and thanking me for being patient while we make our life in a new city more permanent.  I was floored.  Historically he's been unwilling to thank or acknowledge me for these sorts of things (or acknowledge how his conduct is unfair to me).  I responds that it's not the job; it's that I see a place where I have some expertise and interest (finance) so I want to apply that to making our shared lives better the same way he applies his expertise in other areas (like plumbing or bikes or cars).  That night he came home and asked me if it made sense to loan him $5000 to pay off the debt and he was able to tackle the rest through a balance transfer.  I would prefer he just use a balance transfer so what I'm thinking of doing is setting him up for one and then, if he can't get rid of the debt within the zero APR introductory period, loaning him the remaining amount to pay it off. 
So I do think some progress was made albeit with some hurtful words directed at me, which is why I tend to avoid these conversations.  I don't think he is a bad or abusive dude.  I think there's alot of shitty patterns about shared family decision-making and money that he's grown up with and has a hard time shaking.  Very few of his friends have female partners who are educated or have careers and, even those that do, elected to be SAHM or are not the main breadwinner.  I think he would like to be able to provide for us but, ultimately, is not willing to take an awful job to do it (which I do not begrudge him).  As unfulfilled as I am at my job, the pay and benefits are fine and the work environment is not particularly onerous or toxic and I don't do it to provide for him. 
I'm steeling myself for next week's budget discussion, when he gets his first new pay check after the raise.....
P.S. He has a Vepsa-type scooter back at his parents which needs to be fixed but works just fine.  I told him he could take the job if he gets it fixed and brings it here for us to share when we both need a set of (non-bike) wheels.

sokoloff

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Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #136 on: August 10, 2018, 01:31:41 PM »
So I do think some progress was made albeit with some hurtful words directed at me, which is why I tend to avoid these conversations.  I don't think he is a bad or abusive dude.  I think there's alot of shitty patterns about shared family decision-making and money that he's grown up with and has a hard time shaking.  Very few of his friends have female partners who are educated or have careers and, even those that do, elected to be SAHM or are not the main breadwinner.  I think he would like to be able to provide for us but, ultimately, is not willing to take an awful job to do it (which I do not begrudge him).  As unfulfilled as I am at my job, the pay and benefits are fine and the work environment is not particularly onerous or toxic and I don't do it to provide for him. 
I'm steeling myself for next week's budget discussion, when he gets his first new pay check after the raise.....
I think you are underestimating the amount of progress you made. The first step of a diet or exercise program or relationship topic is by far the hardest. Don't stew over the words said in frustration any more than you'd stop an exercise program if you were sore for the next two days after your first workout. It's part of the process and unless he went WAY over the line, forget it just as you'd forget the initial soreness from a workout.
P.S. He has a Vepsa-type scooter back at his parents which needs to be fixed but works just fine.  I told him he could take the job if he gets it fixed and brings it here for us to share when we both need a set of (non-bike) wheels.
It might just be the language, but that same idea would probably land a lot better if you phrased it as "Fixing that scooter and having it available here would eliminate the need for a second car and all the associated expenses. Do you think you could do that?" rather than "I'll allow you to take the job if you fix the scooter and bring it here". Anything that starts with "I'll allow you..." is going to land badly in my experience (as either the speaker or listener of those words)...

me1

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Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #137 on: August 10, 2018, 01:47:01 PM »
P.S. He has a Vepsa-type scooter back at his parents which needs to be fixed but works just fine.  I told him he could take the job if he gets it fixed and brings it here for us to share when we both need a set of (non-bike) wheels.
It might just be the language, but that same idea would probably land a lot better if you phrased it as "Fixing that scooter and having it available here would eliminate the need for a second car and all the associated expenses. Do you think you could do that?" rather than "I'll allow you to take the job if you fix the scooter and bring it here". Anything that starts with "I'll allow you..." is going to land badly in my experience (as either the speaker or listener of those words)...

Yes! This is what I was trying to articulate from the beginning. It's the attitude of "I will allow you to do xyz" that was off putting to me from the beginning of this thread. My SO and I have never had to "allow" one another to do anything. Sometimes we check with each other if whatever we are planning will infringe on the other person's time or our joint money. But I would seriously walk the first time someone told me they won't "allow" me to do something.

