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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iVillage Member
Registered: 02-17-2008
Wed, 10-02-2013 - 12:37pm

Ok, so I'm back here for more advice :)

I was able to get my boyfriend to seek financial counseling from a non-profit financial agency for free.  I realized that he had more debt than he originally let on (but not a whole lot more).  They were able to work with his creditors and establish a debt management plan so that he could pay this agency directly each month and they would pay his creditors and the interest would be lower and he would not have to pay late fees.  He should be able to pay off his debt in 27 months, which is really good news!

However, some other issues have since come up that aren't exactly money related.  He insisted on organizing a surprise party for my 30th birthday, which was extremely nice of him.  I accidentally found out about it the week of but said I would act surprised.  He had planned the party at a winery at 12:30 on the day of my birthday.  However, once I found out about it, he said he wanted to go see his son's baseball game that day and asked if it would bother me if he changed the time to 4:30.  Who am I to tell him 'no you can't go to your son's baseball game b/c of my birthday'?  So I was like..ok that's fine.   However, this change was very last minute.  I didn't realize that the party was supposed to start at 12:30 and the fact that he changed it at the last minute caused a lot of my friends to not be able to show up.  So I was really depressed after my party and kind of let down about my birthday.

This caused me to wonder if this is how it's always going to be.  I understand when you are dating someone with kids, that the kids will always come first (as they should).  But does this mean I have to always feel like this, like I will always be second?  His kids are really great, nice kids and I really, really like them.  But from the outside looking in, they get EVERYTHING they want, even when my boyfriend can't afford to give it to him.  I ask him why he just doesn't tell them 'no' if they want something and he can't afford to give it to them.  He says that he would feel bad not giving them something they want.

To me this was part of being a kid.  I was told 'no' a lot when I was younger and my parents always made me realize the amount of money they spent on me and how I should be appreciative.  Which is why it bothers me with my boyfriend's kids and the fact that they don't realize their father will go into debt just to make sure they are happy. I also think it’s irresponsible for him to do this as well.  I haven’t said anything to him but was just looking for advice.  I realize I don’t have any say in how he should spend his money on his kids (nor should I since they are not my kids).  But I can’t help but worry about my future with him and if my life will always come second to his other life.

Avatar for mahopac
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997
Fri, 08-30-2013 - 11:50am

OK, two more little things and then I promise to leave you alone. ;)

First is that people value things differently.  What may seem inessential to you may be fundamental to your BF's happiness.  Example:  For years I was irritated by the fact that my DH shopped for groceries every single day at a more expensive store rather than shopping once a week at a less expensive store.  Eventually he shared that knowing that he had to leave the house every day to shop gave him (a SAH parent) a reason to shower, shave, and dress properly every day.  Doing those things is essential to his mental health.  If we spend an extra $100 a month on groceries and gasoline so he feels he has a reason to shower every day, which in turn makes him feel like a productive member of society, it is well worth it.  (BTW I am sure he couldn't have articulated that 10 years ago when I was scrutiinizing our budget.)

Second, there is more than one way to skin a cat.  When most people look at their budgets and see that they spend more than they earn, they start trying to spend less.  When I looked at my financial picture 9 years ago, I decided to earn more.  I could scrimp and save and scream at everyone for spending money, but only by making a change to a higher-earning career would I ever obtain the things I wanted for my family:  debt-free, a house we owned, college educations, and retirement.  Living within my means was only going to allow us to live day-to-day.  It wouldn't build a future.  It is much scarier to take the risk of going big than to try to scale back to something smaller, but it gets you a lot further.

And now, shutting up and wishing you a happy Labor Day weekend and good productive conversations with your BF.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-17-2008
Fri, 08-30-2013 - 10:34am
Wow, I can't even imagine! Especially with a family of five! I am interested in looking at his finances to see what we can cut and if he can save some money on anything. If that means taking away his precious HD TV, then so be it!! But I'm sure it will work out eventually, it will just take time and I am trying to remain optimistic. Thanks so much for your advice and feedback. I really appreciate it :)
Avatar for mahopac
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997
Fri, 08-30-2013 - 9:57am

Hey, that's great.  I'm sure you'll be surprised at what you find, but not necessarily in the way you think.  $7000 after-tax income may sound like a lot, but I spend twice that every month on my family of five, and that doesn't even include retirement, college, or vacations.  Families are so expensive that my 21yo has begged me NOT to show him the budget because he can't even fathom it.  Phones/internet/satellite costs $425 a month, for example... basic gym membership for a family is $267 not including court fees, lessons, etc... feeding two teens & three teens/young adults is always over $1200/month (and doesn't include eating out)... car insurance is thousands of dollars a year (no car payments)... not to mention things like computer supplies, minor home repairs & tools, pet supplies, doctor bills, contact lenses for 5 people, yadda yadda yadda.  If you don't own a home or have children, you can't even imagine how expensive houses & kids are.  (Of course if I knew upfront, I'd never have had kids, so I'm glad I didn't know.)

Anyway, good luck.  Glad this was helpful.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-17-2008
Thu, 08-29-2013 - 2:05pm
Thanks Mahopac! I agree. And I have brought this up to him (today exactly) and he is completely fine with me looking at his finances. If he expects to have a future with me and I with him I feel I have a right to know what I am getting myself into before we go further and the relationship gets more serious. If he wasn't as invested in the relationship, then he may laugh in my face, which would indicate maybe he wasn't as committed after all...
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.

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.

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: 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: 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.

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