Author Topic: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances  (Read 32800 times)

ejh

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #50 on: February 14, 2017, 09:53:13 AM »
I am happy for this debate about working moms, but I will be clear - she chooses to be at home. She believes in the value, she states that she doesn't want a career, etc. We happen to agree on this for the most part. She believes in it more than me. To help her fight the feeling as you say would be wrong because she wants to stay home.



prognastat

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #51 on: February 14, 2017, 09:53:38 AM »
2- If you bought a bigger than necessary house, you may have inadvertently contributed to this problem. For a SAHP bigger houses mean: -more space to clean, more rooms to furnish, more places to accidentally lose the kid, wealthier neighbors, etc. When we moved, we bought a significantly larger house than we had before, not because it was bigger, but because it met some of our other needs at the time. My job as a SAHP became exponentially more difficult with just the 900 extra square feet. I've seen friends who "upgrade" their houses and then figure, if I have this  nice house with granite countertops, why the heck can't I get a manicure/new blouse/Starbucks? I'm wealthier now, right?

I think he mentioned they live in an apartment so unless they have a ridiculous apartment this shouldn't be the problem.

LadyMuMu

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #52 on: February 14, 2017, 09:59:18 AM »
Hm. I was going off this statement.

If there's one thing I did push for in the past couple of years it was when purchasing a house.
There were 2 options, and I chose the 4 bedroom/3 bath instead of the 3 bedroom/2 bath, realizing that we plan to have many kids and a bigger one would suit us for many many years to come.

ejh

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #53 on: February 14, 2017, 10:03:54 AM »
LadyMuMu
The apartment size was not so extreme, neither the mortgage. At most $150 a month iirc. We had a maid before too in a much much smaller place. Both apartments were in the same building, so neighbors the same too.

Again, I said I can't relate to why she is feeling this way. Not that she is not allowed to feel this way.

trollwithamustache

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #54 on: February 14, 2017, 10:05:45 AM »
A couple thoughts, first, our society in general doesn't value the stay at home person. (Not saying its right or even reasonable)

Second, the job of running the household is a very important job.

This seems to be a super unpopular statement to make in society in general. But, if you want to do this mustache thing, you need to run a tight ship. For us, its absolute worth it for my DW not to be working full time to have time to do a lot more of this home stuff. If she didn't we would be spending a lot more and actually a lot less financially independent.

In a round about way, I suspect my statement is someone in line with posters who suggested depression. This stay at home thing can be a very important job and both parties need to view it that way.   Alas ignoring society and embracing this is a hard thing to do.

BeanCounter

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #55 on: February 14, 2017, 10:06:54 AM »
I am happy for this debate about working moms, but I will be clear - she chooses to be at home. She believes in the value, she states that she doesn't want a career, etc. We happen to agree on this for the most part. She believes in it more than me. To help her fight the feeling as you say would be wrong because she wants to stay home.

Ok. Good. Then I agree with you. She has to make choices that show that continuing to stay home IS truly the most important thing. And when you make that choice you have to have a budget and stick to it. But I think she has to see this as a mutual decision, not you telling her what to do and what not to do.

scantee

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #56 on: February 14, 2017, 10:31:40 AM »
I am happy for this debate about working moms, but I will be clear - she chooses to be at home. She believes in the value, she states that she doesn't want a career, etc. We happen to agree on this for the most part. She believes in it more than me. To help her fight the feeling as you say would be wrong because she wants to stay home.


It is totally understandable that this is a priority for her. I think what is hard for those of us commenting, is reconciling her desire to stay at home while also having child care and a cleaner. Every choice comes with drawbacks and perhaps the biggest drawback of having a one-income family with small children is the need to forego some of the luxuries that two-income families are able to afford. I'm not sure what that means for you, but I think at some point it will be necessary for your wife to come to terms with that reality. Unless that happens I don't see how you'll be able to find a compromise that works for the two of you in the short-term.

In the long-term, you may just need to accept that this is a period of your life during which you won't have a high savings rate. I sure didn't save a ton, when my kids were very young! That was when I originally got into the idea of FIRE and it was endlessly frustrating to me how little I was able to save during those years. Now, my kids are school-age and the savings are piling up, it's just so much easier. Looking back, I think I was too hard on myself and I actually did a good job of saving simply by not taking on any additional debt and continuously contributing to my retirement funds.

I think there is a chance you are doing better than you think. Posting a case study would help a lot, I encourage you to do it.


Laura33

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #57 on: February 14, 2017, 10:40:06 AM »
Laura33 - Again, I'm very thankful for your detailed reply.
It seems like your taking this to a pragmatic place where finding a solution is more important than being right.
I assume - maybe I'm wrong - that if she was posting her thoughts instead of me, you would take the same approach.
I get it and am for it, and I agree this is an underlying communication issue which has multiple manifestations. Our financials are one of them.
But as I said, we need to reach something that works, not only makes us feel good. It sounds from your suggestions that we simply need to talk about feelings and goals and that should be enough to set us in the right direction. It will bring us closer. However, that direction must include spending less/earning more. I'm worried that 'waiting' for these changes will put us in a place which is financially unfit, but maybe I'm exaggerating (although I don't think so).

My responses on each bolded item:
1.  Yes.  Although it's more about realizing that there *is* no objective "right" here, there's just what's right for the two of you.

2.  100%, yes.  I know it doesn't feel like it, but if anything, I'd be harder on her than on you.  :-)  You can't choose to stay home and then complain about lack of money.  But I find it less-than-helpful to give advice to people who aren't here and didn't ask for it.  :-) 

3.  See (1) above.  You are still assuming you are right and insisting that we provide a direct path to persuade your wife of your rightness within X months.  The facts that you laid out are that you have @10% of net to save + some unspecified savings at work.  You see these facts as teetering on the edge of catastrophic failure; meanwhile, your wife sees that exact same budget as teetering on the edge of unacceptable deprivation.  So this can go two ways:  you can find a way to come together and compromise; or you can both double down on your current positions and end up divorced.  And the fastest way to get to Option B is to keep pushing her to change more/faster -- the more you push, the more she will dig in and counter-attack. 

Frankly, right now, your wife *does* just need to "feel good" (she is just looking in the wrong places for that).  She in particular has gone through major, life-altering changes (childbirth x 2, not working, major budget cutbacks, big new house, etc.); and now her interactions with you seem to be focused on how she needs to change even more.  Your job is to demonstrate how she can feel good *with you* -- that she doesn't need [insert material item here] to be happy, that she can/should take pride in how she is managing your household, that you guys have this awesome connection and have fun together -- and, above all else, that you have her back no matter what.  It's the carrot vs. the stick.  And it's about showing, not telling -- fewer lectures, more "wow, that was a fantastic dinner" and "hey, let's go have a picnic."

