Worried about the Future

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-17-2008
Worried about the Future
15
Wed, 08-28-2013 - 12:52pm

Hello,

I've been with my boyfriend for over a year and we have talked about the future and possibly getting married one day and having kids.  He has been previously married (divorced 10 years ago) with 2 great kids.  He's also 45 and I am almost 30.

A few weeks ago I decided to ask him about his finanical information and credit score.  He said that it's not good, that he assumed most of the debt in the divorce (around $60k to be exact) and he had to file from bankruptcy and is still recovering.  Also, just yesterday he wanted to let me know that he is giving his car back to the bank (aka voluntary repossession) because he can't afford it anymore.  He was paying $600 a month which seemed outrageous to me but due to this prior bankruptcy that was the best he could get with his credit score.  So on top of child support payments ($1,600 a month), his rent ($1,600 a month), car payment ($600 a month) and all his other expenses (kids gymnastics and baseball), his expenses were more going out than what he was making (and he makes a good salary).  He his however able to borrow a car from a friend of his so he has a way of getting around.

Ever since finding this stuff out, I've been really nervous about the future.  I know the bankruptcy will be wiped off his credit score in the next few years, but then there is this repossession which will now show up.  His credit score is already low and I'm just worried about what is going to happen in the future.  His kids are getting older (they are now 15 and almost 11), so I know child support won't be as bad in the next few years and he doesn't have any credit carb debt at all.  I guess i'm just looking for words of support in the event anyone has been through the same situation.

If we can get his money together and his credit score improving I would feel better, but that seems like a ways away.....

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Avatar for mahopac
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997
Wed, 08-28-2013 - 2:49pm

You might want to post this on the Debt Support Board to get advice from people who have been in that much debt and/or are in second marriages.  I have to say - as someone who once had even more debt than your BF but has since paid it all off - that I would be leery of planning a future with someone who has no clearcut path to getting out of debt within a very short timeframe.  It is one thing to find yourself in debt with your spouse and work together to get rid of it and build a future (as my DH & I did); it's quite another to build your future with someone who has SO MUCH baggage.

You are 29, still on the upswing of your life and career, and want marriage and children.  Your 45yo BF already has two children - one of whom will be college-age in three short years - a bankruptcy, and $60,000 in debt.  He is at the age where he should be at the peak of his earning potential, yet he can't even afford a car.  Does he have a plan for getting out of debt?  What about buying his own house?  Helping to pay for 8 years of college?  Saving for retirement?

Are you ready to provide all the financial support you & your children will need for the rest of your lives?  By the time *your* children go to college, your partner will be in his mid-60s, which means his earning years are over.  It is likely that everything he earns from now until then will go to paying off debt, trying to get a reasonable life together, and trying to help pay for college for his kids.  It also doesn't end with college - young adult kids move back home, need help getting on their feet, get married, have babies of their own, etc.  Realistically, your BF will probably not be a whole lot of help to you unless he can, in the next 5 years, get himself financially stable and pay off his debt.  Do you realistically believe he can pay off $60,000 in debt, buy a car, and put a down payment on a house in that time?  If so, are you willing to wait five years to start a life with him?

I apologize for sounding so very gloomy, but when it comes to debt, I have BTDT.  I currently have two kids in college - one in his last year at a $55,000/year private college and the other a freshman at a $62,000 private university.  Everything I make goes toward my kids and my retirement.  If my DH died (God forbid), I would never marry someone who would jeopardize my kids' or my future because he couldn't manage his past.  My $.02 FWIW.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-17-2008
Wed, 08-28-2013 - 3:05pm
Hello, Thanks for your response! I just want to make clear (which I don't think I did in my post), that he doesn't have $60k in debt. He did before his bankruptcy but b/c of the bankruptcy, that was wiped clean (just affected his credit score). So currently, he has no major outstanding debt unless his creditor asks him to pay the remaining balance of his car loan which is possible but the debt wouldn't be outlandish (probably somewhere around $12k). So it's not as bad as apparently I made it seem. The thing is,I hear this a lot. Two people get divorced and it's expensive, for both sides. His ex-wife has since remarried so she is able to live off of her income, her husband's income and the child support my boyfriend pays, so I think the kids are well off and will continue to be so. He also pays for additional things for the kids on top of child support. I could deal with the bankruptcy issue as that goes away soon. The car issue kind of caught me by surprise but after I heard he had to get a car b/c his last one had died and the only one he could get had a really high interest rate, I kind of understood. It's not that he's not good with managing his money, I think he just got himself into a huge hole after his divorce and hasn't been able to fight his way out of it.
Avatar for mahopac
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997
Wed, 08-28-2013 - 3:51pm

Thanks for the clarification. 

Let's talk about bankruptcy for a moment.  There are people who have to file bankruptcy because they had a legitimate business that went under, medical bills that weren't covered, and so on.  These are people for whom life didn't go as expected, as hard as they tried.  They didn't overspend their income, but they had one or two really unfortunate events and no safety net.  It happens in our society.

Then there are other people who basically stuck their heads in the sand and spent more than they earned.  Eventually they got to a point where they threw up their hands, said "I dunno," and filed for bankruptcy.  But they don't change the behaviors that got them into debt in the first place.

You may not be able to answer the question, "Which type of person is your BF?" because you don't have all the information, but you should try to figure it out asap.  Getting divorced is expensive but very few people file for bankruptcy over it. 

Anyway, let's take away the $60K in debt from the picture.  10 years after the divorce, your BF still has a bankruptcy filing on his record, still doesn't own a home, and still doesn't have a car.  In other words, he hasn't been able, in 10 years, to put himself in a position where he can contribute financially to someone else's life.  Which still brings you back to the question:  Are you prepared to do EVERYTHING financially to support yourself and your children?

