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So, I'm still open to advice (take the BOA offer, don't take it - questions to ask them, etc), but please save the sermons/guilt trip . . . Thanks CPA. I'm not that bad a guy . . .

I was suprised at the number of people who jumped at you.

That being said, I wouldn't take it unless there as a true emergency. Paying 3% just to get cash is still paying 3%. What if you couldn't pay it back? Not having the cash is going to force you to cut back on spending.

I personally WOULD get it, as I'm earning 4% on savings bonds right now that I need to tap before the end of the year. If I can delay cashing them before 2010, I can put off the tax implications until next year. But that's my situation.

WRJ
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No. of Recommendations: 7
Some of you are making it sound like I am an irresponsible a--.

Actually, what I am seeing is that you are at the precipice of a very slippery slope.

You 'used to' have an emergency fund. You 'used to' live below your means. You 'used to' pay all your credit card debt off each month.

You are contemplating decisions that would push you down that slippery slope.

It's obviously your decision. But you need to own up to the fact that the decisions you are making now will have real long-term consequences, rather than trying to make excuses for why you are making those decisions.

AJ
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No. of Recommendations: 11
When I look back at how I got into terrible debt the biggest factor was not adjusting to having 3 kids. I was never really frugal but early on in my marriage (I married when I was in my mid 30s) we had no debt. After our first child, we had some mild debt, nothing that wasn't easily able to be paid off....but then suddenly it seemed like there we were with 3 kids and lots of debt. And a lot of it was for "good" reasons or at least understandable reasons. And so much of it was because 3 kids were just a lot more expensive for a variety of reasons. The biggest mistake we made was not adjusting our lifestyle to that reality.
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No. of Recommendations: 4
My wife buys ALL my girls that American Girl cr--. My M.D. brother (who makes about 4 times as much as me) said, "Good GOD! My kids don't even have that kind of stuff..."

It is as if my wife is trying to overcompensate for her terrible childhood and has blinders on to the 'slippery slope' it currently puts us on . . .


We have another poster (who hasn't been posting lately, and we're getting worried) whose wife spent a huge amount of money, and who refused to stop even when the problems kept mounting. He arrived at this board so deeply in debt that we couldn't even begin to figure how to find enough money to pay more than the minimums.

It may help you to read some of SoccerDad9998's posts. We sort of wandered off track into marriage counseling, divorce, and physical therapy, but he really did have a boatload of debt, and was carrying the burden by himself.

http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=24687052&sort=use...

Nancy
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No. of Recommendations: 5
And again, the wife is clueless about finances and is not teachable. Not by sweet old me any way! ;-)


Hi,

I'm not going to moralize or anything so don't worry, but in my own marriage my wife and I grapple with our own finances, the attitudes of our parents, and baggage related to how we grew up, lifestyles we had/want/aspire to/used to have, and then throw in our own child and everyone's relationship to that whole mess -- which just revives family issues all over again.

I think maybe you and your wife should *together* attend a financial planning class at a local community college, or when you have the means, get a financial planner. Anything you can do to get both of you on the same page (what that page is doesn't matter ...) financially will be a huge help. If spouses are going in different directions the best you will ever do is stand still.

~dswing
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I think maybe you and your wife should *together* attend a financial planning class at a local community college, or when you have the means, get a financial planner.

Community college financial planning classes are often marketing for the financial planner teaching the class. It is necessary to carefully filter what is presented.
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No. of Recommendations: 33
And again, the wife is clueless about finances and is not teachable.

If true, this is the root problem. Everything else you're wrestling with is a symptom.

There are several ways to deal with a spouse who likes to spend and is not teachable:

a) You could disprove the theory that your spouse is unteachable. I don't have the details of what you tried, and I don't have a window into how your marriage works, so I won't pass judgment on how realistic or unrealistic this is. This will be the favorite solution for most people who commment on the situation. If this is possible, it is definitely the preferred solution.

b) If one spouse is truly spendy and unteachable, the responsible spouse can control the finances and be the gatekeeper. This only works if the spendy, clueless spouse agrees to be controlled. It is usually recommended that each spouse have some money that he/she can spend without having to justify where it went; the spendy spouse will, at least initially, have a very inflated idea of how much this should be. This solution works for some people, with the unfortunate side effect of producing widows with assets and no clue how to manage them.

c) If the spendy spouse does not agree to be controlled, a compromise solution can be attempted. If the household can be supported solely on the responsible spouse's income, the responsible spouse could give as far as supporting the household and letting the spendy spouse blow his/her income however he/she pleases. This can work if the responsible spouse has high enough income, the spendy spouse won't acquire debt that the responsible spouse doesn't approve of, and the responsible spouse doesn't allow the spendy spouse to use emotional triggers to get him/her to spend money he/she otherwise wouldn't.

d) If strategies a, b, and c don't work because the spendy spouse refuses to be controlled, won't compromise or won't honor his/her compromise agreements, gets credit without the responsible spouse's knowledge or consent, drains household funds for whims, and uses emotional blackmail to get the responsible spouse to agree to expenditures that are against the responsible spouse's better judgment, the responsible spouse is in a difficult position. He/she must choose between accepting that this is what life is like and living in a constant state of damage control, or seeking a divorce.

I would urge you to clarify (at least in your own thoughts) what it means that your wife is clueless and unteachable. There are different levels of cluelessness and unteachability. If she is a minor case, you need to do some financial damage control within the marriage. If she's an extreme case, you should be concerned about the stability of your marriage. In between, there's a lot of room for uncertainty.

I'm a 'victim' of my wife and her lack of financial sense and the debt load she brought into our union (yeah, I had cash - and paid it all in full for 'us')

But, yeah - point will taken. I need and will be more assertive and lead by example.


I suspect you may also be a victim of your own desire to please your wife making you buy some things that you wouldn't buy if it were just you and the kids. This can be a subtle effect, and I wouldn't expect someone in that position to notice it right away.

I had a wife like that. The operative word is, "had". I spent a lot of time on strategy a), then quite a bit on strategies b) and c) before getting to d) and finding myself emotionally unable to file for divorce. Along the way, I became more assertive and more resistant to emotional nudges trying to get me to spend against my better judgment.

She filed for legal separation in 2002. It was the nicest thing she did for me in the last decade of our marriage. I'll never know for sure, but I suspect she might have thought this was a bargaining tactic to get me to devote more of the household resources to her whims rather than the common good.

So, there's my cautionary tale. This isn't just a money problem. It's primarily a relationship problem, and it has money symptoms. It the root problem is not dealt with, it could destroy your marriage. I'll let you decide whether that's a good thing or a bad thing.

You really should also look at SoccerDad9998's posts, and the replies to them. He reminds me a lot of myself, only at last report he was still trying to make the marriage work.

Patzer
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Community college financial planning classes are often marketing for the financial planner teaching the class. It is necessary to carefully filter what is presented.

One of the colleges I work with has set up cashcourse.org for their students. Since I'm not sure how open it is nor how it's paid for, I don't want to link to their specific site but people might want to see if their local CC is on board with this yet. It's a product of NEFE.

rad
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Threaded? Unthreaded? Post Reply?

Which one do I hit to put my comment INSIDE of another posters comments?

Which one do I hit to put my comments UNDER, in a separate post?

Thanks.

PS:


You're thinking of features on another board. Your ONLY option here is to "post reply" which will put your post next in line in the thread.

"Threaded" or "Unthreaded" refers to how you view the posts.

MOI
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No. of Recommendations: 2
You know I looked at the previous messages, but I didn't see any that were harsh let alone calling you an irresponsible anything.

However, people on this board will help you change your paradigm. You did express discomfort with it.

I would question adding two kids and dropping your income $15K while figuring time with youngest two kids is irreplaceable. How many kids do you have? Did you run the numbers before having more?

Then stating you could have purchased a smaller house. Why didn't you? Did you just have to have a bigger house? No, I don't know how big your house is and I don't have a personal interest in it.

If you really want to change your life, then you should question why you made those decisions and not be upset that anonymous people on a board are challenging your assumptions.

rocky
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I would just like to chime in and 3rd reading SoccerDad9998's posts. He really is an inspiration.

(as an aside, I really hope everything is OK with him)

-pp
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There are several ways to deal with a spouse who likes to spend and is not teachable:

a) You could disprove the theory that your spouse is unteachable...

b) If one spouse is truly spendy and unteachable, the responsible spouse can control the finances and be the gatekeeper...

c) ...the responsible spouse could give as far as supporting the household and letting the spendy spouse blow his/her income however he/she pleases....

d) If strategies a, b, and c don't work ... He/she must choose between accepting that this is what life is like and living in a constant state of damage control, or seeking a divorce.



I'd like to add my 2 cents to this one.

xDH and I were together 20 years.

I tried "a" and had splotchy success and felt really positive about it sometimes... it took me until quite recently to realize that "delayed gratification" and "you can have one or the other, but not both" are concepts that he'll never embrace for long. He truly, deep in his soul, doesn't believe he should have to. And any attempt to force him to just made ME the bad guy who was intentionally ruining his life. That's not a partnership, it's a mother/teenage-son relationship and not healthy for a marriage.

I went to "b" for about 15 years and had decent success with it, but he would occasionally rebel and blow a ton of money, or I would give in to something big to keep him happy. Meanwhile I kept working on "a" since in my mind anyone capable of basic math should be teachable (I've since learned that some people really don't give a *&$% about keeping their spending under control and I *cannot* fix that).

We did "c" toward the end, though I wasn't exactly a willing party to it. And his spending very quickly rolled over into the bill money.

We finally, after 20 years, went to "d". He's still spending too much, but I'm no longer losing sleep over it. I just wish I'd started "d" before he damaged my financial future as badly as he did.

Frydaze1
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No. of Recommendations: 4
CGK, you came to a board for advice, gave everyone an inch, and we took a mile because what we saw was a precipice, not just someone asking for advice. You asked for advice on the loan, gave us plenty of details, and we immediately jumped on what we figured would have you coming back to us in six months or so - the fact that you're teetering on the brink of being in a good bit of financial trouble, with things having the possibility to spiral out of control, and the suggestions we made were not just related to the original question, but to avoid having to repeat ourselves (though that is still possible!) a few months or years down the road, because this emergency or that emergency happened and then this had to be purchased to keep up with the Joneses and all of a sudden you're $100k in debt like SoccerDad was.

It's extra advice; you can take it or leave it. But a board of strangers can see that there's a huge potential for a problem, and unless you've got a magical cash reserve of $10k sitting around that can actually cover everything, and you don't feel like tapping into it and would rather get a loan, it's GOING to make the people here nervous, and we're going to comment on it. Especially those of us who haven't always been frugal, or who had one emergency too many (myself included, when I was a younger student!) take us over that edge.
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No. of Recommendations: 7
However, if averaged my CC debt via APR - it would be about 13 percent with more than half of that at 3%.

So, if the average is 13% and 'more than half' is at 3%, that means that the rest is at least 23%? That seems like it's a bit higher than the 'weather the storm' issue. $16,000 at an average 13% interest will cost you $2,080 a year in interest each year.

To help you think about it another way - the $16k in debt is a bit more than what your wife gave up in income, right? However, when you add the additional $2k in interest that this debt is costing you each year, you've really lost $17k a year in buying power. And if you want to actually start paying it down, and not just tread water, you are probably down $20k (a 4 year paydown) - $25k (a 2 year paydown) in buying power from when your wife was working.

But you continue to spend at the same rate that you were when your wife was working more. So if she continues to work the same amount and y'all continue to spend at the same pace, in another year, you will be $30k+ in debt. In 2 years, probably close to $50k - as much as your current income.

Selling a home I love in a terrible market seems like a drastic step considering my small overall debt load doesn't it?

You OWE over 1/3 of your annual income in credit card debt. That's NOT small. It's not huge, at this point, but it has the potential to be, in a fairly short time frame, if you don't change your habits.

Selling your house now doesn't have to be the solution. But you need to come up with another solution (more income, less spending, or some combination of the two), or you will run up your debt even more. The end result of that could be that you end up losing the house that you love to foreclosure or BK. As I said before, you are at the precipice of a slippery slope. And it's a lot harder to stop, the farther down the slope you get.

I'm just not used to it. So, I'm umcomfortable with it (rightly so I imagine - nobody ever knows).

Getting used to it, rather than resolving it, will leave you in financial distress your entire life.

I do have 15k in a 403 Vanguard S/P 500 fund.

Okay, at a spending rate of $65k a year (your income before your wife cut back on working), that will get you almost 3 months.

They would have to pay me 66% of 40k for the rest of my life.

And this will get you another almost 5 months.

So, what are you going to do for the other 4 months of your first year of retirement? And for the 7 months of the rest of your retirement? And there is no inflation protection on your pension, so how are you going to pay for milk when it's $10 a gallon instead of $2 or $3?

So, I guess if push comes to a shove, I'm not that bad off. Just a little bit of a drama king because it is beyond (and rightly so I guess) my comfort level.

Not really. I would say that you will need to drastically cut your lifestyle to be 'not that bad off'.

AJ
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<<I tried "a" and had splotchy success and felt really positive about it sometimes... it took me until quite recently to realize that "delayed gratification" and "you can have one or the other, but not both" are concepts that he'll never embrace for long. He truly, deep in his soul, doesn't believe he should have to. >>



This is a profoundly important psychological issue, but apparently we've never had a Sigmund Freud to put this personality type on the couch and explain it.