It's great that you were able to have the conversation with him and change his mind, even if he was defensive at first.

ebella

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Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #138 on: August 10, 2018, 01:52:10 PM »
Oh, the exact words (I remember because I texted them after someone on this thread suggested a motorcycle) were "I have come up with a solution: you pay to fix scooter and bring and register in in ga so i have it on wknd"  His response "Hmmm, fun idea!"  I've anted that scooter here anyway...

gerardc

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Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #139 on: August 10, 2018, 10:34:12 PM »
Posting mostly to follow because despite the many negative posts here there has also been some insightful sharing.

I struggle with occasionally falling into resentment of my husband and his freedom to make choices of work because he enjoys it: line cook, assistant at a plant nursery, woodcarver.  His list of jobs reads like a bunch of fun hobbies, and indeed they are.  Meanwhile I'm stressed and working OT.

15 years ago while I was working split shifts as a waitress in college, maintaining a 3.8 GPA in a full course load of engineering classes, and feeling so stressed that I developed shingles he was...working for a beekeeper and getting paid in honey and marijuana.

It was probably over a decade before I realized that I had a lot of resentment which stemmed from this time period.  It took me that long to put it into words and it took another few years and the help of a marriage counselor before I explained this to him.  He was surprised because he had seen that time period from an entirely different perspective.  Because he's a wonderful empathic person my sharing of this old resentment led to some very helpful discussions.  Not a silver bullet, because this is still an issue that sometimes bothers me.  Nowadays  I've found it helpful to be very forthright with him when I'm falling into this old pattern of feelings.  It doesn't usually change his actions but does change my attitude just getting my feelings out into the open.

Good luck finding him a reasonable car!

Honestly in a situation like this it would only be fair to FIRE before him, if you want to. He can decide to work fun very low-paying jobs if he wants to, but he should then expect to work for most of his life. I wouldn't support a partner's FIRE in these conditions. There should be some kind of relationship between work-related hardship and ability to FIRE. Increasing/decreasing income is often a decision more than just a coincidence.

gerardc

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Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #140 on: August 10, 2018, 10:56:01 PM »
A potential solution to avoiding resentment about the SO's earnings is to not treat all income and expenses in a marriage as joint.  I get that culturally this is the "normal" thing to do.  However, in the modern times that we live in it doesn't need to be a given. 

My wife and I do not share finances and split shared expenses 50/50.  Its great, as we don't fight about spending and saving. 

When I discovered the concept of early retirement my wife also wasn't on board with it.  But with our separate finances she didn't mind if I worked towards this goal and I didn't mind if she made other choices that would result in more working years for her. 

We have been together nearly 20 years, have kids, and as long as we are both healthy and capable our finances will continue to be separate.

Nice setup, but since you are married, aren't your finances legally joined by default?
Also, if you have kids but don't get married, how can you maintain separate finances while raising the kids?

The_Dude

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Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #141 on: August 10, 2018, 11:14:05 PM »
A potential solution to avoiding resentment about the SO's earnings is to not treat all income and expenses in a marriage as joint.  I get that culturally this is the "normal" thing to do.  However, in the modern times that we live in it doesn't need to be a given. 

My wife and I do not share finances and split shared expenses 50/50.  Its great, as we don't fight about spending and saving. 

When I discovered the concept of early retirement my wife also wasn't on board with it.  But with our separate finances she didn't mind if I worked towards this goal and I didn't mind if she made other choices that would result in more working years for her. 

We have been together nearly 20 years, have kids, and as long as we are both healthy and capable our finances will continue to be separate.

Nice setup, but since you are married, aren't your finances legally joined by default?
Also, if you have kids but don't get married, how can you maintain separate finances while raising the kids?

There is a practical answer and legal answer. Legally you can use a prenup to change what the ďdefaultĒ is. Practically, itís easy to never open a joint checking account.  With a little practice/habits itís not hard to come up with a system for shared expenses.  Though I guess it helps that we trust each other 100% so itís not like Iím asking for receipts or anything.  We have kids. Thatís one of the shared expenses.

