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Old 01-09-2013, 05:53 PM   #21
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How about separate bank accounts - his, hers, ours - with an agreed upon amount deposited in the individual accounts each month? You could even make her amount a little higher to soften the blow?

And I would not wait to start tracking the spending at the detailed level - get in the habit now. Both our credit card bank and checking/savings bank provide a basic categorization of expenses on credit/debit cards - you can download into a spreadsheet and sort on that and go from there. I find it about 70% accurate (but part of that is my problem - I buy most of our wine at the grocery store so that inflates "groceries" for example). But it only takes a few minutes a month to make the corrections.
My parents did the his/hers/ours thing. My dad didn't like what my mom spent money on, my mom didn't like what my dad spent money on - this took away the fights. (they both worked and had their own income.)

Perhaps weight how much goes into common bills (housing/groceries) so that it matches the income ratios.

I thought this was normal till I started seeing friends blending their accounts. It took me 2 years of marriage before I was comfortable with joint accounts... largely because I saw friction in married people with different spending attitudes... and wanted to avoid that friction.

I also agree that it's never too early to start tracking spending.
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Old 01-09-2013, 06:02 PM   #22
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I am a spender at heart. I see posts of people who say they can't think of anything else to spend money on and that just....bemuses me. I don't find it hard to find ways to spend money at all.

Back in the day I also had a hard time with not spending more money than I had. For a long time I tracked spending using Microsoft Money but that didn't really help. It's budgeting - like most budgeting programs - was weak and really didn't help me to see that I had to make choices. The pie was only so big and if I took 3/4 of the pie from this side....I couldn't take 1/2 the pie from the other.

One thing that did help was I found a program called You need a budget.

Personal Budget Software - Finance Software for Windows & Mac

It really helped me with budgeting.

One thing that has helped me a lot is that I created a spending category for me and one for DH. We allocate a generous amount to it. That is the category that I have to buy my computer and my iPad and electronic toys from. I also have to buy books (I buy lots of books) from it and anything that is kind of a fun item for me or something that exceeds the budget category for something else (for example, DH overdrew his clothing budget for 2012 in December and took the extra $135 from his spending money).

I like buying high end computers so I like to "save" my spending category money so I can buy something like the $3k notebook that I took delivery of today. I'm happy with it and DH is fine with it because he doesn't care how I spend my spending money and vice versa. And it doesn't blow the budget because I stayed within my spending money budget.

This lessens any possibly of conflict. I don't ask DH to give me his spending money as that would be unfair to him. Neither one of us gets irritated at what the other spends since we stay within our spending budget and what you spend it on really doesn't matter.

The other way of budgeting is to take savings off the top and make that basically inviolate and then it doesn't really matter how you spend what is left so long as you don't go into debt. Some people have a lot of trouble not spending money that is sitting right there in your regular bank, but if you take the same money and automatically save it or invest it somewhere else then it is out of sight, out of mind and it stays saved....
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Old 01-09-2013, 06:09 PM   #23
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If she spends without regard to budget or income, she will continue to do so after she stops working and even if all the income is in an annuity, racking up CC debt. This problem is behaviour, not budget.

If you don't address it with her it will never be resolved.
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Old 01-10-2013, 03:23 AM   #24
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Frankly I am surprised about those comments advising a divorce, unless they are meant as jokes.

My preferred option is bbbamI's, below.

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If you don't already, I suggest keeping a detailed spreadsheet of expenses.

Then, plug your numbers into a financial calculator such as FireCalc and see what your results may be for your future retirement needs.

If she sees in 'black and white', this may enable her to understand the situation more clearly. ...that it is very possible to run out of money. If she wants to spend more money, then she'll have to continue to work to buy her toys.
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Old 01-10-2013, 06:18 AM   #25
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I hate to say it, but that would be a band aid on a bigger problem. You need to confront the issue, which won't be pretty. But then getting a divorce as you near retirement age isn't either. BTDT
+1!! By covering your wife's overspending you are facilitating it. How you stop that now is a big and hard question. But you have to.

Don't focus on trying to change her behavior. Work on changing yours.

Cancel the joint credit cards and position her to have to apply for her own. Set up separate bank accounts. Stick your excess money in anything (CDs or Treasuries, even). They have to be a better investment than covering your wife's overspending, because your return on that is a big fat ZERO.

