Single & Frugal or Coupled & (Financially) Incompatible?

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VictoriaF
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Re: Single & Frugal or Coupled & (Financially) Incompatible?

Post by VictoriaF » Thu Jan 02, 2014 1:02 pm

Spendthrift men come in all forms, shapes and sizes. Some are inclined to reckless speculation as Barefootgirl described above. Others just don't want to deal with money and would gladly let the woman handle it. Some spend a lot of money and don't realize it, or realize it and feel guilty about it. Others have mental accounting for what is wasteful and what is frugal, and this accounting is biased in favor of their own interests.

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Re: Single & Frugal or Coupled & (Financially) Incompatible?

Post by Dulocracy » Thu Jan 02, 2014 1:07 pm

VictoriaF wrote:Spendthrift men come in all forms, shapes and sizes. Some are inclined to reckless speculation as Barefootgirl described above. Others just don't want to deal with money and would gladly let the woman handle it. Some spend a lot of money and don't realize it, or realize it and feel guilty about it. Others have mental accounting for what is wasteful and what is frugal, and this accounting is biased in favor of their own interests.

Victoria
You left out a group: Those who are spendthrifts, understand and realize it, and just don't care.
I'm not a financial professional. Post is info only & not legal advice. No attorney-client relationship exists with reader. Scrutinize my ideas as if you spoke with a guy at a bar. I may be wrong.

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Re: Single & Frugal or Coupled & (Financially) Incompatible?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Thu Jan 02, 2014 1:09 pm

Khuzud wrote:
jgb wrote:This, and I second a sub-forum for single Bogleheads.
How about a Singles Mixer event at the 2014 Bogleheads Convention?
That ought to be interesting - "you show me your cash flow statement, I'll show you my balance sheet" or "let's discuss how we are correlated over a cup of coffee" :D
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Re: Single & Frugal or Coupled & (Financially) Incompatible?

Post by dgdevil » Thu Jan 02, 2014 1:12 pm

@VictoriaF. That post pretty much sums up spendthrift women as well. Ever seen one try to rationalize the purchase of yet another designer handbag? I would boldly venture that both men and women can succumb to similar human frailties, and with that I await my Nobel prize.

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Re: Single & Frugal or Coupled & (Financially) Incompatible?

Post by dratkinson » Thu Jan 02, 2014 1:15 pm

tj wrote:
dratkinson wrote:
Gave a copy to my quiet penpal. She too had trouble finding good mate candidates while living in a more socially active, keep-up-with-Jones type city. Spent several years searching there with no success.

Eventually solved her problem by moving to a city with a quieter lifestyle to search among the men who would gravitate to such a city. Now happily married to a compatible mate (2 years), and just had a beautiful son. She just turned 30.

What city was that? :-)
She's from Shexian, educated in Wuhu, struck out in Hangzhou, found success in Huangshan. You know how hectic can be the go-go lifestyle in a capitol city. :)
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Re: Single & Frugal or Coupled & (Financially) Incompatible?

Post by Dandy » Thu Jan 02, 2014 1:23 pm

There are some potential show stoppers in marriage like politics, religion, finances, addiction and children (whether to have them, how many and how to raise them). Discussions of these topics during the dating time frame should be able to identify whether these will indeed be a major problem. It is hard to agree on all the sensitive topics but usually common ground/respect and some compromise can overcome major breakdowns.
Don't give up the search - a happy marriage trumps most things in life.

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Re: Single & Frugal or Coupled & (Financially) Incompatible?

Post by youngindexer » Thu Jan 02, 2014 1:26 pm

VictoriaF wrote:Spendthrift men come in all forms, shapes and sizes.
What exactly is a spendthrift? I'm guessing it's some sort of derogatory slang?

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Re: Single & Frugal or Coupled & (Financially) Incompatible?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Thu Jan 02, 2014 1:33 pm

youngindexer wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:Spendthrift men come in all forms, shapes and sizes.
What exactly is a spendthrift? I'm guessing it's some sort of derogatory slang?
Someone who spends with reckless abandon. Someone who takes no reasonable amount of responsibility with their finances. Ever hear of spendthrift trust? - it's a trust established to prevent certain individuals from spending themselves into the poor house.

Being this is the Bogleheads site it might as well be derogatory - we are the antithesis of a spendthrift. We watch our money more closely than a hawk, we carefully cultivate our personal financial portfolio with a view to the future of attaining financial independence. A spendthrift lives in the moment, for today or the immediate tomorrow, they don't think about 6 months or 6 years from now.
"One should invest based on their need, ability and willingness to take risk - Larry Swedroe" Asking Portfolio Questions

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Re: Single & Frugal or Coupled & (Financially) Incompatible?

Post by VictoriaF » Thu Jan 02, 2014 1:59 pm

dgdevil wrote:@VictoriaF. That post pretty much sums up spendthrift women as well. Ever seen one try to rationalize the purchase of yet another designer handbag? I would boldly venture that both men and women can succumb to similar human frailties, and with that I await my Nobel prize.
dgdevil,

I'm far from claiming that spendthrift women, as a category, spend less or thrift more than spendthrift men (again, as a category). But there are some differences in how men and women spend. The OP is a woman and I provided her with some observations based on my experience. Take for example my comment, "Others just don't want to deal with money and would gladly let the woman handle it." I would not write it in response to a man, because this is a common situation in couples where the woman is completely hands-off on all matters of finance. But I also know men who waste money on their own but gladly outsource money management to their wives and girlfriends. If the OP met one of them, she might have found it acceptable.

To win a Nobel we have to provide a detailed analysis of male and female pattern spending. I can work with you on that. If we don't win a Nobel in Economics, perhaps they'll give us a Nobel in Peace.

Victoria
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VictoriaF
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Re: Single & Frugal or Coupled & (Financially) Incompatible?

Post by VictoriaF » Thu Jan 02, 2014 2:05 pm

youngindexer wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:Spendthrift men come in all forms, shapes and sizes.
What exactly is a spendthrift? I'm guessing it's some sort of derogatory slang?
I used "spendthrift" as an antonym to "frugal."

