Author Topic: Blended Family Financial Obligations  (Read 12236 times)

SKL-HOU

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #50 on: February 26, 2019, 12:02:41 PM »
Chrissy, yes I would feel better.

I am a bit surprised by your answer. I feel your values would prefer that he just no spend so much money on the older children in the first place. Since that's not happening, I guess an agreement that he would spoil your child together is somewhat helpful.  (But stick to your values.)

One problem I see is it seams like the ex wife is well off and the split-parents are caught in the trap of both wanting to give their children everything.

I saw a preliminary version of my friends separation agreement.  The one parent wanted the other to agree to pay for a huge list of things including prom dresses, wedding dress, winter clothing, cars and insurance at 16, any out of province(state) school trips. And of course all the usual stuff like health care, braces, activities, university ...  They wanted the higher income parent to pay for all of this 100%, not even split based on income.  (In my province necessary extra expenses are split based on income about 60:40 in this case.)

This is a middle income family, not professionals, the list of demands was crazy and thankfully was cut drastically before the separation agreement was finalized.  (When your child is 3y old what selfish parent is already thinking I will legally make the other parent pay for their wedding dress.)

It sounds like your husband is facing the same type of ex in that she wants a lavish lifestyle for her children.  A lifestyle they probably couldn't afford together, never mind apart. Many families just can't afford Ivy league University or cars at 16 and a divorce shouldn't force someone to pay for that lifestyle.

I know another family and the first child wanted to go to school in the US (expensive for us Canadians) they had to say no because they knew they couldn't afford it for all three.

As you mentioned she is always coming back for every penny I would check what your state laws consider necessary expenses, especially after 18.  Here it is not black and white and based on family income and history. If you say your husband came from humble beginnings and had to pay his own way he could perhaps use that as an argument for his values stop at $xx dollar figure in terms of helping through University.   

You and your husband need to have a good values talk even before a money talk.

It sounds selfish but there are a lot of divorced parents where the decree is vague stating "as parties agree" and guess what? the other party never agrees because they know it will be taken care of by the other side anyway.
(I didn't have any of this in my decree or anything close so I am not being defensive)

Lady SA

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #51 on: February 26, 2019, 12:05:19 PM »
Is he aware of the hard math of your monthly obligations/bills and income mismatch?
Ask him to rank the college tuition, parental support, and fancy house. "Which are most important to you?" Can he articulate why the house seems to be a dealbreaker? If you can frame it as a financial tradeoff between the biggest "obligations" (which aren't obligations, they are things he is choosing), he might be more willing to sell the house. He can have these things, but not all of them, and not all at once.

Maybe if you have a conversation with your husband, approach it with a sense of curiosity and not judgement or an aim to convince him of your view. WHY does he value these things? Why is it important to him to pay for college, or pay for his parents? Why the house? Why THIS house in particular? Be curious about his inner world and his opinions.

Then later, you can approach him with your concerns. This MUST be an "I feel X when Y happens" conversations. If you open with "You" statements (ie "you never do the dishes" or "you gave johnny money but not susie"), these are often interpreted as accusatory and blaming and the person automatically gets defensive and shuts down (this is human nature). Try to have a calm, exploratory, problem solving conversation around your fears when certain things happen.

"I feel really upset when I look at our budget and realize that these numbers mean I will have to keep working indefinitely to sustain our lifestyle. This is not what I wanted for my life and it really makes me sad and I am mourning that vision of my life. Can we talk about this?"

"I feel really insecure and nervous about our taxes that we owe. It makes me think of how precarious financially we are, and really stresses me out constantly. I wake up every day stressed about this. Can we talk about a plan to help so this isn't so stressful?"

"I feel scared and upset about how I think there will be a difference in how you financially support our daughter compared to John, Steve, and Susie right now. Hear me out... right now, you are working, so you have the money on hand to help with their college, but we are scraping the bottom of the barrel as it is. But for Annie, you won't be working anymore when it is her turn. And you don't want us to save for her college now. How could we possibly give her the same opportunity that you are giving your other children? Have you thought about that? I think about it a lot. What is your plan for her?"

Basically, the root of your problem is miscommunication. Neither of you are good at communicating your values, your goals, your dreams, your wishes, and thus are working against each other. And because he isn't skillful (either), you will need to give him a little grace as you both learn how to talk about these things to reach an understanding of the motivations and needs of each other.

retiredat58

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #52 on: March 02, 2019, 10:06:51 AM »
How long did you date before you married ? Was he newly divorced ?

I once dated a man who was recently divorced and I felt as though his ex wife was the ghost that was always lurking in our relationship. I just think he didnt know where one relationship ended and another one started.

ginjaninja

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #53 on: March 04, 2019, 08:39:29 PM »
I really really really like @Lady SA 's idea.  When I read those it would be so hard to be a father and husband and be defensive.  They are things that worry you and are not criticisms of his life.

Keep us posted, I hope things work out for you :)

anonperson

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #54 on: March 05, 2019, 11:49:34 AM »
Thanks to everyone for the advice.

@retiredat58, we dated two years before we were married, and during that time we had separate households and financial lives. He is a successful, high income professional with a great resume and a strong understanding of finance, so I assumed he had his financial life in order (based on my own definition of order).
 
@LadySA and @ginjaninja, I like and appreciate your advice.  Theres no question we need to communicate better and work as a team.  One thing I keep coming back to, and I recognize this might not be a helpful way to think, but bear with me: if we were to divorce or at least get a financial divorce however that may look, wed have to sell the house, and that would most likely generate enough equity to payoff all our taxes and bring us current, and possibly wed get back what we both put in as a down payment which was pretty equal and sourced from the sale of each of our previous homes, giving me a down payment for something I can more easily afford.  If single, Id be able to create a budget that allows me to save for retirement, save for college for daughter and still retire by 40 instead of 35 which was my original plan (though Im sure Id still have some type of employment, just less hours and more enjoyable).  If I stay in the status quo which means marriage, expensive house, and all the things he does for his older kids, with no changes on his part, Im basically working to pay for his first family, because I wont be able to afford to continue to max out my 401k or save for college for daughter because the cost of servicing the tax debt plus our current expenses will take everything I earn.  Even if we were to divorce and decide that zero child support is owed to anyone, Im financially better off single based on my priorities and goals.  As a purely financial matter, there is a disincentive to stay married.  I know that marriage is so much more than that (and if there wasnt so much financial strain, I think wed be quite happy), but its also a financial arrangement, and this one seems to be pretty bad for me.  I recognize that its hard for him as well to be on the defensive and I try to empathize, but its hard when everything is at such a high cost to me.   Im not giving up, but I do get stuck on this line of reasoning. 

SKL-HOU

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #55 on: March 05, 2019, 12:19:37 PM »
Thanks to everyone for the advice.

@retiredat58, we dated two years before we were married, and during that time we had separate households and financial lives. He is a successful, high income professional with a great resume and a strong understanding of finance, so I assumed he had his financial life in order (based on my own definition of order).
 
