Very discouraging evening...

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Very discouraging evening...
9
Sun, 06-15-2003 - 10:27pm
Well, I've had a very discouraging evening. I'm sorry I haven't been here, but my computer and internet connections have been alternately unavailable the past couple weeks, so I'm finally back.

Tonight something surfaced that's made me very unhappy and discouraged, and now I need to find ways to cope with it. My specific question is what happens to a spouse's credit report when his/her name is added to a specific account.

The situation in question is a credit line account that dh ran up ($1000) without my knowledge a couple years ago and then failed to pay. I've known about the credit line for about a year, but he kept saying he was paying it. But the amount never seemed to go down (I checked his credit report a couple times), so finally I told him I would take over payments, but that I needed to start getting the statements. The statements seemed to stop coming. He then said he hadn't gotten a statement "in a while" but didn't know how long. So he told me he called and they were going to send payment coupons and that the account was not delinquent. The coupons never came. So he said he called them again and they couldn't send coupons, but they'd send a letter and start getting the statements to our address (supposedly they had been sent to the wrong address). Still they never came. So I had him call and set up online statements, and they said they'd send a password by mail. It never came. By this time, I was already pretty worked up and *very* suspicious that he was hiding something from me.

Tonight I had him sign up for an online credit report from Transunion, and guess what? That account shows up as charged off "as bad debt." Surprise. In addition, there's a $63 charge from the same bank but a different account (?) that he claims not to recognize but that has gone to collection. I am very angry. Dh is a wonderful person and has many qualities for which I am glad he's my husband, but I am so upset by this. I feel like I can't trust him with money at all. He is very understanding, and agrees that he shouldn't be trusted with money. He doesn't have an explanation. He's agreed to see a counselor about it, but I'm not sure what a counselor can do to help.

Anyway, to alleviate at least the financial portion of the strain, I plan to sign up to monitor his credit report so he can't do anything like this again. He agrees that this is a good course of action.

But the question remains what to do about the specific accounts in question. The account is currently in his name only, so at least it doesn't show on my report (but then, my report is useless for anything like a mortgage, because I don't have income). The down side is, I can't do anything with the account. And I don't trust him to get it sorted out. I really want him to add me to the account so I can call and get it sorted out. I'm hoping that if I offer to pay installments they'll remove the charge off from his record. I don't know whether that's possible, but at least I can be the one calling and finding out what's going on, since I don't know whether dh actually will or won't and whether he'll do what needs to be done and tell me the truth and so on. But I'm worried what that account will do to my nearly perfect credit record (I have high balances, but almost no delinquencies and certainly no charge-offs or collections). If he adds me at this point, will the charge-off show on my credit report? Or will it show only activity *after* I'm added to the account?

Any other advice for getting this under control? Anybody btdt? Anybody btdt and survived with a happy marriage in tact? I'm not anywhere near wishing for an end to the marriage--he's really terrific in so many ways, and we're so like-minded about many very important things like parenting and lifestyle--but I also am very discouraged and tired of feeling like I can't depend on him. We have the issue of dependability in other areas too (like items he was supposed to sell ages ago, maintenance he's supposed to get done on his car, etc., that I have to remind and remind and remind and remind and they still don't get done!). I'm just so tired of it. And then I'm so discouraged because I want to move to the country *so bad*--I want a back yard and big trees and garden, I want woods and streams for my children to play in while I work outdoors--and I thought we were making progress but I feel like this kind of thing just sets us back again. I feel like it's never going to happen because whatever I do, dh is undoing it. I know it's not that extreme--he has gotten better in his habits, and at least he hasn't run the debt up much further than it was two years ago, but still it's discouraging to feel like we're making progress and then, whamo.

Sorry for dumping all that. I meant to only very matter-of-factly ask my debt specific question, but I guess I needed to get the rest off my chest too. I don't feel right talking about this with irl friends, as I don't want people thinking badly of dh, especially since our friends are all mutual friends.

Thank you so much for any specific advice, as well as thoughts, opinions, and words of comfort.

Blessings,

Heather

Avatar for cl_beckymk
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
Sun, 06-15-2003 - 11:52pm
Hugs...I really don't have any advice for you. I would think that if they add your name, it will show up on your credit report.

One thing I have done (I know shame on me but...) is just pretend to be DH! LOL! I know all the information to "verify" I'm him (OK, so they may not believe you if your DH has an obvious "guy" name...which mine does but there ARE females with the name so when they asked if I was DH, I just said Yes). LOL!! OK, probably completely illegal but as I am the money boss in the house, DH usually tells me to "take care of it" for things. I'm just thinking maybe you could do that to get the information you need to see about paying it off and not have it go on your credit report. I really have no idea though.

I would be upset too. Just hugs to you!!!

Becky

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-31-2003
Mon, 06-16-2003 - 7:27am
Hi Heather,

No advice, just a big {{{{hug}}}. Anyone would be upset by that, but it must be especially difficult when you have been working so hard. It sounds like you have already made some good decisions and DH isn't fighting them. Just remember you are doing the best you can!