So set aside the budget talks for now -- give yourself 3 months, 6 months, where you just drop entirely the notion that she needs to cut back more.  Spend that time focusing on the non-financial stuff -- noticing her hard work, praising her efforts, learning to listen, to connect, to just have some freaking fun.  Life is a marathon, not a sprint.  You guys are in the most-wonderful-but-suckiest, hardest, most expensive part right now.  Cut yourselves some slack to get through the worst of it.

aceyou

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #58 on: February 14, 2017, 10:43:32 AM »
I think reverse engineering is always a great way to look at things.

Have the two of you agreed on an end goal?  For example... "when the kids graduate from high school/college/when we reach age x we want to be FIRED, and we want our life at that time to look like _______". 

Then you can get excited about that common goal and figure out how much money it'd take to make that happen. 

Then you work backwards and figure out how much money you have to stache away each year to likely reach that number. 

Then you start designing a life that will allow you to save that amount. 

Then, when you start "cutting" this and that, you will realize that you aren't sacrificing or "cutting" anything.  What you are doing is trading those things for a near future that rocks even more!!!

I know that real life is a lot more complicated than that, but the framework of thinking like that has huge benefits IMO.  I feel like both of you want to save and know it's important, but you don't have a clear picture of the finish line.  That vagueness makes it hard to save, because you don't even know what you are trading your current luxuries for. 

Just a thought.  Either way, you seem like a very loving and hard working family, and I wish you the best!!!

historienne

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #59 on: February 14, 2017, 11:26:42 AM »
Is the subtext here that your wife thinks you should be earning more money?  If she comes from money, she may have expectations that you will be earning enough to satisfy all her wants and also save substantial amounts.  Have y'all had a frank conversation about your own earning power, and likely career path going forward?  Do you have prospects for increasing your income?

monstermonster

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #60 on: February 14, 2017, 11:34:47 AM »
If you're Christian, or willing to tolerate some christian-ness, I might recommend going through Financial peace University.

I know Dave Ramsey gets a bad rap on some parts of this forum (mainly for his sh*t investing advice), but frankly, he's one of the best at spousal communication about money and he's very good at helping couples talk through what their goals with money truly are. FPU is more than worth the money if you're struggling at getting on the same page, which it sounds like you are.

His biggest emphasis for spouses is to have a budget meeting EVERY WEEK with one another. On paper. Talk to one another about the budget, talk about your values & priorities for your money.

little_brown_dog

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #61 on: February 14, 2017, 11:40:30 AM »
I am a stay at home mom (who works from home occasionally during naptimes) and I gotta say…childcare AND a maid is pretty freakin luxurious. I too am confused by her feelings of deprivation.

Does your wife have a mental illness? I know that seems out of left field, but while being a parent is challenging, she should have plenty of time to cook/run errands/ manage things if she gets every morning free and has a maid do most of the housework. If she is still feeling overwhelmed by responsibilities even with these major helps, she might be struggling with depression or some other disorder that makes one disorganized, stressed, fatigued, etc. Your remarks about deprivation, not feeling good enough, and general unhappiness coupled with her need for extensive help to manage a very typical (although exhausting) stay at home mom life suggests to me that she might actually have an underlying issue that is making it harder for her to cope. If she is battling untreated depression, then in actuality she may genuinely require intensive help to function semi-normally.

What does your wife do with her free time every day? Do you know? That might also give you some insight into her feelings/mental health.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2017, 11:50:45 AM by little_brown_dog »

ejh

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #62 on: February 14, 2017, 11:42:27 AM »
Laura33 - I am willing to try this approach, although I have dropped the budget/spending/savings talks for a good amount of months now. I don't even think I mention things anymore. Ever since she decided to take an amount which she decides how to spend, I don't say a word - even though there are more than 1 or 2 things which are absurd in my eyes. It's her decision and I don't get involved.
The problem is that she doesn't see these decisions as empowering. She sees every thing she chooses as something else she needs to give up on. She sees this everyday (her words). And even then, at the end of the day she sees no fruits from her effort. It is frustrating and lowers her motivation. Today she asked to see what we saved past January and got upset it was so low and how she tries so hard with nothing to show. I told her it's a phase and we have lots of expenses with the kids and such. I told her how we are in a good position with our equity, savings, etc. and that we are in the right direction. She said that I am looking long-term, but she has to make decisions daily on what to buy and what not to buy. On how if she buys 1 more thing for the kids she can't buy something else. So basically this daily struggle is wearing her out.

And about your second point, I do not care if you are hard on me, I am here to make this work. I really wish there was some third party we both could talk to openly about this stuff without having to make it a counseling issue (not that I have anything wrong with counseling, we've been there before for other issues because I wanted to air stuff out).

monstermonster

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #63 on: February 14, 2017, 11:44:01 AM »
I really wish there was some third party we both could talk to openly about this stuff without having to make it a counseling issue (not that I have anything wrong with counseling, we've been there before for other issues because I wanted to air stuff out).
This is exactly why FPU would be good - you can talk to other people working on these issues without it being seen as "counseling".

ejh

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #64 on: February 14, 2017, 11:54:51 AM »
little_brown_dog - I just think that's what she saw growing up.
I don't know about depression and really can't attest to it.
I once told her I was concerned about Postpartum, but she laughed it off. 
It may seem pretty freakin luxurious, but presenting that to her, even in the most delicate way is enough to cause a real argument about how I care only about money and not about her situation. This happened when only our eldest was in daycare.

NathanP

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #65 on: February 14, 2017, 12:00:23 PM »
Is the subtext here that your wife thinks you should be earning more money?  If she comes from money, she may have expectations that you will be earning enough to satisfy all her wants and also save substantial amounts.  Have y'all had a frank conversation about your own earning power, and likely career path going forward?  Do you have prospects for increasing your income?

I think this may be the case here. This is not meant to be an attack on the OP, but it seems that your wife wants to live the $$$$ lifestyle, while you only have $$. When you have $$$$, you can hire maids and childcare and purchase more items. My wife also wants the $$$$ lifestyle, but she works full-time.

Assuming that she is not depressed, or you are not trying to make rapid changes to the status quo; I see the problem being her unrealistic expectations.

Perhaps the problem will solve itself once the kids are school age and you can pocket the childcare costs.

ejh

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #66 on: February 14, 2017, 12:04:49 PM »
NathanP - I am hesitant to say this the issue, because I don't hear her complaining I don't make enough. I'm actually working for one of the highest paying companies in the country, in one of the highest paying fields. It's not unlimited amounts of cash, but still high for the market. Add all the other stuff like bonuses, equity, etc. I don't see how I can make so much more without adding a side hustle. And it's gonna have to be a pretty good hustle to make $$ into $$$$.
I'm hopeful once they go to school, costs will go down, but as I see there is always a place to spend more.
So she may be expecting this cost to go away and have more free money to pay for other stuff.