BigMoneyJim

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Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #142 on: August 11, 2018, 07:40:03 AM »
I only read the first of four pages and skipped the rest as it seemed to be devolving into a discussion on relationships. (On the other hand, that's what the title indicates....) So apologies if this got covered since page 1.

It can be worth taking a step down to get ahead sometimes. So if he wasn't employed as a manager before, the opportunity to gain and show experience as a manager may be beneficial long term. And in some cases, being management gets lots of bonuses that non-management don't get. (On the other hand, some places slap the "manager" title on people as an excuse to get cheap labor because of salary vs hourly.) So it's possible the net reduction in base salary vs commute & labor value return could pay off in other ways.

Whether he should be using your car or otherwise relying on your assets really does get into the terms of the relationship, and I can't constructively contribute to that discussion.

babybug

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Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #143 on: August 11, 2018, 02:04:11 PM »
I'm sorry OP but from my past experience with an ex just like your fiance: the circular, mean way he carried out the conversation is a huge red flag. 

Even worse, next day out of the blue he apologizes, right before basically asking you to pay off his CC debt - just rubs wrong.

Please, slow down. First take a looong time to watch his behavior and attitude whether he's truly on board to a fully open financial partnership.

Have you examined all his credit and bank statements?  Can you be sure he'll cut his spending and quickly pay you back and clear his debts and arrange his transportation all by his own initiative?

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DCJrMustachian

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Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #144 on: August 14, 2018, 12:58:09 AM »
Thank you for sharing so much.  My first thought is that I agree with you that it sucks how some employment is not valued fairly, while CEOs and corporations are raking in $$.  As hard as it affects you, separate that from your partner or his ability to negotiate with his direct boss. 

It seems that the transportation issue you started with has been solved.

The short version confused people, so thank you for filling in the history.  What seemed fair and unfair in the past has to evolve to where you are now.  The CC debt with a high interest rate is the low-hanging fruit, and together a focus on that first would be wisest.  Since you are about to be married, I think the mentality of his/yours is going to have to start shifting.  It's not "his credit card debt" anymore but shared debt, and "his stuff" in storage is now as a couple "our stuff".  If "he pays for xx" and "you pay for yy" its magnifying the division of finances and the income disparity.    I think part of what makes these conversations uncomfortable is because he thinks of this as "his problem" his mentality of mine/yours will need to shift as well. Would you consider starting a joint account that you both put paychecks into?

You didn't mention this but another thing to think about would be ways to pare down ongoing storage costs that seem high.  Maybe a combination of selling large items and reconfiguring some space could get that lower.

Generally congrats!  A couple making combined $134,000 living together in ATL with one car will be pretty comfortable and quickly build assets and get ahead of debt.

While working towards this, You'll get the benefit of listening to records, riding scooters, and free bike maintenance.

ebella

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Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #145 on: August 14, 2018, 12:21:32 PM »
Thank you for sharing so much.  My first thought is that I agree with you that it sucks how some employment is not valued fairly, while CEOs and corporations are raking in $$.  As hard as it affects you, separate that from your partner or his ability to negotiate with his direct boss. 

It seems that the transportation issue you started with has been solved.

The short version confused people, so thank you for filling in the history.  What seemed fair and unfair in the past has to evolve to where you are now.  The CC debt with a high interest rate is the low-hanging fruit, and together a focus on that first would be wisest.  Since you are about to be married, I think the mentality of his/yours is going to have to start shifting.  It's not "his credit card debt" anymore but shared debt, and "his stuff" in storage is now as a couple "our stuff".  If "he pays for xx" and "you pay for yy" its magnifying the division of finances and the income disparity.    I think part of what makes these conversations uncomfortable is because he thinks of this as "his problem" his mentality of mine/yours will need to shift as well. Would you consider starting a joint account that you both put paychecks into?

You didn't mention this but another thing to think about would be ways to pare down ongoing storage costs that seem high.  Maybe a combination of selling large items and reconfiguring some space could get that lower.

Generally congrats!  A couple making combined $134,000 living together in ATL with one car will be pretty comfortable and quickly build assets and get ahead of debt.