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

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youngindexer
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Re: Single & Frugal or Coupled & (Financially) Incompatible?

Post by youngindexer » Thu Jan 02, 2014 2:11 pm

Grt2bOutdoors wrote: Someone who spends with reckless abandon.
Thanks for the explanation I found it very helpful.
Dandy wrote: a happy marriage trumps most things in life.
I might be playing devils advocate here but I'm quite sure the opposite could be said for an unhappy marriage :twisted:
VictoriaF wrote: I used "spendthrift" as an antonym to "frugal."

Victoria
It seems spendthrift is in the dictionary I don't know why I thought it was slang. Thanks for the clarification :sharebeer

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Re: Single & Frugal or Coupled & (Financially) Incompatible?

Post by goodenyou » Thu Jan 02, 2014 2:39 pm

Being a couple and financially compatible is the best option. It is not impossible. I got married in my 30s, and would have been divorced if I had married one of the others earlier in my life. Believe it or not, there are other people who share similar goals as you. Financial compatibility is one of the most important criteria for successful marriage. The worst outcome is divorced & frugal.

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Re: Single & Frugal or Coupled & (Financially) Incompatible?

Post by newbeee » Thu Jan 02, 2014 2:56 pm

stoptothink wrote:
Cherokee8215 wrote:I may have more to say once this thread gets going more, but if a couple is financially incompatible, won't that pretty much automatically lead to problems and an eventual breakup/divorce? Costing the frugal one potentially a huge sum of money? Isn't money the main reason why couples have trouble? Wouldn't that make being single and frugal better by default?
From experience, yes, yes, and yes. The 2nd time around it is working out just fine though. When we first met my wife wasn't sure she even wanted a 2nd date because (in her words) I seemed uptight and cheap, and wasn't willing to wine and dine her like other guys. I think she is thankful she gave me a 2nd shot.
This makes me happy :D

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Re: Single & Frugal or Coupled & (Financially) Incompatible?

Post by Travman100 » Thu Jan 02, 2014 4:02 pm

gouda wrote:The responses to my earlier thread (http://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtop ... 9&start=50) with respect to personal life got me thinking: Is it better to remain single & frugal or be coupled and financially incompatible?

When it comes to personal finance and relationships, I realize this isn't as black and white or binary as my question above implies, but seeing how money tends to be a major reason for divorce, I'm curious as to what the wise Boglehead community has to say on this issue.

FWIW, I am a single 20-something female, and like a lot of Bogleheads, I lean heavily towards the frugal end of the spectrum.

With the new year approaching, I'm wondering if I'm just happier with my single frugal self. Granted, my perspective is a bit jaded by the 20- & 30-something guys in my social circle who tend to have at least two of the following three characteristics: 6-figure debt, paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle, and a "Keeping Up with the Joneses" mentality. It also doesn't help that I work in an industry where 20-somethings can earn 6-figure salaries right out of school and that kind of "Keeping Up" mentality is strongly encouraged. By no means am I the most frugal person around, but I do LBYM and tend to save/invest as much as I can for my future self (and hopefully, future spouse and kids).

I realize that finances is but one of many factors, but from observing relationships of older couples, I have seen how awesome it is when two people operate with an united financial offense and defense. And to the extent that is possible for millenials (or even exists in the members of my generation), I know I would regret not trying to find it and experience that with someone who shares similar values.
Compromise is the trait that will make for a long marriage, believe me, I speak with authority having been married to the same lady for 54 years. Frugal is fine, cheap is not so fine. I have young 20 somethings in my family who are just downright cheap, "I forgot my wallet," is one's favorite trick to get someone else in the party to pay for a dinner when the family goes out and the tightwads always look forward to receiving birthday gifts but would never think of spending their own money to reciprocate. I don't know how these tightwads ever find a financially compatible partner because I don't believe anyone enjoys being around someone that cheap. Budgeting is the answer to frugality, if you budget your money wisely then you can celebrate from time to time but if you are one of those left my wallet at home tightwads then I doubt if you will ever find a financially compatible partner. Another question for you, do you want to wake up 40 years from now and suddenly realize I have no one to share my happiness with, money is not everything.

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Re: Single & Frugal or Coupled & (Financially) Incompatible?

Post by geekgyrl » Thu Jan 02, 2014 6:02 pm

I've gotten a kick reading all the replies and I think the best advice has been given, but I'd like to add
this one additional thought.

Always have an escape plan at your ready because one never knows when paradise will come to a screeching halt.

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Re: Single & Frugal or Coupled & (Financially) Incompatible?

Post by Talisker » Thu Jan 02, 2014 8:28 pm

fposte wrote:
Alphahead wrote: I would add, that you don't want to be the 90 year old lady in the corner house who dies leaving a four comma inheritance to her 12 cats.
I kind of do, actually. Okay, substitute "friends and charitable causes" for "12 cats," but the 90-year-old lady living on her own in the cool old corner house with a seriously secure portfolio, an excellent legacy, and a great collection of friends sounds awfully good to me, and it's basically what I'm aiming for (though absent a gusher in my backyard I don't foresee four commas, or even three).

Now get off my lawn.
Now that is funny.

Leaving an inheritance to friends and charity trumps the dozen cats any day.

Was just trying to make the point that family and kids can be very rewarding. Men are trainable, it all depends on the carrot :D

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JoMoney
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Re: Single & Frugal or Coupled & (Financially) Incompatible?

Post by JoMoney » Thu Jan 02, 2014 8:32 pm

hmm.. "Every great love story is a tragedy" ... in our partners should we be looking for "love stories" or a cold business proposition? Life's tough.
"To achieve satisfactory investment results is easier than most people realize; to achieve superior results is harder than it looks." - Benjamin Graham

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Re: Single & Frugal or Coupled & (Financially) Incompatible?

Post by tj » Thu Jan 02, 2014 8:33 pm

Travman100 wrote:
gouda wrote:The responses to my earlier thread (http://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtop ... 9&start=50) with respect to personal life got me thinking: Is it better to remain single & frugal or be coupled and financially incompatible?

