Menu

Debt Management Advice

Home Personal Finance and Budgeting Debt Management Advice

  • Avatar nephron 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 149
    Joined: 05/09/2019

    I was thinking more about this and after re-reading the op’s post, I do think that it would be better if the op approached this as a non-numbers/non-financial approach.    As Dave Ramsey says, if it were about the math, you would not have the debt.    I would look for couples counseling and see where she thinks this is going, maybe she wants you to help more with the kids or something and doesn’t think that it’s fair that you tell her not to spend as much if you are making her do the shopping?   Or don’t appreciate what she is doing with the kids?   It is frustrating when people can’t see the numbers and realize the math, but I think that it’s common, that’s why credit cards exist, because people don’t want to see the math.   For those people who see this as a crisis, our government is essentially run like this (borrowing from retirement, running up debt).

     

    #220553 Reply
    Avatar Anne 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 1100
    Joined: 11/07/2017

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

    Click to expand…

    I disagree.  When one spouse feels like their hair is on fire, and the other refuses to even talk about it, that’s a crisis.  Doesn’t matter what the numbers are or even what the cause for the feeling of desperation is.  The communication barrier is the crisis, as much so or even more than the debt.

    OP, I agree that marital counseling is in order but the question is how to get her to be willing to start the conversation with you.  Maybe make the focus on how you feel rather than about the money issues themselves.  Tell your spouse that you are not doing well mentally/emotionally because of the financial situation you’re in and how much it is worrying you.  Her response will let you know what your next step needs to be.

    Avatar Anne 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 1100
    Joined: 11/07/2017

    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…

    (Derail warning):

    My husband put up 3 cameras in our backyard to cover all angles.  I thought it was silly but as a rule I never complain about him spending money on something I don’t think is important and vice versa.  I was wrong.  The close up action shots of squirrels we get make it worth every single penny.  So entertaining.

    #220562 Reply
    Avatar ZZZ 
    Participant
    Status: Spouse
    Posts: 658
    Joined: 06/18/2018

    @pedsdad

    Sorry for you, your marriage/financial situation is a sad story, but one that is all too common. Sounds like you care a lot your kids since you ditched out on fellowship early, presumably to earn a better paycheck to provide for them.

    The sooner the better for you to sit down with your wife and explain to her how your current financial path is unsustainable. Tell her your worried about your future and how that’ll impact your kids. Hopefully that gets her to listen and work on coming up with a plan with you for digging out. If she doesn’t care about the impact of the $ situation on your or the kids, well, that’s useful information for you to decide how to proceed.

    Good luck.

    #220563 Reply
    fatlittlepig fatlittlepig 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 1111
    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.

    Click to expand…

    I disagree.  When one spouse feels like their hair is on fire, and the other refuses to even talk about it, that’s a crisis.  Doesn’t matter what the numbers are or even what the cause for the feeling of desperation is.  The communication barrier is the crisis, as much so or even more than the debt.

    OP, I agree that marital counseling is in order but the question is how to get her to be willing to start the conversation with you.  Maybe make the focus on how you feel rather than about the money issues themselves.  Tell your spouse that you are not doing well mentally/emotionally because of the financial situation you’re in and how much it is worrying you.  Her response will let you know what your next step needs to be.

    Click to expand…

    Disagree. Numbers and details matter. There’s a big difference if they make 300K total and owe irs, credit cards, personal loans of 250K vs 25K. The degree of debt will dictate the severity of situation and degree of response.

    #220578 Reply
    Avatar Peds 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 4198
    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.

    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.

    Click to expand…

    LOL we shall see….

    #220589 Reply
    Avatar Tim 
    Participant
    Status: Accountant
    Posts: 2822
    Joined: 09/18/2018

    Do you share a closet?
    How many drawers do you have?
    She has her drawers, and hangers.
    You have yours.
    It’s not working, so figure it out.
    Paycheck:
    Draw 1 taxes and insurance & retirement (?).
    Drawer 2 house and phones and utilities
    Drawer 3 Food and transportation
    Drawer 4 Credit card bills

    Oops, if you paycheck don’t cover those and she wants a dresser with 6 more drawers and a big screen TV and a sleep number bed, where the heck are you going to keep your socks and undies? Loans and credit card debt aren’t the answer.

    It’s not about budgeting, it’s about living within you means. Doesn’t matter who shops or pays the bills, it’s so she can have a big say how big each drawer is and can end up with amount she is free to spend. $100 or $1000. Ramsey’s envelopes or a monthly cash piggy bank.

    Joint responsibility and joint solution. The D talk is retirement disaster, not divorce.

    #220600 Reply
    Avatar Tim 
    Participant
    Status: Accountant
    Posts: 2822
    Joined: 09/18/2018

    @anne,
    You are truly amazing, as a rule. Security cameras used unauthorized surveillance of squirrels. That’s a great way for optimism to save the day.

    #220621 Reply
    Avatar Panscan 
    Participant
    Status: Resident
    Posts: 994
    Joined: 03/18/2017

    I don’t understand the ” won’t talk to me anymore about it”. If you ignore it what is going to happen to it, magically disappear?

    #220630 Reply
    Liked by adventure, billy
    Avatar artemis 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 568
    Joined: 12/02/2016
    alpha investing

    I don’t understand the ” won’t talk to me anymore about it”. If you ignore it what is going to happen to it, magically disappear?

    Click to expand…

    Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt, unfortunately.  A lot of people prefer to ignore serious problems rather than confront them directly, even though this approach usually ends badly.