It seems like such an elementary concept you'd think people couldn't help but get it after getting their financial teeth kicked in a few times but no....

And the phenomena of having a spending binge build up by being deprived is an interesting concept. Just where does that come from?

It's profoundly amazing and sad that a "responsible" spouse can spend decades trying to make things work with a spendy dpouse and in the end have every effort frustrated and see no solution but divorce.

And I'd like to see a study of what happens to the spendy spouse type after the divorce. Do they hunt up someone else who has money they can spend? Do they EVER change? If so, how?




Seattle Pioneer
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Quite all right to pay attention to your feelings.

I'm glad the figures for retirement look good.

Still, can you suggest some no cost recreation (feeding the ducks at the pond/walking to the public library) for the whole family.

With the girls growing up, you and your wife might talk about what you expect to provide for them in the coming years (college costs are huge, but after school gymnastics or piano lessons add up to). I'm thinking that you might be able to agree to cut some current spending for near future expenses (save money for summer camp when each one turns nine, maybe)

YeilB
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No. of Recommendations: 7
Chase (roof) 2.99 fixed and is on auto pay

Chase Amazon $1000 (timing belt) 14 % (and will pay it ASAP - meaning no longer than a year -- and/or transfer it)

Citi -- $4,400 0% until the end of April 2010 - then 8.8%


Okay, so your current average is closer to 3%; your 'go-to' average after your promo rate on Citi expires will be a bit higher, depending on how much you have paid down.

Upcoming income, taxes. I usually get about 4 grand back.

If (and only if) you can be disciplined enough to devote additional money to the debt paydown, you should look at adjusting your withholding. Here is a withholding calculator from the IRS website that will get you a good estimate of what your withholding should be: http://www.irs.gov/individuals/article/0,,id=96196,00.html?p... If you adjust your withholding significantly this year, you will need to remember to re-adjust it at the beginning of next year - otherwise you could run into issues with not paying enough.

Additionally, while you are in debt, any large inflows of money, like tax refunds, should be mostly spent either on debt repayment and/or emergency fund building. Use maybe 5% or 10% of the amount for a 'treat' but put the rest toward the debt and/or savings.

I overpaid on my roof this summer and that caused us to use the Citi to get buy until I got paid again. I got paid a lump sum for the months of June, July and August. I will see my first paycheck in a long time come Sept 20th of this month.

It sounds like you definitely need to better understand what your monthly expenses are, especially if you continue to get a lump sum for your summer pay. Without understanding those expenses, you run the risk of running short each summer.

Does your school district offer the option of getting paid year round, rather than as a lump for the summer?

What do you do with your summer months? Either you or your wife should take the opportunity to have a job for the summer, at least until you get your debt paid off. Can your wife increase her daycare business, at least during the summer by expanding it to older kids who are out of school and whose parents work? If you have determined that you want to spend time with the kids during the summer, then you get the kids, and your wife works - she spends time with the kids the rest of the year.

The wife and I definitely need to change our spending habits. We talk about it a lot but obviously don't do it much. Thanks for the heads up on the slippery slope. You now have my full (or should I say "FOOL" attention!)

Then I would definitely suggest that you and your wife start tracking EVERY PENNY that is spent (even the money you put into vending machines and parking meters), and then going over the spending with each other regularly. Sometimes this alone can help, knowing that you will have to explain to the other person that you spent $x on something that they would consider frivolous. Additionally, I would suggest that you start asking yourselves the question 'can I get along without this until tomorrow?' before you spend any money. If the answer is 'yes' - then don't buy it today.

After you have tracked your spending for a while, you should have a better idea of where the money goes, so you can figure out what you want to cut. If you post your numbers here, you will get lots of suggestions. Some pretty common places that people find to cut are cable/satellite service, subscriptions, eating out, groceries and entertainment.

If your wife doesn't want to track spending, then put her on a strict cash diet - no checks, no cards, no debit cards, and give her a set amount of cash per week. If she runs out, don't subsidize her. You can eat from the pantry for a few days until the week is up.

Suggestions on who and how to pay first regarding my three cards?

Since the 'go-to' rate on the Citi card is currently lower than the Amazon card, pay the minimums on the Chase at 2.99% and the Citi card, and put as much as you can toward the Amazon card. Once you get done paying the Amazon card off and until the promo rate on the Citi card expires, put the amount that you had been paying toward Amazon into a savings account to pay the account down significantly just before the promo rate expires. Then continue to pay the amount that you had been paying toward Amazon and Citi to Citi. Once you get done with that, then start paying down the Chase 2.99% card aggressively.

I see no hurry on the fixed 2.99 isn't that cheap money?

Well, 'cheap' is relative. How much does your savings account earn after tax? Until your savings account earns more than 2.99% after tax, it's still more expensive than the risk-free alternative. Besides that, if you only pay the minimums, you could very well still be paying for this roof when you need to re-roof again. Do you really want to be doing that?

AJ
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Track spending: we tried but lack the discipline. Need to try again. I'm just wasted after teaching all day and then coming home to my own 3 little darlings. Having my own little mid-life crisis.

Carry a little notebook with you and write it down before you leave the register. Then, all you need to do at night is spend a few minutes going over it with each other after the kids go to bed each night. If you aren't willing to devote that much time to it, then you probably won't be able to cut your spending significantly.

What do we do in the summers? We don't work.

Until you get out of debt, I would strongly suggest that needs to change for at least one of you.

Now, back to the BOA question. Do you think their 13 months - with either a 0% or 2,99% would be a good deal for me in my current situation or just ride the storm out -- pay down aggressively, add NO MORE CC debt, and increase (as best as able) emergencies funds?

Assuming that the 'go-to' rate on the BOA card will be as much or more than the 7.7% on the Citi card, I would suggest it only for the Amazon card debt. You are already getting 0% on the Citi card for 7 of those 13 months. The other 6 months that you would get the promo rate at 7.7% will only be 3.85%, which is less than the 4% BT fee that BOA charges. And if you get the 2.99% rate, rather than the 0% rate, that would make the BOA card even more costly than the Citi card.

If you do this for the Amazon card debt, then I would suggest changing the plan of attack a little. Pay the minimum on the BOA card, plus put enough in an untouchable savings account to be able to pay off this debt in 12 months (letting it ride right up to the time limit can be tricky and result in paying interest). Then put any additional money into the untouchable savings account in order to pay down the Citi card in March. After March, put any additional money (over the minimum payments plus what you put into savings to pay off BOA) toward Citi until that's paid off. And then switch those same payments toward the Chase 2.99% card.

AJ
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Oh, and one more thing.....

Citi -- 0 percent until April 30, 2010 - current balance, $ 4,400 then %7.7

I have always paid at least 100 bucks over the minium. I have been getting lump sums for over 20 years now. This is the ONLY time that I had a brain cramp and sent Chase (1,500) too much money that got us into this mess in the first place. I wont be doing that again.


Paying Chase $1,500 too much *may* have been the cause of $1,500 of the Citi debt. Living above your means by an additional $2,900 plus whatever payments you have made on the 0% Citi debt was the cause of the rest.

AJ
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No. of Recommendations: 6
But, yes - we need to track spending better. Have better discipline. Working harder is not an answer for us as we are both tired, wasted and burned out. We need this time to try to develop a relationship/family instead of running around like a chicken with our head cut-off...

Money difficulties usually compound any other difficulties. That I can't say from personal experience. I can say that having the money ducks in a row definitely helps when other difficulties arise.

Life isn't going to get easier in the coming years; it'll just be different.

rad
has 3 kids and had a ft job and a husband with same when she was 45.
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Track spending: we tried but lack the discipline. Need to try again. I'm just wasted after teaching all day and then coming home to my own 3 little darlings. Having my own little mid-life crisis. I'm 45.

What do we do in the summers? We don't work. My wife might watch a kid or two. I try to recover and get ready for another year of school. We spend sometime at the beloved Grandma's. She lives only about 2.5 hours away.

But, yes - we need to track spending better. Have better discipline. Working harder is not an answer for us as we are both tired, wasted and burned out. We need this time to try to develop a relationship/family instead of running around like a chicken with our head cut-off...


I can really relate to the tired, burnt out feeling. I had it for years when I was in a relationship that I didn't recognize as unhealthy until far later than I should have. I coped by becoming anal about tracking money, which was one of the few areas of my life I had some control; but I can certainly understand a desire to zone out and simply do nothing under those circumstances.

As far as budgeting goes, that burnt out feeling is a fact of life for you right now. So how do you cope with it, financially?

What you do is simplify the decision making process. First and foremost, you stop using credit cards. If you don't put anything new on the cards, the balance doesn't go up. Anything you absolutely need and can't pay cash for, get an installment loan. That's enough of a hassle that it should eliminate a lot of purchases.

Now, back to the BOA question. Do you think their 13 months - with either a 0% or 2,99% would be a good deal for me in my current situation or just ride the storm out -- pay down aggressively, add NO MORE CC debt, and increase (as best as able) emergencies funds?

Just ride out the storm. No more CC debt is the absolute top priority, with aggressive paydown of existing debt being a close second. Some people would put the emergency fund ahead of the debt paydown. I favor debt paydown for you because of your situation with your spouse. Money sent to debt benefits you long term, while money sitting in an efund may be vulnerable to being spent because your spouse wants to spend.

But no more CC debt should definitely be your top mantra. Particularly because of that chronic burnt out feeling, you want to avoid complicated arrangements where you could miss the significance of the fine print. You want to avoid transitions where money falls on the floor or debt rises as a side effect. You are unlikely to find a good deal in credit card interest without fine print hoops to jump through, so avoid the fishhook by ignoring the bait.

Yes, work on the discipline to track expenditures; but a hard rule of no more use of the CCs will help you even if you aren't as successful at tracking as you would like to be.

And while you're not busy trying to defend your lack of spending, put some time into how your life could be restructured have less stress at home. (You might not be able to do a lot about work.) Think about low stress, free or extremely low cost stuff you can do and make into a routine. Get enough exercise. (Gyms cost money. Walking is free. Biking is cheap.) Get enough rest. Identify when doing something creates more stress than pleasure, then don't do that stuff--particularly if doing it means spending money. Sometimes a lot money can be saved by simply not spending for things that subtract value from your life.

Patzer
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No. of Recommendations: 3
Track spending: we tried but lack the discipline. Need to try again. I'm just wasted after teaching all day and then coming home to my own 3 little darlings. Having my own little mid-life crisis. I'm 45.

What do we do in the summers? We don't work. My wife might watch a kid or two. I try to recover and get ready for another year of school. We spend sometime at the beloved Grandma's. She lives only about 2.5 hours away.

But, yes - we need to track spending better. Have better discipline. Working harder is not an answer for us as we are both tired, wasted and burned out. We need this time to try to develop a relationship/family instead of running around like a chicken with our head cut-off...


I'm not going to touch the BOA interest rate question because, as anyone here can tell you, once I get past 2 + 2 = 4 I need a calculator.

There are two road out of debt. Raise your income or Lower your outgo. The two are not mutually exclusive, and many people have used both at the same time. Moving the money around to better rates can help, since you'll be sending more money to principal, but if you don't resolve the spending problems you'll be moving the deck chairs on the Titanic.

You don't have to take on a fifty hours a week job during the summer, but can you think of anything you might do, even for a few hours a week? Are there any possibilities at all? Are there groups you could coach, or teach, or something? Even a few dollars a week, provided they are sent toward the debt, could help.

Please try to keep an open mind on the subject of other work possibilities. Working now may make it possible for you to work less later on.

Nancy
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pending binge build up by being deprived is an interesting concept. Just where does that come from?
I think it's a remnant of evolutionary need from our id brain. Biologically it makes sense, and maybe our brains translate that need from feast/famine eating over to abstract ideas of hunting/gathering like consumer spending.

But it's clearly not universal, and some of us have better control over that impulse than not.
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Selling the house in this market would be the wrong thing to do, if it was possible to keep it. To me loving the house doesn't figure into the equation as much. I am trying to separate my emotions from my financial decisions. I have to admit with varying success. Though realizing how much of my spending was driven by my emotions did enable me to pay off my credit card debt.

Some of it still is, or for a family of three there would be no way I would grocery shop at Costco.

Not knowing what your income is I don't know if your debt load is small or large. I know it is above my tolerance (though not my DH's).

I am glad that you took a deep breath and realized that you eat an elephant one bite at a time.

rocky
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No. of Recommendations: 1
Ok. I missed the fact that your income was 40K. Is that before or after taxes? At any rate that's huge! My DH has 16K in cc debt, but his income is $105K before bonuses (mine is $101K before taxes and pension).

My suggestion is that your DW start small either reducing groceries or working part time during the weekend with the longer term goal of working during the summer. Your DW's income was almost 30% of your total income.

The best part of paying off your debt is how much your cash flow increases and the relief of stress.

If you are having trouble tracking expenses, you could try starting with figuring out your fixed expenses. Then take the amount you have leftover and put it in an envelope or separate account. I keep two separate accounts. One for the recurring expenses (DH's car, taxes, utilities, groceries, gymnastics, ect.) and the other is my money (my student loan, personal money, and projects). I have to admit I track my expenses by watching my accounts rather than writing each thing down.

rocky
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No. of Recommendations: 13
It seems like with our usual tax return (around 4k) and living below our means (good luck/but we MUST LEARN how to do this) that we are OK.