When it comes to personal finance and relationships, I realize this isn't as black and white or binary as my question above implies, but seeing how money tends to be a major reason for divorce, I'm curious as to what the wise Boglehead community has to say on this issue.

FWIW, I am a single 20-something female, and like a lot of Bogleheads, I lean heavily towards the frugal end of the spectrum.

With the new year approaching, I'm wondering if I'm just happier with my single frugal self. Granted, my perspective is a bit jaded by the 20- & 30-something guys in my social circle who tend to have at least two of the following three characteristics: 6-figure debt, paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle, and a "Keeping Up with the Joneses" mentality. It also doesn't help that I work in an industry where 20-somethings can earn 6-figure salaries right out of school and that kind of "Keeping Up" mentality is strongly encouraged. By no means am I the most frugal person around, but I do LBYM and tend to save/invest as much as I can for my future self (and hopefully, future spouse and kids).

I realize that finances is but one of many factors, but from observing relationships of older couples, I have seen how awesome it is when two people operate with an united financial offense and defense. And to the extent that is possible for millenials (or even exists in the members of my generation), I know I would regret not trying to find it and experience that with someone who shares similar values.
Compromise is the trait that will make for a long marriage, believe me, I speak with authority having been married to the same lady for 54 years. Frugal is fine, cheap is not so fine. I have young 20 somethings in my family who are just downright cheap, "I forgot my wallet," is one's favorite trick to get someone else in the party to pay for a dinner when the family goes out and the tightwads always look forward to receiving birthday gifts but would never think of spending their own money to reciprocate. I don't know how these tightwads ever find a financially compatible partner because I don't believe anyone enjoys being around someone that cheap. Budgeting is the answer to frugality, if you budget your money wisely then you can celebrate from time to time but if you are one of those left my wallet at home tightwads then I doubt if you will ever find a financially compatible partner. Another question for you, do you want to wake up 40 years from now and suddenly realize I have no one to share my happiness with, money is not everything.

Eh, I don't think it's a necessity to be married or in a relationship to "share your happiness".

"Cheap" is not limited to a certain age demographic.

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Re: Single & Frugal or Coupled & (Financially) Incompatible?

Post by Caduceus » Thu Jan 02, 2014 9:08 pm

Eh, I don't think it's a necessity to be married or in a relationship to "share your happiness".
There are still many couples in many states for whom marriage is not even a possibility, actually.

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Re: Single & Frugal or Coupled & (Financially) Incompatible?

Post by goodenyou » Thu Jan 02, 2014 10:07 pm

Talisker wrote:
fposte wrote:
Alphahead wrote: I would add, that you don't want to be the 90 year old lady in the corner house who dies leaving a four comma inheritance to her 12 cats.
I kind of do, actually. Okay, substitute "friends and charitable causes" for "12 cats," but the 90-year-old lady living on her own in the cool old corner house with a seriously secure portfolio, an excellent legacy, and a great collection of friends sounds awfully good to me, and it's basically what I'm aiming for (though absent a gusher in my backyard I don't foresee four commas, or even three).

Now get off my lawn.
Now that is funny.

Leaving an inheritance to friends and charity trumps the dozen cats any day.

Was just trying to make the point that family and kids can be very rewarding. Men are trainable, it all depends on the carrot :D


Actually, it depends more on the stick :wink:

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Re: Single & Frugal or Coupled & (Financially) Incompatible?

Post by tj » Thu Jan 02, 2014 11:29 pm

Caduceus wrote:
Eh, I don't think it's a necessity to be married or in a relationship to "share your happiness".
There are still many couples in many states for whom marriage is not even a possibility, actually.

My point was that some people can be perfectly happy without a significant other, they share their happiness with their families, their friends, their neighbors, whoever. Just because you aren't in a lifelong commitment doesn't mean you're a miserable loner, though you certainly could be. You also could be that while in the wrong relationship...

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Re: Single & Frugal or Coupled & (Financially) Incompatible?

Post by winglessangel31 » Thu Jan 02, 2014 11:44 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
dgdevil wrote:
youngindexer wrote: I have yet to meet even one boglehead in person.
No one told you about the secret handshake?
It's the index finger shake.

Lady Victoria
Yeah, you make an X with both your index fingers, and then turn one into a fist and hit the other. "You can't beat the index." :sharebeer

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Re: Single & Frugal or Coupled & (Financially) Incompatible?

Post by winglessangel31 » Thu Jan 02, 2014 11:51 pm

gouda wrote:I realize that finances is but one of many factors, but from observing relationships of older couples, I have seen how awesome it is when two people operate with an united financial offense and defense. And to the extent that is possible for millenials (or even exists in the members of my generation), I know I would regret not trying to find it and experience that with someone who shares similar values.
As a hopeless romantic myself, I say don't give up! :)

Depending on what is extremely important to you, some things will make you extremely satisfied or unsatisfied. For example, it is evident that financial values are important to you, therefore you probably really need to find someone compatible in this area. For some others, it is faith. For me, I think I'd need someone similarly romantically-inclined and willing-and-able-to-be-mushy/lovey-dovey. Finding someone completely similar is probably tough. However, if you focus on the stuff that is most important to you, you shouldn't accidentally lose sight of it, and the rest can be the little spices that make life interesting! :)

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Re: Single & Frugal or Coupled & (Financially) Incompatible?

Post by William4u » Fri Jan 03, 2014 12:14 am

gouda wrote: Granted, my perspective is a bit jaded by the 20- & 30-something guys in my social circle who tend to have at least two of the following three characteristics: 6-figure debt, paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle, and a "Keeping Up with the Joneses" mentality.
The issue here is NOT financial incompatibility. I am married to someone who is wonderful who wants to spend more than I do, and I compromise. She is not shallow or wasteful. She is just a well-adjusted person who is not as big of a saver as I am, and wants nice things on occasion.