I'm not saying you shouldn't - I'm the sole breadwinner for my family and, after getting us out of the debt I allowed us to get into, I've done a very good job of it.  I'm proud of what I've accomplished.  DH has been a SAH parent to our kids for 17 years and our kids have turned out extremely well.  I'm OK with shouldering 100% of the financial burden for our family because I was raised with a 1970s feminist mindset that said "I can AND I WILL do everything men do, including being the sole breadwinner."  However most people, men and women, today expect a financial partner in their marriage.

If you do plan to have a future with your BF, I strongly suggest that the two of you sit down with a financial planner who can help you see, with clear eyes, what your future will be, based on *all* your aspirations.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-17-2008
Wed, 08-28-2013 - 4:17pm
Thank you for your response and feedback Mahopac :) I really like the points you brought up. I have mentioned to my BF that he needs to sit down with a financial planner and after what you said above, I think I need to go with him. As for the type of person he is as far as spending, I don't know and that's what I need to find out. He did tell me (and I believe him) that his credit score before his divorce was in the 800s and drastically reduced when he had to declare bankruptcy after the divorce. As for the $60k debt, I have no idea what that was the result of (i.e. house, car payment, etc.) so I need to find that out as well. I also want to take a look at his expenses to see what he can cut per month and doesn't need. He doesn't use a credit card for his purchases as at all (which is good), and I've noticed he tries to pay for everything in Cash if possible and his debit card. He makes $121k a month, which I think is a lot and I make $78k a month which is decent in this area. I think meeting with a financial planner may shed some light on this whole ordeal and see if there is a future with this person and what the next 10 years could look like. While this makes me panic, I feel a little bit relieved at the same time (is that weird). I thought I had the next 5 years planned out and saying to myself 'i need to do this..and buy a house..and have kids, etc.' and I think this has slowed down that process and makes me think a little more and I'm not as pressured to do that so soon....
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Wed, 08-28-2013 - 10:15pm

I know credit score is important but I would be more concerned about his income & expenses.  Even if his credit score goes up (which it probably won't now because of the car return) you already said his expenses are more than his income--how is that going to change?  If you shared a place, then of course he wouldn't be paying all of the household expenses.  However, you also have to investigate when child support ends in your state (or by his divorce judgment).  Where I live child support continues until the child graduates from collge or age 23, whichever comes later plus the parent can be ordered to pay for some of the college expenses.  I'm divorce and my child support payment isn't that big (since I work it's less than a non working parent would get) but my ex pays for 1/2 the college expenses (after financial aid).  Even with our DD going to a state university and getting financial aid plus some scholarships, that was about $5000/yr each.

You really have to think hard about this.  If you married someone around your age, you'd probably be with someone making a decent salary and no kids, although they could have large college loans, but by 30 I'd think most of the college loans would be paid off.  Plus all the rest of the baggage that comes with an ex & kids, even if he & his ex get along.  Would he have enough money so he would want more kids (even 1 more costs a lot).  As mahopac said, you'd have a lot of financial responsibility--forget taking a lot of time off to stay home w/ kids (although I never did that myself).  I read a lot on these boards about women who marry a divorced guy & complain that all his income goes to child support and they get resentful that they have to carry a lot of the household expenses.  That isn't something I'd want for my own DD.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-29-2010
Thu, 08-29-2013 - 2:51am

Not trying to be nit-picky here, but his income to expenses don't seem to add up. If he makes ~$10K per month then he probably nets around $7K. The fixed expenses that you mentioned don't seem to add up to anywhere near that amount so you should definitely look at his budget (if he has one) to see where his money is going. Maybe he is a very poor money manager, and if you handled the money things could be okay. Or he could become resentful about you holding the purse strings which could cause marital problems. Pre-marital counseling could help to figure that out.

Also, find out all of the details of his child support agreement, including whether his ex can request an increase if he marries someone with an income.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-17-2008
Thu, 08-29-2013 - 8:02am
Thanks for your feedback Remdamma :) Now that you mention it...it doesn't really add up at all. If he makes $121k and his fixed expenses are rent ($1600), child support ($1600) and his car payment ($600) and his kids hobbies (around $500 a month)...that's still not close to the $7k that he nets each month... I'm definitely going to have to take a look at his expenses...I was curious to see what they were but now i'm even more curious! I'm guessing that his ex can't request an increase if he marries since she is married herself but that is also a good thing to know. Maybe she can since she is the one with sole custody.
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Thu, 08-29-2013 - 9:27am

Normally a new spouse's income can't be considered in child support because it's not their responsibility to support someone else's kids.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-24-2003
Thu, 08-29-2013 - 10:57am

 

'..you should definitely look at his budget (if he has one) to see where his money is going.'

This is not really helpful to the OP.

IMHO,  there is no way you can demand to look at someone's ANYTHING financial at mere few months (that's all a year is) together. On what basis? What gives you the right? I'm 42, soon to be 43...his age, approximately. I know all there is to know about debt, and difficult personal situations. I'd laugh in a face of a (hypothetical) 29 y old who, after a few months together, assumed that he was entitled to know what I did/do/plan to do with my money.

Just mho.

Avatar for mahopac
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997
Thu, 08-29-2013 - 11:45am

In the first paragraph of her first post, she notes that they have talked about a future and marriage.  Clearly she's not a "hypothetical 29yo," she's a future wife.  So that does give her the right to have a complete understanding of his financial situation. 

I'm 51 and I would *never* go into a marriage at this point without fully understanding my future spouse's assets, liabilities, values, and spending habits.  Similarly I would expect him to want to know mine.  If he didn't, I would be concerned about his own ability to manage money.

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