PharmaStache

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #67 on: February 14, 2017, 12:31:32 PM »
Sounds like she doesn't actually want to be a SAHM, but she thinks she "should" do it.  So these kids go to daycare all morning and then nap in the afternoon?  How many hours is she actually SAHM-ing a day?  1 between lunch and nap, and another couple until you get home?  Seems odd to me.  I also agree that she may have depression and require the daycare, maid, etc to cope.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2017, 12:33:59 PM by PharmaStache »

monstermonster

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #68 on: February 14, 2017, 12:32:18 PM »
NathanP - I am hesitant to say this the issue, because I don't hear her complaining I don't make enough. I'm actually working for one of the highest paying companies in the country, in one of the highest paying fields. It's not unlimited amounts of cash, but still high for the market. Add all the other stuff like bonuses, equity, etc. I don't see how I can make so much more without adding a side hustle. And it's gonna have to be a pretty good hustle to make $$ into $$$$.
I'm hopeful once they go to school, costs will go down, but as I see there is always a place to spend more.
So she may be expecting this cost to go away and have more free money to pay for other stuff.
If you're looking for advice on where to cut back, specific numbers for income and expenses would be really helpful. Checking out the case study template would help a lot.

But I'll reiterate: it does not sound like this is a math problem. This sounds like this is a communication/expectations problem. The only solution to that is to talk, sit down with the numbers (weekly preferable) and work together on coming up with solutions based on your shared goals and values. This isn't black & white, there's no "right" - there's just continual improvement and working together.

ejh

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #69 on: February 14, 2017, 12:36:49 PM »
I was reading through this thread again and thought of the same thing. Maybe deep down she'd prefer to do something else rather than stay at home, but she thinks she has to stay home. Her mom did it. She believes in the value of being home. So maybe it's a must. But maybe it doesn't fit her. Maybe she can't even put her finger on it herself.

I doubt this is right, but maybe.

Laura33

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #70 on: February 14, 2017, 12:55:19 PM »
I was reading through this thread again and thought of the same thing. Maybe deep down she'd prefer to do something else rather than stay at home, but she thinks she has to stay home. Her mom did it. She believes in the value of being home. So maybe it's a must. But maybe it doesn't fit her. Maybe she can't even put her finger on it herself.

I doubt this is right, but maybe.

FWIW, I suspect you may be on to something here.  And maybe she's afraid to admit it, given that you both agreed how important it was to have a parent at home.  Maybe find a way to let her know it's ok if she has changed her mind or if what she thought she wanted just doesn't suit.

monstermonster

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #71 on: February 14, 2017, 12:57:47 PM »
I was reading through this thread again and thought of the same thing. Maybe deep down she'd prefer to do something else rather than stay at home, but she thinks she has to stay home. Her mom did it. She believes in the value of being home. So maybe it's a must. But maybe it doesn't fit her. Maybe she can't even put her finger on it herself.

I doubt this is right, but maybe.
Suggested reading for her: I know how she does it, and  The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle Class Parents are still Going Broke

You should evaluate why you both think it is important to have a parent at home, and if she's unhappy, ways to get those things while she works (part or full time). Not everyone should be a stay-at-home mom. Which is why so many 1950's housewives were miserable. We're lucky we can make a choice now.

historienne

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #72 on: February 14, 2017, 01:08:05 PM »
I was reading through this thread again and thought of the same thing. Maybe deep down she'd prefer to do something else rather than stay at home, but she thinks she has to stay home. Her mom did it. She believes in the value of being home. So maybe it's a must. But maybe it doesn't fit her. Maybe she can't even put her finger on it herself.

I doubt this is right, but maybe.

If this is true, it's important - not just for you and her, but for your kids.  Kids will do fine with two working parents as long as they are in high quality childcare.  On the other hand, parental depression, or even long-term dissatisfaction, can have an impact on kids' emotional development.  Your kids will take you and your wife as their models - so model making thoughtful choices that actually fulfill you, not doing what society/family/whomever tells you that you "should" do.  If she really wants to stay at home, she should absolutely do it.  But it doesn't sound like she's thriving in this situation.

NoStacheOhio

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #73 on: February 14, 2017, 01:10:06 PM »
little_brown_dog - I just think that's what she saw growing up.
I don't know about depression and really can't attest to it.
I once told her I was concerned about Postpartum, but she laughed it off. 
It may seem pretty freakin luxurious, but presenting that to her, even in the most delicate way is enough to cause a real argument about how I care only about money and not about her situation. This happened when only our eldest was in daycare.

My wife went through some hardcore postpartum depression, and has always dealt with severe anxiety and garden-variety depression. She refused to acknowledge the postpartum, and there was literally nothing I could do about it (except make it worse by trying to help). Now she has guilt/anxiety over how she spent her first year of motherhood. I try not to criticize, but I also acknowledge the reality when she brings it up (for the record, we're in a much better place now).

Everything you're describing looks and feels like there's a psychological component here. She may be unaware, or simply unwilling to acknowledge it and seek help. Running a household with two kids in half day care plus a maid shouldn't be overwhelming for someone who's in a good place mentally.

RamonaQ

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #74 on: February 14, 2017, 01:14:36 PM »
What's sticking out to me is that your wife is upset that you guys are not saving a lot when she feels like she's making a lot of sacrifices.  That seems different than a lot of case studies where the spendier spouse isn't very concerned about savings.

Have you guys talked your goals, both long term and short term?  Like, what would she see as a "good" savings rate?  Could you start there and work backwards?

backyardfeast

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #75 on: February 14, 2017, 01:17:18 PM »
Quote
She said that I am looking long-term, but she has to make decisions daily on what to buy and what not to buy. On how if she buys 1 more thing for the kids she can't buy something else. So basically this daily struggle is wearing her out.

The best response to this kind of statement from your wife is generally, "is there something I can do to help with that?"

To me, it sounds like your wife is overwhelmed with the reality of her life, and that perhaps this wasn't a reality she was trained for.  This isn't a judgement, and I don't see it as something that needs to be "fixed."  It sounds like she is learning and growing, and that this is a hard phase of life for her.  It is.  That doesn't necessarily mean that it's a bad phase or a phase that you need to change.

What does matter is that it sounds like she is mentally struggling and worn out.  Telling her that you really see that she is worn out, and that you are worried about how she is coping and then asking her what she feels would help the situation might help get some perspective on whether she is venting, wants to work, is depressed, or whatever.  Tell her that you wonder if her talking to someone might help, or that she can come to you without any judgement anytime to talk about what sorts of things might help her to feel better. 

