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Old 02-15-2008, 04:05 AM   #21
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Okay, I normally think that a husband/wife team should come to their own agreement on who contributes what to their marriage. But when I read this:

The Hard Stuff: "He Needs a Real Job!" - Â* MSN Lifestyle - Relationships

it makes me re-evaluate some of the threads here...
Heck, I guess all of us would like a free ride... But most tend to pitch in and help. I have come to the conclusion that some people are simply shameless users. They are selfish and could care less about anyone else around them.

IMO a marriage is also a partnership of help. If the guy wants to work part-time and become the house-man (keep the house spotless, etc). And his DW can support the household financially... that would seem to be a reasonable arrangement if she were in agreement. But this guy sounds a bit like a slacker/avoider. If he is taking advantage of the relationship. She should carefully consider if he has any other redeeming qualities. Because if he doesn't she should dump the leech ASAP and move on.
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Old 02-15-2008, 04:05 AM   #22
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I have a friend that has been "downsized" several times in his career. So, he gets downsized in his 50's again but is lucky enough to land another job. So he writes me for advice/a shoulder to vent to. He now has the financial attributes of someone in their 30's as though he was just starting a career and building assets. So with new mortgage and new 401K he is at scratch and facing working forever.

His wife through all of this has demanded the life of Reiley. Reasonable, I suppose, when the children were young. But they have been out of the house for quite awhile now. She won't get a job to help out because she claims her contributions will come from her inheritance. He doesn't really know exactly what this inheritance amounts to or if he can bank on it.

My advice to him remained the same - send her to work even if she is just earning low wage and put the money she earns in retirement savings. His choices are really quite obvious -

Make her prove her inheritance claim and ask for a income flow from it when needed if her parents are healthy
Plan to work until found dead at his desk
Send her to work to suplement savings
Get rid of her and the new mortgage (I know her and can't see her agreeing to a lower lifestyle.)
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Old 02-15-2008, 10:56 AM   #23
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His wife through all of this has demanded the life of Reiley. Reasonable, I suppose, when the children were young. But they have been out of the house for quite awhile now. She won't get a job to help out because she claims her contributions will come from her inheritance. He doesn't really know exactly what this inheritance amounts to or if he can bank on it.
I am not married yet... and the above situation is one of my biggest fears. It is not how much or how little my potential wife could contribute or not.... just the attitude that goes with it. I have seen way too many relationships where the husband (sometimes the wife) is viewed as the "money maker" while the other person considers themselves on permanent vacation. If your spouse actually cares about you, and you told them you were unhappy, or you suddenly lost your job, the first reaction had better be...."What can I do to help this situation?" Rather then the attitude of "Sucks to be you... let me know when you figure something out.", and then go back to their nap....
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Old 02-15-2008, 01:11 PM   #24
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While admitting I am far from perfect, and far from a perfect husband as well, this is funny. I needed a good laugh.

When I met my wife, she earned less than half of what I made (I am an engineer, she is in HR). I was salaried with benefits and she temped and did not have healthcare.

We applied for a condo together (before marriage) and her credit prevented us from getting it. We removed her name, and her credit, and her income, and got it fine.

Since then the 3 mortgages we closed had both names and her much repaired credit score included.

I make 1/3 more than she does now, but she is clearly catching up to me and will pass me sooner or later. Since the day we combined checkbooks we never once said "this is my bill, this is your bill". We do divide paychecks into 5 different accounts (my check goes to 3 accounts, hers goes to two others and a portion of her check and mine are combined in one of them). The 5 accounts all have both names on them, we just divide them up because my original bank did not allow free internet transactions, so we opened a new checking and savings account at another bank
which did, then the patriot act restricted what could be paid from a savings account, so the 5th account was created.

I feel for the engineer- many times what we think is cool when we choose a field at age 18 is not what we thought it was when we start working in it at age 23. Maybe he enjoys teaching, and she needs to back off.
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Old 02-15-2008, 01:15 PM   #25
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I am not married yet... and the above situation is one of my biggest fears. It is not how much or how little my potential wife could contribute or not.... just the attitude that goes with it. I have seen way too many relationships where the husband (sometimes the wife) is viewed as the "money maker" while the other person considers themselves on permanent vacation. If your spouse actually cares about you, and you told them you were unhappy, or you suddenly lost your job, the first reaction had better be...."What can I do to help this situation?" Rather then the attitude of "Sucks to be you... let me know when you figure something out.", and then go back to their nap....
I suspect the person asking the question is a flake to begin with. Do not judge all marriages on this one article. My wife had a less than stellar financial record when we met, and even when she moved into my apartment. A person will not learn the money things overnight, but in the last 9 years my wife has transformed her ways considerably.

Be willing to talk about money and things are not so bad (most of our money problems have come when a needed conversation got delayed or one of us was avoiding it). Not huge problems (our bill paying process is much cleaner than that, so the problems we have are more planning issues than execution issues).

