Friday Finance: the spendthrift spouse

I’ve got a mate. He’s married with a kid. He’s okay with money but his wife is atrocious.

Each month he hands over all the money she’ll need for household expenses. Each month she ends up asking for more, saying she’s run out, even though he’s done the budget, gone over it with her a million times and figured how how much they ought to be spending on each item.

The strange thing is, she has her own part-time work and her own money. That should be enough, surely, for her own expenses? It’s not like she’s chipping in for his beer money or anything.

She has no idea where the money goes. When he asks her, she puts on the waterworks. Been that way for years.

She’s not a secret druggie or gambling addict. For her whole life, money has slipped through her fingers like water. The couple used to run a small business together and the husband had to take over the books because she couldn’t manage it. As with her own spending, the money would evaporate without a trace, or it would be clear that some services were not profitable but she would fail to notice.

My mate has tried to get her to use a budget app, record expenses, get organized. Every time she would show signs of improvement, feel pleased with herself, then all of a sudden it would become apparent that nothing had changed at all.

Like the other day. My friend found his bank card wouldn’t work. After some investigation, he discovered that the government had frozen his account and emptied it because the missus had neglected to pay local rates – a thing which he’d reminded her about several times, and which she’d lied about and said was all under control.

BTW, this is in a culture where the wife typically manages such things. Obviously she is no longer given this responsibility.

This was the straw that smashed the camel to a pulp. My mate, a foreigner, had been in the middle of applying for permanent residency. PR is hard enough to get at the best of times. If you’ve got taxes outstanding, computer says no.

He’s Aussie so would have had extreme difficulty getting home if he’d lost the right to live where he is. Relies on his spouse visa. One might wonder (as I did) if this is the result of enemy action, i.e. making it harder for him to seek divorce if he ever wanted to, but given the long history of the wife’s haphazard management of money this seems uncharacteristically canny.

Bah, who knows.

My mate’s taken over finances as far as he can even though he works long hours and has a lot on his plate. However, he still needs her to sort the kids, pay various fees during business hours, get the groceries etc. He can’t do everything. Each month she’ll be crying poor again. It’s got to the point where he’s realized that saving enough to retire is going to be tough.

Here I must confess my headline is misleading. I’m no expert on this. I’ve never been married. In the rare times I’ve lived with a partner, it’s never been a problem.

My best guess is that one needs to be very, very careful about who you marry or cohabitate with, or take over the finances completely if you have a problem like the one described here. Of course that’s now considered abusive in the West so beware of marrying there.

Here’s what I found in online listicles:

  • Make sure yours is the only name on the bills.

That’s it. All the other advice involved counseling, prenups etc.

Has anyone else been in a similar situation? Got any advice?

If there are good ideas out there I’ll incorporate them into the second edition of Poor Man’s Guide to Financial Freedom.

Edit: I’ve discovered there are budget apps designed for couples, i.e. Honeydue. Anyone had any success with those?

Also available on many other platforms.

10 comments

  1. Tim914 · November 26

    Thanks to the Internet, lots of men are being more cautious these days about marriage. It’s a good thing. I met my current wife while working in China. She’s a gem; almost makes up for some prior hellish experiences. Almost but not quite. We’ve been together 11 years. I took my time with her before committing instead of thinking with the small head as I did before. I’d have a lot more money if I had been exposed to the Manosphere at a young age as I was completely oblivious and had no idea what I was doing.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. luisman · November 27

    Reblogged this on Nicht-Linke Blogs.

    Like

  3. luisman · November 27

    Philippinas and a lot of other Asians feel or have in fact an obligation to support their family, especially their parents. My Ex spent 800USD per month on groceries, and turned on the waterworks when she ran out of money 3 weeks in. Of course she lavishly supported her extended family, not from her own income, but from the grocery money. Then I found some documents in which she gave “loans” to former school friend etc. who could never pay it back, as they were dirt poor.

    Another (ex) friend of mine here in the PI had his 30k USD car taken by a loan shark, from whom his wife borrowed money for a family bizznezz. It was crackpot idea or from the start a scheme to get 30k USD for free. He’s an ex-friend because he sticks to her like glue and asked me for a “loan”.

    If you (must) marry one of those SE-Asians, make sure she’s either an orphan or comes from a rich family (the latter doesn’t happen, as the elites marry among themselves and no normal Joe foreigner).

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Himself · November 27

    I’ve heard that with a lot of Asian cultures you are on the hook for the whole extended family, but when things get tough you’ll be on the outside. One needs to be wary outside ones culture.

    And if you can’t trust the woman with money, you have zero business marrying her.

    Caveat emptor

    Liked by 1 person

  5. dickycone · November 27

    Advice? That’s a toughy. The first thing that comes to mind is don’t marry a hot Russian girl unless you have millions of dollars. Literally the only guy I know who married an upper-tier Russian girl and has enough money to keep her happy is a multi-millionaire oil exec, and even he has still mentioned a few times that his wife can go through a staggering amount of money. “We do not love without material things” a Russian female friend of mine once told me. You could argue that all women are like that, but the Russians and Ukrainians are open and remorseless about it to a degree I haven’t seen in other women.

    I think with almost any girl from the FSU or third world you’ll be expected to support her family to some degree. I certainly do this with my Latina wife. It’s mostly taking care of her very elderly grandmother, which I find reasonable. On a few occasions when we’ve come into some extra money, she’s remarked to not mention it to her relatives. This indicates that she’s more dedicated to me and our kids than to her extended family back home. So maybe look for indications of that, although it might be harder to tell where her loyalty lies before you actually marry her and have kids with her.

    I’d also add that wherever she’s from, you want Jesus to be a big part of her life. That might seem ridiculous to those of you who are non-believers, but that’s the big difference between my wife and every other woman I’ve been involved with, so I’d be negligent not to mention it.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hesse Kassel · November 29

      Don’t give her cash or transfer money to an account that she controls. Instead give her access to a debit card in your own name. Just tell her that she is not allowed to withdraw cash.

      This means that you have an itemised list of her spending that it is hard for her to fake. Also by managing the deposits it is possible to automatically top it up at short intervals, a small amount each day if she is really bad.

      If she violates the no withdrawal rule then just change the pin but don’t tell her the new number. Then she can’t withdraw since the pin is required, but usually transactions up to $100 (in Australia anyway) are allowed without pin. Tell her this is because she broke the rule, then forgive her and give her the pin after a month of her being forced to live and shop that way. Repeat whenever she breaks that rule.

      Of course, the only thing that really works is getting a different kind of girl.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Julie · December 4

    I’ve been married to a man that couldn’t handle money, but I guess it was my bad not understanding that it wasn’t fixable. The signs were there before we married. My advice would be: Think about what’s important before you marry. Money, religion, kids, relation to in-laws. These are major stumbling blocks if you disagree. Also pay close attention to how you resolve conflicts before you tie the knot. If she cries and you end up relenting because of it, walk away. Emotional blackmail is despicable, and should never be tolerated. If I was a man I would also make sure I had some kind of security that would tip the balance in the relationship in my favor. Something that would make the wife think twice before she acts up. Especially if I lived in a country where men pay dearly for divorce.

    Liked by 1 person

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