If you can consistently live below your means, any reasonable plan will get you out of debt. If you can't, every plan will fail.

I always pay above the minium and not plan on stopping that happen and then get our emergency funds built back up. I imagine they disappeared when the wife (and I) decided for her to stay home with our kids more. As stated before, debt can be wiped out - time lost cannot. Am I totally off my rocker here? People or money? Suzie O says people . . .

Deciding to have your wife stay home was a key decision, and it had consequences. One of the consequences is reduced income, which means you need to spend less. So you didn't notice that right away. Start now.

If BOA is 3 % for 13 cycles with a 3 percent balance transfer -- isn't that a good deal? They could even do it as a direct deposit (NOT A CASH ADVANCE). Isn't that a good deal?

I dislike this for several reasons:

1. Your debt goes up by 3% before you do anything.

2. Some people think that when they refinance at a lower interest rate, they have "paid off" the debt and it's no longer a problem. You state that your spouse is financially clueless. This is a huge opportunity for her to think everything is hunky-dory and ignore any initiative to control spending.

3. Credit card issuers in general are known for having hooks in the fine print that you have to read carefully and figure out to jump through the correct hoops. Miss one hoop, and you would have been better off to just make payments on your debt as it was before you refinanced. You state that you and your wife are both subject to burnout much of the time. This is not a good situation for dealing with fine print and tricky hoops.

4. You only have so much time and mental energy, even if we ignore the burnout issue. To the extent you use your time and energy to refinance debt and understand the hooks that come with the deal, you're not using it to figure out how to track spending and live below your means. You can pay off the debt without refinancing. You can't pay off the debt without living below your means.

People or money? Suzie O says people . . . For whatever that is worth . . .

That's another argument against the BOA deal. You go through the exercise of identifying the issues in the fine print and managing them, and a year from now you have to do it all over again--assuming you haven't managed to retire the debt entirely in that year. If people time is important, you want to just make payments on existing debts and not mess with reconfiguring them.

If people really come first, you want a financial system that doesn't demand much of your time to manage. Getting balance transfers with rates that last for a limited time isn't that system.

As far as work in the summer, I would want nothing to do with kids. Maybe 20 hours a week at a video store or something . . . I need a break from kids at the end of the year.

That puts a clear definition on the issues: You have decided to have your wife stay home, and you have decided that you can't work in the summer. Income is what it is, and expenses must be controlled to be less than that. The consequence of both you and your wife having non-working time is, you as a family need to live cheap. Put your energy into figuring out how to live cheap, and you'll get a much better return than shaving a little bit of interest by chasing promotional balance transfers.

HINT: The LBYM board can produce a ton of tips on how to involve the kids in projects that save you money on the expense side, for quality family time. It's a lot harder to make shopping for a good deal in balance transfers a family activity that also entertains the kids.

Patzer
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No. of Recommendations: 0
Patzer is already one of your Favorite Fools

Nancy
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No. of Recommendations: 6
Pre-tax, post tax? I don't know. My contract says they pay me 45k to teach. My wife makes about 4k doing odd jobs.

Depending on your deductions and any other income, you are probably in either the 10% or 15% bracket. So your pre-tax interest rate on a savings account needs to be between 3.3% and 3.5% to have a risk free return that is similar to paying off the 2.99% debt.

It seems like with our usual tax return (around 4k) and living below our means (good luck/but we MUST LEARN how to do this) that we are OK.

Tax refunds only mean that you are giving the government an interest-free loan of your money.

Living below your means is crucial, and a different subject from tax refunds.

Are not all of my interest rates relatively low?

Yes, but your debt is increasing, and not just from the interest. That's a sign that you are living above your means.

I always pay above the minium and not plan on stopping that happen and then get our emergency funds built back up. I imagine they disappeared when the wife (and I) decided for her to stay home with our kids more.

And the fact that you don't why or how or when your emergency funds disappeared is another sign that you are living above your means.

As stated before, debt can be wiped out - time lost cannot.

Well, debt may be able to be wiped out. However, the time factor for that you are losing on compounding for investments and retirement savings also cannot be made up for.

Am I totally off my rocker here?

No, I think you are just gathering speed sliding down the slippery slope.

People or money? Suzie O says people . . . For whatever that is worth . . .

Okay, let's look at her whole comment: Suze O says "People first, then money, then things" Seems to me that you are operating under the philosophy of "People first, then things, then money".

If BOA is 3 % for 13 cycles with a 3 percent balance transfer -- isn't that a good deal?

Again, only consider it for the debt that is currently on the Amazon card. It would actually cost you more for the debt on the other cards.

If you pay $90 a month on the Amazon card under the current terms, it will take you 12 months to pay it off. If you do the BT for $1000 to BOA and pay it off at $90 a month, it will take you 11 payments of $90 and one payment of $56. Your total savings will be $34.

If you manage to get a 0% rate, your savings would be $60.

I don't know - is that a good deal? Will it be worth any time, stress or anxiety that doing the BT will cause you?

AJ
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No. of Recommendations: 1
It seems like with our usual tax return (around 4k)

Okay, why is this? You have $4k that, instead of coming to you in installments every month so that you could use it to pay the CC bills in installments every month, you're letting it build up and getting it in one lump sum, by which time your CC's have charged you more interest.

That's an extra $333 per month. (Or, since you probably don't work 12 months of the year, it actually breaks down differently.) If you dumped that toward debt, or used it to rebuild your eFund, it seems like it would make quite a difference. Especially if, like most, you've been treating your tax return as extra money that it's okay to blow on something fun.

Frydaze1
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No. of Recommendations: 6
Track spending: we tried but lack the discipline. Need to try again. I'm just wasted after teaching all day and then coming home to my own 3 little darlings. Having my own little mid-life crisis. I'm 45.

What do we do in the summers? We don't work. My wife might watch a kid or two. I try to recover and get ready for another year of school. We spend sometime at the beloved Grandma's. She lives only about 2.5 hours away.

But, yes - we need to track spending better. Have better discipline. Working harder is not an answer for us as we are both tired, wasted and burned out. We need this time to try to develop a relationship/family instead of running around like a chicken with our head cut-off...


And how's that working for you?

You need to cut expenses and bring in more money. If you're that burned out from teaching that you can't get a second job or work in the summers, maybe you need a career change.

Watch the kids while your wife gets a part time job at nights or on the weekends. It'll probably do her a world of good to have some adult contact plus it will bring in a few bucks.
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No. of Recommendations: 23
Additionally, I don't have the PATIENCE to watch my kids all day.

I'm sure this will get me flamed but if you haven't done it, it's time to schedule a vasectomy. The second thing is to get enough life insurance on your wife to cover child care until the kids wouldn't need it anymore.

rad
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No. of Recommendations: 1
Well, since I haven't had any luck persuading my DH that the cards should be his first priority, I'll still give it a stab.

Unless you have the ability to pay off the credit cards tomorrow or in the next pay period, whatever, it is not a good decision to reduce your earning ability. Especially, if you do not have a good handle on your outgo.

When my DH wanted to quit his job I told him no until he could give me a clear accounting of his expenses, cash, and debts. He quit anyway which was making an EMOTIONAL decision with no knowledge of what money he really needed to run his life. Luckily, he found a job that he wanted in a month and a half, but this is why he now owes 16K.

Suzie O might say people first, but if you had asked her I don't think she would have recommended that your wife quit unless the expenses for childcare and such was as near what she was making until you had emergency funds and no credit card debt.

So, my question for you is do you know how much you are spending and on what?

2)3% is not a good deal. You are still giving them money. (DH says the same to me). I don't think it is a good deal unless the banks were willing to pay you that, and even then you are better off staying away from them unless you have firm control over your finances.

Good luck on work in the summer. If I didn't have kids or a 45 year old house, i would probably have a second job just to do something different.

rocky
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No. of Recommendations: 8
Me watch the kids - the wife work. I dont think think that is a good plan. She does not have a college degree and would have a very hard time making more money than me. Our town is in the middle of KS. Population about 35k. Additionally, I don't have the PATIENCE to watch my kids all day. So, that is out. She does get out at night. Makes a few extra bucks cleaning the dance studio (which all go to our girls dancing lessons) and cleaning a dental office. So, she get out at least 4 times a week and brings in about 300 bucks per month.

You can't afford dance lessons for three kids. Especially not if you have to shell out for fancy costumes and recital fees.
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No. of Recommendations: 4
Makes a few extra bucks cleaning the dance studio (which all go to our girls dancing lessons) and cleaning a dental office. So, she get out at least 4 times a week and brings in about 300 bucks per month.

OK, there's a problem here.

I suspect the dance hall cleaning was done on a barter basis so the girls could get dancing lessons? Been there, done that.

When you barter your services, you're throwing your financial planning askew. It looks innocent enough because you're not really spending money on the dance lessons, but that's where the reasoning gets specious.

The work done for the dance studio is energy that is producing hidden income that could be allocated to more important expenditures, like cc debt.

When it goes to dance lessons, you're expending energy that you really don't have on something that you really don't need.

It's tough to face up to, but you really need to rein in your need to satisfy your wife and kids' every want and start satisfying their needs with some tough love.

MOI
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No. of Recommendations: 4
It's tough to face up to, but you really need to rein in your need to satisfy your wife and kids' every want and start satisfying their needs with some tough love.

I'll go one step further. The girls are 2, 4, and 6. They might enjoy the dance lessons, but I'd be surprised if they had actually asked for them. You've said that your wife had a horrible childhood (and I'm not asking for details, believe me) and I wonder if she is projecting her image of what a perfect childhood is onto your daughters. Sort of living vicariously through them.

Do any of them show any special aptitude for dance? Are you training a future Isadora Duncan, Martha Graham or Twyla Tharp? Is this something that could stop until the debts were paid off?

Nancy
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No. of Recommendations: 0
By the way, cgk, if you are interested in learning how to do the formatting, this tutorial should help.

http://www.fool.com/help/index.htm?display=community02

Nancy
hope you don't mind having me shorten your name, but I'm having difficulties addressing you using what I assume are your daughters' names.
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MOI - you hit the nail on the hammer. I agree with you 100%. Unfortunately she has it all worked out in her head the wrong way (ie. I earned this money, so they can dance with it if I say they can. . . Barter with the studio owner...)

And what does what you earn pay for?

Take it away.

MOI
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No. of Recommendations: 8
I'm just going to have to FIRST lead by example (ie. trim my OWN spending) and then be assertive when she once to buy a hundred dollar American Beauty Horse for one of our little darlings . . .

In couples therapy, money issues are rarely about money.

You, your wife, and your children deserve a better family than this. I don't know what resources are available where you live, but I would be very surprised if you were able to change your situation without counseling.

$.02
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No. of Recommendations: 6
cholegracekelcy,

You wrote, Her amazing would be something to the effect of 'we would be better off living in a shoebox then living with an as--wh--- such as you . . .'

You've got to be kidding. If my ex-wife had ever talked to me like that... Well, the divorce would certainly have gone through a lot sooner.

I would have suggested she find said shoebox and then told her to be sure to leave a forwarding address so I could have the papers served.

Oh wait. Something like that eventually did happen. Of course by then our marriage had already been a farce for about 10 years.

The really stupid thing on my part was that I keep "seeing" her (about once/month). That left me in a quandary. After about 6 months of that, it should have been obvious that we could be together for more than a day without getting into another fight ... but I kept procrastinating because we'd always try again the next month.

Man. I still wish I had about 14 years of my life (marriage) back. I was so miserable. And I was such an idiot for putting up with it for so long ... despite the kids.

I think even my kids wished we'd gotten divorced sooner. They hated what we had for a family life. And they hated each other ... at least until after she and I finally separated. Then they found they could tolerate each other.

Did I mention that my ex-wife tried to do a lot of those after school programs too? I don't recall dance lessons, but there were lots of other things - especially for our daughter. She really fawned over our daughter - putting her in things like the Texas Girls Choir trying to get her ahead in school. My daughter graduated HS at 16 with some college credits from the local junior college already on her record ... but both kids were really classic under-achievers - they only did what they had to to get passing grades - but my ex-wife was always pushing our daughter to take advanced classes and extra courses... Not so our son.

- Joel
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No. of Recommendations: 14
You don't have a financial problem. You have a relationship problem. If the two of you (you and your wife) can't work together to come up with a financial plan that both of you agree on with each of you compromising on some things then the primary problem is not the financial one. You said you tried counseling and it didn't help. Try another therapist or counselor. They aren't all the same.
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No. of Recommendations: 9
Additionally, I don't have the PATIENCE to watch my kids all day.

I think I know why this is so.

My wife and I are very distant. She thinks I'm a poor dad. She has little to no respect for me. That feeling runs mutual. We went to counseling but it was worthless. You had the WORST childhood in the world. But, occasionally we have a few good moments and for the sake of us all - hopefully God will allow a few more.

My guess: You're spending so much of your emotional energy just holding yourself together while living with this woman that you don't have any left over for anything else. No energy to appreciate being a teacher, no energy to have patience with your own kids, no energy to put your foot down and refuse to live like you hate living.