And -- not wanting to be negative, but -- who says that she won't divorce you one day for one reason or another (maybe even that there's not enough money anymore.

I hope I have not upset you, but there it is.

Alex in Virginia

P.S. -- My wife and I have never had this problem. From the beginning, we set up 3 separate bank accounts (hers, mine, joint for household and joint expenses), and separate investment accounts. We have argued about a lot of things over the years, but never about money.
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Old 01-10-2013, 06:40 AM   #26
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As usual, great input from this forum on approaches to tackle this behavorial problem. Time to act before your financial world spirals out of control. If that occurs, look in the mirror for the person to blame.
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Old 01-10-2013, 06:43 AM   #27
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If she spends without regard to budget or income, she will continue to do so after she stops working and even if all the income is in an annuity, racking up CC debt. This problem is behaviour, not budget.

If you don't address it with her it will never be resolved.
Yes. Cut off your covering of all her spending and just see how many months it takes for credit card balances to not be paid in full every month. Not long, I bet.

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... Several times a year I go on overseas jaunts to hike up a few mountains ....

I immediately scaled back on plans for a piece of outdoor gear I wanted to get....
She may also feel she is compensating for your expensive fun travel and expensive gear that she may feel is even less necessary than what she is buying. Not an excuse but that is an example of emotional spending.
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Old 01-10-2013, 07:15 AM   #28
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I know exactly where you are coming from. My DW and I used to have this problem. Do you live in a community property state?

I do, and my state Family Code recognizes the use of Post Nuptials to declare separate property acquired before and during the marriage, so I had my DW sign a Post Nuptial. It clearly defines separate property and assets in the event of separation or divorce. Then we established individual accounts.

The effect was immediate - her debt is her debt and her debt alone.

Removing the safety net of my income really had an effect on her. She was "on her own" financially, so to speak. We divy up car insurance and other obligations that obtain the best value when combined and we both contribute the corresponding amount to a joint account from which those types of agreed joint expenses are incurred, but the rest goes into and comes out of individual accounts.


The thing about the Post Nuptial is it sends a very strong message - your spending habits are not acceptable, and although you do not wish to get divorced over it, here's an outline of what will happen and who gets what if we do. And it is legally binding in court.

I can tell you that the amount of pressure taken off my shoulders was immense.
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Old 01-10-2013, 09:41 AM   #29
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Regarding several comments made about using separate accounts, we do each have our own accounts. DW's pay goes into her own account and I have encouraged her to use a debit rather than credit card for her spending, which she has mostly been doing. There is a second account from which we pay bills that apply for both of us, and I tell her how much needs to be put back into that account to replace her share of the communal spending, and she writes a check for it once a month. But if her private account balance goes too low, that is where she uses the credit cards.

No we are not in a community property state.

I am going to follow the suggestion made by someone here to go ahead and begin tracking all expenses. If we can mostly avoid using cash it probably isn't too hard to do from debit and cc bills to within about 10% accuracy for each category. I will need to keep receipts from stores like Walmart since so many categories of items can be bought there. One good point is that DW doesn't mind me questioning what her expenses are if I can't figure out something on a bill.

I'll post a followup report of my experience with this and some results once I get enough data compiled.

Quote:
She may also feel she is compensating for your expensive fun travel and expensive gear that she may feel is even less necessary than what she is buying. Not an excuse but that is an example of emotional spending.
Actually she was in favor of the item I was going to get but cancelled-a satellite phone for safety and to call her on from remote spots.
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Old 01-10-2013, 09:53 AM   #30
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Now this sounds intriguing. You think she spends excessively and apparently not interested in a budget, but also seems somewhat influenced by the (perhaps unspoken) amount you have in unsheltered savings. You want this to be retirement. Apparently she wants this to be spending.

A deep (and long, multiple sessions long) talk about goals and joint vision of finances seems in order. Also, you might consider separate accounts. Doesn't necessarily have to be yours, mine, ours, but people who don't or won't budget sometimes respond to a single (or very few) buckets with limited dollars in them. Paycheck to paycheck people may go over their income each month, but they are often close and even adjust a bit up and down as income goes up and down. If you had a "fund" that is her credit card money to do as she likes, then reconcile each month if she is over or under, she might adjust like you describe you do. Spend more on X means less on Y this month to keep into the overall bucket size. Right now, whatever she does gets paid for albeit with more or less grumbling, but no visible budgetary consequences she can see.
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Old 01-10-2013, 09:55 AM   #31
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I was just thinking.....

