There is no easy way out of debt.
People that tell you that setting a budget and cutting back here and there will do the trick are as big a liars as the hucksters selling the blue sky that a 10 minute workout a day will lose you 70 pounds in a few months.
My wife is what I would call financially insane.
She is an intelligent woman and isn’t terribly materialistic. She doesn’t want new cars and vacations in Europe. But she has a problem understanding basic math.
She absolutely can NOT understand that if she didn’t spend $4 dollars a day on an expensive coffee that we would have about $1400 more a year in our checking account. Add to that all the times she eats out and does other things requiring money that are not necessary and she blows easily $4000 a year on just dumb stuff.
She keeps saying “You have to live a little.”
I keep saying “I’d like to not retire into poverty.”
She has several times racked up the credit cards behind my back. And each time I have painfully paid them off. Only to find she has done it again. The last time I finally came up with a solution to stop her. I informed her that if she ever does it again we will get divorced. And she knows I mean it. She has behaved for four years now.
We have not owned a credit card for four years and I open her mail to make sure she hasn’t gotten any new ones. Yes, it’s spying. Yes, I don’t trust her and yes, I don’t care if she doesn’t like it. I’m trying to save our marriage and I’ll do what ever it takes.
All of the finance books, and we have read lots, talk about the couple sitting down and working up a budget they can agree on. We have done that several times, but they assume two financially sane people.
The other trick I have learned that has kept my financial ship afloat is lying to my wife. Again all of the financial books talk about total honesty, I say that’s total bullshit.
If I had told my wife years ago that I had started contributing to my 401k at work she would have had a fit. She would have wanted that money to spend. She knows about it now and is thrilled that we have something going towards our retirement. It was up to about $150,000 before the latest crash, but it would have been almost nonexistent if I had consulted her and asked for her permission to start saving.
The moral of the story is sometimes you have to use threats and deceit to accomplish your financial goals. Maybe another way to word that is you can’t let the inability of your spouse to manage money be an excuse for not doing what has to be done to save your family from financial ruin.