You need to either get this relationship fixed or get out of it. It's not good for you and it's not going to be good for the kids, either. I have a pretty screwed up daughter who might have been less screwed up if I'd sought a divorce twelve years earlier. Or the damage might have been easier to repair if I'd sought a divorce five years earlier. I'll never know.

In my case, the issues weren't really about money. They were about trust and respect. I couldn't trust her, and she didn't respect me. Money was simply the quantifiable, objective symptom. The other symptoms got glossed over by emotional pressure until I started getting out and saw how bad things had been.

You sound like you're in a very similar place to where I was and where Joel was. It isn't fun, and you don't want to stay there your whole life.

Patzer
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No. of Recommendations: 0
This has probably already been addressed, Dean, because I haven't read the entire thread (playing post-surgery catch-up on everything here at the Fool!), but the IRS actually has a site where you can put in your earnings details and then it'll spit out what your withholdings SHOULD be.

Here: http://www.irs.gov/individuals/article/0,,id=96196,00.html

If the link doesn't work, go to irs.gov, click individual, then withholding calculator. That should help you figure out what you should be - I took what the IRS told me, and then did one fewer withholding, just in case. Because I have no desire to owe the government any money, and that way I'll get a little less back as an interest-free loan to the government.

Keep in mind that your return WILL be less this year because Obama did that tax stimulus on everyone's paychecks, rather than do a lump sum. So odds are, you won't be getting $4k back in April(ish) because you've already been getting a little bit more back each check.

Do you have a BSc or BA degree? If there's a local community college, you should be able to teach there (most community colleges want their teachers to have at least one degree up from the degree they give, and a community college is typically an associate's, so a bachelor's may be able to get you a summertime job). Several of our local teachers do that, and earn more from the community college per hour of work spent than they do from their ISD contract.
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No. of Recommendations: 1
Lastly, I know there is an option to email the author directly. Please don't do that for 'us'. As she reads email all day while I'm at work. That and watch soap operas and 'work' with our two under school age kids while are large home stays a giant mess. . .

I don't know what kind of computer set-up you have, but would it be possible for you to set up another account on Yahoo or Gmail, and log-out every time you use it? Then you could change your TMF email link to the new ID. And does she know your password for the TMF site? You could log out, clear your cookie stash and the next time you log on just make sure you don't click the "Remember me on this computer" button. And even if she does know the password to this site you can change it.

The marriage sounds worse than I imagined. I have absolutely no suggestions, other than to remind you that plenty of kids have grown up with divorced parents, and a number of them have survived.

Nancy
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No. of Recommendations: 9
So, why did I marry her in the first place? I was a horny old dude and she looked good. Now she is fat. . .


The problems in your marriage are not all her fault. You have some issues, too.
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That sounds like a lot of work.

It isn't, actually. It would take a couple of minutes to set up the email account, then you can submit the change to the Fool and it will be altered the next time you logon, and there's something somewhere regarding changing the password. It isn't much work compared to retaining some privacy on the computer. In fact, I have a Yahoo account (they're free) and I use it when ordering things over the internet, so the regular arrival of certificates, notification of sales, announcements that something just like something I bought four years ago is now available, and other clogging sort of emails are kept out of my main email.

Just remember this: you decided that your privacy was not worth the effort. Everything you write you will have to assume will be read by her.

Nancy
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No. of Recommendations: 1
In my view, you have identified two important problems:


<<Basic problem - we are living like we still made my wife's 20k per year like she did two years ago and for the 4 years previous. Old habits are hard to break. But, I'm determined to break this one, go cash only, and get this 'small' amount of debt taken care of. Get my emergency cash back up and watch my spending. Lead by example. I have not done a good job of that lately.
>>


If you really take this one to heart you can probably figure out ways to deal with it.


<<My wife and I are very distant. She thinks I'm a poor dad. She has little to no respect for me. That feeling runs mutual. We went to counseling but it was worthless. You had the WORST childhood in the world. But, occasionally we have a few good moments and for the sake of us all - hopefully God will allow a few more.
>>


Frankly, this sounds like the more fundamental problem. For your wife to consider you a poor dad under the circumstances you describe seems unreasonable to the point of being ludicrous. You are taking responsibility for supporting and managing the family and enabling her to spend huge amounts of time with the children.

That is a sacrifice for you and a benefit for her. To have that kind of attitude is biting the hand that, literally, is feeding her.

You probably need to find another therapist who can help improve the relationship between you and your wife. It sounds like poison to me. And you need to find ways to deal with the stress of teaching that threatens to eat you up.


Good luck.



Seattle Pioneer
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No. of Recommendations: 7
<<Nobody said parenting was for wimps. And, I'm a wimp. I told her TWO was all I could handle -- but she acted like the world would end - month after month after month - unless I relented to our third and final edition. Of whom I love very much.
>>


Frankly, this again suggests that your wife is unreasonable and unfair. And manipulative.

Those are not attractive qualities.



Seattle Pioneer
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No. of Recommendations: 2
<<*****Dean agrees with you 100%. Unfortunately the wife doesn't. She thinks they are necessary. BARF. . .

>>


More evidence that your wife is unreasonable. Do we see a pattern developing?


Being a stay at home mom is probably a great benefit for children, usually. But it is a luxury these days that many families cannot afford.

AT A MINIMUM it means sacrificing in other ways in order to make that luxury affordable. You haven't done that and you wife apparently refuses to do that.

That is unreasonable. If dance lessons are deemed to be essential, your wife needs to find a real job to produce the income to support the dance lessons and other expenses of the household. If she isn't going to do that, then you need to cut expenses to the point that you can live, comfortably and with a reasonable level of stress, on your income.

If you don't do that, you are heading for either a financial or emotional crack up. Personally, I'd confront the issue now, before the harm done becomes more much greater. The longer you wait, the greater the damage and harm that will be done.



Seattle Pioneer
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As far as work in the summer, I would want nothing to do with kids.

I can understand that, but there are many other options. Teachers I know have done the following over the summer--the first few are relevant to your work so you might have some of the needed skills already:
- Part-time personal trainer, at first at a gym, later freelance at peoples' homes
- Massage therapist
- Town water aerobics instructor at a Senior Center
- Pilates instructor
- Part-time clerical work at a small business
- Part-time heating oil sales
- Retail sales (with discount on purchases)
- Plant and maintain a huge garden that provided most of the year-round vegetables and some of the fruit for a family of 7 (his SAHW did all the canning & freeaing)
- Weekend bank teller
- Adult ESL (English as second language)
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But, then all see has to do is a search under my old user name (chloegracekelcy) the order of our three daughters -- to find this thread. Maybe Miss Detective wife wouldn't think to try that string. But maybe she would and maybe it would be good for her to find it. "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."

If you feel that there's a privacy violation, the Fool can change the user name on the posts. They've done so in the past.

Look, I'm not going to demand that you cut her off from your posts. That's up to you. All I'm doing is making sure that you understand that you have made a deliberate decision to let her read your posts.

And, to state again, I'm by no means a perfect dad (one does not exist) but I do plenty with my girls daily and they love me and I love them.

I never thought otherwise.

Nancy
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No. of Recommendations: 6
But, then all see has to do is a search under my old user name (chloegracekelcy) the order of our three daughters -- to find this thread. Maybe Miss Detective wife wouldn't think to try that string. But maybe she would and maybe it would be good for her to find it.

The super freakin' unreasonable BSC wife can follow one of two patterns. She can be a stalker type, in which case she'll find you from the content regardless of the screen name. Or she can be the do what she wants anyway type, in which case she won't be here unless you stand over her and force her to browse to this site.

We would find out if she's a stalker when she starts posting her view of your story. You would find out when she starts yelling at you about what you said here.

If she turns out to be the stalker type, it doesn't matter what you do. If she turns out to be the type that doesn't look at what you ask her to look at, you could assure a modicum of privacy by changing screen names and getting a separate email address. It's your choice, but bear in mind that some people might reply by email because they either missed your post asking them not to or they didn't remember it at the time they replied.

"You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."

I don't think this particular quote is very apt for your situation. Maybe if you added, ". . . but first it will pi$$ you off." (Gloria Steinam?) The point is, knowing the truth about your situation is necessary but insufficient. Once you understand what is going on, you still have to take action to change things; and the needed action may be difficult both technically and emotionally. After you decide on an appropriate course of action, fortitude and consistency in the face of a lot of emotional pressure will be necessary. A better quote from a famous teacher might be, "Get thee behind me, Satan!"

I'm by no means a perfect dad (one does not exist) but I do plenty with my girls daily and they love me and I love them.

Your situation isn't just about money, or just about money and how you and your wife fail to relate to each other. It's also, as you note, about the kids. If I'm understanding the situation between you and your wife properly, your daughters are taking emotional damage from the status quo. They are also learning from your wife's example how women are supposed to live. That's probably not a set of habits you want your daughters to learn.

Patzer
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No. of Recommendations: 7
The degree of apathy towards your wife finding about all this, Dean, would be disturbing, but it seems like you've made your own decision about things and just haven't had the time, energy, or inclination to actually act on it. Your wife won't attend therapy. She won't get on board financially because she has all these wants, these things she wished she had as a child, and is living vicariously through the girls. It sounds to me that the only option to salvage your OWN finance, to salvage your relationship with your daughters, and to eliminate a leech relationship, is to seek a divorce. Which yes, is stressful, is time-consuming, but I think that at this point, there isn't another option. You're ruining yourself because of what she wants. She's getting everything she wants (eventually) because she has the patience to be able to wear you down (which is pretty phenomenal, but if she just lets the kids tear around the house doing whatever while she watches soaps and stalks your email, I'm not surprised she has the patience to do that). She's not according you the basic respect required of being married. She's poisoning your children.

I grew up in a home like that, and my parents are still married (they've both been swearing divorce for the past fifteen years, but I know they won't). They should have gotten divorced something like ten or fifteen years ago, when this whole mess started. They should have divorced sometime when the first threats of "do this or I'll divorce you" started. That's not any way for you to live, and speaking as a child of that sort of situation, it's NOT any way for your children to live. It WILL cause them more problems than a divorce will. You're also running the risk of turning all three girls into total spendthrifts with the way your wife is(n't) teaching them how to live. They want it, they get it. Teach your children the value of a dollar. Obviously your wife doesn't understand it, won't understand it, and it sounds like for your own emotional health you need to actually sever those ties.

I'm getting a lot of apathy and 'whatever' sort of attitude from you with the whole truth shall set you free quote, and your reactions about your wife. Perhaps you should bring that up in your next meeting with your psychotherapist, and what he/she thinks about you starting to move through the divorce process. I think that may be a good option for you, because as others have stated, this is so much more than a financial situation. This is your life that's standing on the precipice and teetering dangerously, not just your funds.
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Books, books and more books . . .

That's my addiction too. Tracking how much I was spending was a big shock!

I started going to the public library regularly. (Unless you live in Philadelphia http://libwww.freelibrary.org/closing/ )

Vickifool
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Oh, and Dean;

I would recommend that you separate your finances. I don't know the whole procedure, but other people on the board do. This would be termed "Damage Control."

Nancy
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MOI - you hit the nail on the hammer. I agree with you 100%. Unfortunately she has it all worked out in her head the wrong way (ie. I earned this money, so they can dance with it if I say they can. . . Barter with the studio owner...)

I'm going to hit it again.

This isn't about money or money management. You're just trying to get us to agree with you about how bad your wife is.

You'll never sort this out. It's serving you too well.

Your wife may well have good reason for criticizing you. She isn't here to tell her side of the story.

Your finances are the least of your problems.

I remove myself from this game.

MOI
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Hmmm. I think Dean has it right. Hiding all this from his wife is pointless. The goal here is not secrecy. The goal is financial stability. (One might also hope for marital stability, but that's another board entirely, and probably a whole lot of therapy, too.)

So, Dean. I think you're absolutely right to allow your wife to see these posts. In fact, you might want to leave a window open, go get your wife, sit her down, and say, "I wrote this. Thought you might like to read it. I'll let you know when I decide what I'm going to do."

Because, really. Hiding your decisions and approach is unlikely to be productive -- and you don't need to. You clearly have the strength and are getting to the point of having the resolve to act to change your financial situation. You're absolutely right that you face a very difficult choice about what you're going to do. But that's not about her -- it's about you.

You have a whole environment to consider. Wife, kids, dog, cat, house, debt, income, teaching, etc. The only thing you control in all that, and that imperfectly, is your own actions. Focus there, as you have been. Can't change the wife and you've already tried. You recognize the harm that's being done to you and your kids. You know there is also potential harm in your actions, and I'm sure you want to take the course that does the most good for the most people. That's really hard to do, and even -wanting- to doesn't always get it done.

But keep focusing on what -you- can do. Examples:

- I will (or will not) continue to put my income into an account someone else can access.
- I will (or will not) continue to use or be named on a credit card account that someone else can access.
- I will (or will not) continue to provide funds for [insert activity X here].
- I will (or will not) take action to reduce the cost of the items I pay for.

If someone else complains about those actions, well, it appears you've caved to a few major complaints before (dog, cat, kid). Some of those seem to have worked out well (kid), some may not have. That's an area where you can work with your therapist on where your will/will not decisions may not be reasonable. It's never easy to figure out, particularly with very long-term decisions about animals and kids and houses.
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Your situation sounds very similar to that of someone I work with. His wife, a SAHM, wanted more babies, more pets, more of the stuff she saw on TV, more anything and everything... and has no clue about responsible spending.