@LadySA and @ginjaninja, I like and appreciate your advice.  Theres no question we need to communicate better and work as a team.  One thing I keep coming back to, and I recognize this might not be a helpful way to think, but bear with me: if we were to divorce or at least get a financial divorce however that may look, wed have to sell the house, and that would most likely generate enough equity to payoff all our taxes and bring us current, and possibly wed get back what we both put in as a down payment which was pretty equal and sourced from the sale of each of our previous homes, giving me a down payment for something I can more easily afford.  If single, Id be able to create a budget that allows me to save for retirement, save for college for daughter and still retire by 40 instead of 35 which was my original plan (though Im sure Id still have some type of employment, just less hours and more enjoyable).  If I stay in the status quo which means marriage, expensive house, and all the things he does for his older kids, with no changes on his part, Im basically working to pay for his first family, because I wont be able to afford to continue to max out my 401k or save for college for daughter because the cost of servicing the tax debt plus our current expenses will take everything I earn.  Even if we were to divorce and decide that zero child support is owed to anyone, Im financially better off single based on my priorities and goals.  As a purely financial matter, there is a disincentive to stay married.  I know that marriage is so much more than that (and if there wasnt so much financial strain, I think wed be quite happy), but its also a financial arrangement, and this one seems to be pretty bad for me.  I recognize that its hard for him as well to be on the defensive and I try to empathize, but its hard when everything is at such a high cost to me.   Im not giving up, but I do get stuck on this line of reasoning.

You are not happy the way things are. If he is not willing to make changes, talk about things, give you a say in overall financials, consider the financial divorce (but it doesn't sound like he would be ok with that). Sure, marriage is so much more but apparently your marriage is not so much more than you providing financial support for him and his first family based on his actions. I hope you find a good solution for you and your daughter. You and your daughter should come first, at least for you. 

K-ice

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #56 on: March 05, 2019, 05:23:43 PM »
.... One thing I keep coming back to, and I recognize this might not be a helpful way to think, but bear with me: if we were to divorce or at least get a financial divorce however that may look, wed have to sell the house, and that would most likely generate enough equity to payoff all our taxes and bring us current, and possibly wed get back what we both put in as a down payment which was pretty equal and sourced from the sale of each of our previous homes, giving me a down payment for something I can more easily afford. ...
...
 Im not giving up, but I do get stuck on this line of reasoning. 

Is there a financial advantage for him to financially divorce you?  I do not know how US taxes or Child support work so this is a genuine question.

It clearly benefits you, from what you have said, but if it doesn't benefit him it may not be worth it as a couple.

(I am working on the premise that you still want to be a couple.)

Also, I would be a bit worried about this split looking "fake", especially to the ex-wife. Will you two still have 2 house holds? How will that work, as that sounds expensive.

I feel getting a better "his" "hers" "ours" agreement with him paying any extra tax you are required to pay because you file jointly would be a better decision than a "fake" divorce.

"his" money is for his older children, his debts, his tax, any extra of your tax & any luxuries he wants. "hers" is for your savings, your base "single tax", your daughter's education & any luxuries you want.  "Ours" is for your current house-hold expenses, even though he makes more than you, you sound so independent I would probably go 50:50 on this but you could maybe start negotiation with a % based on your income.

Someone could still argue he should also be saving for his daughter's education today. But with his own "hair on fire debt" that should not be on his radar today. He is the man you love and married, you need to give him a few breaks while he gets his past life organised.



Cassie

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #57 on: March 05, 2019, 05:51:21 PM »
You 2 need to develop a budget that works for both of you.  Most people I know wouldnt be able to send their kids to a private school for college even though everyone is a professional.  He makes so much money that owing all that debt is ridiculous.  He needs to learn to say no to stuff not in the divorce decree. Spending all that money to watch kids play sports is one of the most ridiculous things considering all the debt.  Ugh!

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #58 on: March 05, 2019, 06:54:57 PM »
Thanks to everyone for the advice.

@retiredat58, we dated two years before we were married, and during that time we had separate households and financial lives. He is a successful, high income professional with a great resume and a strong understanding of finance, so I assumed he had his financial life in order (based on my own definition of order).
 
@LadySA and @ginjaninja, I like and appreciate your advice.  Theres no question we need to communicate better and work as a team.  One thing I keep coming back to, and I recognize this might not be a helpful way to think, but bear with me: if we were to divorce or at least get a financial divorce however that may look, wed have to sell the house, and that would most likely generate enough equity to payoff all our taxes and bring us current, and possibly wed get back what we both put in as a down payment which was pretty equal and sourced from the sale of each of our previous homes, giving me a down payment for something I can more easily afford.  If single, Id be able to create a budget that allows me to save for retirement, save for college for daughter and still retire by 40 instead of 35 which was my original plan (though Im sure Id still have some type of employment, just less hours and more enjoyable).  If I stay in the status quo which means marriage, expensive house, and all the things he does for his older kids, with no changes on his part, Im basically working to pay for his first family, because I wont be able to afford to continue to max out my 401k or save for college for daughter because the cost of servicing the tax debt plus our current expenses will take everything I earn.  Even if we were to divorce and decide that zero child support is owed to anyone, Im financially better off single based on my priorities and goals.  As a purely financial matter, there is a disincentive to stay married.  I know that marriage is so much more than that (and if there wasnt so much financial strain, I think wed be quite happy), but its also a financial arrangement, and this one seems to be pretty bad for me.  I recognize that its hard for him as well to be on the defensive and I try to empathize, but its hard when everything is at such a high cost to me.   Im not giving up, but I do get stuck on this line of reasoning.
I agree with a lot of what you are saying ... essentially -- "I need to be able to fund my lifestyle married at least as well as I could when I was single.  The house and lifestyle expenses for our immediate family is way too high for me to afford."   and "I am worried about my liability for the tax owing - I would like to pay that off ASAP, even if it means selling our home".

I disagree that you are funding his first family's costs.   Yeah, money is fungible and all that, but that line of thinking leads to unhappiness and a sheer drop off.  Don't go there.     Instead, think of ways to get from A (today) to B (your goal) together.

Lady SA

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #59 on: March 06, 2019, 10:42:08 AM »
@LadySA and @ginjaninja, I like and appreciate your advice.  Theres no question we need to communicate better and work as a team.  One thing I keep coming back to, and I recognize this might not be a helpful way to think, but bear with me: if we were to divorce or at least get a financial divorce however that may look, wed have to sell the house, and that would most likely generate enough equity to payoff all our taxes and bring us current, and possibly wed get back what we both put in as a down payment which was pretty equal and sourced from the sale of each of our previous homes, giving me a down payment for something I can more easily afford.  If single, Id be able to create a budget that allows me to save for retirement, save for college for daughter and still retire by 40 instead of 35 which was my original plan (though Im sure Id still have some type of employment, just less hours and more enjoyable). If I stay in the status quo which means marriage, expensive house, and all the things he does for his older kids, with no changes on his part, Im basically working to pay for his first family, because I wont be able to afford to continue to max out my 401k or save for college for daughter because the cost of servicing the tax debt plus our current expenses will take everything I earn.  Even if we were to divorce and decide that zero child support is owed to anyone, Im financially better off single based on my priorities and goals.  As a purely financial matter, there is a disincentive to stay married.  I know that marriage is so much more than that (and if there wasnt so much financial strain, I think wed be quite happy), but its also a financial arrangement, and this one seems to be pretty bad for me.  I recognize that its hard for him as well to be on the defensive and I try to empathize, but its hard when everything is at such a high cost to me.   Im not giving up, but I do get stuck on this line of reasoning.

But what have you really done in the past to challenge this status quo you mention? Yes, you have discussed this with him, BUT not very effectively. It is entirely unsurprising to me that your marriage is "stuck" because both of you are basically shouting over the other to be heard/understood but neither of you are in a place TO hear. Of course this is a recipe for misery and disappointment and confusion and distrust. From the outside, it seems you are approaching all of this in a way that is destined to fail, and then being disappointed/angry when it inevitably does, and are now strongly considering a hugely disruptive, permanent solution that may not be entirely necessary.