There was a thread about someone's relative who was using their money for gambling.... lots and lots of comments... an interesting read...


Soooo, to the OP, what would your decision be if instead of spending on 'things', she was gambling To me, there is no difference.... the money is going out the door and someone has to get if from some income source...
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Old 01-10-2013, 09:58 AM   #32
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If you already have separate yours, mine, ours, why are you butting in to her spending? Is she overspending the ours money? If you are going to monitor "yours" money, then it isn't really "yours" at all. Sounds like you have very different ideas of what your financial arrangements are. That would be a good place to start this money talk. If you really want joint decisions on all the finances, then you should have an arrangement that accomplishes that and an agreement between the two of you that that is what you want.
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Old 01-10-2013, 09:58 AM   #33
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I would be less worried about making her mad and more worried about working for the rest of my life to pay her bills.
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Old 01-10-2013, 10:42 AM   #34
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Sounds like she may currently consider the accounts as "Mine, Ours (for joint expenditures), and Ours (for the purposes of my overspending)."

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Old 01-10-2013, 11:20 AM   #35
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Just noticed this article in the current issue of Money (while at the library)...

How to tackle your spouse's overspending - Jan. 7, 2013
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Old 01-10-2013, 12:08 PM   #36
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I love this thread...

Please don't stop!
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Old 01-10-2013, 03:36 PM   #37
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Simple question....will you begin to spend like crazy in the years to come??

NO?

Then why think she will NOT keep spending like crazy?


I went with a man who had to have EVERYTHING new and now...His philosophy was work forever to afford "things"..

My future did not match his and we had a ton of arguments ....and we are no longer together.

I retired last week at 56.

He has lost his job with megacorp at 58, is in horrendous debt including loans from 401K and co-signing on daughter's car....but at least he has a new bathroom in his house and a new motorcycle and other new toys....(owned by the bank and his 401K).



And limited unemployment, diabetes , no health care but Cobra, 58 Years old.

Just some food for thought.

Will YOU start spending like crazy in the next months/years?
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Old 01-10-2013, 06:45 PM   #38
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Simple question....will you begin to spend like crazy in the years to come??

NO?

Then why think she will NOT keep spending like crazy?


I went with a man who had to have EVERYTHING new and now...His philosophy was work forever to afford "things"..

My future did not match his and we had a ton of arguments ....and we are no longer together.
It is harder when you are married, emotionally and financially.

Even if you have already checked out emotionally, you have to think pretty hard about whether to poke that hornet's nest. Almost anything can happen once you start talking. It can be like lancing a boil-who knew all that really smelly stuff was in there?

I know a retired couple who tiptoe around one another. He has a good pension and high SS, she has much less of either, and neither of them has much in the way of assets. She is a spender; she can easily spend $90 on a tee shirt. But I don't think this is simple out of control spending, I think she is telling him to f himself, for being so emotionally distant, which from my POV, he is.

It can be a cascade that is from really hard to impossible to control. Over 2/3 of divorces are initiated by women, and my guess would be that over age 60 the proportion might be much higher. And often the guy has no clue that he is skating on thin ice.

Ha
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Old 01-10-2013, 08:18 PM   #39
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To me the real problem is less that your wife overspends (hardly an uncommon problem) than that you allow your savings to cover the difference. Not to be blunt, but does she call the shots on everything?

If not, why don't you simply stop enabling her?

If you can't do that, I'd say finances are the least of your problems. More spreadsheets aren't going to help.
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Old 01-10-2013, 08:49 PM   #40
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Simple question....will you begin to spend like crazy in the years to come??

NO?

Then why think she will NOT keep spending like crazy?


I went with a man who had to have EVERYTHING new and now...His philosophy was work forever to afford "things"..

My future did not match his and we had a ton of arguments ....and we are no longer together.

I retired last week at 56.

He has lost his job with megacorp at 58, is in horrendous debt including loans from 401K and co-signing on daughter's car....but at least he has a new bathroom in his house and a new motorcycle and other new toys....(owned by the bank and his 401K).



And limited unemployment, diabetes , no health care but Cobra, 58 Years old.

Just some food for thought.

Will YOU start spending like crazy in the next months/years?
Your not going to give him a bail out?
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