Despite conservative teachings, many women are simply not fulfilled by staying home all day with very little meaningful work to do. Some women can *make* it meaningful by creating wonderful homes, working hard to find good deals on things, etc. I'm not saying that being a SAHM is always bonbons and soap operas. But it certainly *can* be that for some women. And once that happens, many women lose their self-respect and feelings of self-worth and they start looking for things to occupy them. Like another baby or a pet. Or they want to buy those things that the people on TV use that make them look so happy.

Additionally, being a dependent can create a lot of resentment. While I agree with the advice that says she should be working at something that supports the household's main goals instead of dance lessons, I also see her point that SHE is the one doing the work. If you don't like what she chooses to work for, she simply won't work. What other control does she have anymore? She has no funds she can truly call her own, no work to do that you or she respects and considers important, and you two hate each other. How unhappy she must be.

Why should she try to resolve the money issues? What would it do for her? How would it make her happier or give her anything she wants?

Perhaps you could work on something to fix that problem. Maybe if you discussed her getting a job AND TOLD HER SHE COULD KEEP THE MONEY it would be incentive to her. Why should she work now, if it's just something else you're going to use to reach YOUR goals?

Don't make the mistake of thinking I'm not 100% on your side here. But you can't motivate another person without an understanding of what carrot to use, and I think you've been using the wrong carrot.


Frydaze1
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<<Additionally, being a dependent can create a lot of resentment. While I agree with the advice that says she should be working at something that supports the household's main goals instead of dance lessons, I also see her point that SHE is the one doing the work. If you don't like what she chooses to work for, she simply won't work. What other control does she have anymore? >>


Oh, come on. That is the argument and approach used by a spoiled child.

An adult is going to be looking at the welfare of the whole household as their primary means of deciding what to do. People may not do that very well, and may kid themselves about their actions, but that's what adults do, in my view.



Seattle Pioneer
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Oh, come on. That is the argument and approach used by a spoiled child.

An adult is going to be looking at the welfare of the whole household as their primary means of deciding what to do. People may not do that very well, and may kid themselves about their actions, but that's what adults do, in my view.


And she is NOT behaving like a spoiled child? Being a dependent whose money decisions can be disregarded because it isn't HER money isn't putting her in the position of a child?

I agree that it would be best if she worked toward the household goals because they were her goals also and she wanted what was clearly best for the family... but that approach hasn't worked. So while it would be great if she woke up tomorrow behaving like what you and I consider an adult, it's probably not going to happen.

Definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

I'm suggesting giving her a reason to change and helping her be a fulfilled, happy person who can then see beyond her own unhappiness and work on the family happiness. You're suggesting... insanity?

Frydaze1
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<<I'm suggesting giving her a reason to change and helping her be a fulfilled, happy person who can then see beyond her own unhappiness and work on the family happiness. You're suggesting... insanity?

Frydaze1

>>


I'm not quite sure what you do with a spoiled child who gote exactly what she wanted (three children, stay at home mom, dance lessons for the kids) and is profoundly unhappy (you suggest) BECAUSE SHE GOT WHAT SHE WANTED AND THREW TANTRUMS TO GET.

Giving in some more is what sounds like insanity to me.



Seattle Pioneer
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Giving in some more is what sounds like insanity to me.

I'm not suggesting giving in. I'm suggesting making her a full member of the partnership with value, respect, and responsibilities. Help her to grow up, which is what clearly hasn't happened here. And clearly she doesn't know how to. Some guidance would probably do a world of good.

Frydaze1
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Okay, and you think that going home telling her that she's not doing anything but goofing off and getting fat is going to help solve the problem.

How's that working for you so far?

Or there's the suggestion that you cut her off from all money (which I don't disagree with at all) and tell her "tough sh*t, I'm the one earning and you're just spending and you can kiss my azz" and that's going to... what? Make her all excited to get a job and clean the house and greet you at the door with kisses and dinner?

If you want her cooperation in any of this, you're going to have to find a reason SHE sees as valid for cooperating. Otherwise nothing is going to change.

If you just don't care anymore and want a divorce, then there's no discussion left to have here.

Frydaze1
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<<Giving in some more is what sounds like insanity to me.

I'm not suggesting giving in. I'm suggesting making her a full member of the partnership with value, respect, and responsibilities. Help her to grow up, which is what clearly hasn't happened here. And clearly she doesn't know how to. Some guidance would probably do a world of good.
>>


That sounds fine, but she has been getting exactly what she wants on very critical decisions all along, and you suggest that is leaving her profoundly unhappy.

Perhaps it is. And it does sound like she may be have chronic depression over her situation. I've been depressed when I got exactly what I wanted and it didn't work for me.

But more of the same was not a solution for that problem.



Seattle Pioneer
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<<If you want her cooperation in any of this, you're going to have to find a reason SHE sees as valid for cooperating. Otherwise nothing is going to change.
>>


The real reason is what we've already discussed: understanding that the long run interests of the family require change, and working to make those changes work.

In other words, she needs to start acting like an adult.

Personal attacks on getting fat, messy house and such are unlikely to be helpful, I agree.

Perhaps a good place to start would be a simple acknowledgement that there is limited cash to spend without getting farther into dangerous amounts of debt. Dramatizing the FACT we all recognize that the status quo can't continue without threatening and harming the family. That OUGHT to be motivation to start thinking seriously about the changes that need to be made.

And both parents should start working together to find those solutions and changes.

Pardon me for suggesting reasonable actions to take ---- I know these things aren't easy or they would already be done.



Seattle Pioneer
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<<PS:

Why dosen't she feel more 'duty-bound'? IE, 'here is my hard working husband. I will keep the house nice NOT only for HIM but also ROLE-modeling for my daughters how to do it. I will also make a meal every now and then since he goes to work daily and puts a roof over our head, food in our bellies, etc..." I don't get that part. I figured it was part of the 'deal'. Silly me.

>>


This kind of thing sounds like depression and despair. Like what you are feeling except worse, perhaps. You are still handling the stresses of daily living, so far. It sounds like they are overwhelming your wife.

That's no fun. I've been there on a few occasions.


Seattle Pioneer
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Dramatizing the FACT we all recognize that the status quo can't continue without threatening and harming the family. That OUGHT to be motivation to start thinking seriously about the changes that need to be made.

What fact is that you're talking about? All the bills still get paid on time, and the family isn't being harmed. And the extras she wants her children to have, like dance lessons, she's working herself to provide.

*I* know what the danger is, but she has no reason to see it. And while maybe it "ought" to be motivation enough, it hasn't been. And it doesn't sound like she's going to be receptive to any suggestions from him on why she should do it "his way" when her way has been fine for her.

Why do you object to my suggestion that she get a full-time job and use that money for all of the extra things that she's been purchasing anyway, instead of using the money he's earning and that he wants to dedicate to taking care of the household priorities as he sees them?

What it is about working full time that you see as him giving in and spoiling her? Is your full time job that much fun? Mine is work, and I'd much rather be home all day. But since *I* have control over where the money goes, I'm willing to bust my azz earning that money.


Frydaze1
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She needs to be on an AD. She used to be on an AD. She stopped and no one knows why.

That's extremely common. Maybe step 1 is getting that fixed. The rest probably won't change until after that.

Good luck!

Frydaze1
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You don't have a financial problem. You have a relationship problem.

Heh. I finally read this thread, and was about to say this before getting to your post, DM.

I mean really, why even bother running the math on a BT offer? Numbers are easy. People are difficult. They don't need a financial advisor, they need a marriage counselor. Or divorce attorneys.

From the OP:
Tried counseling twice with two different counselors. It didn't work. I think basically she 'got her man' then over time got 'her kids' and now doesn't give a sh-- about me

If my wife ever felt that way about me, papers would be filed the next day (Of course, I might wonder why she felt that way about me, too).

<< So, why did I marry her in the first place? I was a horny old dude and she looked good. Now she is fat. . .>>

The problems in your marriage are not all her fault. You have some issues, too.


Yeah, what GWQ said. There are many reasons I married my wife, and her looks (which I thought and still think are great) were a small part of the reason. I also went into the relationship well aware of the possible issues (because no, she's not perfect. Of course, my list of flaws could fill a room). If the only reason you married her was because she was fairly hot and let you stick your thingy in her, then you've got some things to deal with yourownself

I've got news for you. Neither of you respect the other, and that means your relationship is doomed to failure. Now, maybe you do and we're just hearing the worst of it, Lord knows we all vent occasionally and if someone judged my relationship by my venting alone they'd have a negative view of me and my spouse. But really, this sounds bloody awful. You think your relationship is good for anyone?

Free advice, which is worth what you paid but what the heck - look at yourself first. What do you want out of a relationship, why did you really get into this one, how would you like it to be in a perfect world. What do you see as positives in your marriage now? Anything? What are the negatives? Will any of them change. Can they be mitigated? Are any deal breakers?

Frankly, you sound like someone who wouldn't mind being divorced, but doesn't want to be the one to do the work to initiate it. Like saying "maybe she'll find this thread, and then she'll get pissed off enough to leave, the truth will set you free" and whatnot. Unless you've been telling your wife what you've been saying here, there's a phrase for that sort of behavior, and it's "passive-aggressive".

And frankly, the whole thing about being a parent bugging you rubs me the wrong way. But hey, that's just me.

-synchronicity
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*****Yes, said very well. She needs to be on an AD. She used to be on an AD. She stopped and no one knows why. . . "Shoot self in foot disease???"

I call it self-sabotage. And many people are prone to it. I was wondering about something, and I'm only speculating, but you had said she was abused, and I've been wondering if this is some sort of "I'm not worthy of being loved because of the bad things that happened to me, so I'll keep pushing until he gives up on me." This isn't a conscious sort of idea, it's something buried deep.

But unfortunately, it's the story of how many psychiatrists it takes to change a light bulb: only one, but the light bulb has to want to change. I have no idea how to get her to want to change.

Nancy
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I'm suggesting she grow up and take a reality pill NOW. I'm suggesting she keep the house neater and watch less TV and spend less time of the PC so she could do the above. I'm out their busting my bu--, and I come home and the house is a dump and she is sitting in front of the PC. Talk about 'creating' resentment. . . Sure, the carrot thing -- but sitting around getting fat, letting the house fall down around her ears - just to do her small jobs to 'pay' for dance is not what I think is best for the family.

And what are you doing to help your family and your home be a better place?

You sound like a selfish jerk.

Watching three kids is very tiring just making sure they're fed, diapered/taken potty, not killing each other, going grocery shopping, etc.

Instead of bitching and moaning, try scrubbing a toilet or cooking a meal. Do some laundry.

Quit calling your wife fat and start acting like a man instead of a whiny child whose life isn't just like some 1950's sitcom.
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She was severely abused as a child and would NEVER leave our children at a daycare - so, here working anywhere but HOME is out.

I fear for your children.

One of the fallouts from my divorce was that I got to hear what my daughter said about what went on at home when I was at work. There was a lot of stuff the ex didn't tell me. Daughter may have a faulty memory, and her stories certainly have been filtered by the way she views things, but what I heard daughter say the ex did was consistent with things the ex did to me. It's something of a miracle that daughter doesn't hate me for failing to protect her.

You might not think your wife would be abusive, and she almost certainly would not regard herself as abusive, but still . . . I fear for your children.

Patzer
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You and your wife have reached the point of contempt for each other.

Marriages don't come back from that precipice.

You should do what you need to do to maintain your mental health and protect your daughters.

- Megan
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Therefore, maybe a good first step is to get her in to see my Shrunk and get her back on that AD

NoNoNoNoNo!

She needs her own shrink. Trust me on this. And most psychiatrists would refuse to see both husband and wife unless they were doing couples therapy.

Ask your shrink for a recommendation.

Nancy
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Dean says: yeah, we don't respect each other. So, yeah - we do have issues.

Your life, your choices. In my life, not respecting each other isn't "having issues", it's "then why the heck are you married, and do you reall expect anything other than a miserable existence?"

If I have no respect for my wife, why should I listen to a darn thing she says? And vice versa?

Getting married for the 'wrong reasons' can have a high price tag!

And you're still married...why, again?

-synchronicity
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<<And you're still married...why, again?

>>


I have a good friend who divorced his wife, who was chronically and profoundly depressed and had other serious psychiatric issues.

He used to explain to me how this made living with her impossible, and of course he had a good point. But I once made the point that as long as he was married, their two children had one crazy parent and one sane parent in the household.

After the divorce, the ex wife got custody and the two children lived only with one crazylady who couldn't manage much very well at all.

One of the children got heavily involved in drugs and alcohol as a teenager, and has been on SSI for years (now age 40 or so) and unemployable.

The girl has struggled to make a life for herself, and is now a hospital dietician and doing pretty well. Single at age 35.


So, arguably a 50% casualty rate that might be due to leaving children with someone who can't manage the responsibility.


<<And you're still married...why, again?
>>


That might be the best reason to stay married in a bad situation. It is often suggested that a divorce might be better than staying married "for the children." That might be true in some cases, and not true in other cases where the spouse likely to get custody can't really manage the responsibility of child raising adequately.



Seattle Pioneer
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It might be very hard emotional on our girls.

The two of you hating each other is harder on your girls than a divorce would be.