Would it be "easier" to divorce? Sure. If you truly believe that you and your daughter will be better off if you go that route, I would support that. I also don't understand what you mean by a "financial divorce" -- if that means simply having separate finances, then sure, perhaps that would work well for your relationship. Perhaps separating finances is the first step you need to take before triaging your damaged relationship. Remove the source of the continual hurt and then you can focus on healing without constant setbacks and recurring hurts that reopen wounds. You can stop depositing your paychecks into the joint account, and set your savings allocation for your income however you wish. However, the house IS a shared asset and you would need to work WITH him if you want to do anything with it. Forcing his hand to sell when he isn't on board will only poison and irreparably harm your relationship.

But anyway, for the relationship piece, I strongly suggest just trying to curiously learn to hear him and hear his dreams and wishes and fears to understand his motivations for why he is behaving this way, and then just digesting and absorbing the things you learned from him. And then learning to express your own fears constructively so he is much more likely to hear you, as well. It is all about tailoring your message to your audience, and your past experiences clearly show that you need to approach your husband obliquely and gently with a focus on problem solving your fears, and without a single whiff of "taking away" things that matter to him. THIS is why you must understand his motivations first, so you can better understand how to be heard by him and identify/avoid stepping on landmines. Then you can gently diffuse the landmines.
And I know it is galling to know that you are listening to him and his needs and he is completely oblivious and won't listen to yours. I get it. But know that this is just the first step in ultimately getting what you want.

"Every villain thinks they are the good guy" --> that means that every person is actually entirely logical and reasonable in their own reality. There ARE reasons that he thinks are very valid behind what he's doing, even if you can't see, understand or agree with the reasons. But only after you listen and understand his reasons, judgement-free, will you be able to do any work to gently problem solve to accomplish his "reasons" in a different way that works with your needs (that he can now listen to because he isn't experiencing your expression of your needs as a threat/attack on his needs) as well. Finances are always tricky because money is a stand-in for "values". You/he spend money in ways that express what you/he value. So if he is latching onto money as a way to express his caring to his children and his parents, you can help him learn to see if there are other ways he can express caring and nurturing to the people he loves. If he is using money to alleviate guilt, there are other ways to create a good relationship with his children or parents. If the house is a symbol that he cares about, perhaps there are other ways you can meet this need. But you need to simply ask. Then listen and probe curiously. Then later, explain your feelings around those same situations and ask for his help. All calmly, with constant redirects back to problem-solving mindsets if things start going off the rails.

If all that seems to be too much work, or you try a few times and get dismissed/ridiculed, then ok. Maybe divorce is the best option. But if it were me, with a small child, and besides these financial issues you think you could be happy, I would want to pursue all my options to fix this before going somewhere you can't turn back from.

honeybbq

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #60 on: March 06, 2019, 11:04:53 AM »
I'm just catching up on all this.

We have a blended family. 2 kids from his side, and one young one together.

What I can tell you is, that in your situation, there are 2 adults taking care of 3 almost adult children. You have only yourself (so it seems) taking care of a young minor (your child). I would make my child my number 1 financial priority considering that your spouse has already provided 18+ years of support to the others. Have you gone back to court and re-established financial support since having a child? In some states, having a "new" family is reason to have child support re-adjusted. I would also argue that paying for 3+ kids of private college tuition when your debt is spiraling out of control is a hardship; a judge may re-rule if you can show financial hardship at the support levels required.

Now before people hate on me, I do believe he should still support his other kids financially in a way that is fair. But I also see many years (how old is your child?) of financial delinquency effecting the minor in the household.

We have always had discussions about supporting (financially from our joint accounts) his other kids. He discusses with me when he helps his adult kids and while I tend to let him make decisions, he certainly considers my opinion. There have been times I have put my foot down (his kids tend to be manipulative about money and also lie, long story). He respects my opinion and does the best he can.

If I were in your situation, there would be NO ipads/phones/gifts of any kind to the adult children until my financial debts were paid off. The conversation would go something like this: "Kids, I'm sorry but due to all the financial obligations there will be no gifts for Xmas this year. We'd love to have you over for dinner and family time instead." The idea that you are financially gutted while he's buying them skis??!!! No. Just No.


ericbonabike

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #61 on: March 06, 2019, 11:16:13 AM »
Have you checked into the validity of a court ordered child support that extends into his children's adulthood?

I got divorced two years ago, and I had offered to contribute to my daughters college fund, but was told by my lawyer, that they couldn't "require" me to fund their college.
Why?

Well, what I was told was that a court can't order a non-divorced parent to fund their children's college, so they can't order a divorced parent.  She explained it to me like it was established law.  But, I have no idea. 

I live in a weird state that doesn't count adults until their 19.  So, my daughters will turn 18 half way through their senior year of highschool.  Potentially enlist in the army or move off to college, but I still get to pay their mom child support.  Why?  I dunno, is just the law.

sigh.

Regardless, it sounds like your husband's ex is acting punitively.  I hate that for you.  And him.  I have a similar situation and we have worked long and hard at establishing a boundary between us and her.  She shouldn't be allowed to control your life to the extent you've described.  It's not right. My bitter exwife recently told me that I wasn't allowed to use the school busses and that I would be required to carry my daughters directly to school.  How does she get daughters to school?  Busses!  Why difference? 

I don't know why she acts like that, but is important to remind her that she can't control you like that. 

Sugaree

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #62 on: March 06, 2019, 11:26:13 AM »
Have you checked into the validity of a court ordered child support that extends into his children's adulthood?

I got divorced two years ago, and I had offered to contribute to my daughters college fund, but was told by my lawyer, that they couldn't "require" me to fund their college.
Why?

Well, what I was told was that a court can't order a non-divorced parent to fund their children's college, so they can't order a divorced parent.  She explained it to me like it was established law.  But, I have no idea. 

I live in a weird state that doesn't count adults until their 19.  So, my daughters will turn 18 half way through their senior year of highschool.  Potentially enlist in the army or move off to college, but I still get to pay their mom child support.  Why?  I dunno, is just the law.

sigh.

Regardless, it sounds like your husband's ex is acting punitively.  I hate that for you.  And him.  I have a similar situation and we have worked long and hard at establishing a boundary between us and her.  She shouldn't be allowed to control your life to the extent you've described.  It's not right. My bitter exwife recently told me that I wasn't allowed to use the school busses and that I would be required to carry my daughters directly to school.  How does she get daughters to school?  Busses!  Why difference? 

I don't know why she acts like that, but is important to remind her that she can't control you like that.



This may be state dependent as I do know a couple of people whose custody agreements do extend to college, should the child attend. 

SKL-HOU

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #63 on: March 06, 2019, 11:29:40 AM »
From the OP's posts, whether the college costs are legal in divorce decree or not is irrelevant. Even if it wasn't a requirement, he would still be paying for it just based on the things she posted. The problem is not the ex wife or the divorce decree; the problem is the husband is unwilling to provide any less than what he already is providing above and beyond and he expects OP to be just fine with it.

ginjaninja

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #64 on: March 06, 2019, 11:33:33 AM »
This might be an unpopular opinion but you may need to be willing to sacrifice your retirement goals for your family.  You are asking your husband to give up alot, where are you going to meet him half way?  What sacrifices have you made for the relationship?  What sacrifices has he made that you might not be giving him credit for here?  35 or 40 is still a very early retirement, and if you can make it work within your relationship, more power to you!  But if you find that the only way to accomplish that goal is sacrifices from your husband, I think you need to look inward a bit more and be willing to accept some of this situation as within your control.  If you start making this a war with your husband and not a team sport I doubt it will end in the way you want. 
« Last Edit: March 06, 2019, 11:35:09 AM by ginjaninja »

Wexler

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #65 on: March 06, 2019, 02:08:15 PM »
This one is tough. So often you hear the reverse situation where Family #2 gets all of the attention and money while Family #1 gets scraps.  I have to admit it colored my view of the complaints, and I was actually relieved to hear that this guy, irresponsible as he may seem, is trying to fulfill his obligations to his older children.  OP-you need to find financial peace for yourself, and please don't resent the other kids to the point where you are complaining about the money spent to go see the older son's sporting event.  That's just petty. 