HOWEVER, the guys you describe have signs of serious character defects: 6-figure debt, paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle, and a "Keeping Up with the Joneses" mentality. You should not date these people; they show signs of being shallow, immature, self-centered, and having a pathological desire to impress others. These character defects may last a lifetime.

In the long run, if a person is a good human being, you will be fine married to that person. Focus on character: do they care about people over prestige, are they kind and thoughtful, do they treat women (and especially their mother and sisters) with respect? What are their values? Do they live up to their word? These are the things that get a family through the trials of life.

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Re: Single & Frugal or Coupled & (Financially) Incompatible?

Post by winglessangel31 » Fri Jan 03, 2014 4:08 am

Hahaha this just in.

http://t.money.msn.com/retirement/is-yo ... oney-match

Is your partner a money match?

U.S. News & World Report on MSN Money 17 hr ago | By Kimberly Palmer, U.S. News & World Report

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Re: Single & Frugal or Coupled & (Financially) Incompatible?

Post by frugaltype » Fri Jan 03, 2014 4:25 am

Talisker wrote: Leaving an inheritance to friends and charity trumps the dozen cats any day.
Moderation in all things. I would go for the cats plus charity. I expect my friends and family to be financially responsible for themselves; of course, anyone can run into something unexpected and need help.

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Re: Single & Frugal or Coupled & (Financially) Incompatible?

Post by AndroAsc » Fri Jan 03, 2014 6:27 pm

jgb wrote:
mwm158 wrote:So how do personal ads work on this forum? Do I need to reply with my income, savings rate, and retirement account figures?
This, and I second a sub-forum for single Bogleheads.
Third-ed!

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Re: Single & Frugal or Coupled & (Financially) Incompatible?

Post by tim1999 » Sat Jan 04, 2014 10:58 am

+1 on the singles forum but I think it will never happen due to the board's tax status with the IRS.

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Re: Single & Frugal or Coupled & (Financially) Incompatible?

Post by fastpace_re » Thu Dec 10, 2015 12:13 am

I'm going to revive this thread because it's been something I've been dealing with recently personally.

Some background info: I recently turned 30 (August of this year). I also have a 7-year old daughter from a previous relationship (although never married). I've been dating a girl since early 2012, who is 3 years younger than me (She is 27). We have several of the same life passions - we both do music and even played in a band together for a couple years. Ultimately, we want the same big-picture life things and I'm madly in love with her. Unfortunately, we don't always see eye to eye on finances.

She always says she's willing to learn and gain control of this part of her life, but it somehow always turns into some serious arguments. She definitely was not brought up the same way as me. Her Dad bought "too much house" and ever since her Dad's business went under, he's been doing everything he possibly can to not lose the house (including borrowing large sums of money from his own son). Long story short - she was never taught the basic finance principles that I was and she got herself into some serious credit card debt. Her Dad even paid her entire way through college (this was before his business went under), yet she still came out with close to $15k in credit card debt. At one point in our relationship I tried to get her a debt consolidation loan. Her credit was so bad that she wasn't able to get it. I've tried to teach her some budgeting skills and while there was some progress for awhile - no major progress was ever made. She gave up on YNAB because it was "too hard" to remember to type in every transaction. She might be in somewhat of a better position now but I'm honestly not even sure. It caused so much friction in our relationship that I decided it wasn't worth the fight - so now I don't even ask. At one point her Dad told me that her finances "weren't my business" unless I was married to her. I backed off at that point.

Obviously, I don't want to end up in a position that several of you have been in - that ends up in divorce. I'm fairly frugal myself although I try to live a somewhat balanced lifestyle. We do go out to eat, but as long as my savings goals are in-tact I try not to stress about it too much. I've got over $100k in my company retirement plan, my roth is fully funded every year, and I have emergency savings. I just don't want to risk giving all that up if we're not truly compatible. I also don't want to waste any more time being with someone if it's not truly going to work out. I am 30 after all. Again, mostly everything else we are in alignment with and we really do love each other. I guess the question is when does it become too much to handle?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks everyone.

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Re: Single & Frugal or Coupled & (Financially) Incompatible?

Post by Zendelta » Thu Dec 10, 2015 1:04 am

Sorry you are in this position.

A few things to consider:
How does this impact your ability to support and provide for your daughter?
What kind of advice would you give your daughter if she was much older and dating a guy who behaves like your girlfriend?
Would your girlfriend be offended by a prenup if it came to that?

you don't have to tell us but I suspect the way you feel about these issues will help you think through your answer. Good luck.

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Re: Single & Frugal or Coupled & (Financially) Incompatible?

Post by CommonCent$ » Thu Dec 10, 2015 3:39 am

gouda wrote:FWIW, I am a single 20-something female, and like a lot of Bogleheads, I lean heavily towards the frugal end of the spectrum.
Rule # 30 (AKA Rule #37)
NNN = "Nobody Knows Nothing"

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Re: Single & Frugal or Coupled & (Financially) Incompatible?

Post by max12377 » Thu Dec 10, 2015 3:56 am

Cherokee8215 wrote:+1 on the singles forum but I think it will never happen due to the board's tax status with the IRS.
Fifthed! I have plenty of experience being single. :oops:

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Re: Single & Frugal or Coupled & (Financially) Incompatible?

Post by tim1999 » Thu Dec 10, 2015 9:23 am

fastpace_re wrote: Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks everyone.
I was heavily involved in online dating a few years ago. I went on many first, second, third dates, some even lasted way more than that. This will sound like a jerk thing to say but I don't care. One of my main pieces of selection criteria, something I tried to figure out as soon as possible, beyond beauty, common interests, etc. was HOW SHE HANDLED HER MONEY and HOW HER PARENTS HANDLED THEIR MONEY. If she or her parents had no level of responsibility with money, changing that would have been very difficult and I just moved on to the next woman. You are already past that point, unfortunately. Tread carefully. Fortunately I found someone who was responsible with her money and who had good parents that taught her well by example. I have 100% faith that should something happen to me, she will be able to use what I have towards her benefit in a responsible manner and not run out.

You need to consider your daughter's current and future needs. Avoiding someone who will ruin you financially is more important for you than the average guy with no kids.