They guy in the article is not taking a nap, he just doesn't want to get certified to teach. That is not a bad thing.
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Old 02-15-2008, 03:29 PM   #26
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I was always the larger bread winner in the family. I was more advanced in my career, having gotten my degree at a much earlier age than my husband who entered the military to pay for college, and then took longer to get his degree while he was working. I had more aptitude for management, and thus was on a "fast-track" career path. This was just never an issue for us. In fact, for several years before retirement, my husband went into his own consulting business which was more a part time thing, bringing in less money than before, but he worked out of the house which meant he took care of everything to do with the household. This was WONDERFUL, and significantly reduced my stress level which kept ratcheting higher at work as I my promotions continued. And I made enough that he didn't need to work, but it was also great putting what he did earn into our savings.

We had no kids so we didn't ever have who stays home to raise the kids issues.

I cringe when I see ads or attitudes that strongly imply a man's only role in family life is that of the perpetual breadwinner. That's just awful! I feel really bad for any man who's spouse or children see him that way.

But in the case of the article, it does seem that the husband is seriously neglecting his responsibilities - that he is contributing very little at all to taking care of his family. Whether or not he is required to contribute "half" financially (a red herring IMO), they have children they are raising, she'd like to help the children with college, and the family is barely scraping by on her teacher's salary. My god, it's been 5 years! It does kind of sound like the husband has decided to RE and not bother with worrying about the rest of his family. I mean - screaming and sobbing when she tries to discuss permanent work? Why should she have to be the only one working full time? Sounds like he has regressed into being a kid himself.

He probably has a bad depression from being laid off and not finding the same kind of work. But in the mean time, she's left to cope alone?

By the way the advice was totally useless. The wife can lay out the expenses and what they should be saving, etc., but it doesn't sound like the husband is motivated to deal with it at all.

Audrey
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Old 02-15-2008, 04:35 PM   #27
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But in the case of the article, it does seem that the husband is seriously neglecting his responsibilities - that he is contributing very little at all to taking care of his family. Whether or not he is required to contribute "half" financially (a red herring IMO), they have children they are raising, she'd like to help the children with college, and the family is barely scraping by on her teacher's salary. My god, it's been 5 years! It does kind of sound like the husband has decided to RE and not bother with worrying about the rest of his family. I mean - screaming and sobbing when she tries to discuss permanent work? Why should she have to be the only one working full time? Sounds like he has regressed into being a kid himself.
You are right, he certainly does not seem to be team player. One of the hazards of marriage. If someone wants to go AWOL, what's to stop them?

If you have assets or a job, they have pretty effective leverage. Lot of luck involved in marraige, as in most things.

Ha
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Old 02-16-2008, 09:35 PM   #28
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I was a little surprised at how hard Karen-the-advise-columnist pushed that hubby must contribute 50% of their financial needs. Would she be so firm on this if it was the wife who was under employed? I'm thinking not.....
Indeed. In fact, the double standards are illustrated in the recent thread "Alternatives to Divorce."

In this case, a husband posts that he is upset because his wife refuses to work. The overwhelming majority of responders are not supportive of the husband. Various people call him "childish," "unfair to his wife," "suggest his wife should dump him and seek 50% of his income," etc. One person even suggests that the husband is a perpetrator of domestic violence.

It is a classic double standard. When a wife is upset because her husband doesn't want to work, the wife is encouraged to divorce her "lazy bum of a husband." When a husband is upset because his wife doesn't want to work, the husband is considered an abusive jerk.
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Old 02-17-2008, 12:43 AM   #29
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It is a classic double standard. When a wife is upset because her husband doesn't want to work, the wife is encouraged to divorce her "lazy bum of a husband." When a husband is upset because his wife doesn't want to work, the husband is considered an abusive jerk.
Sure how I see it. In America, a man with good job prospects has to be real gambler to want to marry.

I understand young men- they want to have families, want to do the grown up thing. But to repeat like so many do is beyond me.

Ha
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Old 02-17-2008, 02:18 AM   #30
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An interesting thought; since the columnist says that each person in the marriage is responsible for half the budget, if the guy does manage to find engineering work again that pays more than her teaching salary, then she suddenly becomes an under-contributing bum, right? Which she must also have been when her husband had an engineering job, right?

I was remembering the Alternatives To Divorce and Leonardo's thread when thinking about double standards. Also, if a columnist wrote

Quote:
Originally Posted by hypothetical columnist
Sometimes, women are a little like cows - you quit herding them, and they figure this means it's time to stop working and let themselves go.
there'd be about a two-nanosecond delay before hordes of screaming criticism descended.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Award-winning writer Karen Karbo
Sometimes men are a little like horses — you quit kicking them on, and they figure this means it's time to stop and graze.
hmmm, no vomit emoticon...