It sounds like your child is lucky to have you, and you can support yourself no matter what happens.

Josiecat

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #66 on: March 06, 2019, 04:10:07 PM »
It seems like you two need to sit down and make a budget. 

Talk about your dreams for the future.  What kind of lifestyle do you want when you retire together?  What ages do you plan to be when you retire? Are you working toward that goal? Can you get there financially together? 

Seeing the large amounts of money that is flying out the door might be just the wake up call he needs.

Can you try the Dave Ramsey Total Money Makeover?

Cassie

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #67 on: March 06, 2019, 07:18:06 PM »
Sorry Wex but I would definitely be resentful of all the money to fly to attend sporting events and all the electronics, etc when they are seriously in debt.

SKL-HOU

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #68 on: March 06, 2019, 07:49:01 PM »
Sorry Wex but I would definitely be resentful of all the money to fly to attend sporting events and all the electronics, etc when they are seriously in debt.

I agree. And she is not talking about a baseball game sign up fee for a $100 every semester for a little kid. These are grown adults and flights across the country. So there is nothing petty about not being on board when they have huge tax bills they are struggling to pay.

Captain FIRE

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #69 on: March 07, 2019, 07:50:59 AM »
It seems like there are quite a few issues here:
1. His guilt over the impact of the divorce on his older children, which led to maintaining (or increasing?) his spending on them
2. Your resentment of a delayed retirement and a fear that your child won't be sufficiently provided for, which led to a resentment over spending on his older children
3. Your disparate financial approaches: You as MMM-er and him as standard spendy consumer, compounded by your respective disparate salaries
4. The upscaling of your lifestyle (buying a big house)
5. The lack of communication over money (you squirreling away 529 money/not asking further about what appeared to be a wealthy lifestyle pre-marriage and him spending lavishly on his older children/not sharing the tax debt pre-marriage)

+1 to Lady SA, who already articulated my thoughts on your relationship and communication challenges, suggesting you focus on listening.  Take a moment to reread that post and really think about it.

Ultimately, you need to decide whether you love him and want to work hard to improve your marriage.  Assuming the latter, here are some thoughts on how to get there:

I see you responding with kneejerk reactions to things without fully thinking through what is best.  This sometimes results in costing your family more in the long-run.  E.g. extra saving for 2019 taxes rather than paying 2018 taxes first.  Saving for 529 rather than paying off debt first.  (Note: Due to tax breaks it's possible some 529 savings is the prudent choice, but as you haven't mentioned this, it seems that you haven't done these calculations.)  Agreeing to buy a big house without understanding the full financial impact on this.  Wanting to file taxes separately.  I encourage you to stop and really think things through before you take any action.

I encourage you to read postings here about how to bring your spouse to the mustachian way of life.  These may provide some helpful blueprints to communicating (#5) over your disparate financial approaches (#3) and getting on the same page with your future goals.  That in turn might lead to a downscaling of your lifestyle (#4), less guilt-related children spending (#1), and finally resulting in reduced resentment on your part (#2).  But understand that this is a slow process that won't happen overnight.

In the meantime, try to not think of the doom and gloom worst case future that the spending will continue post college with substantial cash infusions.  That may happen, but it's not guaranteed like the college spending, so don't get so paralyzed with fear you can't communicate effectively with him (or take actions as I described above to cut off your nose to spite your face).

Finally, try to remember why you fell in love with him in the first place and see if you can at least see the positive in his actions, such as wanting what is best for his kids (even if you disagree on what is best).  That can help you to find some compromises, for example, by delaying saving in the 529 now, while you are paying for several college educations.  Although it may not feel like it, you DO have time to save here.  (I find it hard to believe the man as you've described it would not also want to provide your child with a good education, even if it means working longer than he initially planned.)

Wexler

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #70 on: March 07, 2019, 09:50:58 AM »
Sorry Wex but I would definitely be resentful of all the money to fly to attend sporting events and all the electronics, etc when they are seriously in debt.

I agree. And she is not talking about a baseball game sign up fee for a $100 every semester for a little kid. These are grown adults and flights across the country. So there is nothing petty about not being on board when they have huge tax bills they are struggling to pay.

You make good points, but I just think that I'd start the expense cutting at the giant house first before I cut things like seeing the older kids.  Electronic and presents-sure, those should be gone.    But time is different, and I think that opening the discussion about being unhappy about a trip that could be very special to Kid, Version 1.0, isn't the right way to approach it. I'm also getting a big guilt vibe from the whole situation.  I think the approach could be-let's prioritize setting aside money to see your older kids and spend time with them within our budget in an affordable way.  Maybe don't treat all his friends to dinner, maybe use points, maybe drive instead of fly.  There are ways to spend time with people without spending a lot of money.  BUT, I'd caution against framing the trip itself being the problem.

OP-you mentioned that selling the house would be a huge benefit.  You don't seem all that attached to it.  I think you have your answer.

former player

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #71 on: March 07, 2019, 10:05:18 AM »
OP-you mentioned that selling the house would be a huge benefit.  You don't seem all that attached to it.  I think you have your answer.

If her husband is attached to the house, and the perceived status it brings, unfortunately it is not so simple.  One more thing to be brought up with sensitivity to the husband's perceptions, discussed and if possible agreed between the two of them.

anonperson

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #72 on: March 07, 2019, 11:03:33 AM »
Lady SA thank you for your words. Ive read them many times and will keep reading them.  They resonate and I appreciate your time on this. 

From this post Ive already (1) stopped making any extra 2019 tax payments from my paychecks so I can divert them to 2018; and (2) cut back my 401k to the amount of my employer match (for the first time in 10 years).   Im really really struggling with turning off 529 contributions for my daughter.  That kills me.

Ill spend more time studying about how to bring my spouse to the mustachian way.   And I'll approach future communication with more sensitivity.

Selling the house is the obvious answer for me.  Im not attached to it, and it would make all the tax liability go away and allow us to create a monthly budget that works.  Its a solution that doesnt require him to cut back spending on his older kids very much.  Would he sell the house if I gave him an ultimatum? Yes, I believe so.  But from his perspective, it is not necessary because the 2018 tax liability is only a small fraction of his retirement account (which was funded prior to our marriage, so its his account not ours and Im sensitive to that fact) and not a crazy fraction of his gross annual income.  From my perspective, the 2018 tax liability is a much larger fraction of my retirement account and over 145% of my annual gross income, and soon that will be compounded by penalties and interest, and then theres the 2019 taxes that we cant address for some time.   And Ive already been down this road in previous years. 

@ Ginjaninja - Youre right about early retirement.  It is a luxury and Ill most likely have to give that up in order to stay married.  Ive already given up the little luxuries and creature comforts I used to allow myself, and if I stop saving for retirement and for college for my daughter, but he continues to be a big spender on things that matter more to him than me, and support his older kids at the current rate, then I feel like a martyr and it gets in the way of the good feelings I have toward him.   I admit this isnt a helpful way to think about things, but Im human. 

@ Wexler, I see your point and before this marriage I tried to approach challenges by focusing on what I can control and leave the rest to be.  But marriage is a community and we bind each other by our actions.  Sometimes it feels like the only answer that is within my control is to ask for a divorce, and like you said, focus on my own peace and taking care of my daughter.  Thats the last resort, though.  Maybe our problem is more about communication than anything, and maybe if I learn how to communicate better, I can help us both.  Or maybe I am just too petty and selfish to withstand being married to someone with three older kids; that thought has crossed my mind many times.  Im not sure I really like the person Ive become here. 