JGoneRiding
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Re: Single & Frugal or Coupled & (Financially) Incompatible?

Post by JGoneRiding » Thu Dec 10, 2015 10:23 am

All I have to say is it's worth looking! And a guy that isn't a spendthrift but makes less is also worth it. :D

Rupert
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Re: Single & Frugal or Coupled & (Financially) Incompatible?

Post by Rupert » Thu Dec 10, 2015 10:49 am

fastpace_re wrote:I'm going to revive this thread because it's been something I've been dealing with recently personally.

Some background info: I recently turned 30 (August of this year). I also have a 7-year old daughter from a previous relationship (although never married). I've been dating a girl since early 2012, who is 3 years younger than me (She is 27). We have several of the same life passions - we both do music and even played in a band together for a couple years. Ultimately, we want the same big-picture life things and I'm madly in love with her. Unfortunately, we don't always see eye to eye on finances.

She always says she's willing to learn and gain control of this part of her life, but it somehow always turns into some serious arguments. She definitely was not brought up the same way as me. Her Dad bought "too much house" and ever since her Dad's business went under, he's been doing everything he possibly can to not lose the house (including borrowing large sums of money from his own son). Long story short - she was never taught the basic finance principles that I was and she got herself into some serious credit card debt. Her Dad even paid her entire way through college (this was before his business went under), yet she still came out with close to $15k in credit card debt. At one point in our relationship I tried to get her a debt consolidation loan. Her credit was so bad that she wasn't able to get it. I've tried to teach her some budgeting skills and while there was some progress for awhile - no major progress was ever made. She gave up on YNAB because it was "too hard" to remember to type in every transaction. She might be in somewhat of a better position now but I'm honestly not even sure. It caused so much friction in our relationship that I decided it wasn't worth the fight - so now I don't even ask. At one point her Dad told me that her finances "weren't my business" unless I was married to her. I backed off at that point.

Obviously, I don't want to end up in a position that several of you have been in - that ends up in divorce. I'm fairly frugal myself although I try to live a somewhat balanced lifestyle. We do go out to eat, but as long as my savings goals are in-tact I try not to stress about it too much. I've got over $100k in my company retirement plan, my roth is fully funded every year, and I have emergency savings. I just don't want to risk giving all that up if we're not truly compatible. I also don't want to waste any more time being with someone if it's not truly going to work out. I am 30 after all. Again, mostly everything else we are in alignment with and we really do love each other. I guess the question is when does it become too much to handle?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks everyone.
You need to be talking to her, not us. Sounds like it's time to have the "fish or cut bait" discussion, i.e., sit her down, tell her how much you care about her and that you can envision spending the rest of your life with her but that her attitude towards finances is making you question the relationship. See what she says. Sounds like she needs, first, to get away from her father, who seems to have handicapped her financially, and, second, get some independent financial/relationship counseling. Ask her to see a therapist with you if necessary.

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Re: Single & Frugal or Coupled & (Financially) Incompatible?

Post by sesq » Thu Dec 10, 2015 11:59 am

fastpace_re wrote: Ultimately, we want the same big-picture life things and I'm madly in love with her. Unfortunately, we don't always see eye to eye on finances.

.....

At one point her Dad told me that her finances "weren't my business" unless I was married to her. I backed off at that point.
Well, if you are on bogleheads then finances is one of the "big-picture" things. I would not marry her unless you can get aligned on the topic. There are plenty of spender/saver pairs that work well, but it is very tough to put a fence around it. I find it a bit concerning that her father was drawn into the discussion to defend her.

You have dated for a few years and I imagine you know a bit of her finances. You should try to work with her to diagnosis the problem and help her develop solutions. Is it an income thing, an expense thing or both. I can't blame her for chafing at tracking every transaction in YNAB, but for a person like that the solution may be to save the first dollars (e.g. auto savings either at work or with bank transfers) and spend the rest. Another thing may be to see if she responds to a carrot like saving for something she would value versus solely cleaning up the past mistakes.

I am married 12 years to a wife who is frugal in most ways (gifts are her weakness). She had $50k of debt when I married her from grad school loans. One of the key moments for us on the journey was we decided to take a trip together to Belize and she made a plan to save up for her share, which at her income was a 9 month savings plan. It got her thinking about goals and strategies to achieve them, versus a survival method.

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Re: Single & Frugal or Coupled & (Financially) Incompatible?

Post by stoptothink » Thu Dec 10, 2015 12:07 pm

Cherokee8215 wrote:
I was heavily involved in online dating a few years ago. I went on many first, second, third dates, some even lasted way more than that. This will sound like a jerk thing to say but I don't care. One of my main pieces of selection criteria, something I tried to figure out as soon as possible, beyond beauty, common interests, etc. was HOW SHE HANDLED HER MONEY and HOW HER PARENTS HANDLED THEIR MONEY. If she or her parents had no level of responsibility with money, changing that would have been very difficult and I just moved on to the next woman. You are already past that point, unfortunately. Tread carefully. Fortunately I found someone who was responsible with her money and who had good parents that taught her well by example. I have 100% faith that should something happen to me, she will be able to use what I have towards her benefit in a responsible manner and not run out.
Very similar story. Without going into too much detail, I'll add one caveat: people can learn/change. When I met my wife she was a single mother with a recent bankruptcy (thanks almost entirely to the "habits" of her ex-husband), who did not have a penny to her name, and was raised by parents who might be the most financially irresponsible people I have ever met. We talked on the phone more than a dozen times before I even was willing to meet her in person. After getting to know her a little better, what I found was a single mother who was taking the bus to her $11/hr job so that she could support herself and her daughter completely on her own (even eschewing help from her church and entitlement programs like WIC and food stamps). After paying for basic expenses, there literally wasn't anything left, but she was very eager to learn. I helped her make a budget and directed her to resources to learn about investing. About 6-months after we had met, she asked me to help her prepare her taxes - I was shocked to find out that she had opened a RIRA and managed to save enough to get the maximum low-income saver's credit. 3.5yrs later and she not only has more than tripled her income without hardly a change in lifestyle, but she has become the financial and investing go-to person at her job, and her and I are well on our way to meeting our financial goals and an early retirement.

