Money and Marriage

Do you find yourself not telling the whole truth about where the money goes every month? Is your spouse or child untruthful about their spending habits? Share your stories and coping strategies.
Replied By: atd2014 on Jun 16, 2014, 8:02AM
My spouse of 8 years continually will not be up front about his personal finances and now that he is on long term disability leave, I know he is making substantially less money but I also know the bills he has are more than his current income.  I have asked him numerous times how much debt he has but he will not tell me.  I also have a feeling that he is lending his mother (we do not agree on much) money as she does not have a job and frequently has the power company disconnect her power but it gets turned back on a couple weeks later...around the time my husband gets his LTD pay.  

How should I approach this?
Replied By: mamabird03 on May 11, 2012, 9:19AM - In reply to elaineb711
My family is so differant. I hate shopping no matter what kind of shopping it is..I guess its because I have always hated being around people unless I absolutly have to. Its my spouse that loves to shop and has an addiction to spending money..
Replied By: elaineb711 on Aug 17, 2011, 2:55PM
I absolutely hate money almost as much as I love it! I can identify with the second lady on the show today. I shop (when I have money) for anything. I'll go to wal-mart and just walk around the whole store just in case they have a bargain that i didn't know about. I also shop for things I don't need yet. My daughter had a precnacy scare a few weeks ago. Then she found out that she wasn't prognent. Their fist one is almost 5 and they want the second one to be 5 years apart from the first. Well, I've already started buying stuff for the baby that doesn't exist yet including baby food.

To give you an idea of how I can spend money (if i had it) is plain and simple in this one sentence. Someone could gived me two thousand dollars and I could spend it in about 2-3 hours in Khol's without thinking twices about it. I love garage sales, yard sales, discount stores and outlet stores!!! My ultimate is JC Penny Outlet!! I couldn't live without it. Although I am going to have to learn because they are getting ready to close it down.

I am on a diet (the Dr. Oz diet) and have lost 32 pounds so far. My reward when I lose the last 15 pounds is a shopping spree. Luckily for me I will need to shop because I won't have anything left to wear except oversized pj's and 5 t'shirts. I also have low self-esteem and shopping fills a huge void in my life!! I feel like I need to but new clothes in order to make me feel better and feel sexy.

Can you help?!!!!!!!!!!!
Replied By: tdys0204 on Nov 18, 2010, 3:19AM
My husband is amazing...he works 12  hours a day, 7 days a week, since June. We've had a mutual plan to save money to refinance our home, take our children on vacation and just save. We've both always been spenders, mostly on other people, friends, kids, family...I've found myself spending on extra groceries, unnecessary things for my kids, for my husband and just letting our accounts go into overdraft without care for some reason. I owe this man everything....I just don't know where my head has been...I've been greedy and tried to cover up my stupid mistakes. He's the easiest person in the world to be with and he doesn't get very angry, but I feel awful and he feels betrayed. I've never been a good money manager, but at 35, it's time to shed the insecurities of being vocal with my man...I'm not even sure why I'm afraid to talk to him about it...I guess in the beginning, because we worked together all the time, I was kind of wanting something maybe to fill the void of him not being here and me trying to find a new place in life with children and new friends and activities. I have nothing to complain about...I just lost myself in this money stuff and I want to be the wife I know I can be and that he deserves. I think I'm over my spending binge, but I just pray he can trust me again and we can be a team. I remember when we struggled and we both knew how broke we were...he says I married him for his debt....I just love him and money is a tool...I don't want to ruin it because I want...he's what I need.  Honesty really is the best policy.
Replied By: johnnyboy59 on Jan 10, 2010, 4:49PM - In reply to hshackelfo
First, I believe your husband needs a wake up call.  He seems to be on a different planet than what most of us live on.  You don’t mention your ages, but usually there are certain financial needs that all of us should have; housing, clothing, food are essential, then comes savings for retirement and college for the children.  Your husband makes a considerable income.  Does his company provide any 401K match or retirement plan?  That’s a good starting point to start saving.  Is he considered self-employed and needs to make estimated tax payments or is his withholding so far off that it leads to him owing $70K in backtaxes?  Whichever it is, he doesn’t seem disciplined enough to handle the money.  I watch or listen to several financial or consumer advisors; Suze Orman, Clark Howard & Dave Ramsey.  They each have a different perspective on things and I try and use some items from each of them (I purchase my work clothes at Good Will or Salvation Army).  Each has several books if you can’t find them on the radio or TV.  I would recommend that you both try and watch them together and discuss what advice they provided could be used as part of your financial plan (as a team).  You work better as a team, than you do individually.