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #73 on: March 07, 2019, 11:12:22 AM »
It is painful to hear you talking about giving up your little luxuries while he spends on what he wants. It reminds me too much of the years I was married, when my husband spent $400 on new jackets for himself one winter while I was sewing patches onto the kids' sweatpants. Obviously, our position was very different... I just don't see how making yourself even smaller to throw even more of yourself at your husband's debts is a long-term path to happiness when he is not matching your efforts.

What is he sacrificing to pay off his tax debt? What changes has he made since your marriage to accommodate the expense of his new family? He doesn't have to be full Mustachian. He just needs to live in the real world.

Ann Landers used to tell women to ask, "Are you better off with him or without him?"

ysette9

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #74 on: March 07, 2019, 11:15:37 AM »
Have you suggested meeting with a financial planner so you can get everything out on the table? I think a forced conversation about the big picture and what your goals are could be very helpful.

I might have missed it already, but did you say you tried counseling but he wasn’t willing to participate? If I am wrong there, that is something I would love high up the priority list. For you alone also if he won’t go with you.

historienne

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #75 on: March 07, 2019, 12:36:24 PM »
It is painful to hear you talking about giving up your little luxuries while he spends on what he wants. It reminds me too much of the years I was married, when my husband spent $400 on new jackets for himself one winter while I was sewing patches onto the kids' sweatpants. Obviously, our position was very different... I just don't see how making yourself even smaller to throw even more of yourself at your husband's debts is a long-term path to happiness when he is not matching your efforts.

Yeah, this is kind of how I see it.  You say the financial stuff is the problem, and otherwise you are quite happy together.  But when you write it out, what I hear is, "My husband doesn't take my needs and desires as seriously as his own."  Which is, to me, a prerequisite of a functional marriage.

cowman

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #76 on: March 07, 2019, 01:01:57 PM »
I am confused with all the references to 2018 and2019 tax obligations.Does he not understand that you only get to spend your AFTER tax income?

SimpleCycle

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #77 on: March 07, 2019, 04:09:15 PM »
I'm trying to imagine how I would feel as a child with a father who makes a huge income and then married a woman who convinced him to stop spending lavishly on me in the way he has most of my life.  I think I wouldn't feel great about it.

Even though it doesn't match MY values, I absolutely understand why your husband wants to keep supporting his children in the way they are accustomed to and that would have continued if there hadn't been a divorce.  He would have paid full freight to college if there hadn't been a divorce.  He would have bought new iPhones for the children if there hadn't been a divorce.  He would have paid for lavish weddings if there hadn't been a divorce.  It is clear he still wants to do those things.

And this puts you in a difficult position, because YOU don't want him to do those things.  You clearly resent his financial obligations to his family, which are not going to go away.  You clearly had a different financial plan for your life, and somehow, in discussions of marriage, how your finances would work jointly didn't come up?  You are both responsible for that lack of communication, and the consequences of that lack of communication.

I think a lot of the responsibility here is on you, just as much as him.  Sure, he's not responsible with money, but he never claimed to be.  You on the other hand, don't seem to have disclosed that you want to retire at 35.  You both made assumptions, and now it's up to you if you want to live with those assumptions or divorce.  I think you already know the answer.

MishMash

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #78 on: March 08, 2019, 06:33:19 AM »
I'm trying to imagine how I would feel as a child with a father who makes a huge income and then married a woman who convinced him to stop spending lavishly on me in the way he has most of my life.  I think I wouldn't feel great about it.

Even though it doesn't match MY values, I absolutely understand why your husband wants to keep supporting his children in the way they are accustomed to and that would have continued if there hadn't been a divorce.  He would have paid full freight to college if there hadn't been a divorce.  He would have bought new iPhones for the children if there hadn't been a divorce.  He would have paid for lavish weddings if there hadn't been a divorce.  It is clear he still wants to do those things.

And this puts you in a difficult position, because YOU don't want him to do those things.  You clearly resent his financial obligations to his family, which are not going to go away.  You clearly had a different financial plan for your life, and somehow, in discussions of marriage, how your finances would work jointly didn't come up?  You are both responsible for that lack of communication, and the consequences of that lack of communication.

I think a lot of the responsibility here is on you, just as much as him.  Sure, he's not responsible with money, but he never claimed to be.  You on the other hand, don't seem to have disclosed that you want to retire at 35.  You both made assumptions, and now it's up to you if you want to live with those assumptions or divorce.  I think you already know the answer.

Well it sounds like then it would be time for those kids to get a dose of reality and to learn that NO is a perfectly valid answer in life.  Sorry kids, no expensive gifts this year, I have a six figure tax bill to pay off.  However, I pay your mother X in child support, so that should cover it if you really want it.

MaybeBabyMustache

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #79 on: March 08, 2019, 07:43:57 AM »
I'm trying to imagine how I would feel as a child with a father who makes a huge income and then married a woman who convinced him to stop spending lavishly on me in the way he has most of my life.  I think I wouldn't feel great about it.

Even though it doesn't match MY values, I absolutely understand why your husband wants to keep supporting his children in the way they are accustomed to and that would have continued if there hadn't been a divorce.  He would have paid full freight to college if there hadn't been a divorce.  He would have bought new iPhones for the children if there hadn't been a divorce.  He would have paid for lavish weddings if there hadn't been a divorce.  It is clear he still wants to do those things.

And this puts you in a difficult position, because YOU don't want him to do those things.  You clearly resent his financial obligations to his family, which are not going to go away.  You clearly had a different financial plan for your life, and somehow, in discussions of marriage, how your finances would work jointly didn't come up?  You are both responsible for that lack of communication, and the consequences of that lack of communication.

I think a lot of the responsibility here is on you, just as much as him.  Sure, he's not responsible with money, but he never claimed to be.  You on the other hand, don't seem to have disclosed that you want to retire at 35.  You both made assumptions, and now it's up to you if you want to live with those assumptions or divorce.  I think you already know the answer.

I disagree. I would feel terrible as an adult child, knowing that my father was in a tremendous amount of debt & in WAY over his head financially, and spending irresponsibly on me. Particularly when he has another child. If nothing else, I'd think about my father & love him enough to want him to have a healthy & viable financial future. Anything less than this is selfish & really quite sad perspective on overall values. We discuss finances with our kids all the time & I'd expect a lot more maturity from them.

anonperson

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #80 on: March 08, 2019, 08:29:01 AM »
@ simplecycle - Does the following change your opinion -

The financial issue that keeps me up at night right now is not giving up on early retirement, which is already a foregone conclusion at this point, it is that we have a past due tax bill to the IRS that is 145% of my gross annual income.  His spending on his older children (2 adults and one minor) is an issue since, after taxes, it is by far our largest economic output right now, far greater than our mortgage. I see your point about the older kids, but while we failed at communicating about money, we talked at great length about having a child together as I would not have dated and then married him if he was done with kids after his first marriage. 

As far as the older kid spending issue, I feel like I need to defend myself a bit so bear with me and let me know if you still think Im wrong here.  Between the house and spending on the older kids, hes currently spending more than he could have if he were single (meaning, a good portion of my income is supporting this situation), and hes spending way more on housing and his older kids than he could if we were to get divorced, as I think you might be suggesting that I consider.   Wed have to sell the house to pay off the tax debt (gigantic weight off of me).  Im guessing he would be required to help support our mutual minor child at some level, even if it were just share the costs of things like a nanny/day care (we both work long hours) and healthcare 50/50, and theres no way he could afford to help with her, live the lifestyle that were living now, and spend lavishly on his adult children, so I dont think its fair to say that he should be able to keep spending as he is.  Our budget has to make room for (1) getting out of debt to the IRS so it stops compounding and I can breathe again; (2) meeting his court ordered child support obligations for the teenager; (3) staying current on our mortgage for now (and seriously considering selling the house and downsizing to help with the debt issue); (4) saving for retirement; and (5) paying for college for the older kids and saving at least something for college for our child, because hes kind of old and will be retired on a lesser income than he has now when shes in college, so we cant just save nothing.  Is that a reasonable way of thinking about it, taking into consideration all the people involved here?