I didn't bother going on second dates with a lot of girls because it was clear we did not share financial ideologies, but I am glad I gave one a chance to change my first impression.

Dandy
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Re: Single & Frugal or Coupled & (Financially) Incompatible?

Post by Dandy » Thu Dec 10, 2015 12:11 pm

In the end people are more important than money. There are a lot of excesses on the spending side and some on the savings side. Reaching some reasonable accommodation on finances is important to a relationship. But sometimes people with some opposite views on matters can find a common ground. Also, many converts to frugality come later in life after being burned a time or two. So don't give up especially at such an early age.

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Re: Single & Frugal or Coupled & (Financially) Incompatible?

Post by SmallSaver » Thu Dec 10, 2015 12:32 pm

fastpace_re wrote:I'm going to revive this thread because it's been something I've been dealing with recently personally.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks everyone.
You have a serious concern. My advice is to sit down and talk to her about it. Maybe more than financial compatibility, the ability to talk out and negotiate solutions to serious matters is critical for a long-term relationship. If you two can't work out a solution that would be the red flag to me. (Once you have a solution trust, but verify! Elimination of that cc debt would be a good trial run).

Good luck!
Last edited by SmallSaver on Thu Dec 10, 2015 12:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Single & Frugal or Coupled & (Financially) Incompatible?

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Thu Dec 10, 2015 12:36 pm

How do you feel about supporting her dad? If you marry her, and she becomes financially secure, the two of you will be seen as a source to bail at dad, and maybe the brother that loaned dad money. It's a tough decision, but unless you are both prepared to set clear boundaries regarding transfer of you money to her family, there is the potential for endless conflict.

bogleenigma
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Re: Single & Frugal or Coupled & (Financially) Incompatible?

Post by bogleenigma » Thu Dec 10, 2015 12:48 pm

gouda wrote:The responses to my earlier thread (http://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtop ... 9&start=50) with respect to personal life got me thinking: Is it better to remain single & frugal or be coupled and financially incompatible?

When it comes to personal finance and relationships, I realize this isn't as black and white or binary as my question above implies, but seeing how money tends to be a major reason for divorce, I'm curious as to what the wise Boglehead community has to say on this issue.

FWIW, I am a single 20-something female, and like a lot of Bogleheads, I lean heavily towards the frugal end of the spectrum.

With the new year approaching, I'm wondering if I'm just happier with my single frugal self. Granted, my perspective is a bit jaded by the 20- & 30-something guys in my social circle who tend to have at least two of the following three characteristics: 6-figure debt, paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle, and a "Keeping Up with the Joneses" mentality. It also doesn't help that I work in an industry where 20-somethings can earn 6-figure salaries right out of school and that kind of "Keeping Up" mentality is strongly encouraged. By no means am I the most frugal person around, but I do LBYM and tend to save/invest as much as I can for my future self (and hopefully, future spouse and kids).

I realize that finances is but one of many factors, but from observing relationships of older couples, I have seen how awesome it is when two people operate with an united financial offense and defense. And to the extent that is possible for millenials (or even exists in the members of my generation), I know I would regret not trying to find it and experience that with someone who shares similar values.
Gouda,
Sometimes men can change. I was not remotely frugal when my wife met me or in the early phase of our marriage but her wisdom and strength won out and she "converted" me to being reasonably frugal and our retirement assets have benefited from the change considerably. She has a Starbucks addiction and I have a bit of an addiction to eating out, but we still save about 30% of our income, so we're in good shape. I suppose the point of this is that people can change, BUT, it's a risky proposition in marrying someone who does not quite share your values.

Christopher

profnot
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Re: Single & Frugal or Coupled & (Financially) Incompatible?

Post by profnot » Thu Dec 10, 2015 1:54 pm

fposte wrote:I kind of do, actually. Okay, substitute "friends and charitable causes" for "12 cats," but the 90-year-old lady living on her own in the cool old corner house with a seriously secure portfolio, an excellent legacy, and a great collection of friends sounds awfully good to me, and it's basically what I'm aiming for (though absent a gusher in my backyard I don't foresee four commas, or even three).

Now get off my lawn.

LOL Me, too. I'm living it. Very practical and emotionally satisfying.

Except dogs instead of cats. I love dogs.

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Re: Single & Frugal or Coupled & (Financially) Incompatible?

Post by snowman » Thu Dec 10, 2015 2:02 pm

fastpace_re wrote:I'm going to revive this thread because it's been something I've been dealing with recently personally.

Some background info: I recently turned 30 (August of this year). I also have a 7-year old daughter from a previous relationship (although never married). I've been dating a girl since early 2012, who is 3 years younger than me (She is 27). We have several of the same life passions - we both do music and even played in a band together for a couple years. Ultimately, we want the same big-picture life things and I'm madly in love with her. Unfortunately, we don't always see eye to eye on finances.

She always says she's willing to learn and gain control of this part of her life, but it somehow always turns into some serious arguments. She definitely was not brought up the same way as me. Her Dad bought "too much house" and ever since her Dad's business went under, he's been doing everything he possibly can to not lose the house (including borrowing large sums of money from his own son). Long story short - she was never taught the basic finance principles that I was and she got herself into some serious credit card debt. Her Dad even paid her entire way through college (this was before his business went under), yet she still came out with close to $15k in credit card debt. At one point in our relationship I tried to get her a debt consolidation loan. Her credit was so bad that she wasn't able to get it. I've tried to teach her some budgeting skills and while there was some progress for awhile - no major progress was ever made. She gave up on YNAB because it was "too hard" to remember to type in every transaction. She might be in somewhat of a better position now but I'm honestly not even sure. It caused so much friction in our relationship that I decided it wasn't worth the fight - so now I don't even ask. At one point her Dad told me that her finances "weren't my business" unless I was married to her. I backed off at that point.