Also, have you told her that you have made a conscious decision and effort to not comment anymore on her spending?  She might not have realized this. :)  Let her know that you have observed that ti wasn't helping and might have been making things worse, and so you have stopped and are paying attention to all the good work she is doing.

It sounds like you are trying really hard and saying and doing lots of the right things.  It's awesome that you are concerned for her happiness and well-being.  It might also help to regularly acknowledge that what she is feeling is normal.  It's normal to feel overwhelmed and that it takes time for the savings to add up.  Another poster here made a fun picture chart where she coloured in a new box everytime they saved x $s--maybe somethng affirming like that might help?


2Birds1Stone

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #76 on: February 14, 2017, 01:21:09 PM »
If the kids are in daycare till noon, how about a part time or work from home job for her spending?

BeanCounter

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #77 on: February 14, 2017, 01:25:15 PM »
I was reading through this thread again and thought of the same thing. Maybe deep down she'd prefer to do something else rather than stay at home, but she thinks she has to stay home. Her mom did it. She believes in the value of being home. So maybe it's a must. But maybe it doesn't fit her. Maybe she can't even put her finger on it herself.

I doubt this is right, but maybe.

Having been there myself, I think it's totally possible that she feels this way and is trying really hard not to feel this way. Because you know society says we're not supposed to. We are supposed to be so grateful that we get to stay home with two little kids. But for some of us it is not a good fit. I can't explain exactly why this is. It's a lot of things- I enjoy the intellectual stimulation. I like using my education and earning a pay check. It's easy to feel valuable at work. I feel appreciated for my efforts. I like the routine of work. I like that I can control things. I generally know at work how my day will go, but when I am home with the kids who knows what will happen.
But a couple people very close to me had to sit down and tell me it was okay to want to be at work. And sometimes I still struggle with it because even though I know everyone is happier, I was taught that I'm supposed to be at home being the best damn homemaker I could be.

AMandM

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #78 on: February 14, 2017, 01:54:29 PM »
But as I said, we need to reach something that works, not only makes us feel good. It sounds from your suggestions that we simply need to talk about feelings and goals and that should be enough to set us in the right direction. It will bring us closer. However, that direction must include spending less/earning more. I'm worried that 'waiting' for these changes will put us in a place which is financially unfit, but maybe I'm exaggerating (although I don't think so).

I think you are exaggerating.  You are already, at possibly the highest-expense time in your life, saving 10% of what you make in a high-paying field at a high-paying company.  If you could save 50% a few years ago, it seems very likely that you will be able to increase your savings rate once you are done with childcare expenses. I understand what you feel, but your feelings seem to me as inaccurate as your wife's feelings seem to you.

So I agree with those who say that you do not have a money problem, you have a communications/feelings problem.  You're both feeling frustrated.  If I'm understanding you correctly, your wife's feeling is, "Aaaugh! This week I had to say no to shirts for the kids and a bath toy and a slide and a crockpot and sandals... and all that self-denial didn't translate into noticeable savings!  Why even bother?" Your feeling in response sounds like, "Yes!  And that's why we have to spend even less!" but I think it would be more productive to think, "Yeah, I agree, it stinks that savings only happen little by little."

The root of the problem is that your wife is hitting the wall of realizing that the way her parents spent money (which she sees as normal) can't be supported on your income.  I can empathize with your wife!  I grew up thinking "normal" was a house with real wood floors, solid oak doors, and plaster walls, and subscriptions to the symphony and the ballet.  It was very, very difficult for me to be reconciled to the fact that my husband and I could only afford gyprock walls and hollow-core doors, and that if we went to the theater or symphony it was only if $5 student rush tickets were available.  What was wrong with us?! So I'll offer some thoughts that helped me.

First was accepting that real estate was a whole different ball game for us than for my parents.  My parents were in their 40s when they bought their house, with help from my grandmother who came to live with them in her retirement, and it cost about a year of my father's salary.  Our house cost three times our income, and when we bought it our parents were still working and paying for their own houses.  When I understood that we simply had a lot less of our income available for other spending, it helped me feel less like there was something wrong with us and our situation.

Another was realizing that I was unconsciously comparing apples to oranges.  I was remembering my middle-school and high school years, when my father was near the top of his career, and comparing that lifestyle to my husband and me at a time when we were barely out of grad school. When I looked back at photos of my parents at the equivalent stage, early in their marriage, their life was actually a lot less luxurious; I remember being struck by their Christmas decorations, which my mother had made out of construction paper.

Perhaps there are similar or other explanations at play in your case.  Perhaps your in-laws were secretly digging themselves deeper into debt every year; perhaps you make way less than her father did; perhaps her parents were spending inherited capital.  Would it be feasible to explore some of these ideas with your wife and maybe your in-laws?

notactiveanymore

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #79 on: February 14, 2017, 01:55:52 PM »
Taking a bit of a departure from some of the other (good) commenters above. I think it might be useful for her to get more involved in the finances. I don't think this "I take x amount of budget for household and fun spending and you deal with all the other stuff" process is working. I agree with above posters who recommend Financial Peace University which can really help her get up to speed on where you are at financially and how to communicate about money. It also talks about marketing tricks which start from childhood to make you feel like you need more.

But most importantly, I think you guys need to dive in together and talk through your budget each month or each pay period. Right now it sounds like you wait until the end of the month and then find out how much you can put in savings. My recommendation is that your wife takes the pen, writes your takehome income for the next month at the top of a sheet of paper, lists your fixed monthly line items and expenses, lists your variable line items, and lists any sinking funds or other savings you're working on. Then you two work through each monthly variable expense and talk about how much you need in it that month. Figure out what birthday/wedding gifts you will need, think about if you need new shoes or a coat or other clothing item, figure out if you need extra in the gas budget that month because of a planned visit or if you want extra in groceries because you're hosting a super bowl party. Once you've filled in all your non-savings expenses, total it up and see what you have left. Then you can decide together how to allocate your savings.

I agree with an above poster who talked about laying out together a savings goal for the year. Maybe it's 7% into your 401k and 12k after-tax in a roth for both of you. Then each budget meeting you can try and figure out how to reach that goal.

I think your wife sounds frustrated because even if she does well with all the daily household purchasing decisions (which feel like a big sacrifice to her) then she is still only coming out with $50-100 in savings (hypothetically). But if she feels like she is participating in all of the decisions, then she can feel more ownership over the total amount saved, not just the part she is able to not spend out of her allotment. Also, when you make all your spending decisions at the budget meeting, it could take away the stress she's feeling with daily decisions. You budgeted for $20 in kid's clothes that month, so you can spend that amount without feeling guilty. Once it's gone, you just wait until the next budget to assess if it met the need.