Dee18

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #81 on: March 08, 2019, 08:54:05 AM »
It sounds like there is no downside to selling the house at this point...except you have to find another place to live.  It sounds like selling the house (and you getting your share of your money back) would ameliorate a lot of your angst as well as improve his financial situation.  Why not do that and then see where things stand?

former player

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #82 on: March 08, 2019, 09:39:03 AM »
It sounds like there is no downside to selling the house at this point...except you have to find another place to live.  It sounds like selling the house (and you getting your share of your money back) would ameliorate a lot of your angst as well as improve his financial situation.  Why not do that and then see where things stand?

The downside is her husband's view of the matter.

I don't think this is a case for OP prescribing the solution - that hasn't worked for her so far.  I do think OP's most recent posts are doing a better job of explaining the situation and exploring solutions than her first posts, which is good.  I think what might be a good approach would be something along the lines of

1.  How does DH feel about the tax debt?  We know how OP feels, does she know how DH feels about it?  That seems to be the immediate issue. How much extra will this overdue tax from 2018 and 2019 cost by the time it is all paid?  Is DH aware of that, and how does he feel about it?

2.  DH has a great income but is spending even more than he earns.  What does he think about that? How many more years of spending more than he earns does he think is sustainable?

3. If DH were to limit his spending to his earnings, what would his priorities be for how his spends his money?

4. OP's approach to DH could then be: you know I've been worried about our family finances.  I can't control how you spend your money, only you can do that, and I'm not going to try any more.  But I do need to know that you know how your finances are working: what's coming in and what's going out, and that the choices you are making about spending are fully considered and look to our future together with our daughter.  Over to you to now tell me how you feel about that.

Captain FIRE

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #83 on: March 08, 2019, 10:03:12 AM »
<snip> (5) paying for college for the older kids and saving at least something for college for our child, because hes kind of old and will be retired on a lesser income than he has now when shes in college, so we cant just save nothing.  Is that a reasonable way of thinking about it, taking into consideration all the people involved here?

Let me preface this by saying that unlike most on this board, I believe you get value out of attending a top college and support providing a substantial portion of the costs of that for my kid.  I say this from a place of having already saved a lot for my kid who is 2.  So I completely get the strong desire to want to provide a good education for the child, but....I think your extreme focus on the need for 529 savings has blinded you to any form of compromise with your husband. 

Look, I agree he kinda f*cked up by not saving for the kids college all along and planning to cash flow it.  But you can't go back and fix that.  From this point, the priority is to pay the current support order, the college cost and plan for the upcoming college costs.  As a family you really don't seem to have the resources to also save for your child, who is really young right now.  (Did you say 1?)  So if the youngest is in high school, you have 7 years or less when this burden will be done.  That means you have 10 more after that to save for your child's education.  EVEN IF he retires in 10 years, that still leaves 3 years of his working career to save for your child's education.

Here another way to think about it: Do you want to be right?  Or do you want to win (changes)?  It seems to me that you are focusing on what is right, using language such as it's not fair that he does XYZ.  By angling for "everything" that is not fair/right, it seems you have ended up where neither of you is happy or willing to compromise, with no changes at all.  I think you will be more apt to come to a place where you are happier if you instead think critically about how to realistically effect change in your lives.  I would suggest you start by: 1) working on improving your communication and 2) narrowing down your list of must haves to the most critical ones.

You want him to make all of the changes and that hasn't worked so far in your conversations.  (I appreciate that from your perspective you have already made a lot of changes to pay down the tax debt, but you've also done things such as upscale your life by agreeing to a big home you can't afford right now.  You need to start from status quo now though, not status quo a year or two ago.)  I repeat again: Do you want to stay married?  If yes, then you need to figure out how to communicate and what you can and cannot compromise on.  What are your priorities?  Figure out those and your non-negotiables, and then you can make a plan.  If everything you've described is non-negotiable, then be prepared for divorce as a possible outcome. 

I get SimpleCycles point, that by making major changes now you can damage your/his relationships with his kids.  That's not to say that they *should* be reliant on these gifts, or that they shouldn't want the best for their father, including healthy finances.  But let's be realistic: These kids have not had good financial role models and clearly have not had anyone telling them no.  Changes will come as a shock and will be more successful if implemented and messaged to them thoughtfully - with full buy in from both you and your husband.  If you plan to be around long-term in their lives, then this is something to think about.

Lady SA

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #84 on: March 08, 2019, 10:31:31 AM »
@ simplecycle - Does the following change your opinion -

The financial issue that keeps me up at night right now is ... that we have a past due tax bill to the IRS that is 145% of my gross annual income. 

Wed have to sell the house to pay off the tax debt (gigantic weight off of me). 

Our budget has to make room for (1) getting out of debt to the IRS so it stops compounding and I can breathe again; (2) meeting his court ordered child support obligations for the teenager; (3) staying current on our mortgage for now (and seriously considering selling the house and downsizing to help with the debt issue); (4) saving for retirement; and (5) paying for college for the older kids and saving at least something for college for our child.

How sure are you that selling the house will solve all of your problems? You will still need a place to live, so after selling this one you will likely need another one. And you've probably priced this out with a house that YOU would be ok in, smaller and in a less prestigious neighborhood. But you have a partner with his own needs and wants, so how likely is it that he would be ok with that smaller house that you based solely on your own needs?
So, how much money would you actually net after the sale and purchase of another living space (that meets both of your needs)? Would it ACTUALLY wipe out your tax bill? Or would selling this house, compromising and getting a house that *neither* of you like, and STILL having a outstanding tax bill, just make things even worse?

Homework for you and report back:
1. Find out where your husband truly stands on the house.
This is not a conversation that you abandon after 5 mins... probe and ask questions and spend a good 45 mins or an hour. Keep approaching it from different angles (if he is taking the conversation well of course), and maybe come back again later to clarify things after you've digested what he says if you work better with taking some time to process things. The GOAL of this conversation is to explore and both of you agree on the possibility of an acceptable compromise on the house. Which means if you can get guide him to disconnect *THIS* house in particular from what he needs, that leads to the possibility of meeting his housing needs with an alternative. Just kind of go with your gut and let the conversation evolve naturally, I put a few potential ideas for questions:

"Hey DH, can I ask you a question? I know you are really attached to this house, and moving is something you aren't interested in, and in the past if I suggested moving you were not interested. That tells me that I am not understanding what is important to you and I'd like to learn. Can you tell me what this house in particular means to you? What does it give you?"
"Hypothetically, what about moving to a different house upsets you? I've noticed before that you seem upset if I ever bring up the possibility of moving. I don't want to make you upset so I want to know what about this house is better than others."
"It seems that moving houses seems to be a dealbreaker for you. I'm just curious why. What about this house in particular is so important? I think I just don't understand your needs and I would like to."
"What types of things you you care about in a home? I really care about lots of sunlight and a nice kitchen with a good layout. How about you?"
"What if you could have most of the things you care about in a different home?"
"Sometimes I get kind of worried about how expensive this house is. Does that ever bother you? Why/Why not?"
"What kinds of things about a neighborhood are important to you?"
"How do you see us growing into this house in the next 5 years? 10 years? 20 years?" (asking questions about how he envisions the future are especially revealing and help you understand his thought process/plan!)