Obviously, I don't want to end up in a position that several of you have been in - that ends up in divorce. I'm fairly frugal myself although I try to live a somewhat balanced lifestyle. We do go out to eat, but as long as my savings goals are in-tact I try not to stress about it too much. I've got over $100k in my company retirement plan, my roth is fully funded every year, and I have emergency savings. I just don't want to risk giving all that up if we're not truly compatible. I also don't want to waste any more time being with someone if it's not truly going to work out. I am 30 after all. Again, mostly everything else we are in alignment with and we really do love each other. I guess the question is when does it become too much to handle?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks everyone.
OP,

People do change, I have seen that happen. So I would not immediately dismiss that option, although the probability of that happening in your case appears to be low.

I see couple red flags in your post. Your potential future FIL telling you her finances are none of your business before marriage; the other one is the fact that she accumulated sizable CC debt while in college. As a father, I certainly would expect my future SIL to discuss financial goals and philosophy with my daughter BEFORE they get married! I would find it hugely irresponsible if they didn’t, for the good of both of them.

The fact that she accumulated CC debt while in college (presumably paying for consumption, since tuition and fees were paid for or ended up on student loans), tells me she had learned irresponsible financial behavior from her parents (father) while growing up. The fact that he tries to protect that tells you a lot about the values in that family.

I know of 2 cases personally where one of the partners (the financial wreck) changed over the course of marriage for the better of everyone. In both cases, the common denominator were the values instilled in them by their caring parents – hard work, helping others, caring for their community. They just somehow thought that spending every dime they make (and than some occasionally) is fine, that the things will somehow work out in the future, and that the time to start saving for retirement is in one’s 50s. But they both were open to different ideas and eventually “came around” – having kids will generally force you to do it if you care enough for them.

In your case, I don’t see that happening, though I could be wrong. I see irresponsible parent and irresponsible GF with deeply ingrained traits, resisting change while being protected by her father. On top of it, you already have serious obligation to your young daughter. If I were you, I would certainly not want to find out “after marriage” what I got myself into. It’s got “disaster” written all over it! But, nothing in life is simple and straightforward, it’s possible this may work out in the end.

Tread carefully, my friend, and trust your gut. If you are getting bad vibes, and they don’t go away with time, let the relationship go, there are much better options available to you. And don’t forget about your primary responsibility – your daughter. Good luck to you!

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Re: Single & Frugal or Coupled & (Financially) Incompatible?

Post by dziuniek » Fri Dec 11, 2015 10:58 am

If she carries a lot of CC-debt and her credit is shot, it'll be much harder to get a mortgage. If your goal is to have typical suburbian*** lifestyle, I don't see how you'll be able to buy a house after you get married. Her credit is now your problem too.

My wife had a lot of debt, but these were student loans for a degree that had a good income and job stability (pharmacist). If there is such a thing as a good debt, maybe this could qualify.

I knew where my wife was financially before our marriage. Is it because I had to dig deep into her statements? No. Did I have to bring it up or push for it? No again.

At that point in life (when we were ready) we told each other everything anyways, so we both knew our financial status. In our case anyways, we didn't have to probe, or ask her family, or each other to our financial status.

It's a hard call for you, I get it, but with a kid already, which I assume you support to some extent, would you want to support another person who is deep in debt, with a shot credit, and a family that's so financially irresponsible? I would not, but everyone's different.

Good luck!

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Re: Single & Frugal or Coupled & (Financially) Incompatible?

Post by DonCamillo » Fri Dec 11, 2015 12:05 pm

fastpace_re wrote:I'm going to revive this thread because it's been something I've been dealing with recently personally.

Some background info: I recently turned 30 (August of this year). I also have a 7-year old daughter from a previous relationship (although never married). I've been dating a girl since early 2012, who is 3 years younger than me (She is 27). We have several of the same life passions - we both do music and even played in a band together for a couple years. Ultimately, we want the same big-picture life things and I'm madly in love with her. Unfortunately, we don't always see eye to eye on finances.

She always says she's willing to learn and gain control of this part of her life, but it somehow always turns into some serious arguments. She definitely was not brought up the same way as me. Her Dad bought "too much house" and ever since her Dad's business went under, he's been doing everything he possibly can to not lose the house (including borrowing large sums of money from his own son). Long story short - she was never taught the basic finance principles that I was and she got herself into some serious credit card debt. Her Dad even paid her entire way through college (this was before his business went under), yet she still came out with close to $15k in credit card debt. At one point in our relationship I tried to get her a debt consolidation loan. Her credit was so bad that she wasn't able to get it. I've tried to teach her some budgeting skills and while there was some progress for awhile - no major progress was ever made. She gave up on YNAB because it was "too hard" to remember to type in every transaction. She might be in somewhat of a better position now but I'm honestly not even sure. It caused so much friction in our relationship that I decided it wasn't worth the fight - so now I don't even ask. At one point her Dad told me that her finances "weren't my business" unless I was married to her. I backed off at that point.

Obviously, I don't want to end up in a position that several of you have been in - that ends up in divorce. I'm fairly frugal myself although I try to live a somewhat balanced lifestyle. We do go out to eat, but as long as my savings goals are in-tact I try not to stress about it too much. I've got over $100k in my company retirement plan, my roth is fully funded every year, and I have emergency savings. I just don't want to risk giving all that up if we're not truly compatible. I also don't want to waste any more time being with someone if it's not truly going to work out. I am 30 after all. Again, mostly everything else we are in alignment with and we really do love each other. I guess the question is when does it become too much to handle?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks everyone.
You could have a great future together. She could become fiscally responsible. But, frankly, if the two of you were a partnership, I would not invest in it. "The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but that is the way the smart money bets." I think the odds are very much against a successful marriage between you, especially since her attitude towards money is dramatically reinforced by her father. If I had to choose between marriage to a spendthrift and having my entire retirement depend on buying a single lottery ticket on my 65th birthday, I'd take the lottery ticket.