Now, I'm not particularly defending this guy - he may well be a lazy bum. There's not enough info given. What I am saying is that the columnists advice sucks is unhelpful.
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Old 02-17-2008, 03:42 AM   #31
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I have a friend that has been "downsized" several times in his career...
The old "I'll inherit it story". That is merely a response to counter his argument that you need to earn so I can retire. He wants her to work, she doesn't want to work. Of course, if she has never worked, she may be a little fearful of getting out there. She might actually like working part-time (provided the job was not stressful).


This kinda sounds like another story of one person being selfish. It seems that in any relationship, the rules of the game are set early. Once the pattern and expectations are set, it is difficult to change the game that has been established.
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Old 02-17-2008, 02:01 PM   #32
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Sure how I see it. In America, a man with good job prospects has to be a real sex-crazed idiot gambler to want to marry.
There, fixed it for ya.

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Old 02-17-2008, 05:53 PM   #33
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Oddly, that objective is rarely met by that strategy.
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Old 02-17-2008, 07:47 PM   #34
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Touché.

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Old 02-18-2008, 01:27 AM   #35
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This is a valid concern, but one that be mitigated dramatically by making sure that you look for qualities that make a good wife when you date, and not just qualities that make a good sex partner.

Think -- honesty, integrity, intelligence, financial sense, sense of humor

Financial compatibility was very high on the list of qualities that drew me to my wife. A woman that lives relatively frugally and LBHM while you date is unlikely to change that after marriage.

A woman who is drawn to a fancy car and a rolex is unlikely to be a good financial partner.

I think that most men who get into a lopsided marriage do so because they didn't think about any qualities besides how their prospective wife looked in a thong.

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I am not married yet... and the above situation is one of my biggest fears. It is not how much or how little my potential wife could contribute or not.... just the attitude that goes with it. I have seen way too many relationships where the husband (sometimes the wife) is viewed as the "money maker" while the other person considers themselves on permanent vacation. If your spouse actually cares about you, and you told them you were unhappy, or you suddenly lost your job, the first reaction had better be...."What can I do to help this situation?" Rather then the attitude of "Sucks to be you... let me know when you figure something out.", and then go back to their nap....
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Old 02-18-2008, 06:12 AM   #36
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In my opinion it is challenging to impossible to work out something as important to basic survival as one's financial attitudes and outlook, when two people must agree (both of whom are slowly changing, as we all do through life, and probably in opposite directions). I operate on the assumption that people usually aren't going to change in the ways you might like them to change.

The old way of doing things, where the man decided everything and the woman just nodded and didn't worry her pretty little head about these things, worked because her opinions were suppressed and ignored. No agreement was necessary. But in the 21st century, many women like me are not willing to live that way.

Being married is one of life's grand experiences that I would not deny anyone. But the other side of the coin is that working out honest agreements on financial matters over a lifetime is hugely difficult, and a tremendous accomplishment. I have the greatest respect for any couple who can pull this off.

As for me, well, I have no desire to re-marry at this point in life. BTDT
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Old 02-18-2008, 09:57 AM   #37
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Being married is one of life's grand experiences that I would not deny anyone. But the other side of the coin is that working out honest agreements on financial matters over a lifetime is hugely difficult, and a tremendous accomplishment. I have the greatest respect for any couple who can pull this off.
And financial matters are just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many issues that need adjusting.

I think youth brings the power and willingness to do a lot of 24-7 compromising.

At this point on my life, the attractions of matehood are not enough to make up for the psychic and physical effort involved.

Ha
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Old 02-18-2008, 12:44 PM   #38
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And financial matters are just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many issues that need adjusting.

I think youth brings the power and willingness to do a lot of 24-7 compromising.

At this point on my life, the attractions of matehood are not enough to make up for the psychic and physical effort involved.

Ha
For me, the negatives of stress caused by constantly having to monitor everything I say and do lest I cause offense, (and by having to try to read someone's mind so I can know in advance what will cause offense in a constantly changing context) far outweighs any positives I can think of.


The Fountain of Youth is dull as paint;
Methuselah is my patron saint.
I've never been so comfortable before.
Oh, I'm so glad that I'm not young anymore.


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Old 02-18-2008, 12:51 PM   #39
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For me, the negatives of stress caused by constantly having to monitor everything I say and do lest I cause offense, (and by having to try to read someone's mind so I can know in advance what will cause offense in a constantly changing context) far outweighs any positives I can think of.
Good way to put it. I remember saying to my wife once( more or less)- "If I were your therapist and you were paying me $150/hour to carefully monitor everything I say, every look that goes over my face, I might try to do it. But I'm not a therapist, and you are not paying me. So I can't."

HA
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Old 02-18-2008, 02:19 PM   #40
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Well, she was sort of paying you by deferring the cost of divorce.
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