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Hello all!

Bit of a long post ahead (which is what I'm good at, lol), so thank you in advance for reading the whole thing! I will try to tell the full story.

So my father brought up an interesting point to my attention earlier today. We were talking about my boyfriend and his financial situation, because my boyfriend went to him with a mortgage question. Which is of big concern to my dad because he is very money-savvy and is HUGE on saving money (he was able to retire comfortably at 58).

Now, I know that finances are a big part of why a lot of marriages go bust. Yes, I admit that I'm not the greatest with saving money, either, but I am learning.

My boyfriend works two stable jobs, bringing in about $100k / year. He pays child support monthly for his 9-year old son, along with 2 mortgages. He is in his mid-40s, has been working at his current profession for 22 years, and has about $210k+ in his savings and 401(k). He admits to contributing the minimum amount to his 401(k), lives in a 1-bedroom apartment. His monthly bills take out about 80% of his paycheck. Combine that with the things that he buys for his son and the kind of money he spent before he met me, while out with his friends and ex-girlfriends, he doesn't really have a lot of money to play around with, at all.

My boyfriend has admitted to me before that he tends to live for the present and doesn't like to worry about the future. He's always saying how his coworkers comment on how poor he is, and even he makes jokes to me, his friends, and his family about how poor he is. He says he is serious about saving money. Yet he spends hundreds on his son for birthdays/holidays, and just took an expensive vacation with his friend, another with me, and another with his friend and their sons. In the past, as recently as just a few years ago, he admitted to taking multiple vacations a year with his friends and family to resorts in Caribbean, Mexico, etc... Now, his friends are big partiers. And partying is expensive.

His friend just got a free trip to visit his father and invited my boyfriend. But he has to spend money on food, drinks, and (possibly) transportation. Plus he will be taking 2 unpaid days off his second job. I guess this was finally the incident that got me thinking about his past, and his spending habits. What bothers me more is that he is asking financial advice from this friend, who is more than $30,000 in credit card debt and refuses to divorce his wife because he can't afford child support/alimony payments.

Yet, he harps on ME constantly about how both of us need to save more money, how I spend too much, how we need to have cheap/free dates, how we can't afford to go on vacation anymore for the rest of this year, etc etc. I just think he has no right to tell me what to do with my money, in the financial situation that he's in.

My father, and also my mother and brother are now growing increasingly worried that I will end up supporting him financially if he keeps this up. A lot of times, when we do fun things, I end up paying, even though I make less than him.

What I wanted to ask, was, is money really everything? Is this a normal situation for someone his age to be in financially? Even though my boyfriend and I are good together, and since we're not married, should I still be concerned about his financial situation? For a long time, I thought my dad was just too stiff and that all he cared about was money, but now I am afraid he might be right. And would you have married or stayed with your SO / spouse if you knew they had a very laid-back attitude about their finances?
 

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It's not EVERYTHING in a marriage, but it can put a lot of strain on a relationship.

He has a lot of "legitimate" expenses and if you two get married, I'm sure some of the money you make will go to those expenses. The bigger question is whether he can get his "frivolous" spending under control. I would suggest that you see if he can before he becomes your fiance or husband. And if this is a major concern of yours, you should let him know now since it will be a deal breaker if/when he proposes.
 

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my ex-husband's (woohoo) attitude to money was one of the major reasons I found it easy to move on. He was like your boyfriend (although he didn't earn as much), spent whatever he earned, has no savings, no pension, no nothing

it's exhausting to live with and incredibly frustrating to find you've got just enough to cover the bills but he's spent £500 on a new amp

so think very very carefully before you dive in with this guy
 

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Money isn't everything, but when you have opposing views on it, it is HUGE. The red flag that goes up in your post is that he spends and "lives for the present" but gives you a hard time for your spending habits. Double standard - rarely works out well in a relationship.

Also, I'm really curious why he pays 2 mortgages? Was that just a typo?
 

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Money is not everything but can cause so much stress. Before my H and I were married he was careless with money and spent way to much. After we got married I kind of trained him how I was raised. Pay all the bills , buy all the food and put the rest up. He went right a long with me and I thankfully have never had a problem with it. We always have money to go out or do what we want without being in debt or behind!

Maybe you should direct him and see if he can follow.
 

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Hmmm, his financial situation doesn't add up completely. How much is his child support? Does he have a lot of revolving load debt? He has two mortgages, does he have rental income? If not what are the mortgages for?

I have a feeling money won't be the biggest issue in your relationship, it'll be his constant traveling and partying with his friends. THEN money will be an issue as you have to subsidize it.

There's NO reason a person making $100,000 with $210,000 in available funds should be struggling. There are is so much wrong with having a nest egg but being credit strapped. You're giving away money every month. LITERALLY GIVING IT AWAY.
 

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If my wife was spending all of her money on vacations and partying and then turned around and nagged me about my spending I would not tolerate it. It's completely unreasonable and kind of suggests he doesn't value your relationship that much. Spending money on his son is something you need to be careful about. He may have guilt about the divorce and its his way to let the boy know he loves him.