More {{{{hugs}}}}

Brittany




iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 06-16-2003 - 8:30am
Hi:

I can definitely sympathize and understand what you are going through. I was the money mis-manager in our family for years and years. It caused no end of trouble. My husband was so frustrated with me and our situation. I sometimes think if we had saved all of the money I've wasted over the years, we could now be living in luxury on the Riviera!

I finally got fed up with the whole mess and decided it was time to grow up financially. It was a long road, but DH and I were able to get out of credit card debt, pay off our car loans, and now we're prepaying our mortgage early. We carry a zero balance on our one credit card, we have savings, and our credit rating is stellar. I'm telling you this because I want you to believe that people CAN change!!

It sounds like your DH is willing to work with you and with this problem, which is a big plus. There are some resources that can help:

* Debtors Anonymous has a website that can direct people to meetings in their area. If there are no active groups where you live, or for additional support, there is a great DA website at Yahoo Groups. It's called "Spenders, Debtors Anonymous Group #450". If your DH has a spending addiction or creates debt that is unmanageable, this group can really help. I visit the website daily for inspiration and encouragement.

* Books that would help you both include How to Get Out of Debt, Stay Out of Debt and Live Prosperously by Jerrold Mundis, and any book by Mary Hunt (Debt-Proof Living; or The Cheapskate Monthly Money Makeover are two good ones). Even if your DH is not a reader, I'd recommend that you read these books. They will help you to understand why people who mismanage money do what they do, and give you strategies for turning the situation around.

* Don't add your name to his delinquent accounts. This would damage your credit, and you want to keep your credit record clean. (Even it you're not earning income now, you might be at some future time. Or something might happen to him and you would need to rely on your own resources and credit.)

It would be best for your DH to assume some responsibility and get involved in cleaning up the delinquent accounts, because it would be a great learning process for him. If you think he'll never do that, you could initiate some inquiries, and when it comes to the point where DH needs to get involved, then pull him in.

It really is possible for people to change. What is required is a COMMITMENT to change. It also helps enormously if the people around you have a positive attitude, believe in you, and encourage and praise any progress and improvements in behavior.

* For a time, my DH had to handle all of our money management. We cut up credit cards, closed all accounts but one (for DH's business use), and he carried the only checkbook. I got a household allowance, and dealt in cash only. We basically closed off all of the opportunities for me to create debt. This was a necessary first step. (Now I am strong enough and confident enough to take a more active role and I do.)

* Financial management needs to be about more than what NOT to do! Get your DH involved in discussions of your financial goals as a family. What do you want to do with your hard-earned money (have a nice home? educate the kids? have a comfortable retirement? be able to take vacations?) It's easier to save money if you know what you're saving for! Also, be sure your budget includes some spending money for each of you; you want to enjoy life in the present, too.

I apologize for this long post! I just wanted to emphasize that there is hope, that if you and DH work together, you can have a bright future financially.

Please keep us posted - we really do care!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Mon, 06-16-2003 - 9:31am
Update on the situation:

The credit line balance has increased since it was charged off, due to fees and interest and what-not, and is now $1,151.04. The $63 charge is in a different department at the bank, but both are still within the bank.

Both department collection people spoke quite openly with me, despite the fact I'm not listed on the account. That is a relief, as it means that I won't be tempted to add dh's bad debt to my credit record, and because now I know exactly where everything is.

I'm planning to pay the $63 in full immediately, and I've set up a repayment schedule on the other one. Neither department will take the charge-off completely off our record, but at least one of them will show as a paid charge-off. The other one will show as a regular charge-off until it is paid in full, which could be over a year, depending on how quickly I can snowflake it. Both will send me a thank-you note after each payment, including a balance, so that I will have written records.

I'm glad it's all out in the open now, but I'm still so upset about dh. It's been over a year since he has paid on this account, and all this time he kept telling me (when I would ask) that he was taking care of it. He says he kept hoping he could fix it before I found out. He was hoping to save me the hassle and heartache. I believe him (though I also believe his desire to stay out of my wrath played a role), but it's still so upsetting. He's clearly been in a terrible state of denial about it--spending money as soon as it comes to him, like water from a sieve, and still thinking somehow he'd make the credit payments and get the account caught back up.

At least I know he hasn't been taking his account statements out of the mail and hiding them from me--since the account's been closed for six months, they haven't been sending statements. I do still wonder if he didn't take the paper credit reports we ordered six months ago out of the mail and hide them, since I never saw them. I'm just glad I finally paid for the online version and there was no way he could hide it from me any longer.

I'm going to respond to the specific posts separately, but thank you very much for the hugs and support and ideas.