While working towards this, You'll get the benefit of listening to records, riding scooters, and free bike maintenance.

Haha yes, he brings alot of fun things to the table like scooters and records and bikes.  And we are doing great financially compared to most.  I am trying to get him to part with the storage (that was one of the things that pushed me to buy a bigger place) but he is taking forever.  We did a joint account before but he refused to ever log on to look at it or set up direct deposits and would insist on just writing me checks and then, when I moved out and closed it, he accused me doing the math wrong.  When I bought the home, I set up a joint savings account to deposit the downpayment.  I'm hoping we can use for home shared expenses.  I also got us both Chase Freedom card with the idea of him using it for his daily expenses so I can see where his money is going.  As others have said, it's hard for me to imagine what he's been doing with his money the last few months when he hasn't paid rent or utilities since April and still hasn't put much of as dent in his credit card debt.  He only noticed last week he was still paying renter's insurance on his old place
What I've realized it comes down to is he is just pretty terrible at planning and money.  The storage is one example.  Another, more recent one is, yesterday he told me he bought $500 new wheels for his road bike with is credit card points.  While he needed new wheels and they do run around that for his road bike, I was town between being relieved he found a way to save money on them but annoyed he bought them at all and used all his Chase points that could have covered airfare to Europe at a much lower redemption value (despite me explaining to him the importance of using them for airfare to visit my family). 
It's hard to believe these behaviors are willful ignorance so much as perceiving himself as poor and perpetuating that narrative. He sees a certain nobility in being poor and rejects financial planning as a way to not, himself, feel insecure about society's perceptions about poor or blue collar people.  I'm trying to get him to understand that money and financial planning are just a tools and he's letting socialized ideas about them prevent him from using them efficiently. 

PoutineLover

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Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #146 on: August 14, 2018, 01:17:37 PM »
I've been following along with interest, and as this goes on it just seems like it's getting worse the more you tell us. It sounds like he doesn't have his shit together, doesn't know how to get his shit together, and worst of all, doesn't even want to get his shit together. And honestly, he doesn't ever need to if he has you to pick up after him. Sorry if that sounds harsh, I am sure he has other positive qualities in the relationship, but in money management he's a disaster and it affects you too. I would seriously reconsider joining finances with him and/or establish some sort of plan or milestone to reach before you get married. Money fights are a main reason for divorce, and you'll probably owe him a bunch of alimony if you do split.
To me, the car issue is one thing, and that can be dealt with simply by either using the scooter or getting a beater. But the credit card debt is hugely expensive, and needs to be dealt with asap, and you shouldn't bail him out or he will have no reason to ever change his habits. It's also a huge red flag that he can't keep track of where any of the rest of his money is going, until he figures that out he'll definitely end up in debt again.
Obviously I only have part of the picture, but if I were you I'd think about what you need from him (be it a commitment to pay off the debt, to get his own transport, to contribute to household bills, to get rid of the storage, etc.) and get him to commit to doing it (maybe even in writing) within a reasonable timeline. He can only blame his upbringing for so much. He's an adult, he has a good role model and potential teacher in you, and he is responsible for his own financial future. You say you don't want to infantilize him, but if you let this go on like this you'll end up acting like a mom to an immature little boy for your whole marriage.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2018, 02:52:17 PM by PoutineLover »

charis

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Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #147 on: August 14, 2018, 02:46:56 PM »
Wait, he sees a nobility in being poor but asks you for a "loan" to pay for credit card debt that he should have been able to make a dent in because he has had very few expenses, thanks to you?   At the risk of being jumped on by the DTMF police in this thread, I would be very concerned about entering into a marriage with someone who sees no problem with refusing to get his act together while going along for the ride with you.  This is a big red flag, and it is not about having a low paying job.

CrustyBadger

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Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #148 on: August 14, 2018, 03:05:13 PM »
I get that kind of attitude towards money.   I might not be very good at describing it, but here's a link to a discussion of different types of attitudes towards money.   ebella's boyfriend could be something of, as described here, a "Money Avoider" or even a "Money Monk".

https://www.moneyharmony.com/moneyharmony-quiz/show-all-types

Boyfriend didn't ask her to lend him money to pay off his credit card, until Ebella made it clear that she felt his debt was affecting her, as they are planning to have a future together.  I presume at some point she made the offer to lend the money? 