- Megan
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They can do college (if they even want to go, their choice, not mine) like their old man did. Loans, grants, scholarships and WORK.

CGK,

This is absolutely a valid choice for you and your wife to make, but please make sure to talk to your wife and see if she agrees with this. If you have drastically different expectations for this, you need to come to an agreement ASAP so you can figure out how to work the plan. You also owe it to your daughters to communicate said plan, especially if the plan involves no contributions to their college.

d
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CGK,

You posted the following:

Grocercies -- we waste too much money there - my wife is always buying junk/processed food (chips, ice cream, etc...)


I just went to buying all food for the family (groceries and dining out) with CASH ONLY. By CASH I mean green crispy bills from the bank - not a debit card, not a CC that I say I will pay off immediately - LEAFY GREEN CASH.

It's really enlightening to do this, and also very empowering. Now, I will grant, I have been exercising a lot of financial discipline for longer than you and your wife, but this is an idea you may want to think about.

I started doing this because of all the parts of my budget, food purchases are the hardest for me to regulate since they happen so frequently. Other bills are paid once per month or something like that, but I go to the store every week, and was eating out way too frequently.

I decided how much cash to budget for groceries by looking at my average monthly spending on groceries for a year in Quicken. I also looked at my average monthly spending on dining out for a year, decided it was way too high, and picked a new amount for that cash allotment.

I've been doing this for 3 weeks and it has already changed the way I buy things. I am definitely thinking just that little bit harder about my purchases so that I spend a little bit less. And we have stayed UNDER our new dining out budget.

We're going to keep at this for a while and monitor a couple more areas that are candidates for cash budgeting. We may decide we like this enough to choose more categories to go all-cash with!

d
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Pre-tax, post tax? I don't know. My contract says they pay me 45k to teach. My wife makes about 4k doing odd jobs. I have already stated my debt here. It seems like with our usual tax return (around 4k) and living below our means (good luck/but we MUST LEARN how to do this) that we are OK. Are not all of my interest rates relatively low? I always pay above the minium and not plan on stopping that happen and then get our emergency funds built back up. I imagine they disappeared when the wife (and I) decided for her to stay home with our kids more. As stated before, debt can be wiped out - time lost cannot. Am I totally off my rocker here? People or money? Suzie O says people . . . For whatever that is worth . . .

The debt rates and things are not all that bad...BUT, what we are trying to encourage for you is to get off the debt wagon entirely. It's a different way of thinking for many people - some who can't even believe that it's POSSIBLE, but it's generally what we hope for people so they can have freedom to do other things.

If BOA is 3 % for 13 cycles with a 3 percent balance transfer -- isn't that a good deal? They could even do it as a direct deposit (NOT A CASH ADVANCE). Isn't that a good deal? I gather from most on this board that I should just stay away from CC all together. And, I can definitely see the reasoning behind that.

I do think that you should stay away from CCs all together if you can. That said, if you MUST MUST MUST spend this money on a roof, then you could do much worse than the BOA deal. I would try to work this out a different way without a CC if I could.

As a matter of fact, I am paying off CC debt myself, but also need to have someone look at my roof. I've been stockpiling my snowball lately due to uncertainty about jobs for DH and I. The job situation is very close to being resolve for both of us, but we may end up having to take that stockpile and spend on a roof repair or new roof - and if it's a new roof, we would have to take from our emergency fund too. I'd rather do that than take our MORE cc debt.

As far as work in the summer, I would want nothing to do with kids. Maybe 20 hours a week at a video store or something . . . I need a break from kids at the end of the year. He--, I need a break from them NOW. But, can't afford one.


You said you're a phys ed teacher, right? Could you perhaps take on personal training clients or something like that during the summer?
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have you conducted extensive surveys to make up your conclusions to this statement?

No, John Gottman has.

- Megan
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No, John Gottman has.

Link, please.

Nancy
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Link, please.

http://www.theartofloveandintimacy.com/2007/03/four-horseman...

That first link describes problematic conflict, but doesn't go on to explain how predictive Gottman found contempt in his long-term studies of relationships.

http://www.gottman.com/research/abstracts/detail.php?id=6

http://www.amazon.com/Marriage-Clinic-Norton-Professional-Bo...

http://www.amazon.com/What-Predicts-Divorce-Relationship-Pro...
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This entire thread makes me so sad. Your girls didn't do anything to deserve this.

Yes marriages can come back from the brink... mine did. We have been married 31 years and have 3 daughters 30, 28 and 22, and a 1 year old granddaughter.

I don't really have any advice since your wife seems resistant to counseling, but then have you told her she is fat? I might be resistant too. In other words, contempt breeds contempt.

The only person we can change is ourselves and hopefully from that change, your spouse will change. It takes time.

Good luck.

Cheryl B.
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<<have you conducted extensive surveys to make up your conclusions to this statement?

No, John Gottman has.

- Megan
>>


What a deal! A "study" to excuse the guilt parents ought to feel about divorce. Now it's a benefit for children!



Seattle Pioneer
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Yes, my wife and I are struggling. But can we do better? Yes. Have we done better in the past? Yes. Does the phrase 'ride the storm out' mean anything to you? In the meanwhile, I'll keep seeing my doc and I'll quit heaping gas on the fire (ie. being disrespectful towards her).

Remember that how you treat your wife is showing your daughters how their husbands should treat them someday.
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In terms of her food intake, you might tell her that you think more vegetables would be good for the kids, and suggest some vegetable dishes that are fairly easy. Even if you have to cook them yourself, or use frozen vegetables, it would be the first thin wedge of an overall diet change.

And it really would be good for the kids to start eating vegetables and fruit rather than the chips and Doritos they see. A lot of good or bad eating habits are formed at the kitchen table.

Nancy
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Good advice. Unfortunately she is the one that does the food buying.

So ask her to buy more vegetables. I sort of assumed that she was doing the shopping, and you would have to ask her. I thought if you presented the idea of more vegetables as being a benefit for the kids, she might start bringing some home, even if they were the frozen kind.

Nancy
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So ask her to buy more vegetables.

This couple has macro level problems and there's plenty of blame on both sides of it. So far there has been no indication that there is any interest in change. I would say when the husband starts listing what he is willing to do, maybe suggestions can be made. At this point joining him in assuming his wife is fat and it's because of the groceries is just piling on.

rad
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I don't treat her that bad. She got a third kid that I was not in agreement with. Our home on the market for 6 months. A dog. A cat. Two bunnies. EXENSIVE TOYS for our kids. The bills are ALWAYS paid on time and she has a very nice,new roof over her head.

Treating your wife with respect does not necessarily mean she gets everything she wants that you don't want. It's more about how things are handled when you disagree and she doesn't get everything she would like. You need to be able to respect her, but still not let her walk all over you.

Nancy, my MD brother tells his patients that WANT to lose weight, "that your diet begins at the store where you buy your food..." Good advice. Unfortunately she is the one that does the food buying. Why? I'm too tired and wasted. Yeah, I'm whining. ;-) But, facts are facts.

For your finances and her health to change, some of these facts need to change. It's up to you to figure out what changes you can make that would have a chance of improving things.

FWIW, I did the major grocery shopping for several years when I was working full time and then-wife was staying at home. The major reason for this was the $30 gallon of milk. If I sent her to the store for a gallon of milk, she'd come home with *one* gallon of milk after spending $29.XX. The remainder went for junk food and women's magazines. If I went to the store for milk, I'd spend under $5 and come home with two gallons of milk.

But take that for what it's worth. Where I ended up is not a place you want to go, so my example may have limited value for you.

Patzer
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'how divorce harms children'


Yes, I believe it can, but not necessarily.

My ex and I split up when our kids were 5 1/2 & 8. While it was tough for everyone at first, we eventually adjusted and as far as I can tell no permanent harm done to the children. They did extremely well in school, and both have good careers and have been self-supporting since graduating from college. One is happily married, the other happily single. Both say they remember happy childhoods and can give examples. And both are frugal and excellent savers (DS saved 32k in his first 6 years of teaching and bought a condo. DD saved 41k in 4 years of teaching and bought a masters degree).

Even in periods of most depressed misery in my marriage, I never failed to keep up with the laundry, grocery shopping, and getting 3 squares on the table every day (rest of housework...not so much). BTW, we had no credit cards then, uch less CC debt. I always took cash for grocery shopping and mentally added up the cost of everything and put things back if it looked like I might go over. And I didn't have a dryer--I hung out the wash outdoors in good weather or indoors on a large rack in front of a radiator. My daughter has especially happy memories of helping me with the wash.

Neither of my kids has ever mentioned how happy a childhood purchase made them, other than experiential purchases like weeklong oceanography camp or kayaking camp. They never had any special lessons; we couldn't afford it.
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Why dosen't she feel more 'duty-bound'? IE, 'here is my hard working husband. I will keep the house nice NOT only for HIM but also ROLE-modeling for my daughters how to do it. I will also make a meal every now and then since he goes to work daily and puts a roof over our head, food in our bellies, etc..." I don't get that part. I figured it was part of the 'deal'. Silly me.

I haven't read further yet but I just had to reply to this part. I've been the SAHM - and the clean house (when DH got home and could actually SEE it being clean) and the good dinner on the table, were NOT as easy as I thought they would be BEFORE I stayed at home. In fact, they were very hard, and didn't happen a lot of times (and thank goodness my DH didn't have your attitude, although I can also see it is an easy attitude to fall into).

LL
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but his income is $105K before bonuses (mine is $101K before taxes and pension).


I see the words. . .

Real people actually have family incomes like that?

It a whole 'nother world.

Ishtar
(makes 1/10 that)
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Me watch the kids - the wife work. I dont think think that is a good plan. She does not have a college degree and would have a very hard time making more money than me. Our town is in the middle of KS. Population about 35k. Additionally, I don't have the PATIENCE to watch my kids all day. So, that is out. She does get out at night. Makes a few extra bucks cleaning the dance studio (which all go to our girls dancing lessons) and cleaning a dental office. So, she get out at least 4 times a week and brings in about 300 bucks per month.


Wow, just wow.

Aren't they your kids, too?

I mean. . .

Wow.

And it's about bringing some MORE money in, not as much as you do, just more. Something she can do steady, like 20 hours a week at a movie theater or something, while you're home with the kids, for, what 4 or 5 hours at a time?

I kinda think you need more time with the kids, if you really feel you don't have the patience to be with them "all day."

Ok, I couldn't do all day, every day with mine, either, when she was a toddler. But I could do one day, or a few.

And if you don't think you can handle it all day for a couple of days a week, what makes you think she really can handle all day, every day? Maybe she's spending "too much" at the grocery store on junk as a stress reliever. You're reading books on how to relieve stress; what's she doing?

And I wouldn't say cleaning the dance studio is a good break from toddlers.

Ishtar
(sometimes glad to be a single parent, at least I know who to blame when things go badly)
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My guess: You're spending so much of your emotional energy just holding yourself together while living with this woman that you don't have any left over for anything else. No energy to appreciate being a teacher, no energy to have patience with your own kids, no energy to put your foot down and refuse to live like you hate living.

You need to either get this relationship fixed or get out of it. It's not good for you and it's not going to be good for the kids, either.


I think Patzer is nailing it, as usual, but then, he would, with his experience.

Ishtar
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Maybe that is what I need to do. But, I just hate to do that to my girls... UGH.

Um, the girls that you don't want to spend too much time with and have to have a furnished basement to escape to in order to get away from them?

How would that being different from you being happier and sharing custody?

Ishtar
(just wondering. I've been a single parent since day 1, so I don't really understand these things)
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That sounds like a lot of work. A great teacher once said, "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."

If her discovering this truth makes us free from this bad relationship (ie. via a divorce or we actually start to love/respect each other) than so be it.


You are too passive. You don't want to take direct action, so you want her to find out that you're calling her names behind her back so SHE'LL leave you, so you aren't the bad guy.

Dude, you don't need a vasectomy. You lost 'em ages ago.

Ishtar
(and they saw WOMEN play games)
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9 out of 10 therapists would tell you that she has more and that they are of a greater magntitude than me . . . Anyway . . . I just want to try to solve the problem. And yes, I am part of the problem. And yes, I see a shrink. She doesn't. My shrink reccd's that she does. She is resistant . . .


Discussion after the kids are in bed:

"Honey, I can't take this anymore. You have three choices:

1. go to counseling.

2. Get a job to pay for all the stuff you want. I'll pay for the house, the utilities and $x toward food, $y toward clothes for the kids. Anything else you think you want, you pay for, including dance classes, etc, YOU pay for.

3. We get divorced, and you'll end up having to work anyway sooner or later."

Done.

Yeah, you'll be sleeping in the basement that night, but the ax will have fallen, and you'll be in the position of power.

Ishtar
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I'm suggesting she grow up and take a reality pill NOW. I'm suggesting she keep the house neater and watch less TV and spend less time of the PC so she could do the above. I'm out their busting my bu--, and I come home and the house is a dump and she is sitting in front of the PC. Talk about 'creating' resentment. . . Sure, the carrot thing -- but sitting around getting fat, letting the house fall down around her ears - just to do her small jobs to 'pay' for dance is not what I think is best for the family.


OMG! Do you not see this as clear indication that SHE'S depressed?