Blessings,

Heather

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Mon, 06-16-2003 - 9:33am
Thank you. It's good to have support. I would pretend to be him (it would be easy, as he has a name that's usually thought of a woman's name anyway, and people on the phone often just assume I'm him), but I just can't pull it off. I get too nervous. Anyway, as you can see from my update, I didn't need to.

Thank you again for your support.

Blessings,

Heather

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Mon, 06-16-2003 - 9:35am
Thank you! Yes, dh is cooperating. He's been really accomodating about other stuff, too--bringing me drinks and food, and sitting up with me when he ought to be in bed, cleaning the kitchen when it's my turn, and so on. Guilt can be a good thing. ;)

At least I know he loves me and wants to get this worked out. I just wish I understood where this deceit and mismanagement comes from. I just don't understand it.

Sigh.

Thank you very much for the hugs. I sure need them today.

Blessings,

Heather

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Mon, 06-16-2003 - 9:48am
Thank you so much for this very helpful and encouraging reply. I told dh about your post, and he was encouraged to hear that you are now able to manage money just fine. He too has come a long way from the days when he actually ran that debt up to begin with, but obviously we still have a ways to go.

I think I will probably let dh carry his cards still, as he hasn't run up any new debt in several years, but I do plan to run a credit check on him every quarter (I've set an appointment for it in my calendar so I don't forget). I already handle all the money management, so that's not an issue.

I'll suggest Debtors Anonymous to dh. As for the books--I've read and love Mary Hunt's "Debt-Proof Living," and we live by a lot of her principles. Dh is very involved in terms of discussion, with our budgeting and goals, and he agrees with me full-heartedly. He's become very good at economizing, including taking peanut butter and jelly to work for lunches when there are no good leftovers (and leftovers when there are), and only spending money out of his allowance. He's reluctant to ask for money even for reasonable things like shoelaces and watchbands (he has a hard time distinguishing between reasonable requests and not-so-reasonable ones!), and like me looks for bargains on things he needs. And always clears it with me now.

So he's gotten much better.

Thank you for the advice not to add my name to his accounts. Fortunately (see my update post), I was able to get everything I needed without doing so, as the ladies in collections happily told me everything I needed to know. I'm not sure whether they can do that legally, but I was glad for it anyway. I guess they're just glad to have someone calling and saying, "please let me pay!" LOL

We definitely have goals. We want property in the country, a market garden for me and the children, lots of children. We plan to homeschool and grow our own food. Most of that is not very expensive (except the property, of course), but you have to be free of encumbrances like debt, and we'll have to get a mortgage, which we can't do if our credit is trashed. Anyway, we're working toward that goal and dh is on board with me. He's just not quite at the same point I am, but he's working on it.

Thank you again for your very encouraging post. I'm so glad to hear from someone who's been on the other side and come through it. I need to know that it's not that he doesn't care or that he wishes ill upon me, but that it's a problem he has and that he can overcome it. It's especially good to hear that your relationship is still strong and happy.

Thank you.

Heather



iVillage Member
Registered: 04-05-2003
Mon, 06-16-2003 - 9:53am
I'm glad you got the information on your own. but never pretend to be dh to do it. Alot of the creditors, banks and such will happily talk to you with name being on account as long as they know for sure you are the wife. Pretending to be smeone else is illegal. my ss name is spelled like a girls name so everything he is she since i'm the only girl here they think i'm him/ I always tell them it's a him and not her. My dh is mostly the one getting us into trouble with his giving to his dd and letting her not pay a cc bill she ran up in his name. I call the ccc or whoever if i get suspicious and hand him the phone and he tells them to speak with me and they will. They aren't supposed to speak with you without it being on his account that it's ok to give you information or unless dh says it's ok via phone/ regardless if you are wife or not it's illegal to give that kind of information without consent.

Hopefully dh can stick to the arrangement. lots of luck




Edited 6/16/2003 9:54:39 AM ET by tjs96

Avatar for mquin73
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Mon, 06-16-2003 - 11:41am
Hi Heather,

I just read your updated post. I'm glad to hear that they were willing to work with you. I just wanted you to know that I know EXACTLY how you feel. My dh is not good with money at all. When he's got it, it burns a whole in his pocket if he doesn't spend it. And he has lied to me numerous times over money situations. He does not handle the check book at all, I do. I pay everything and keep tabs on everything. I do not trust him with a ten ft pole to handle the money. It's sad really, cuz I feel like he has let me down. It is very stressful at times, especially since we live paycheck to paycheck all the time, but at least I know what I'm doing with the money. Also, I have to constantly remind him to do things that need to be done. I have told him numerous times that I shouldn't have to treat him like a child, and that he is old enough to know better. He feels bad when I tell him that, but yet he doesn't really change. I love my dh very much as well and he has lots of good qualities, but handling money is definitely not one of them.

Like one of the other posters replied I have had to cut dh off completely. That's really the only way that we have the money more under control. I also try to get him involved with our financial situation.

Michelle


Edited 6/16/2003 11:50:25 AM ET by mquin73


signature 2008