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Debt Management Advice

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  • Avatar PedsDad 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 4
    Joined: 06/09/2019

    Hi all.  I am new to WCI and new to getting my financial head out of the sand.  I am a pediatrician working 40% hospitalist, 60% PCP.  I work for a 501(c)3 and plan to go for the forgiveness program (but not holding my breath). I did 19 months of PICU fellowship and left after having a couple kids.  After leaving fellowship, I carried along some consumer debt, and in my first 4 years of practice, we have made that worse.

     

    The problem is that I see our debt as a crisis, and my wife does not.  We have IRS debt, credit cards, a personal loan, and a 403b loan.  We both have car payments.  I feel like my hair is on fire, and my wife is unwilling to even consider reducing our lifestyle to pay it off.  Does anyone have any advice on how to manage different financial priorities in a marriage?  One big hurdle I feel is that since I earn dramatically more than she does, she feels like “budget” means “control” and resents any attempts to reign in our spending.  It has become so toxic that she won’t even talk to me about finances.  Any ideas would be wonderful.

    #220312 Reply
    Liked by adventure
    jfoxcpacfp jfoxcpacfp 
    Moderator
    Status: Financial Advisor, Accountant, Small Business Owner
    Posts: 8128
    Joined: 01/09/2016
    I feel like my hair is on fire

    Click to expand…

    Welcome to the forum and thank you immensely for my first belly laugh of the day in the midst of much intense forum discussion (and tax return reviews).

    Johanna Fox Turner, CPA, CFP, Fox Wealth Mgmt & Fox CPAs ~
    http://www.fox-cpas.com/for-doctors-only ~ [email protected]

    #220330 Reply
    Avatar Peds 
    Moderator
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 4434
    Joined: 01/08/2016

    Honestly this is marriage counseling time.
    Assuming all the facts are true as they are presented and one partner is unable/unwilling/unmoving this is setting a course towards eventual divorce.

    get the money out of the checking account first cut off the credit cards cut off any potential way to spend extra money.
    Get everything in cash pay for everything with dollar bills etc etc.

    I agree with you. Everything is on fire.

    CordMcNally CordMcNally 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 2844
    Joined: 01/03/2017

    I would probably focus on marriage counseling and learning better ways to communicate and then work towards your finances.

    “But investing isn’t about beating others at their game. It’s about controlling yourself at your own game.”
    ― Benjamin Graham, The Intelligent Investor

    #220359 Reply
    Avatar climbhigh 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 50
    Joined: 02/22/2016

    I can certainly sympathize with your situation. Early on my wife felt the same way – for example, each month that we went over budget on groceries she felt like it was placing the blame on her since she does all the grocery shopping. It can only be fixed with good communication, shared decision making, and a “no blame” culture. Your situation is the perfect one for the Dave Ramsey baby step process. I’d recommend that the two of you go through Financial Peace University together. That way, the burden of convincing your wife to get on board doesn’t fall directly on to you (and you’ll learn how to dig yourself out of debt).

    #220424 Reply
    Liked by jz, SLC OB, EndoRobert
    Avatar nephron 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 227
    Joined: 05/09/2019

    I have the same problem with my wife but we are not heavily in debt.  I just want to save more to become financially independent earlier and she wants to become financially independent while spending enough to prevent that from actually occurring.  You guys probably would be a good couple to go through the Dave Ramsey financial peace university or some sort of class like that together.   It’s hard to force someone to see that what they are doing is wrong, and I know that it’s not a numbers problem, but sometimes I think that if she see’s the numbers (ie we are spending this much on interest which is preventing us from spending this much on xyz), it can be helpful, or at least go over your goals (eg is it your goal to be spending this much on interest).   I think that it’s common problem with people these days, they just don’t think that math applies to them, but obviously, you have a finite amount of money you will earn and spend in your lifetime so you just have to decide how you will spend it (on interest paying for stuff you don’t really need vs things you value like experiences or having enough to support your kids).   Finance is the number one cause of divorce so I do think that some counseling would probably be helpful to get you both on the same page.  I wish you both luck.

    #220449 Reply
    Avatar JBME 
    Participant
    Status: Spouse
    Posts: 531
    Joined: 03/26/2018

    You don’t even mention a mortgage and your student loan amount and interest rate. This is a true emergency. Irs debt? Borrowed against retirement already?