I would look to have this conversation on a weekend, maybe when grandparents can watch the kiddos and give you guys some time alone. And I think you should come to it without any preconceived notions. Which is really hard from my experience. But you should try and frame it as a new approach to working together on finances because you feel like the communication hasn't been great and you want to approach it as a team to figure out a less stressful and more empowering way of talking about and spending money.

I don't think your wife will ever realize the financial impact of the half day daycare and regular maid visits until she is more involved in the full budget process. Maybe she will decide those things are still worth keeping, but maybe she'll see that cutting the maid could give her more money for some of the "wants" that she feels she is missing out on. Maybe she'll decide that $100/month in college funds for the kids is a higher priority for her than more toys. Maybe seeing your networth grow and tracking your accounts would help her see the long term impact of big expenses in the budget.

This is the action step I think you should be looking for. Do what the other posters said and listen more and have some "dream future" conversations. Then when you guys know how much you want to save or what you want your life to look like and can take that with you into each budget meeting.

rachellynn99

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #80 on: February 14, 2017, 02:13:36 PM »
She could be depressed like others have suggested. Is it possible she is spoiled and lazy? Having a maid and having your children in childcare while at the same time complaining about money seems really illogical to me.

I've been at home with kids that age, while my husband worked and you better beleive we didn't have a maid, or childcare, and sometimes not even money for gas to go to the library for free. So while mental illness could certainly play a part, I also wonder if she is lazy and/or spoiled? Not much you can do with that one...

And like others have pointed out, she actually isn't a SAHM, her children spend most of their waking day in childcare, then come home take a nap and play with you for a few hours before bed.
Could she work while they are in childcare?


mm1970

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #81 on: February 14, 2017, 02:46:45 PM »
As someone suffering from serious depression and anxiety, reading through this thread...

I'd ask if deep down, your wife is doing the SAHM thing because that is what she thinks she should be doing. I would also question whether she really wants to have lots of kids and be a full time mother... because she feels that this is what a woman is supposed to do, because this is what she sees from her own family experience, and it is what you and she decided on. And this is not something she should just blurt out "of course that's what I want!" because she can absolutely think that on the surface, but without some serious, meditative thought on the current state of her life, her unhappiness and why exactly she is unhappy (hint: it's not about money) then she's possibly lying to herself more than anything. We've all likely done this, and it's nothing to be ashamed about either.

The general feeling I get is that she is doing things that are expected of her, but what is missing for her is that she wants to be an independent, free woman, and her wants/needs aren't being met by being a SAH parent, and she is feeling trapped into a life she planned for (wife/mother), but isn't as fulfilling as she expected, so there is panic about the future, sadness/shame about being so disappointed in herself for not being happy with her decision, and a need to fix it somewhat by moving blame to others (or lack of material things) so she doesn't feel so responsible for her decision.

None of this is meant to sound like I'm judging her. It is absolutely not something she can help if she is feeling this way. She's actually trying to power through her feelings and hold the line, and I think that is very noble of her. The thing is, it likely is also making her feel even more guilty and sad trying to stay the course and scrambling to find outside things to fix the situation.


This was very good.  I am not a SAHM and never wanted to be.  But choosing to be a working parent is hard, even when you know it's right.

Because I am being judged.  Coworkers, neighbors, friends.  There are VERY few people who don't judge me at all.  Some of them don't even mean it.
"You mean you are still working?"
"Why can't you make a 10 am musical performance?"
"You worked from home on a holiday?"
I imagine if she was raised a certain way, it's even harder when she's being judged by family.  My mother used to judge my SIL.  She would say things like "Your brother is SO GOOD with those girls.  He does so much with them.  Takes care of them, gives baths, etc., comes and visits.  SIL does so little, always working, I never see her."  News flash mom: 1.  Brother works 32 hours a week and makes less than half what his wife does.  2.  Brother is off work by noon every day.  3.  Brother comes to visit  you because he likes a little help.  4.  SIL goes to HER MOM'S house when she is off.

My very own mother would say, ad nauseum, that "all she ever wanted was to be a stay at home mom".  She had a baby out of wedlock. Married my dad, a widower with kids.  It was not a good marriage.  He was not a nice guy.  Lived with the Catholic guilt of disappointing her parents (who wanted her to be a nun).  Had to live on a pretty tight budget being married to my dad and it was HARD.  Went back to work when I was 11, part time.

Always said she hated working.  Divorced my dad, went full time.  As much as she said she hated it (worked hard, boss was a tool, got paid less than half what he did), I had NEVER seen her MORE HAPPY than when we were living in that trailer and she didn't have any responsibilities to anybody but herself, and me ( and I was 16).  Even though she felt guilty that my brother stayed with dad.

Remarried.  Wonderful guy but she "didn't love him when she married him".  Quit work eventually.  Went into a deep deep depression, STILL INSISTING that all she wanted was to be a wife.  But here's the thing.  She was on a budget again.  An unnecessarily tight budget for the income, but she married a guy who was in his 40s and had always spent what he wanted.  So SHE had to figure out how to live to HIS budget.

Her desire to be "a wife and mother" warred with the difficulty of living on a budget when *she* wasn't bringing in any money. And thus felt that she didn't have as much say.  Now, with all of that and the Catholic guilt, it was a long spiral into depression and alcoholism, which killed her.  I honestly think a part time job, where she just clocked in and out and worked, would have been best.  She was offered one, but stressed about taking vacation.  It was very sad.

SKL-HOU

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #82 on: February 14, 2017, 05:58:12 PM »
I think you married a princess. She sold you the idea of her not working as it is important to have a SAHM. But in reality she just wants to not work and socialize like other moms or maybe her mom and sister. This is just the picture i get from what you wrote. If she can get away with it, she'd probably have the kids in full day care so she doesn't get so "exhausted".

LadyStache in Baja

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #83 on: February 14, 2017, 07:32:29 PM »

But most importantly, I think you guys need to dive in together and talk through your budget each month or each pay period. Right now it sounds like you wait until the end of the month and then find out how much you can put in savings. My recommendation is that your wife takes the pen, writes your takehome income for the next month at the top of a sheet of paper, lists your fixed monthly line items and expenses, lists your variable line items, and lists any sinking funds or other savings you're working on. Then you two work through each monthly variable expense and talk about how much you need in it that month. Figure out what birthday/wedding gifts you will need, think about if you need new shoes or a coat or other clothing item, figure out if you need extra in the gas budget that month because of a planned visit or if you want extra in groceries because you're hosting a super bowl party. Once you've filled in all your non-savings expenses, total it up and see what you have left. Then you can decide together how to allocate your savings.