Ishtar
(has done this)
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Why dosen't she feel more 'duty-bound'? IE, 'here is my hard working husband. I will keep the house nice NOT only for HIM but also ROLE-modeling for my daughters how to do it. I will also make a meal every now and then since he goes to work daily and puts a roof over our head, food in our bellies, etc..." I don't get that part. I figured it was part of the 'deal'. Silly me.


Because she's depressed. Here she is with everything she ever wanted to compensate for her lousy childhood and she still feels awful and she doesn't know why (since she won't go into therapy) and all you do is yell at her and try to control her more than she already feels controlled.

No, I'm not your wife. But I've been in this position.

Ishtar
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Maybe we've achieved what we can under this thread (titled 0% BOA).

I applaud

, I'll keep seeing my doc and I'll quit heaping gas on the fire (ie. being disrespectful towards her)
...being more respectful and on no-name calling

It's been quite a discussion, so having the upshot be a quietly determined statement is a good outcome.
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Yes, said very well. She needs to be on an AD. She used to be on an AD. She stopped and no one knows why. . . "Shoot self in foot disease???"


I'll avoid the whole "book that starts with a B" thing, because then you'd see me get even more judgmental.

But, I know this one:

She starts taking the AD. She feels better. She THINKS she feels better because she is stronger than the depression and she's "over it" and taking the AD shows weakness. So, she stops taking it, not realizing that the AD is the reason she feels better. Very quickly the depression comes crashing back and now she's too apathetic to go back to the doctor to proactively do anything about. Besides, that means she's weak again.


Ishtar
(BTDT multiple times)
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She was severely abused as a child and would NEVER leave our children at a daycare - so, here working anywhere but HOME is out.


Form a co-op with other mothers in the neighborhood. You watch my kids two days a week so I can get a PT job, and I'll watch yours for two days a week so you can get a PT job.

There are ways around it.

Or she could get a job in the evenings, when you're home with the kids.

Ishtar
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She was severely abused as a child and would NEVER leave our children at a daycare - so, here working anywhere but HOME is out.


Oh, and life isn't about absolutes. Absolutes drive me nuts. "Never" and "always" need to be striken from the language.

There is no "never" and "always" for every situation.

Besides, what does she think is going to happen if you leave her? Think the kids won't be in daycare? Because somehow I doubt you're making enough to pay child support for three kids AND alimony to keep her in the style to which she is acustomed to living in.

Ishtar
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One of the fallouts from my divorce was that I got to hear what my daughter said about what went on at home when I was at work. There was a lot of stuff the ex didn't tell me. Daughter may have a faulty memory, and her stories certainly have been filtered by the way she views things, but what I heard daughter say the ex did was consistent with things the ex did to me. It's something of a miracle that daughter doesn't hate me for failing to protect her.

You might not think your wife would be abusive, and she almost certainly would not regard herself as abusive, but still . . . I fear for your children.


*sigh*

I just have the biggest crush on Patzer.

Oh, I'm far too screwed up for him, and I know it, but I love just about everything he writes.

Ishtar
(feeling a bit silly)
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Dean now adds - yeah, that is a good point. With me whining about seeing a shrunk, taking head meds, being burned out - I'm definitely no cup of tea to live with right now. Magnify that by the fact that she quit taking her AD - and I can she how she would be overwhelmed. Therefore, maybe a good first step is to get her in to see my Shrunk and get her back on that AD and then I want be such a drain to deal with. Believe you me, on working on me. I don't take a head full of head dope and have blood work done for the fun of it . . .


I think she needs her OWN shrink. If she sees yours, she may feel manipulated.

Isthar
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Megan, you are quite a prophet. How do you know this for sure? Books have been written supporting both sides . . .

I've lived it, as a child.

Divorce happened when I was 20.

Everyone was much happier. I'd been begging mom to leave him since I was 10. I even grew to like him before he died. And I just adore his last wife.

Ok, he was my step-dad. But they'd been together since I was 3 and my bio-dad wasn't around much.

Ishtar
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Unfortunately she is the one that does the food buying. Why? I'm too tired and wasted. Yeah, I'm whining. ;-) But, facts are facts.


So, if she gets hit by a bus tomorrow, who will do the shopping?

You won't be LESS tired as a single parent.

When I was married, we shopped together.

Ishtar
just sayin'
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Sorry, yeilbagheera, you're right. I just hadn't gotten to that point in the thread yet. I was ages behind.

Ishtar
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<<Because she's depressed. Here she is with everything she ever wanted to compensate for her lousy childhood and she still feels awful and she doesn't know why (since she won't go into therapy) and all you do is yell at her and try to control her more than she already feels controlled.

No, I'm not your wife. But I've been in this position.

Ishtar

>>


It's a real bummer to get just what you want and then discover it doesn't work. Rather than heaven, you've created a little hell for yourself!

I've done that....



Seattle Pioneer
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It's a real bummer to get just what you want and then discover it doesn't work. Rather than heaven, you've created a little hell for yourself!

I've done that....


Getting a lot of insights to you on this thread, SP. Liking it.

Ishtar
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<<It's a real bummer to get just what you want and then discover it doesn't work. Rather than heaven, you've created a little hell for yourself!

I've done that....


Getting a lot of insights to you on this thread, SP. Liking it.

Ishtar

>>


That's very kind.


I might add that in the past decade, I've made choices that have worked much better for me, and at age 59, those choices have helped me create something approximating a little heaven of a life to live, at least for me.

Making and ultimately recognizing poor choices eventually helped me make better choices which led to much improved results.


Life's little ironies....



Seattle Pioneer
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Making and ultimately recognizing poor choices eventually helped me make better choices which led to much improved results.

To paraphrase (because it's one of my favorites):
Good judgement comes from experience. And a lot of experience comes from bad judgement.


Frydaze1
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Wow...I finally made it through the whole thread. This post jumped out at me:

And, I don't treat her that bad. She got a third kid that I was not in agreement with. Our home on the market for 6 months. A dog. A cat. Two bunnies. EXENSIVE TOYS for our kids. The bills are ALWAYS paid on time and she has a very nice,new roof over her head.

And the contempt you are expressing here is a sign of the resentment you feel after "letting" her have those things and doing the work to provide them. Neither of you is making decisions in partnership with the other, and the contempt and resentment is a result of that.

What kind of marriage do you want? What kind of example do you want to set for your kids? Answer those questions for yourself, with the kind of honesty that makes you bleed inside...and then talk to your wife about it. Not because you think she'll change, but because you need to tell her. She may be able to start to step up to the plate, she may not. She does sound depressed, so maybe that is part of the discussion. Depression is a hugely common side effect of child abuse, and the birth of children can exacerbate the problem, for a lot of reasons.

Good luck in this. You and your family have a long road ahead of you, whatever you choose to do from here on out.

Katy
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ishtarastarte,

42rocky2005 wrote, but his income is $105K before bonuses (mine is $101K before taxes and pension).

To which you replied, I see the words. . .

Real people actually have family incomes like that?

It a whole 'nother world.

Ishtar
(makes 1/10 that)


Yes, some real families really have that kind of income.

Personally, I don't see how a single mom could make ends meet in Sacramento, California on $20K/yr. I'd have a difficult time doing that here as a single man (unless my housing were paid by someone else), and housing is relatively cheap here. (Yes, I could probably pull it off, but it would pretty much suck.)

Right now I'm shooting for a post-retirement income in excess of $30K/year, not counting social security. And I'm hoping aj485 will still be providing my housing. And the cost of living in retirement is usually cheaper than while employed, unless you travel a lot or have a lot of medical issues.

- Joel
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Yes, but that is just ok in this area. We have a 1600 square foot 1965 home with the original kitchen and bathrooms.

In other places even in CA our income would get us further.

rocky
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Is a half-way clean house and a little respect too much to ask for?

Somedays I am sure it is.

rocky
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Too true. I actually miss Sacramento. Cost of living is quite a bit lower there. Of course, so were our salaries. But we could have bought a house similar to the one we have on just the salary I was making then.

rocky
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Yes, but that is just ok in this area. We have a 1600 square foot 1965 home with the original kitchen and bathrooms.

In other places even in CA our income would get us further.


Um, yeah. I make 1/10 that, and live in a 620ish sq ft one bedroom apt with a teenager.

It's a very, very different life.

On 1/4 your income, I'd be so much more comfy. Just sayin' it is hard for me to relate.

Ishtar
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Personally, I don't see how a single mom could make ends meet in Sacramento, California on $20K/yr. I'd have a difficult time doing that here as a single man (unless my housing were paid by someone else), and housing is relatively cheap here. (Yes, I could probably pull it off, but it would pretty much suck.)


Yeah, not easy.

Actually, taxable income was around $23k last year, about $18k from day job, $5k from tutoring. But, a little bit more from the VA, not taxable. Without it, I don't know where we'd be. And we're much better off than we were 3 years ago. But we'd be much more comfy on $50k, or even $40k.

Ishtar
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On 1/4 your income, I'd be so much more comfy. Just sayin' it is hard for me to relate.

That's how I feel about NYCInsanity's posts. The same sense of being in another world.

Nancy
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That's how I feel about NYCInsanity's posts. The same sense of being in another world.

Yeah, me, too. Had to stop reading his.

Ishtar
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Hopefully your teenager realizes how lucky they are to have what they have, and the awesome mom they have, Ishtar. I make a little more than you make, and end up wondering how I make ends meet sometimes.
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Making and ultimately recognizing poor choices eventually helped me make better choices which led to much improved results.

The way I see it is that each of us is the sum of all our parts and all our experiences -- these are the things that make us who we are.

Or as we say in the bead biz -- it's not a mistake; it's a learning opportunity.

~~ Alison
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My wife and I are very distant. She thinks I'm a poor dad. She has little to no respect for me. That feeling runs mutual. We went to counseling but it was worthless. You had the WORST childhood in the world. But, occasionally we have a few good moments and for the sake of us all - hopefully God will allow a few more.

You poor thing. No, I mean that - I'm not being sarcastic. As a divorcee, I've been there. Here is heart of all your stress. Do you know what kills relationships? Contempt.

My take on your situation: you are bending over backwards to please your wife. She thinks that, for whatever reason, you "owe" her which entitles her to spend as she pleases. In the meantime, you're trying to bury yourself and your problems with books. That's what I did and I had the added complication that, not only did Dumbo (the ex) treat me with contempt both in private and in public, he also carried on a very public affair. The breaking point? I found myself sitting on the bed crying, thinking "I can't go on living like this". My "life" consisted mainly of being in a permanent state of limbo, waiting for Dumbo to do x, y, or z, waiting to react to someone-else pulling the strings. Do you want to continue living like that? Or do you want to reclaim your life?

Blaming a bad childhood for ones actions as an adult is a convenient excuse but it is not adult behaviour - taking responsibility for one's actions - it's like a child saying "sorry, sir. Billy made me do it". The reality is that plenty of people have bad childhoods. A bad childhood may drive the motivations behind an action, but it does not excuse you from taking responsibility for those actions and their consequences. Anything else is just opportunistically laying a guilt trip on your partner in order to get your own way.

- Pam
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Divorce seems like a giant stressful mess

Do you know what the overwhelming emotion was that I had when I finally left Dumbo? Relief! If felt like a huge weight had lifted off my shoulders.

In my humble opinion, divorce isn't a source of stress - it's the time before the final decision is made that is full of stress.

To be blunt: get the divorce and then you won't need the shrink or the sedatives.

- Pam
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People or money? Suzie O says people . . . For whatever that is worth . . .

The thing is, it's not an either/or. It's, "People, then money, or money, then people?" And while I totally agree with putting the people first, you have to take care of the money to take care of the people. You can't just say, "People are more important than money, so I don't have to deal with money, 'cause it's not as important as people." It's not, but that doesn't mean it's not important, too.

If you don't want to take a second or summer job to make more money, and your wife doesn't want to, either, then you have to find a way to spend less. That's it. Money is finite, so you have to prioritize (what's most important to your people?) so that you don't end up in a situation that *really* harms the people you love because you didn't pay enough attention to the money.


--Booa
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However, as far as I know, my wife is faithful to me. And, I have done my fair share of spending also. We both agree and know that we need to spend less. NOW, for the actual discipline to do it? That is 'where the rubber meets the road...'

To the best of my knowledge and belief, my ex-wife was never sexually unfaithful to me. She was chronically and repeatedly unfaithful financially, and she told a lot of untruths. How many of the untruths were outright lies and how many were because she convinced herself that reality was different than what a rational person would perceive is a moot question at this point.

I knew about the money, because that left a paper trail and I could track things in detail. What I didn't realize in real time was, there was a lot of disrespect and bad faith negotiation on her part for literally years before she left. I didn't realize this until I started posting about some of my issues online, then going back and reading what I'd written a few months earlier.

Guess what? The emotional dynamics of my marriage were such that I was convinced for years that either she was making progress or about to make progress, or that some new agreement that we'd made would improve things. In actual fact, she never budged on anything and failed to honor any of those compromise agreements for longer than six months. One month would be a more typical average. But she was able to cast enough blame and emotional fog that I couldn't see it in real time.

So what happened? Our daughter developed emotional problems that required some severe intervention. It was clear that the mother-daughter relationship was near the center of what was going on. My mind clicked shut on the chances for the marriage when then-wife indicated that she would rather flush daughter's future down the toilet than make any effort to change herself.