    Like others said your need counseling and if that is progressing in the right way I’d get you two in front of a few-only financial advisor so he/she can discuss a plan with both of you. If the counseling isn’t show an improvement in your marriage and getting you two aligned with life expectations, I’d unfortunately say this is doomed. But first you both need to give it a legitimate shot

    #220470 Reply
    Liked by EndoRobert
    Avatar Tangler 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 358
    Joined: 08/23/2018

    I smell smoke. yikes, sorry brother, not fun. I don’t have any magic bullet. Will she go to counseling? Dave Ramsey financial peace university? You have a fire

    #220506 Reply
    Liked by adventure
    fatlittlepig fatlittlepig 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 1195
    Joined: 01/26/2017

    Some of the posts are alarmist. Hard to know if there is indeed a crisis without knowing numbers, salary, amount of debt etc.

    #220526 Reply
    Liked by childay
    Avatar SLC OB 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 565
    Joined: 06/23/2018

    I think start with telling her why financial independence is important to you. (Security? Ability to decrease work to spend more time with family? etc.) then go to Financial Peace University TOGETHER. Lately my husband and I have been talking about “value” of what we buy and does it truly bring value to our lives. For instance, he wanted a “Ring” camera out by our chicken coop to see the bears and also an electric fence for the bears. It didn’t make sense to me… the dog barks enough to let us know the bears are there, why do we need a camera to tell us too? He said “ok, fine, you pick but I want at least one…” will be checking with the feed store to cost of the electric fence, as I would rather have the bears not come back than wake me each time they come! 😉

    Good luck bud, it will be hard but you guys can do this!

    #220542 Reply
    Avatar Panscan 
    Participant
    Status: Resident
    Posts: 1089
    Joined: 03/18/2017

    How does she not see it as a crisis? I’m with flp that we need more info but It sounds like you have a ton of liabilities and very little assets..

    #220544 Reply
    Liked by adventure
    fatlittlepig fatlittlepig 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 1195
    Joined: 01/26/2017

    I think start with telling her why financial independence is important to you. (Security? Ability to decrease work to spend more time with family? etc.) then go to Financial Peace University TOGETHER. Lately my husband and I have been talking about “value” of what we buy and does it truly bring value to our lives. For instance, he wanted a “Ring” camera out by our chicken coop to see the bears and also an electric fence for the bears. It didn’t make sense to me… the dog barks enough to let us know the bears are there, why do we need a camera to tell us too? He said “ok, fine, you pick but I want at least one…” will be checking with the feed store to cost of the electric fence, as I would rather have the bears not come back than wake me each time they come! 😉

    Good luck bud, it will be hard but you guys can do this!

    Click to expand…

    If I had bears visiting my house I would definitely want to capture video of that. That would be amazing.

    #220545 Reply
    fatlittlepig fatlittlepig 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 1195
    Joined: 01/26/2017

    Honestly this is marriage counseling time.
    Assuming all the facts are true as they are presented and one partner is unable/unwilling/unmoving this is setting a course towards eventual divorce.

    get the money out of the checking account first cut off the credit cards cut off any potential way to spend extra money.
    Get everything in cash pay for everything with dollar bills etc etc.

    I agree with you. Everything is on fire.

    Click to expand…

    LOL let’s calm down a little here. We don’t have any information on how severe the situation is and we are casually throwing around the D word. They got 2 kids, they can figure it out. Cleaning out the checking account and cutting up the cards doesn’t sound like the way to go.

    #220546 Reply
    Avatar jhwkr542 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 1316
    Joined: 02/15/2016

    I think crisis is an appropriate term for IRS debt, credit card debt, personal loan AND 403b loan. I think you need to sit down together and really look at where the money is going, and how you need to get out of these terrible debts. I’m afraid we won’t be of much more help if the behavior can’t be changed.

    #220547 Reply
    Avatar Dilaudidopenia 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 210
    Joined: 05/22/2016

    IRS debt?  403b loan? Personal loan?  My god….

    Maybe show her these responses? And you have two kids? How you going to save for their education? Does your wife want to work till she dies?

    I’m going to go ahead an assume (since I’m married to one) that as a pediatrician, you make somewhere in the ballpark of 150-200k/yr, unless you have some pretty sweet deal someplace.  If your wife makes significantly lower, as you said, then total income I’m gonna say is around 200-250k/yr.  This situation is not sustainable at this income level, or really any income level to be honest.

    Marriage counseling plus financial education as mentioned above approach prob best first.  If that doesn’t work then you gotta take complete control of the finances. I’m talking your pay goes into a different account that she has no access to, no joint credit cards, etc.  If that doesn’t work, I would bail. No use chaining yourself to a sinking ship that’s on fire.

     

    #220552 Reply
    Liked by adventure

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