I agree with an above poster who talked about laying out together a savings goal for the year. Maybe it's 7% into your 401k and 12k after-tax in a roth for both of you. Then each budget meeting you can try and figure out how to reach that goal.

I think your wife sounds frustrated because even if she does well with all the daily household purchasing decisions (which feel like a big sacrifice to her) then she is still only coming out with $50-100 in savings (hypothetically). But if she feels like she is participating in all of the decisions, then she can feel more ownership over the total amount saved, not just the part she is able to not spend out of her allotment. Also, when you make all your spending decisions at the budget meeting, it could take away the stress she's feeling with daily decisions. You budgeted for $20 in kid's clothes that month, so you can spend that amount without feeling guilty. Once it's gone, you just wait until the next budget to assess if it met the need.

I would look to have this conversation on a weekend, maybe when grandparents can watch the kiddos and give you guys some time alone. And I think you should come to it without any preconceived notions. Which is really hard from my experience. But you should try and frame it as a new approach to working together on finances because you feel like the communication hasn't been great and you want to approach it as a team to figure out a less stressful and more empowering way of talking about and spending money.

I don't think your wife will ever realize the financial impact of the half day daycare and regular maid visits until she is more involved in the full budget process. Maybe she will decide those things are still worth keeping, but maybe she'll see that cutting the maid could give her more money for some of the "wants" that she feels she is missing out on. Maybe she'll decide that $100/month in college funds for the kids is a higher priority for her than more toys. Maybe seeing your networth grow and tracking your accounts would help her see the long term impact of big expenses in the budget.

This is the action step I think you should be looking for. Do what the other posters said and listen more and have some "dream future" conversations. Then when you guys know how much you want to save or what you want your life to look like and can take that with you into each budget meeting.

This is a fabulous insight.  When she asks at the end of the month how much you've saved, I hope to god you're telling her all of the retirement contributions + the $100 or so she's saving from her allotment.

And if she is the one to work through the WHOLE budget, with pen in hand, she'll see that she's not really penny-pinching, she's choosing to spend her pennies on maids and daycare.


SimpleCycle

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #84 on: February 14, 2017, 08:06:08 PM »
What are your financial goals?  Did you set them together?  Does she want to live a low-consumption lifestyle to allow for early retirement, or does she want an average consumption oriented lifestyle?

To me, it takes a certain amount of dedication to WANT to swim upstream and prioritize savings over consumption, and it just doesn't sound like she's exactly on board.  It's not common here, but IRL I know a LOT of people who feel like they work hard and therefore should be able to spend freely.  She also may want to save more in theory, but not understand on an intuitive level the sacrifices involved it actually saving.

My wife and I both work, and have a small child and another on the way.  I manage our money and would prefer a more mustachian lifestyle, she is more in favor of a balance of savings and spending.  Her preferences are not the same as mine, but I respect them even though they mean that at least at the moment, serious early retirement is not in our future.

However, we do set goals together, and she is aware of what sacrifices she is willing to make for the financial bottom line (old car, smaller house, less eating out) and which ones she is not (vacations, cleaning lady).  We didn't go into marriage with FIRE as a goal, and I don't feel like I can switch our family agenda to extreme mustachianism without having her on board too, so we compromise.

One of the ways we compromise is that I am in charge of setting spending in areas it is important to me to cut back on.  So I buy all the toys and clothes because I am willing to figure out ways to economize and she'd prefer to just buy whatever.  But she also doesn't get ENJOYMENT out of buying clothes and toys for our daughter, which might be the case for your wife.  We bought all used baby gear, but I was the one taking the bus around the city picking up baby bathtubs, not her.

I don't know, I'm just not getting the same vibe as many people seem to be reading into your posts.  Sure, a SAHM with half day childcare and a housekeeper is ridiculously spendy by mustachian standards, and not having those things in the budget would help your bottom line much more than some of the smaller budget categories.  However, it does sound like she is trying in many areas, just not very effectively.

AZDude

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #85 on: February 14, 2017, 08:07:49 PM »
The idea that you have a stay at home spouse, pay for daycare, *and* have a maid(when you live in an apartment?) seems crazy to me. I told my wife when we had our daughter that I would support whatever decision she made(go back to work/stay at home), but it was implied, at least in my mind, that staying home meant taking care of the child and doing other traditional "homemaker" duties. If she would have suggested she stay home while the kid goes to daycare I would have been skeptical. If she added a maid to the mix I would have scoffed at the idea, even if we could afford it.

What is she doing all day if she is not watching the kids and not cleaning the house? I get what other people are saying about making a budget and keeping you both involved, but sometimes one person is being ridiculous and it needs to be stated that such behavior is not acceptable. Having one spouse work all day while the other lounges around is not an equal division of labor, regardless of the gender of each role.

chesebert

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #86 on: February 14, 2017, 08:20:09 PM »
Where is the case study?

OP, do you live in a HCOL city? How much did you pay for your 4-bedroom apartment? What is your annual gross with bonus?

If you make $1million+, 10% is still 100k+, which is nothing to sneeze at. If your wife was raise in a very wealthy family, 100k may be chump change to her.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2017, 08:33:36 PM by chesebert »

Villanelle

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #87 on: February 14, 2017, 08:37:38 PM »
I'm sorry, but I am amazed at how his wife is a SAHM, has daily childcare and a maid and people here are defending her when she feels like she has nothing? If she wants to be a SAHM and have her husband be the sole provider that is fine, but then do it. There is absolute value in the work of a SAHM equal to that of a spouse working full time to provide financially for the family, but not if the SAHM is not doing the work that comes with being a SAHM. In my opinion it's either childcare and a maid and get back to work or be an actual SAHM. How does he need to more considerate of her feelings when she doesn't seem to give his feelings/stress all that much though given that she has to be a SAHM, but also has to have childcare and a maid?

There is no way I would be accepting this kind of arrangement myself
and I would insist we be talking to someone about this.

These days with modern technology taking care of the house and children is far easier than it has ever been and your wife who doesn't work can't manage what women for ages have managed?

My mother managed raising 4 kids while working either part time or full time at any point.

I wouldn't be happy with it either, but it sounds like he knew this about her upfront.  She's acting as the person she's always been--someone who likes and expects luxury.  And suddenly he's unhappy with that, and wants her to change.  (Admittedly, it sounds like she may be doing the same--wishing the frugal man she married could suddenly be less frugal.) 