Her father is not completely wrong. Entrepreneurs take big risks. Often the risks pay off. Many times they do not. She might be happy on a roller coaster lifestyle with someone (not you) who always swings for the fences, even if it means being broke most of the time. But she is not compatible with you. You are pulling in opposite directions.
Les vieillards aiment à donner de bons préceptes, pour se consoler de n'être plus en état de donner de mauvais exemples. | (François, duc de La Rochefoucauld, maxim 93)

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Re: Single & Frugal or Coupled & (Financially) Incompatible?

Post by Vilgan » Fri Dec 11, 2015 12:44 pm

Money is a big part of issues, but in my experience fights about money are more of a symptom and lack of communication/respect and if the framework of compromise/respectful dialogue/etc is in place - arguments about money will resolve themselves just fine. I've been with my wife roughly 9 years now and we get along great and we've had a few squabbles but no serious fights in that time despite having significantly different views about money. I'm very tight (admittedly sometimes too tight) with spending and she is very relaxed and generous with her spending. Over time we've talked about it, moved closer to the center, and I think we both benefit from the others habits. It is a process: Initially I set up her Mint and we discussed spending frequently and I was always the one harping about overrunning (well, shattering) spending categories. Then gradually over time she took it over and took ownership and now has pretty good awareness of everything and does really well.

The core fundamentals for a relationship are communication and respect imo. When we disagree we talk about it. When one person was wrong we freely admit it (this goes both ways!). When we make choices we always have the other person's well being in mind. If these are all in place, the differences in money will resolve over time as you both work to get better. If they aren't, then it may be tougher. Many people have poor spending habits due to lack of education or being overly susceptible to marketing and what a capitalist society is telling them they should do. Judging them for it seems rather harsh and might potentially eliminate someone who would be a great mate. Intelligence and humor are not as easily acquired and thus were far higher priorities when I was single.

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Re: Single & Frugal or Coupled & (Financially) Incompatible?

Post by pinecone » Fri Dec 11, 2015 6:30 pm

I look at marriage as a partnership. The partners should have similar life goals. They might not agree exactly on how to accomplish those life goals, and that's where compromise comes in. While both partners might say that being financially responsible is a life goal, you must also look at their actions. Talk is cheap, and actions speaks louder than words. People can change, and sometimes it comes in baby steps.

Speaking to Fastpace_re, who revived this thread, I would proceed with caution. Your girlfriend does not appear to be making much of an effort with becoming more financially responsible. Her attitude of "it's too hard" is immature. Is she hoping that by whining and fighting about it, that you'll give in and just do the work for both of you - that you'll go bust your butt working and saving that it'll make up for her spending? This strategy seems to work for a lot of women (and I am a woman :annoyed). Her background with a financially irresponsible father doesn't help, but anyone who wants to change can change, in spite of their background, if they're willing to make the effort. Look for effort being made.

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Re: Single & Frugal or Coupled & (Financially) Incompatible?

Post by fastpace_re » Sat Dec 12, 2015 12:01 am

Thanks for all the replies everyone. A lot of very good points. In regards to my daughter: I share parenting 50/50 with her mom. We get along fine and yes, my daughter is definitely the most important thing in my life right now. I never really looked at my girlfriend's finance situation as being potentially dangerous to my own daughter, but with the responses here I've come to realize that it truly is. I could really destroy my daughter's financial future if I get involved in something that ends in divorce and costing me tons of money in the long-run.

The sad thing is when my girlfriend and I started dating, I figured her parents were doing something right because they had a super nice house and I knew they had paid her entire way through college. Finance discussions never even came up until about it until 2 years into the relationship. She was also an "employee" of her Dad's business even though she didn't do a thing there. She was just on the payroll - He paid her weekly (in addition to her having a regular job). Around the time I found out that her Dad's business went under, she told me that she was no longer going to have that extra paycheck from her Dad and she started panicking about some of her credit card debt. That's the first I even started to hear about her finances. When I found out she had almost 9 credit cards, I practically ran away. She thought I was crazy for wanting to just "run away" so we talked about the debt consolidation loans.

Maybe once upon a time her Dad was decent with money and just had some terrible luck recently - I'm not totally sure. Regardless, he told me that her finances were not my business until I married her which definitely makes me feel uncomfortable. I know my parents (who raised me very well and taught me these things at a very early age) are very concerned because they think this is something that should be my business, especially if we're talking about a future together. When I've tried talking to her about it recently, her response is that her mom tells her that marrying someone should be about love and not how much debt they have attached to their name. I try to explain that it's not about the debt - that it's simply about getting on the right path and allowing me to help her move forward in the right direction. She seems like she is willing but then a couple weeks go by and I find her making stupid finance decisions such as buying a kitten that she then has to take care of, take to the vet, etc.. It's just annoying when I know she has so much outstanding CC debt and she's paying ridiculous amounts in interest. I've tried to break it down for her but it's very frustrating.

So... unfortunately, I do think I know what this means. I really don't want to make this entire relationship about finances but as someone else stated in this thread, it truly boils down to communication and respect. I feel like some of these finance issues are really communication issues. I've tried to talk to her about these things but obviously the communication isn't going so well when I try to approach this topic. I could probably go another year just fine without any major issues and have her think everything is great, but that would require me to not talk about finances or express any concerns for her outstanding debt/spending habits. I just can't do that.

I am going to do some serious introspection and thinking over the next couple of days. I'm not getting any younger and it's potential time wasted of finding my perfect mate if she's not really it. Ahh, life can be hard sometimes. Thanks everyone.

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Re: Single & Frugal or Coupled & (Financially) Incompatible?

Post by pinecone » Sat Dec 12, 2015 9:26 am

This will be a hard row to hoe if you marry her, since her parents essentially encourage her to remain child-like and dependent. This goes beyond just money. It is a mindset. It seems that she likes being rescued and taken care of.

tibbitts
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Re: Single & Frugal or Coupled & (Financially) Incompatible?

Post by tibbitts » Sat Dec 12, 2015 10:25 am

When I found out she had almost 9 credit cards...
In fairness, many Bogleheads have that many credit cards, or more, to maximize rewards - and keep churning them. But I get the point - she's not using cards that way.

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