You didn't say you lived with him so I will assume that you don't. He's just your boyfriend and has absolutely no right to tell you what to do with your finances. Money is not everything but I believe that character is. Your boyfriend is working two jobs so taking time off from one of them is not unreasonable. He pays his child support and two mortgages. He has a modest amount of savings and lives in an aparment. All of this sounds like normal baggage for a 40 something divorce'. Many men and women never recover financially from a divorce. Your parents are right to be worried. His divorce set him back and now he wants to live it up a little before he's too old. He may not be a saving like your father but these days this type of person is rare. In the last years our culture has shifted where everyone thought they deserved everything and used credit to get it. Why does he have two mortgages and live in an apartment?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the responses...good to know that I have a reason to be concerned. We're actually supposed to have a long talk about this tonight and see what kind of lifestyle changes need to be made.

I understand that he may want to "live it up" before he gets too old, but I honestly feel like he's had his chance to. He even admitted to partying a lot from his early twenties until his late thirties, was married for 4 years, and then went right back to partying for another 2 years or so. Ever since he met me, he pretty much stopped doing it, save for the one vacation he took with his friend over the summer, and the one he's thinking about taking in a few weeks (which he has promised will be his last one). But that's another topic altogether.

I actually don't really mind that he spends money / time on his son. I think he should. His second job is part-time and is a contract job, and he says this is the last year he'll be doing it.

One of his mortgages is for the apartment he lives in now (it's a co-op), and the other one is for a house he bought in another state a long time ago, but he gets some rent for that house.

His child support is $1200/month and as far as I'm aware, he's not in any kind of credit card debt or anything. As far as his savings, he has about $10k in his personal savings and about $200k in a 401(k) account.

Does that answer all the questions?
 

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Wouldn't hurt to run a credit check on him. If he owns 2 properties and has savings/401k like you said, plus a decent income, I'd say he is in decent shape. You both need to agree on how the finances will be handled before you get married.
 

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It's not EVERYTHING in a marriage, but it can put a lot of strain on a relationship.

He has a lot of "legitimate" expenses and if you two get married, I'm sure some of the money you make will go to those expenses. The bigger question is whether he can get his "frivolous" spending under control. I would suggest that you see if he can before he becomes your fiance or husband. And if this is a major concern of yours, you should let him know now since it will be a deal breaker if/when he proposes.
:iagree:

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Thanks for the responses...good to know that I have a reason to be concerned. We're actually supposed to have a long talk about this tonight and see what kind of lifestyle changes need to be made.

I understand that he may want to "live it up" before he gets too old, but I honestly feel like he's had his chance to. He even admitted to partying a lot from his early twenties until his late thirties, was married for 4 years, and then went right back to partying for another 2 years or so. Ever since he met me, he pretty much stopped doing it, save for the one vacation he took with his friend over the summer, and the one he's thinking about taking in a few weeks (which he has promised will be his last one). But that's another topic altogether.

I actually don't really mind that he spends money / time on his son. I think he should. His second job is part-time and is a contract job, and he says this is the last year he'll be doing it.

One of his mortgages is for the apartment he lives in now (it's a co-op), and the other one is for a house he bought in another state a long time ago, but he gets some rent for that house.

His child support is $1200/month and as far as I'm aware, he's not in any kind of credit card debt or anything. As far as his savings, he has about $10k in his personal savings and about $200k in a 401(k) account.

Does that answer all the questions?
He earns good wages so should have enough disposable income, You haven't said how much the two mortgage outgoings are combined but as a rule of thumb maybe a 60/40 ratio (cost of living/spare money is what people aim for at the least) So if you get married, I take it he is selling the apartment he is currently in and you would set up home together? If so, will he make money on the sale of the apartment, or is it a negative equity situation (sorry I'm in UK so you would need to explain the co-op thing a little more)

The 2nd property - does it pay for itself with rental income? Can he look at the term left on one or both mortgages and extend it out further (appreciate this will cost more as an overall comparison with interest) but better than living really tight.

I am assuming the 401(k) is a type of pension fund - again will be different in UK, but I would ignore it and not count it as savings, but maybe you could explain the account if I have got it wrong.

I don't think its out of the question for a few holidays if someone is working two jobs and earning his wages. I am shocked at the amount of child support, would never have guessed it would be that high!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Well, I read through all your posts (thanks again by the way!) and had a talk with my boyfriend last night. Wasn't a pleasant conversation, but conversations about money rarely are.

He agreed that he went on too many vacations this year and wasted too much money, and that we went out too much. So he agreed to quit going on vacations with his friends for awhile, after this trip to see his friend's dad (as he blew a lot of money on that this year), and he and I both agreed to cut down our vacations as well, to just one big one and maybe one weekend trip (we went on tons of weekend trips this year also). Both of us agreed to stay home more often, cook together instead of eating out, and have more free dates. Oh and we don't live together, but we're over at each other's houses often.

I was shocked at the amount of child support too when he first told me! He really pays $800, but the other $400 is split with his ex-wife for the kid's after-care program. He says he is going to fight that amount when his son is older.