There’s nothing wrong with having a pipe dream, it just needs to be part of the plan (you & him).  Did your husband talk to you about his pipe dream?  If so, did you express concern that it might not be the most responsible thing to be doing right now?  You both have a voice on where the money goes, not just his voice because he brings in the money.  This is your life together, your journey together, your retirement (eventually) together.  You need to work together to make it work.  As you probably know, money/finances is one of the biggest causes of divorce.  You should also let him know that his financial infidelity hurts just as much as if he were cheating on you.  It takes its toll emotionally.


You seem very level headed about finances and living within, if not below your means, but your husband just doesn’t get it.  Hopefully you can work on a few of these things and he can turn this around.  The other important thing to mention is that investing involves money, time and interest.  You can’t get back time, so the sooner you can start saving the sooner you can retire and enjoy your golden years together without worrying about money.  Hope this helps you out and wish you the best.
Replied By: johnnyboy59 on Jan 10, 2010, 10:47AM
I've been married for over 10 years and we have kept our finances separate over the years.  I have been paying on my debts and saving in the company 401K for our retirement and she has been taking care of her debts (or so I thought).  Over the years, I have requested her to share her finances with me, and she refuses (I offer her my finances for full disclosure).  Since she refused, I would open her bills to find interest charges of 18% to almost 30%, with her paying only the minimum payments   I confronted her about them and paid off around $6K of the ones with the highest APR's and talked with her about getting these under control.  Over the next 6 months, her quantity of mail decreased tremendously.  I looked in her purse and she had numerous bills being sent to a friends address.  Needless to say, I was upset about her trying to hide this from me.  Around Christmas of 2008, I get a phone call on my cell phone from a collection agency looking for my wife (still under her maiden name), and was told she had over $12K to this one creditor, but they would be willing to settle for $6K.  I took a 401K loan out and paid it to them, and she was mad at me for doing so (I'm just trying to be financially responsible).  Last month a sheriff stopped by and served me with court papers for my wife, under her maiden name.  When I gave the papers to her, she was mad at me for answering the door.

She still refuses to open up about her finances with me, and she has been seeing a therapist for over a year for depression.  I just feel like I'm enabling her by starting to ignore her situation too.  I've talked to her about filing bankruptcy or at least deal with the creditors to try and settle, but she does nothing.  She does have her name on the house title, but is not on the mortgage.  I'm afraid that her creditors will sue her, win judgements, and they will place liens against the house.  I'm at the end of my rope with her and how she deals with finances (her adult son has also ignored his finances).

Can someone provide some insite as to how to proceed?  I know that ultimatums don't work, but that's about what I'm down to.  Thanks.
Replied By: fittmom on Sep 13, 2009, 1:17PM
Since we've been married, the credit card debt has been paid off many times...My husband uses the cared for everything!!  I mean it...Gas, groceries, magazines, etc.  We do NOT communicate about money and I try to just juggle it all.  My husband is a good provider.  I TRY not to take advantage of him.  We have 2 teen daughters.  I DO NOT shop RETAIL...ever.  I don't shop at Dillards, I don't shop at Nordy's..I shop at Kohls and lesser stores.  I am in charge of the finances and once again, the credit card is up to 18,000.  The card got denied this past weekend and my husband found out about the limit.  I know he gets angry, but he is also unwilling to sit down with me every month and LOOK at how much money he is spending.  He gets mad at me for not telling him and I die with the STRESS of knowing how much is owed...I try to pay it down and BAM...Right back up the next month.  Something has got to change.  I love him, but I am tired of ALWAYS having this burden on me.  I'm getting a part time job soon because I would rather make some extra money and put a pad back in our savings acct...

btw...We have almost 1 million dollars of assets...But..I am NOT allowed to call the broker and just pay the bill off every month!!!