OP, you say that she feels you think she's not doing enough, but that those feelings are mostly in her head.  There seems to be some major cognitive dissonance there, because you quite clearly do think it's not good enough. That's what you've said over and over in this thread-- the choices she makes to spend result in a situation that isn't good enough.  That's pretty much the same as saying she's not doing good enough, isn't it?  Perhaps you've stopped actively mentioning it, but it's still a major concern for you (which is why you started this thread), and I think you're fooling yourself if you think that she isn't still very aware of that.

Also, your frustration with the savings probably exacerbates her sense that what she does isn't good enough.  Celebrating the $xxx that went in to savings may seem counter when in your mind it's not enough.  But that may be backfiring, because she feels like she's sacrificing and trying, and it leads to *only* $xxx.  Maybe acknowledging that thanks to the sacrifices you are both making, you have found $xxx in your budget, and that's wonderful!  (But you need to truly believe that.)  And then later point out that with a few more changes, you could be up to $yyy, and that would be so incredible, and you believe the two of you can do it together because you already accomplished the $xxx budget, which was great, and it motivated you to make Z change, which will add another $AA to the budget!

Again, I don't think you are in the wrong when it comes to what you want and the choices you wish you could make as a family.  But I don't think she's in the wrong either, exactly.  You've both compromised, but you each married a person from whom you are miles apart when it comes to finances.  You both feel like you've given a ton, to the point you are each uncomfortable with how far you've pushed yourself.  And yet you are still nowhere near meeting in the middle.

If there's truly nothing you can give up and no way for you to make more money *then you guys are at an impasse.  She probably feels just as frustrated and helpless as you do.  It's a sucky situation because two people are in a relationship where there's a fundamental incompatibility.

*Did you see my question about tithing?  If you do tithe, who is the primary driver behind that?  Is that *your* sacred cow, along with the larger house? (And why is your larger house--and tithe if that applies-- an okay extravagance, but her maid and daycare aren't? Do you understand how that probably looks from her perspective?)  Can you truly not get a higher paying job, or would it just mean longer hours, more stress, a longer commute, etc.? 

ejh

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #88 on: February 15, 2017, 01:45:19 AM »
All of these opinions have gotten me more confused.
- Does she want to stay home, or not? She always did and I always thought it normal.

- Do we need preschool? I thought yes for both my wife and the kids. They were each at home with her until over 1.5 years. Understand that the kids are exactly 1 year apart. When my eldest was 1, my wife gave birth to the second. I don't see how this doesn't sound tough to some people here. Just having 2 children who demand constant attention and care is hard. Add to that the fact that they are very little, cannot do stuff on their own, are not the same age (so caring is different for each).

- Do we need a weekly maid? No, but currently this is a necessity for her, and 99% of necessities will always be subjective.

- Is she depressed or similar? I don't know, and how can I get her to talk to a professional?

- Is she spoiled or lazy? Definitely not lazy and I wouldn't say spoiled. But I would say it's hard for her to get through tough stuff (tough being subjective). She definitely grew up with a lot and with a shopping household. Shoppers that love new stuff and have more than I ever think they used. Since we're together, she may be held back by a budget/a conscious/me.

We also have other issues, just like any couple so this just piles on.
I suggested we get together tonight over a bottle of wine to talk.
I will try to just listen. It will be difficult for me, but I will try. I really have a whole lot of things to say on this matter and others.
I am constantly keeping things in because I don't want an argument.

« Last Edit: February 15, 2017, 01:47:14 AM by ejh »

Bee21

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #89 on: February 15, 2017, 03:02:36 AM »
Eh, i have 0 sympathy for poor sahm with a maid and childcare. You emphasize that she works hard, but please. What is her problem exactly? Is she complaining about your level of income and a lifestyle your income provides? Is this in the background perhaps? That it is not enough? Does she want more? What does she want? Where does she want to be in ten years?

I agree with the previous posters, have a discussion about dreams. It sounds like you have a loving relationship and you support each other. What do you want? How can you get there?

Just out of curiosity, where do you guys live?

ejh

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #90 on: February 15, 2017, 03:25:30 AM »
Bee21 - As I wrote in the first post of my thread, I am truly in conflict regarding this.
On one hand I cannot sympathize, on the other I just want her to be happy.
 
She is not complaining about the level of income.
She used to complain about the level of savings and how I was prioritizing saving over her needs.
She would say that she is paying the price for my required savings amount.
I disagree with that, but as others have said, I try to make this about what is right for us, not what is right and wrong. So I try to compromise.

If I can sum it up in one line - I think she is frustrated that with all she is cutting back on, there is still 'nothing' left.
I don't see eye to eye with her on this because:
1. In my eyes we have it all and much much more
2. I think I just value savings much more than her. Saving for me = spending on what I want. Saving for her = cutting back.

MayDay

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #91 on: February 15, 2017, 04:24:46 AM »
Yes when the kids were tiny and o e year apart she had a rough go.

Now they are apparently preschool aged (3 and 4? 4 and 5?). No you can't leave them home.for an hour, but it is significantly easier than two babies.

If you had said "my 3 and 4 year old.go to preschool 3 days and it costs 200$/month" no one would say boo. But if you phrase it as them being in childcare with a SAHM, people think it's weird.

You also said you have a maid, which in the US implies a more full e position. Not a once a week housekeeper.

This is why a full case study would be helpful. 

SKL-HOU

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #92 on: February 15, 2017, 04:47:35 AM »

If I can sum it up in one line - I think she is frustrated that with all she is cutting back on, there is still 'nothing' left.
I don't see eye to eye with her on this because:
1. In my eyes we have it all and much much more
2. I think I just value savings much more than her. Saving for me = spending on what I want. Saving for her = cutting back.

You keep mentioning these things she keeps cutting back on but there is still daycare and maid. So what exactly is she cutting back on? Not getting her hair and nails done weekly, not shopping freely, what is it? If she feels she is sacrificing so much even though the daycare and maid are still in there and still complaining, she really is complaining that you dont make enough, just not in those words. She needs a reality check.

ejh

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #93 on: February 15, 2017, 05:16:06 AM »
MayDay - thanks for clarifying I will post a case study, however that will take me more time to do.
For now:
The kids are aged 2.8 & 1.8.
They are in a preschool/daycare/kindergarten 6 days a week until 12:30-1:00pm. This costs ~$1000 a month for both. This is cheaper than pretty much any other options (besides not going). Believe me we checked other places the minimum cost around here is $1300. They do not have an option to pay less for less days.
We have a housekeeper coming in once a week. She does not cook, launder or take care of the kids. She costs ~$250 a month.

Suze456

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #94 on: February 15, 2017, 05:29:09 AM »
I found it very stressful when my kids were that age.  In truth, I entirely stopped focusing on saving money during that time because the rest of it was stressful enough on it's own.  When the kids were a little older we began focusing on saving again.  I would recommend letting it go for a year or two.  Reducing your savings rate to <10% isn't an okay long-term strategy, but for a year or two, I say it's worth focusing more on sanity and less on saving.