I haven't asked how much the two mortgages are combined. The 401(k) is a type savings account, but there is no pension with his job.

Thanks again for all the responses. I feel like this is one of those big issues that needs to be worked out before considering marriage at all.
 

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Money is not everything.

Who this man is is everything.

He has a child and cannot take care of you properly if you become his wife. Your father is pointing out to you that you can do much much better in life.
 

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It's great that you handled this directly. I think you have a great family who looks out for you. Did you happen to ask if he plans to send his boy to college? Something to think about...
 

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My boyfriend works two stable jobs, bringing in about $100k / year. He pays child support monthly for his 9-year old son, along with 2 mortgages. He is in his mid-40s, has been working at his current profession for 22 years, and has about $210k+ in his savings and 401(k)
Fail. What he's doing is incredibly dangerous. He's basically using borrowed money to buy stocks. Using extra money to buy stocks instead of paying off debt can potentially create large gains, but it also leaves the door open to potentially lose a lot. Betting on borrowed money is what causes the 1929 market crash.

And would you have married or stayed with your SO / spouse if you knew they had a very laid-back attitude about their finances?
I would leave because you know that you'll eventually need to take care of them like a parent. They save absolutely nothing for retirement, you save lots for retirement, then they post on a forum like this about "my partner is so selfish! she won't share her retirement fund with me just because I'm retarded and refused to save anything!"
 

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Fail. What he's doing is incredibly dangerous. He's basically using borrowed money to buy stocks. Using extra money to buy stocks instead of paying off debt can potentially create large gains, but it also leaves the door open to potentially lose a lot. Betting on borrowed money is what causes the 1929 market crash.


I would leave because you know that you'll eventually need to take care of them like a parent. They save absolutely nothing for retirement, you save lots for retirement, then they post on a forum like this about "my partner is so selfish! she won't share her retirement fund with me just because I'm retarded and refused to save anything!"
I'm not sure I follow you on this. Are you saying that since he has two mortgages he's failing? I didn't see any bad debt like credit cards and she said one of the mortgages was a rental. Please clarify because I do agree that debt should be paid before buying stocks but sometimes a mortgage is a good thing depending on the circumstances. It's the vacations that he needs to chill on.
 

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Your not married so shared assets & liabilities are not an issue. Unless you have run a credit report on him, you have no idea if he has debt.

Anyhow.....your money is yours do to whatever you want with - he should have no say & that goes both ways. As far as dates, shared vacations, etc. - 50/50.

If you plan to get married, credit reports on the table along with bank statements etc. Then draw up a shared budget.
 

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I'm not sure I follow you on this. Are you saying that since he has two mortgages he's failing?
In a nutshell, yes. Having 200k in investments while having 2 mortgages is incredibly high risk.

I brief summary of 1929:
The stock market in the 1920s was excellent. People wanted in on the action, so they borrowed money to invest in the stock market. This is called investing on margin. Even if the overall trend of the market is up, it still goes up and down from day to day. If the investment is down, the lender will sometimes do a "margin call" and ask to be paid for the amount the stock went down. If someone borrowed $100 and the stock is down $30, the lender will ask to be paid $30. The person who is investing on margin likely doesn't have any money (that's why they borrowed it), so they need to sell some of the stock to pay the $30. If thousands of people are doing this at the same time, the stock price falls because there are more sellers than buyers. If the stock price goes low enough, selling all of the stock might not be enough to pay the $30 margin call; the stock is essentially worthless. That is called a crash. If it happens to the overall market, it's a market crash. Suddenly people find themselves still owing that $30, but they don't have any assets or money to pay it. The stock market and real estate market are tied together, so selling the house in a down market to pay the $30 means selling at a huge loss. They might even sell the house for less than the amount owed on the house, so they're still in the red after selling everything they have. After all the smoke clears, people have lost their retirement funds, their life savings, and their home just to pay off debt, and they're still in debt. Bankruptcy rates explode, thousands of banks go out of business. Worried people without debt withdraw all of their money from the bank just so it doesn't vanish when the bank goes under. This is called a bank run. The chain reaction keeps going.

Summary of 2008:
Very similar to 1929. Real estate was going up, so people took out huge loans to get in on the action. Many people would get mortgages with sub-prime rates for the first few years, but it wasn't a problem because people intended to sell the house before the teaser rates expire. If the market starts to dip a little, people investing with borrowed money rush to sell the house. Because the demand for housing was mostly investors rather than a real demand for additional housing, having investors bail out causes the housing market to crash. Owing more than the house is worth, people end up losing their house and their life savings just to pay the debt, and some people are still under water after selling everything they own.

The common lesson of 1929 and 2008 is that you should never put yourself in a position where you are forced to sell stock or property. You might end up selling things at a huge loss because lots of other people are forced to sell at the same time. If a person paid off their debt instead of investing, they could simply borrow more money when things get tight. Paying a few percent interest on a loan is much better than being forced to sell your retirement fund at a 40% loss.
 
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