Maybe he is reluctant to go through the stress of moving again. Maybe he is best friends with the neighbor. Maybe this house has the perfect arrangement of rooms that he really, really likes. Maybe it was his dream from childhood to live in this particular neighborhood. Maybe he just feels that he has roots here in this house and feels comfortable there, and leaving is very disruptive. You just don't know, so find out.

2. On another day, talk to him about the tax bill and how stressed out by it you are.
The first requirement for this conversation is that he empathize with your feeling and get into problem solving mode. If he is incapable of focusing on your feelings and instead stonewalls you/disregards you/etc, then he could be a lost cause. But usually, the sentence below is a good opener that encourages empathy and problem solving from the listener.

"I feel really insecure and nervous about our taxes that we owe. It makes me think of how precarious financially we are, and I wake up every day stressed about this. Can we talk about a plan to help so this isn't so stressful?"
"I really need there to be a plan for us to get rid of this bill completely before 2021/2 years (or whatever), that would make me feel a lot better! What can we do to make that happen? Do you have any ideas?"
"How should we tackle this together? I just don't understand what the plan is or what we are doing about it. Do we have a plan? Can we talk about it?"

3. **IF*** after your house conversation, you both agree that there could be some acceptable compromise for both of you on the house AND the move to a different, compromise house would make a "good enough" impact on your tax bill, try to get to the point of connecting the stress about the house to the stress of the tax bill.

"I know I mentioned this before, but what if we sold the house, got another one like we talked about the other day, and then could use the proceeds to pay off a good chunk of the bill? I know it isn't ideal, but I'm really having a hard time and this seems like it could work. What do you think? What are your concerns?"



Now, these conversations may be scary and/or uncomfortable or awkward because you both are not used to talking like this. However, doing so would give you (and us) a LOT more information (on his mindset, ability to compromise and work with you, and his financial plans or lack thereof) for us to work with and help make a plan for you to move forward out of this rut.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2019, 10:56:21 AM by Lady SA »

ysette9

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #85 on: March 08, 2019, 10:55:47 AM »
I think Lady SA has a lot of good points, but I think the conversation needs to be backed up a level with your husband. We have all jumped on the house as a problem and partial solution, but really the problem is a lack of shared vision and values over what you two want your lives to look like. I say you should start with a blank page. Then fill in your dreams and hopes for what you would like your end stage to be. Retired? When? Where? What are the kids doing? What do you provide or not for them? When does that end? How do you want to spend your time once neither of you work? Where can you do that?

If you can agree on that vision for the future then you can back out what it will cost to fund that dream. Then you take a look at your entire current financial picture. What are your assets and liabilities? What are your incomes and expenses? How much are you saving (or going into the hole) each month? From there it is an easy calculation to see if and when you will get to that shared future vision you created together.

The biggest red flag for me would be if you cannot have that initial conversation and agree on a shared vision. You are there now and to are two people in a boat rowing in opposite directions. Work hard to get on the same page for what you want to achieve together or you need to find yourself a new boat.

Lady SA

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #86 on: March 08, 2019, 11:06:35 AM »
I think Lady SA has a lot of good points, but I think the conversation needs to be backed up a level with your husband. We have all jumped on the house as a problem and partial solution, but really the problem is a lack of shared vision and values over what you two want your lives to look like. I say you should start with a blank page. Then fill in your dreams and hopes for what you would like your end stage to be. Retired? When? Where? What are the kids doing? What do you provide or not for them? When does that end? How do you want to spend your time once neither of you work? Where can you do that?

If you can agree on that vision for the future then you can back out what it will cost to fund that dream. Then you take a look at your entire current financial picture. What are your assets and liabilities? What are your incomes and expenses? How much are you saving (or going into the hole) each month? From there it is an easy calculation to see if and when you will get to that shared future vision you created together.

The biggest red flag for me would be if you cannot have that initial conversation and agree on a shared vision. You are there now and to are two people in a boat rowing in opposite directions. Work hard to get on the same page for what you want to achieve together or you need to find yourself a new boat.

+10000000000000
Yeah, do this. THEN maybe do my suggestions. Get the foundation right (shared goals and agreed upon vision for the future) and THEN focus on the details. Details being how to handle the house or tax bills or college contributions. But unless you are confident you are both going in the right direction and working together towards the same things, you won't be able to put your trust in his plans for either the house or the tax bill or your daughters college, because he might be going for a different outcome/direction than you are hoping for. You obviously don't currently trust him right now, so going in blind and asking him to make plans based on different goals, and yourself to trust those plans to get what you want could backfire spectacularly.
And if your visions for the future are fundamentally incompatible? Then now you know for sure (instead of just guessing like you are doing now) and you don't have to waste time and effort trying to align your opposite goals and plans.

Good catch, Ysette. This is definitely the better approach.

anonperson

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #87 on: March 08, 2019, 11:13:43 AM »
@Lady SA - The house has enough equity tied up in it to pay all of the tax debt, and most likely enough to provide a down payment on a smaller but adequate home. I recognize that could change at any time in a down market.  The only way we can get to the equity is by selling the house, because the mortgage and HELOC are only in my name because I have a much better credit score than him, and Im already at the maximum debt to income level that any lender would allow.  So selling the house would benefit us mainly by freeing up equity.  If we rent or downsize to an average size single family home, wed probably also save $2000 a month on housing, plus wed be current on our taxes which would free up some extra money. Hes not tied to this home as a forever home, but hes embarrassed by the idea of downsizing.  Our issue is not impending insolvency, but illiquidity, from his perspective.  If anything, hed like to move to an even more expensive home within the next 5-10 years.  Ive found that I dont have the risk tolerance necessary to live in this way, as I cant help but think about everything that could go wrong. I suppose one question I have to ask myself is how long should I let this go before I decide that it has spiraled out of control?  Or is that just the ramblings of an anxious person?  Also, I keep going back to the house because thats a solution that I can offer without offending him, but our entire housing costs are not that high as a percentage of our spending - currently 12% of our gross income not including  some credit card debt related to remodeling and furnishing the house at an amount that hasn't been disclosed to me even though I have asked.

@ysette9 We definitely need a shared vision.  Of course we've talked about it in a roundabout way, but due to many factors, I would say that some of our individual desires and goals clash in a way that is hard to resolve without someone playing the martyr.

LifeHappens

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #88 on: March 08, 2019, 11:25:05 AM »
We definitely need a shared vision.  Of course we've talked about it in a roundabout way, but due to many factors, I would say that some of our individual desires and goals clash in a way that is hard to resolve without someone playing the martyr.
That's just not going to work long term. Eventually the resentment will build up to the point one of you leaves the relationship. You're very close to that already, which is why you're so hyper focused on details. If you can't get to a good place of sharing at least some common aspects of a long term vision on your own, you need counseling.

Lady SA

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #89 on: March 08, 2019, 11:32:04 AM »
some credit card debt related to remodeling and furnishing the house at an amount that hasn't been disclosed to me even though I have asked.

I would say that some of our individual desires and goals clash in a way that is hard to resolve without someone playing the martyr.

Yikes. With this information, and some of the other issues you've mentioned in the thread, it's totally understandable why his exwife divorced him. I was hoping he wasn't entirely a lost cause and he was just bad at communicating and you two were just missing key pieces of information and could come together, but to refuse to share financial information even when asked point blank about it is just straight up financial infidelity.

I'm sorry OP. The way this has played out, there is no way to win with his bad habits and I see why you are so exhausted by this.

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #90 on: March 08, 2019, 11:53:58 AM »
If your housing expenses are only 12% the major bleeding is likely elsewhere.