Wss. 2 toddlers are intense. Shopping for her may = relaxation. Not supporting it, just trying to see it from her point of view. Sometimes just empathising is what's needed...it can be mind numbing spending all day trying to get jobs done while minding toddlers who just undo all your hard work in  the blink of an eye. The good news is it passes. Go into survival mode for the next year or so, it will get better. You will both get through this!

SKL-HOU

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #95 on: February 15, 2017, 05:33:51 AM »
They come home at around 1. Realistically kids at that age will take a nap for a couple of hours, do theyvtake the naps at daycare or when they come home? If it is when they come home, she is really only dealing with 2 toddlers for a few hours before you are home and take over. Is that really considered being a SAHM? It doesn't sound like she really wants to be a SAHM.

I am not from Israel but from a country from that side of the world. I know the type of family your wife was raised in (from your posts). She is accustomed to a certain life style and that exceeds your income. She didn't marry into money which is what she probably should have done because that is what she is used to. she is not right or wrong for wanting daycare and maid even though she is not working, it is what she has seen and what she sees as normal. This is an income problem that may be pvercome through communication but i doubt it. It is what it is.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2017, 05:42:34 AM by SKL-HOU »

Iplawyer

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #96 on: February 15, 2017, 05:44:58 AM »
I'm sorry - but I think your wife is just outright and downright spoiled and lazy.  She has childcare half the day for 6 days a week. What is she doing during that time?  That is plenty of time to exercise, grocery shop, clean the house, etc.  Then laundry can be done while watching kids in the afternoon.  MOST people in this country do not have a SAHM with daycare and a cleaning lady.  Does your wife have some kind of physical or mental impairment that keeps her from doing what most women with 2 children do day in and day out? Billions of women do it and have done it.  In short - what the heck is wrong with her?


I think her complaint is with your income.  You married a spoiled rotten princess and she wants more, more, more.  You are working long hours and then coming home and doing chores and taking care of the children.  I don't know how you deal with a spoiled rotten brat except to gradually over time expect them to be more self-reliant. 

Tell her if she wants more spending money to work while the kids are in daycare.  That should solve the problem.  She is part of two people that chose to have kids.  That is a lot of work and responsibility that she doesn't seem to want after the fact.  I wouldn't have another child with her under any circumstances.

I am a woman that loves her husband very, very much.  I would never put this type of pressure on him for any reason under any circumstances.  I feel for you.  I also think that there is no way you can do enough to satisfy her. 

Are you in the US?  I live in a very affluent area and I worked when the kids were little.  None of the SAHMs around us had daycare for their babies but almost all had a once a week cleaning person.  I think the combination of both is just unreal.  And those around us had between 3-6 kids. 

Finally - I fail to see where she is "cutting back" on anything.  Really.  Suggest cutting back on the daycare and let her have all of that money to spend.  Maybe that will help.  Otherwise - I really don't have anything in mind except to get a divorce attorney on retainer.

Case

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #97 on: February 15, 2017, 06:20:42 AM »
Your wife sounds like a spoiled brat.
She seems to live in a fantasy world where money should magically appear out of nowhere; unfortunately it doesn't, and therefore you have to balance you're budget.

She isn't pulling her fair share of the weight either.  If she is a SAHM, then there should be no daycare or maid; that's why she's a SAHM!!!

The only things you can do that will actually work are things that show your wife that she fundamentally understand how money works, and convince her of what reality is.  This could be a series of discussions with her about how to balance checkbooks; it could be an intervention with friends and family; it could be a short series of visits with a counselor (just a few, because it is expensive).  But what you need is for her to be onboard with you in terms of how finances work.  If she retains her incorrect viewpoint that she 'deserves' to spend money which you don't have, then things will only get worse.

You could also try directing her to this thread, but she may go postal when she sees talking about how much of a spoiled brat she is

Hi All,

I really could use some help here.
My wife is unhappy about our finances, but I just can't relate to her feelings. I hate to see her unhappy, but don't agree with why she's feeling that way.

Some background.
We have 2 kids (ages 2 & 3).
1 income from my job.
Since the kids were born we both naturally decided she stay at home.
My income covers all our expenses - mortgage, utilities, daycare for both kids (until noon), food, etc.
Our mortgage, utilities and daycare take up more than 50% of our income.
Not much is left to save from our take home pay (at most 10% now, compared to a few years ago at about 50% if I recall).
I do have savings through work.

She's trying really hard to cut down on spending. We decided on a weekly amount that should cover groceries, maid, clothing, baby care, and other stuff that's under her 'responsibility'.
At the end of the month, she wants to see results from all her hard work (i.e. more money saved), but that doesn't really happen.
When I look at the numbers, I see how small purchases add up, how we buy stuff we don't need and how we can easily cut out spending. I'm even willing to forgo some luxuries (e.g. the maid) in order to save more.
But from her point of view she is constantly giving up on stuff she needs. She feels stretched way past then what she can handle and there is absolutely no way to give up on the maid.

She's upset that if she buys one thing at the pharmacy or one new shirt, then she can't buy anything else that week or month.
She's upset that she can't afford things for herself.
Some of what she wants is, in my opinion, a total waste of money. In her opinion they are necessities.
In my opinion we have way to much clothing and toys for the kids. To her, we are lucky the grandparents are buying more.

She sees other mothers with new clothes, jewelry, makeup, etc. and gets upset because this winter her mom bought her new clothes instead of her buying herself. It makes no sense to me. Half those mother work, the other half also get stuff from their parents. Who knows what kind of debt they're in. She has jewelry, but doesn't feel like wearing it all the time.

She realizes she has more than others, but still gets upset that all her cutting back doesn't have any immediate results and this makes it hard to see long term results like retiring comfortably. Heck, I'm more worried about us not saving enough at all.

I don't get it and I don't think rationalizing will help with her feelings. And if I don't sympathize, I come off too strict and not understanding.

So to return to my question, I hate to see her unhappy, but don't agree with why she's feeling that way.
What can I possibly do?

2Birds1Stone

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #98 on: February 15, 2017, 07:01:53 AM »
I was trying to avoid being brash, but these guys are on the $ ^

Dee18

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Re: Need Advice Please: Spouse is unhappy with our finances
« Reply #99 on: February 15, 2017, 07:06:18 AM »
The fact that she wanted a smaller house suggests that she may not share your goal of having lots of kids.  Are you sure you really know what she wants?  And if she only wants two kids, they will be in school soon so you can think of this as a relatively brief stage in your lives.