My dear Jil, it would seem you and your boyfriend are coming from two opposing finance philosophies. You have two different finance personalities and perspectives. You’re prudent and believe in financial planning. He’s not. You’re conservative concerning finance. He has a laissez-faire attitude towards finance, believes things will somehow take care of themselves. He projects on future earnings. Which means he gets into a credit situation today hoping to plug the hole with future earnings. And so he spends his salary to the limit, banking on payday. And if there’s any problem with payday, he borrows money using his paycheck as collateral. In other words, you live within your means, he lives beyond his means, literally. That’s the simple deduction.
Of course your philosophy of finance was determined by your experience growing up in a family in which dad had a cavalier attitude towards finance. The family suffered. Your mum had to step in, carrying the heavy burden in order to take care of the family. You quietly swore you’ll avoid such a situation in your marriage. Which means you have to marry a man with a healthy respect for money, and who believes in financial planning.
Unfortunately, this guy you’re dating is the antithesis of your quiet resolve. You can readily see your dad in him. (There’s a dread you’re going to end up like your mum carrying the financial can.) Life can play such jokes on us. It’s like it tests whether we mean our resolutions or not, especially the quiet ones. Without a doubt this guy has great qualities. But everyone has that one critical quality they don’t want to negotiate as per marriage. For you it’s finance.
I don’t understand why he always has to push the finance limit though. It’s why every time you go for dinner you have to take care of taxi. It’s not something you should encourage, unless previously agreed or understood. How were you supposed to get home after dinner? But you’d have come across badly if you didn’t spare the transport fare. If he was still toasting you maybe I can try and understand. (I don’t!) But you’ve agreed to date him and he’s still pushing financial boundaries recklessly in desperation. He’s very much aware you won’t go out without some contingency planning. He knows you’ll hold some money and he’s capitalising on that.
Like I always tell you, you marry what’s right in front of you, not wishes. You’re looking at your husband in your boyfriend. You have to accept the facts about him. He’s always going to bust the envelope in anticipation of some future earnings. He’s always going to expect you to fill in where he falls short financially. If you marry him based on a different set of assumptions you will have grief and disappointment in your marriage. You marry what’s in front of you. You’ll have to sit down and evaluate whether his attitude to finance is something you can live with. He’s not going to change. It’s native to him. And it’s not just about finance; it’s his life philosophy – the belief things will somehow work out. And if they don’t, well…. It’s clearly going to be difficult for both of you to have joint account. He’s going to drain the account. That’s just him, he’s not being malicious.
Truth is, money matters a lot in a relationship. Money matters in marriage. There have been marriages broken by money. Lack can bring out the worst in people. Poor handling of finance can create exasperation. You’ve got to sort out the money bit before you go into marriage with anyone. Don’t assume. Locate the financial philosophy of your partner. His attitude towards money will determine your relationship. And there are many financial attitudes out there, all stemming from personal philosophies. If a man believes in giving money to his family but not his wife, that says a lot about his life philosophy. Means he prioritises family over wife. And some imagine they’re wonderful Samaritans – they starve their family but are extremely generous to those outside. They forget you can only love your neighbour as you love yourself. Which probably means they don’t see their wives as themselves. They see them as third parties. That’s the logical deduction.
Some men are totally irresponsible when it comes to finance. They just blow money! They never think of tomorrow, have no savings or financial security plan. And some believe in living off others. They make plans with other people’s money. And yet some others are glorified panhandlers. They know when everyone is collecting salary. They go round at the end of the month making demands. At the end of the day, they have more than even those who work. Such people think they’re smarter than everyone. Only they forget there’s no promotion in panhandling, no pension. There’s no career. Of course I don’t expect you to marry this kind of people.
I don’t expect you to be desperate. That you married a male doesn’t mean you married a husband. A husband is very responsible by definition. A male is solely defined by appendage. Such never have money. They issue promissory notes they don’t intend to fulfil. They make promises upon promises. There’s always an excuse why they can’t meet a financial obligation. It’s pointless planning with such. And so you have to determine what works for you as per marriage.
If his attitude to finance exacerbates you, you should think twice about going into marriage with him. If you do, you lose the right to complain. You knew about his attitude towards finance before you went into the marriage. That’s not saying people don’t change or can’t change after marriage. But what’s the incentive to change when he knows you’ll always pick up the tab! He knows you’ll never allow the family to fall into shame and so he’ll make commitments outside that depend on your fulfilment.
If finance is a touchy area for you during courtship, better to keep a personal account in marriage. Yes, some imagine joint accounts will bring a family together but that’s not necessarily so. It can also tear a family apart. You have to determine what works for you finance-wise as per your relationship. And there are stages of growth in finance, especially if one of you is in business. You don’t want to run a joint business account with a profligate partner. Your expectations will be disappointed.
There are things your boyfriend needs to save for at this stage of his life. He can’t just keep blowing all he has. Tell him that. Neither should he be trying to impress his friends he’s liquid. If he’s truly liquid he won’t need to impress his friends. Trying to impress your friends you’re liquid may actually turn out to be trying to impress your friends you’re foolish! Those drinks he buys are urinated out before leaving the club. It’s literally money down the drain. He should stop trying to impress people he has money he doesn’t have. It’s foolish.
You have a major decision to make about your relationship. (It’s not something you can sweep under the rug. It will become a monster in your marriage): Can you marry this man given your sensitivity and his laissez-faire financial attitude?
The decision as always is yours.
Your mentor, LA
© Leke Alder | email@example.comYou’ve got to sort out the money bit before you go into marriage with anyone. Click To Tweet