Without sharing actually numbers it might be helpful to share income % and expenses.

For example:

Income
His 80%
Hers 20%
Total 100%

Expenses
Housing 12%
Renovation debt xx% UNKNOWN, you need his honesty.
Food xx%
His car %
Her car %
...
...
2018 tax liability xx%
2019 tax liability xx%
Child support xx%
Older children University xx%
Older kids gifts xx%
Baby 529 xx% (be honest)
His savings 0% (I imagine)
Her savings xx%


Sub total expenses
His
Hers
Ours

Total expenses xxx% (Im afraid this is over 100)

Hopefully this detail will help some of the smart folks here help you more.

You can present the same table to your husband with % and actual $ numbers.

I mentioned earlier you sharing your household expenses 50:50, but what is your family philosophy on this? Some believe it should be based on income ratio.

Maybe if he sees in clear numbers that you are responsible for more than your income he will understand where your anxiety comes from.

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #91 on: March 08, 2019, 12:08:42 PM »
We definitely need a shared vision.  Of course we've talked about it in a roundabout way, but due to many factors, I would say that some of our individual desires and goals clash in a way that is hard to resolve without someone playing the martyr.
That's just not going to work long term. Eventually the resentment will build up to the point one of you leaves the relationship. You're very close to that already, which is why you're so hyper focused on details. If you can't get to a good place of sharing at least some common aspects of a long term vision on your own, you need counseling.
Agreed on the counseling bit.

anonperson

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #92 on: March 08, 2019, 01:27:54 PM »
Okay, trying not to over disclose to the internet, but maybe this provides some color.

Our income is my income after withholdings for 2019 at our effective rate and 401k contribution up to employer match + his income before withholdings (we make quarterly estimated payments on his income).

His income: 75%
Her income: 25%

Mortgage/utilities/repairs: 12%
Renovation debt: unknown
Groceries: 2%
His car: 1%
Her car: 0 (I paid cash)
2018 tax liability: currently allocating 42% (our effective rate is pretty high so were not allocating a crazy amount currently)
2019 tax liability: 0%
Child support: 15% (going down in 3 months, possibly by quite a bit)
Shared child expenses (goes into a shared account with his ex wife): 8%
Tuition (after using existing 529 plan, tuition is split 50/50 with ex wife): About 7% this year, but more next year.
Our additional spending on his kids and his travel related to his kids: ~5%
Support of his elderly parent: 2%
Baby 529 contribution at the moment (Im hearing I need to stop): 2%
His savings: Variable.  Not insignificant due to required contributions to his business.
Her savings outside of 401k and baby 529: 0
Child care for baby so we both can work: 6%
Our entertainment/travel expenses/hobbies/clothes, basically all things discretionary: ~ 5% (obviously cutting down on this already)

Not included in our income: bonuses (highly variable), and I also have a rental property that I purchased long before we married as a part of my early retirement plan.  It has a separate bank account.  Im currently allocating 100% of the net cash flow to taxes, which helps in a small way.

Mrs.MLM

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #93 on: March 08, 2019, 01:53:21 PM »
I apologize if this has already been answered, but what's up with the taxes? Did he not pay his estimates in 2018? Does he expect to live on his gross pay and not his net? From both your budget and the things you have said, the taxes are a bigger problem than the first family.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2019, 01:55:30 PM by Mrs.MLM »

MaybeBabyMustache

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #94 on: March 08, 2019, 02:07:36 PM »
If you could clear the 2018 tax liability & pay the 2019 (& future taxes) at the expected/estimated rate, what percentage would taxes make up? That would be helpful to understand commitments, in addition to making up the 2018 back taxes.

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #95 on: March 08, 2019, 03:41:47 PM »
OK. Little quibble but by my math your percentages add up to 107% But assuming this is just back of the envelope estimating anyway here's what I observe:

 If I split shared items by 1/2 (housing, childcare, food, etc.) and allocate sole expenditures for his obligations (child support, college, shared account) I get that 50.5% of your total spending is going to meet his current needs and financial obligations. BUT that doesn't include the additional 42% in back taxes OR what liability is being incurred by not paying current taxes. So 92.5% of your spending is going towards his "side" (out of 107% recall). So even adjusting for the calculation error to start, this suggests that your salary not only supports the choices he's making/obligations he is fulfilling in spending, but also that you may have a looming hair-on-fire situation given that the current tax liability and renovation debt isn't accounted for here.

This alarms me. Also, I am alarmed that you had to use your credit to purchase your home in your name only. Why is his credit not good? Business owners can use the "liquidity" argument to convince themselves that they are wealthier than they actually are. Is it possible that is what  your husband is doing?

I think Lady SA has the right idea when it comes how to emotionally approach this from a relationship standpoint. But I'm a little afraid of what you're going to find once you start to scratch the surface of this and both start coming clean about hidden savings/spending. I'm a rip the bandaid off quickly kind of person. Maybe once you get communication lines open, it would be good to sit down with a stack of bills/statements/etc. and do the math sooner rather than later.

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #96 on: March 08, 2019, 03:45:05 PM »
A house that is costing 12% of your (net? gross?) income is not the essence of your problem.  Nor are older child expenses at 8% (which is about the same as goes to your own child, counting child care) or elder parent care at 2%.

So do those figures mean that once the 2018 and 2019 taxes are sorted and you have arrangements in place to pay future taxes on time you should have plenty of money to cover everything you want?   How long will it be before the tax position is on a sound basis?


SimpleCycle

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #97 on: March 08, 2019, 04:31:33 PM »
I mean I don't think he should be spending money he doesn't have.  My point is all this is understandable from your husband's point of view, even if it's not from your point of view.  And that's really important from the perspective of moving forward in the relationship - you have to be able to understand that his point of view makes sense to him, even if you completely disagree.

I suspect a lot of the communication breakdown is due to defensiveness on his part and rigidity/panic on your part.  Your panic is completely understandable - this is a huge mess and you don't see a clear way out.  But (and I say this as someone with a lot of marriage counseling under my belt) you're going to have to find some common ground if you are going to work through this as a team.  And of course you have to decide if it's worth working through as a team.  It's absolutely not fair to give up your dreams and your autonomy to dig him out of a huge mess.  You will both need to compromise.

So I've done a little math, and I will respect your desire to keep real numbers out of it, but your total debt (2017 HELOC + 2018 tax debt +2019 quarterlies + a fudge factor for the credit card debt) is about 1x your annual gross income.  Honestly, I would be talking to a tax lawyer at this point if you haven't already.  I think paying your current quarterlies is also a condition of getting an installment agreement, so you have to be current on 2019 to get an IA for 2018.  And it's not clear if an installment agreement is the best option.

If you're going to work this out, you're both going to have to lay everything out on the table and figure out what options you have.  You are probably right that he'll have to cut back spending, but it's probably better to lead him there than tell him that.

I'm really sorry you are going through this - it sounds like a ton of stress and worry.  I think you've gotten very good advice here, but I'll also say don't hesitate to get as many people in your corner as you need - a good therapist, a trusted friend, etc.

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #98 on: March 08, 2019, 08:14:49 PM »
107% is probably on the low end of how this shakes out. I some what arbitrarily picked a number for 2018 tax payments to make each month as soon as his paycheck hits (maybe this is a bad idea but Im freaking out), and the amount is enough to cover what 2019 payments would be plus what I think penalties and interest will be each month for 2018 plus a small amount more. Im trying to stop the bleeding for now. But its clear that by doing this Ive set us up for failure as we run out of money each month now.

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Re: Blended Family Financial Obligations
« Reply #99 on: March 09, 2019, 01:14:30 AM »
Time for OH to pull money from his retirement accounts?