I don't know what to do..
Replied By: hshackelfo on Mar 26, 2009, 4:47PM
My husband applied for a new credit card a few years ago and I recently found out, in October, that he had racked up $25,000 (maxed out) in debt on that card.  I had thought the limit was $15,000 and that he had been paying off the balance, but he was in actuality paying off some, but then charging more expenses to it.  One month, he had over $12k in charges on it.  Part of this was due to his pipe dream of owning a semi-pro football team which he supposedly had financial backers for.  He did, for a part of it.  The rest, was our own money.  Now the team has folded for this 2009 season and I'm honestly hoping that it will stay that way.  That is bad, but it has cost us so much.  He lied to me numerous times about expenses related to the team and swore that we weren't paying for them.  Add to that, he took out a personal loan in December of last year of $15k which we are now paying $500/mont h to pay off.  He is an executive recruiter and was worried about a client not paying for some fees they owed him that month - worried that we would have a not so great Christmas.  He said that is why he took out the loan.  However, in reality about 80% of those funds went to pay off some bad debt related to previously mentioned football team.  When I found out about this, I left for the night and stayed in a hotel (yeah, not so economical a decision, I know).  I just couldn't deal with his crap anymore.
Add to this is issue #3.  He just filed his Canadian tax return (we are in Canada) and owes almost 70k in backtaxes.  Yes, this is Canada, taxes are high, but that was based on an income of over $230k last year (of which we have NONE in savings).  I kept harping on him during the year to put money aside anticipating this time.  Now, his debt is over $100k in a one year period.  Also, found out today about some mystery $240 charge on my credit card, called about it only to be embarassed to find out that it was my husband charging some business-related expense (for his executive recruiting) on my card.  He said that he completely forgot to tell me about it - yet he must have been aware of it when he was taking the card out of my wallet.
He has not brought in any $ into our household since late December when he last received a chunk of commission.  We are almost maxed out on our bank overdraft protection and have rent due on April 1st as well as daycare fees and other expenses.  He is supposed to be receiving a commission payment "before April 1st", but we are relying on that being paid by a large corporation (his client) and they have stalled and been late before.
I am at my wits end.  We have 2 young children, 2 and 4 years old.  If it weren't for them, I would leave him.  We do not own a house but rent a rather nice duplex.  In any event, no equity - maybe we could have had a house now if he hadn't thrown it away.  Maybe it's a good thing not to have an overpriced mortgage added to all of this crap.
Oh by the way, I work 4 days a week and have a good enough job, but the city we live in is so expensive (Vancouver), it is just ridiculous.  Daycare each month is at least $1,200, and my grocery bill is at least $220/week and that is being frugal.  We used to live in the Minneapolis area in the U.S. and I would purchase the same amount of groceries there as I do now and spend about $120/$100 US or so.
To top it off, he keeps talking about looking at houses...because it's a buyer's market?  I just want to get his debt and spending under control.  That is how clueless he is.
Honestly it sickens me when I read this and see how much money he made and now we have nothing and are in this circumstance.  I applaud people and families who work so hard and keep things in check on 1/4 of this annual income, or less. 
Replied By: baronv14 on Mar 2, 2009, 2:39PM - In reply to squidk
No matter how financial issues become dire, be open and communicate with each other. Of course there will be arguments and flare-ups, but it will surely be better than hiding it from each other.
Replied By: squidk on Dec 8, 2008, 12:34PM
hi!  I'm a 39 year old married mom of three.  today's show really hit home for me.  about 2 years ago, my husband found out that I had run up about 10K in credit card debt.  naturally, he was angry and didn't trust me for a long time.  what I didn't tell him, however, was that I had a loan for 25K as well.  I still have this loan and have been paying on it each month with money from my home daycare business.  I've been very close to telling him several times.  this last time I was close was last month, but that day he had chest pains and was rushed to the hospital.  long story short, he had almost a quart of fluid drained from around his heart and was in the ICU for five days.  he's still at home now recovering and will be returning to work in January.  I had to give up my business, at least temporarily.  So I don't have money coming in, and don't know if I'll get my daycare kids back in January.
I know I have to tell him, but I keep putting it off, especially now when he's so worried and anxious about his heart.  thankfully, we got good news from the cardiologist last week, and they think what happened was some freak thing.  but, naturally, he's still worried about it recurring.  I'm terrified that if I tell him, he will divorce me.  he's a wonderful man and deserves much better than a wife who's lied to him about finances.  this has weighed on me like you wouldn't believe.
I need help with how and when to tell him.  I'm concerned about his reaction and how it will affect his health.
thank you!
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