After I got into the divorce proceeding, I saw that what then-wife had done included emotional abuse of me. I saw that her finanical infidelity should have been, in and of itself, sufficient grounds for divorce. But I didn't see that until the process was already started for other reasons.

Of course, your wife is not my wife and you are not me. But your emotional state sounds a heck of a lot like mine was. I urge you to journal your thoughts about what is going on, your plans for fixing things, and what you think your wife agrees to. Keep this journal with dates. It doesn't matter whether you use an online message board, keep a paper journal, or keep it locally on your computer.

What matters is, every couple of months you should go back and read those historical journal entries. Ask yourself, "What has changed since I wrote this? How did my plans for improving things work out?"

It was only by reading what I had written months before that I was able to understand that then-wife was doing *nothing* to improve things and was essentially refusing to honor *anything* she agreed to. She was so good at manipulating me emotionally that I wouldn't have seen this without a historical record to review.

And yes, I did my fair share of foolish spending. Much of it was in response to emotional pressure from then-wife. I will never know for sure, but I think that then-wife would regard the start of the marriage's deterioration from about the time I grew a backbone and stopped yielding to the pressure to spend foolishly.

I do hope you have more to work with than I did. But if it turns out that you don't, please remember that sleeping with another man is not the only form of marital infidelity.

Patzer
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<<To the best of my knowledge and belief, my ex-wife was never sexually unfaithful to me. She was chronically and repeatedly unfaithful financially, >>


Hmmmm. Financial unfaithfulness ---- interesting concept.


<<finanical infidelity >> Another interesting concept.


At least when done often enough and on a large enough scale, these would seem to be as important as other kinds of unfaithfulness and infidelity.



Seattle Pioneer
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I replyed before I got as far as reading that your wife is struggling with depression, so I may have been a bit hasty.

I really hope the two of you can grow a loving relationship and get passed all the current ugly issues.

- Pam
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My wife and I are very distant. She thinks I'm a poor dad. She has little to no respect for me. That feeling runs mutual. We went to counseling but it was worthless. You had the WORST childhood in the world. But, occasionally we have a few good moments and for the sake of us all - hopefully God will allow a few more.

Oh, my goodness. You are really in a horrible spot, aren't you? If your wife and you have lost respect for each other, no wonder you're feeling burnt out and don't have the patience to watch your kids all day--it sounds to me like there's no part of your day where you get renewed, healed, put back together, recharged. If your wife is feeling the same way, it might be at the root of why y'all are spending money the way you are--as a way to feel good, or see your kids feel good, for a little bit.

I'm really concerned for your well-being, and your family's well-being--you don't sound like you have much hope for things to get better.

Basic problem - we are living like we still made my wife's 20k per year like she did two years ago and for the 4 years previous. Old habits are hard to break. But, I'm determined to break this one, go cash only, and get this 'small' amount of debt taken care of. Get my emergency cash back up and watch my spending. Lead by example. I have not done a good job of that lately.

I hope that TMF boards will help you work on the budgeting problem. Maybe if your family can get this under control, you'll be able to address your unhappiness. BklynBrn used to say "Action leads to motivation," and I think that taking action on the money thing will help in general.

I would like to mention--be gentle with yourself. I feel like you're putting a lot on yourself to "lead by example" and while I think that's a great idea, if your spouse is spendy, you can set the best example in the world, but it's not going to get you far. (And then again, you may think your spouse is spendy, but when you track your spending, you may find that you're the spendy spouse--that's what I found out when I tracked my spending. That was a difficult, eye-opening day.)

Anyway, I wish you luck, and I hope you stick around these boards. It's a very useful resource, in more ways than one. Hang in there!


--Booa
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*********But, then all see has to do is a search under my old user name (chloegracekelcy) the order of our three daughters -- to find this thread. Maybe Miss Detective wife wouldn't think to try that string. But maybe she would and maybe it would be good for her to find it. "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." And, to state again, I'm by no means a perfect dad (one does not exist) but I do plenty with my girls daily and they love me and I love them.

It seems to me that you want to be found out. You want your wife to find what you're writing here, and hopefully set you free. Do you really think that's going to happen if she reads what you wrote here? Or do you think she's going to be really angry and run off and spend a lot of money y'all can't afford on something for the girls in true passive-aggressive fashion?

Actions have consequences. A corollary of that (pretty much straight out of Bujold, here) is that if you want a particular consequence, you have to take the action that leads to that consequence. I don't think posting on here about your family finances is going to have the consequences you want--what motivation does your wife have to ask for a divorce? She's staying at home, which she wants, she and your daughters are provided for, and any time you try to say no to something, she just nags at you and lambastes you 'til she gets what she wants. She might not be perfectly happy, but I don't think she thinks a divorce will improve her situation.

I mean, it sounds like the two of you are pretty withdrawn around each other, and she's living for your girls. I don't think she particularly holds out hope for fixing your marriage, or she might participate in therapy more. So, really, where's the downside for her, in perpetuating the current situation? So she does some detective work and finds out you're not happy about finances, and you're going to change things. That might make her unhappy, but is she going to risk a divorce, where she'll definitely have less control over the money you bring home, or will she just do her best to get her way and ignore that you're writing about stuff on a message board?

I hope I'm wrong, I do. I hope y'all can find a way to communicate and turn your finances and your marriage around. I'm just not 100% sure that's what *you* really want.


--Booa
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Booa?

You know, if you hit that Whole Thread button, you can read what everyone already said.

As I told you once, I understand the engineer's need to beat a subject to death, I just don't understand the refusal to gather all the available information at the beginning.

Nancy
related to engineers
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The thump you hear is me hitting my head against a wall.


Your assumption is that she gets killed. My assumption is that she would get custody of our kids. I KNOW for a fact that my divorced brother has much more energy now that his wife has custody of their kids and that he can go home to his little rented house for some peace and quiet. I'm just saying . . .


Her dying is a real possibility. Anyone can die at any point. If she did have an accident tomorrow, how would you deal with the shopping and the kids?


No plans on divorcing at this point.


Had nothing to do with my question.

Ishtar
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I have a 100k life insurance policy on her and a BIG GOD.

Um, yeah. Ok.

You really can't just answer a question, can you?

God, assuming such exists, does not stop people from leaving this plane of existence, nor does He/She/It/They do grocery shopping or baby sitting.

If she were to die tomorrow, how would you deal with the kids after work and the grocery shopping?

Are you saying you will use the life insurance to pay someone to do these things? If so, THAT is an answer. Not a great one, but an answer.

You depend on your wife to do an awful lot of things that you seem to be incapable of doing yourself. You might start honoring that within her, instead of complaining that she buys junk food.

Ishtar
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CGK, First off, let me just say that I support your stance on marriage and the commitments you've made. I feel pretty strongly about honor, integrity, and keeping the vows you make even when it's hard to do it. After all, we don't make those vows for the easy days. We make them because we know there will be hard days.

I'm also really glad you're working on you and getting your own head in order. Have you read Passionate Marriage by David Schnarch? It is NOT a book to read together; if you leave it lying around, your wife will surely thumb her nose at it. I think you will find much very useful information in it, even if you can't do any of the specific things he suggests. Fair warning, though. It's graduate-level marriage work. Hard reading, harder to implement. It's all about the ongoing process of becoming a grownup by sharing intimate space with another human being. Not for the faint-hearted.

Now, about that contempt you have for each other. Another poster noted that that can be a clear sign of the death knell of a marriage. Potentially true, and yet that's the flying-apart-in-anger-and-rage-and-hurt kind of divorce. I would posit that that's the most harmful form of divorce, and not one you ever want to contemplate.

Instead, I would focus on a grounded evaluation of ethical choices. Ethical choices being those that harm no one, and bring the greatest good to everyone concerned. Ethical choices are made with compassion and an understanding that harm is not the same as pain. (A physical example, to make it clear: Harm happens when you break your arm. Healing starts when the doctor sets your arm. Pain happens with both, and is not necessarily a good indicator of whether harm is occurring.)

It sounds to me like your wife is swirling in a world of pain, and it doesn't sound like the clean pain of healing. Trouble is, you can't MAKE her heal. If she wanted your help, you could certainly be part of an environment conducive to healing, but that's her choice, not yours. And knowing which choices are actually yours is very, very important.

You can also evaluate the emotional and physical needs of your children, and make ethical choices about their situations. And you can evaluate the pain and harm being done to you (by you and by everyone around you). Recognizing that every marriage includes both harm and pain in some measure, because we're human and have a human capacity for everyday sadism (in other words, the casual hurts and everyday withholding of affection that happen in every relationship).

So what's an imperfect man to do? Consider the options, large and small. There is a key concept here. You love your wife, even on days when you hate her. How, then, could you possibly allow someone you love to cause you harm? Think of the dreadful harm it does to her when she harms you. Can you see it?

As a religious man, you may see it as harm to her soul when she hurts you. Can you continue to be a target when you know how hard she marks herself in the process? I understand that Christ would turn the other cheek and let someone hit him again. But that's a metaphor for pain, eh? Not harm. And Christ was working on saving everyone's souls. Your focus is on your family's souls, and that may mean that you have to overturn the moneylenders' tables that are set up in your temple, to stop the harm that they are doing to your family. The hard part is figuring out when to turn the other cheek and when to turn things over. And that's all about you, not about your wife and her choices.

So I think you're taking good actions by dealing with your own issues first. Please keep focusing on yourself and your own actions and issues. If you choose to separate your family finances, that is your choice and your wife may throw quite a fit over it. That's all right. It's her bid to make you stay the same so that she can stay the same. Don't buy into it. At some point, as Patzer has said, you may have to acknowledge that she will never change. There are people who won't.

The thing is, almost all of us change only when we have absolutely no other choice.
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ishtarastarte:

<<<I have a 100k life insurance policy on her and a BIG GOD.>>>

"You really can't just answer a question, can you?

God, assuming such exists, does not stop people from leaving this plane of existence, nor does He/She/It/They do grocery shopping or baby sitting.

If she were to die tomorrow, how would you deal with the kids after work and the grocery shopping?

Are you saying you will use the life insurance to pay someone to do these things? If so, THAT is an answer. Not a great one, but an answer."


I doubt OP has priced the necessary services, but with three young children, I doubt that 100k woudl last until all three reach the age of majority.

Regards, JAFO
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God, assuming such exists, does not stop people from leaving this plane of existence, nor does He/She/It/They do grocery shopping or baby sitting.


"The Lord Will Provide"

A man is standing on his porch watching the rain fall in torrents. The water starts to rise around the foundation of his house and a friend in a huge truck drives by. Knowing that the water is rushing in the streets and that his neighbor will be stranded he says, "Come on, get in and I'll take you to higher ground." The man just smiles and waves him on. "Don't worry about me," he says. "The Lord will provide." Later as the water is waist deep and it seems that no one in the neighborhood is left. A small boat approaches the man a lady call to him from it. "Come on, I have room for you. I can get you out of here!" The man just smiles as he replies, "You can go on. As for me, the Lord will provide." The rains are relentless and by evening the situation looks grim. The man's house is a loss and he is on the roof, shivering in the storm. Soon he hears a helicopter approaching and a voice booming over a bullhorn. "Get into the basket and we will take you to safety!" The man musters a smile and cups his hands to his mouth and shouts, "I'm fine where I am! The Lord will provide!"

That night the man dies, submerged in the flood waters that swept him from the roof of his house. When the man faces God in heaven, he is dismayed and confused. He asks, "Lord, I was so faithful, a witness for you telling everyone whom I met that you would provide. How could you forget me in my time of mortal need?" God replied, "Forget you? I provided neighbors and boats and rescue helicopters, what more did you need?"

~~ Alison
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A man is standing on his porch watching the rain fall in torrents. The water starts to rise around the foundation of his house and a friend in a huge truck drives by. Knowing that the water is rushing in the streets and that his neighbor will be stranded he says, "Come on, get in and I'll take you to higher ground." The man just smiles and waves him on. "Don't worry about me," he says. "The Lord will provide." Later as the water is waist deep and it seems that no one in the neighborhood is left. A small boat approaches the man a lady call to him from it. "Come on, I have room for you. I can get you out of here!" The man just smiles as he replies, "You can go on. As for me, the Lord will provide." The rains are relentless and by evening the situation looks grim. The man's house is a loss and he is on the roof, shivering in the storm. Soon he hears a helicopter approaching and a voice booming over a bullhorn. "Get into the basket and we will take you to safety!" The man musters a smile and cups his hands to his mouth and shouts, "I'm fine where I am! The Lord will provide!"

That night the man dies, submerged in the flood waters that swept him from the roof of his house. When the man faces God in heaven, he is dismayed and confused. He asks, "Lord, I was so faithful, a witness for you telling everyone whom I met that you would provide. How could you forget me in my time of mortal need?" God replied, "Forget you? I provided neighbors and boats and rescue helicopters, what more did you need?"


That is the only religious joke I've ever heard that was told by Catholic priests, Jewish rabbis, and Protestant minsters.

Nancy
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I doubt OP has priced the necessary services, but with three young children, I doubt that 100k woudl last until all three reach the age of majority.


Oh, I very much agree. Especially since he would also want 1. 24/7 care, 2. someone to clean the house, 3. someone to do the shopping.

Ishtar
(went shopping for essentials at 830pm Tuesday after working two jobs and still had HW to help with and HW to do when I got home. . .)