I think many if not most married couples start off married life with a difference in money personalities, and it can be a big source of friction in a marriage until things get sorted out (if they ever do).    But it isn't necessarily spelling doom to a relationship if you have different personalities. 

But ebella, I really think some kind of premarital financial counseling would be a good idea.  You are already very firmly set in your opinions as to the best way to manage finances.  You have a clear goal in mind and know exactly how you think you and a spouse should get there.  Your boyfriend hasn't even agreed yet to your goals.   He hasn't even agreed yet that it is a good idea to HAVE financial goals! 

It will be very frustrating to be having discussions about the best way to pay off credit card debt or how to store extra items or commuting costs, when you haven't yet come to an agreement on the underlying goals you have -- financial, social, emotional, career.   You need to have a talk about that, first.

And it can come from a place of caring, not of trying to force someone to see things your way.  He can say "I don't care if I'm poor" but really mean, "I don't want to be the kind of person who is always thinking about money, because in my experience that kind of person is miserably anxious and unhappy."   You can tell him, "I want both of us to be financial secure, so that we don't have to always be thinking about money and have a lot of anxiety."   You might find that BOTH of you are trying to avoid anxiety, but you have different ways of going about it.   If you can both agree that the goal is to live a life free of anxiety, now it becomes a matter of working together as a team -- you can help him avoid his money anxiety (by doing certain things, like maybe handling the day to day finances and planning).   And he can help you avoid money anxiety (by agreeing to work together to create a spending plan you are both comfortable with.) . These are just examples... everything depends upon what you guys can agree on as your underlying goals.

skp

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Re: income imbalance in a relationship
« Reply #149 on: August 14, 2018, 05:37:23 PM »
What a mess.
I can only  tell you how I dealt with a similar situation. 
My husband quit his job because he hated it at age 40.  Our mortgage was paid off, we could live on my salary, and any money he made extra with side gigs was gravy.  We were not FI- I worked for basic household expenses and most importantly health insurance.  I admit sometimes I was resentful. 
The only way I could survive this was that a- I basically liked my job and b- as long as his side gigs didn't cost me any more money and he didn't spend more money than I brought in I was OK with it. c- he was a good dad, cooked dinner, shopped, did laundry and helped clean. d) His working and making good money early in his career had put us in a good but not FI position. e) I wondered if I was resentful because I was a woman and that I shouldn't have to be the responsible one and that I wasn't being fair.
My advice-
You have a job you dislike and a huge student loan burden.   Both would be there with or without your SO.  If you hate your job get a new one.  He didn't make those student loans you did- you are responsible for them. 
Chill a little- you sound a lot like me.  Everything is not about money.  You could potentially end up rich and lonely.
Make him pay for living expenses.  He is not responsible for your school loans and you are not responsible for his credit card debt. You guys are not married.  Don't let him cost you money- you are supporting him when he is making $40,000 a year.  Is this your choice? I don't get the idea that he is demanding to be taken care or-  YOU chose that so that he will pay off his credit card debt. 
However=  when you expect him to pay his fair share of the expenses, he should be allowed to say what those expenses are.  My question is=   How much input did the SO have in the expenses of this relationship???  As someone up thread said  each person should contribute 50% on only what the lower earner can afford.  Since OP makes $40,000 a year, you should be living a $80,000 lifestyle, If you chose housing based on you ability to pay and not his, you need to eat the difference.  Did he have any say in the housing you chose?  It sounds like you picked it based on your aversion to cars, proximity to your work, and to allow him to have storage space for his things which he is not utilizing because he is paying $300 a month for a storage space for them (what percentage is that of the rent?)
Evaluate whether your relationship is good long term.  Think long and hard, get counseling if necessary, and be honest with yourself, as to whether you would be happy marrying someone so totally different from you ambition wise and financial philosophy wise, as  neither of you will change.  Do it sooner rather than later.  Don't waste both of your time on a relationship that won't work.