    I agree with the suggestions to pursue marriage counseling.  There’s more going on here than simple overspending, and you two need to understand the real problem in order to fix this mess.

    #220657 Reply
    Liked by hatton1, Lordosis
    Zaphod Zaphod 
    Participant
    Status: Physician, Small Business Owner
    Posts: 6061
    Joined: 01/12/2016

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

    Click to expand…

    I disagree.  When one spouse feels like their hair is on fire, and the other refuses to even talk about it, that’s a crisis.  Doesn’t matter what the numbers are or even what the cause for the feeling of desperation is.  The communication barrier is the crisis, as much so or even more than the debt.

    OP, I agree that marital counseling is in order but the question is how to get her to be willing to start the conversation with you.  Maybe make the focus on how you feel rather than about the money issues themselves.  Tell your spouse that you are not doing well mentally/emotionally because of the financial situation you’re in and how much it is worrying you.  Her response will let you know what your next step needs to be.

    Click to expand…

    Disagree. Numbers and details matter. There’s a big difference if they make 300K total and owe irs, credit cards, personal loans of 250K vs 25K. The degree of debt will dictate the severity of situation and degree of response.

    Click to expand…

    Thats true, but given that finances are one of the main causes of marital strife and divorce, its appropriate to recognize the potential gravity of the situation. If you’re not doing a good job of finding some common ground and communicating, that usually leads to something worse down the line. Its important to at least appreciate a smidgen of the other persons perspective, even if foreign to you. If they cant, not good.

    Its not that its there right now, just you dont want to get any closer to the vicinity. They need to come together somehow. Whether thats a sit down with showing cash flows or expenses or counseling. Something needs to happen.

    Theyre probably just at different financial enlightenment stages, someone usually gets there first and that one usually panics when they realize it. Its a process.

    #220661 Reply
    Liked by adventure, Anne
    Avatar SLC OB 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 527
    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!

    Click to expand…

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

    Click to expand…

    We have tons of bears… not all that exciting. Have lots of videos already… even one of me cooking candy with kids, seeing bear out my window, taking the shot gun and shooting it with a rubber slug (hits them like a paint gun but without the paint) and then going back to cooking candy.

    Good ol’ Annie Oakley!

    #220903 Reply
    Liked by Anne, hatton1, Lordosis
    Avatar PedsDad 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 4
    Joined: 06/09/2019
    Splash Refinancing Bonus

    Thanks all for responses.

    Rough numbers: 2018 my AGI was 349k.  She made about 15k as per diem RN.  My 403b is maxed to get 4% match and my company contributes a decent amount to a 457f. I have access to a 457b pre-tax that I didn’t know I could use, so I have not been contributing.  Current debts are student loan of 199k at 6.5% on IDR (original was 225k), mortgage of 260k left of 330k at 3.1% 15 year fixed, 25k on my car (0%), 40k on her car (0%), 20k 403b loan, 13k IRS debt, 17k family loan, and 70k credit cards (all over 20%).  I am focusing on credit cards and IRS right now.  IRS debt incurred because our company did not withhold any taxes from her income, and I had too many withholdings, and they did not tax my student loan match (20K per year) appropriately.  This year they taxed my match correctly, they are taxing her income (not working much this year), and I have 0 withholdings.  I am tracking to make sure they are taxing appropriately.  I have hired an accountant for this year as well.  If I had her on board, we could clear debts pretty fast. We are currently only on my income because of an ankle surgery for her that went awry. She is probably out at least 6 more weeks (she developed a surgical infection and is on IV antibiotics at home right now).  Our out of pocket maximum is met for the year thankfully.  Medical costs this year have been big, but I’ve stayed current.

    We have started in counseling.  I’m not entirely sure how helpful the counselor has been so far.  She is focusing on working on our communication techniques and has not really gotten into the “details” as she calls it.  In the meantime, we have had more fights about money, so I’m assuming it’s a matter of time that it will come up.  I’m planning to bring it up today when we meet.  This is our second counselor we have tried.

     

    I would love to do Dave Ramsey.  I think our situation is perfect for his plan (but I’ll avoid his investing advice). I have already found an FPU class in town.  She initially was interested, but since then he has become a cuss word in the house.  At this point, I would love some sort of Dave-ish compromise, and I’m hoping that enough sustained pressure and she will meet me halfway.  I’m probably not willing to go as extreme as pulling money from the checking account.  I think doing that would fracture the marriage beyond repair.  I’d almost rather go bankrupt than risk that.

     

     

    #220924 Reply
    jfoxcpacfp jfoxcpacfp 
    Moderator
    Status: Financial Advisor, Accountant, Small Business Owner
    Posts: 7943
    Joined: 01/09/2016
    and I’m hoping that enough sustained pressure and she will meet me halfway.

    Click to expand…

    I don’t think pressure is what will work. Have you heard the fable of the sun and the wind? While not exactly analogous to your situation, I believe your tone may be causing her to push harder against you.

    We had a great thread several months ago similar to this one – very helpful suggestions, some of which the OP successfully used, if I recall. Can anyone find that thread? I believe a link to that would be a very good resource for the OP.

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

    #220931 Reply
    Avatar Allixi 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 102
    Joined: 03/16/2016

    Your total debt to income ratio is only about 1.8, which is really not that awful and should be manageable on your income. The problem is that some of that debt is “good” (mortgage, student loans, maybe the family loan) and some of it is “bad” (credit cards, IRS, 403b).

    Since you already discussed the IRS debt, I guess the more important question is how you guys came to acquire the other bad debt, especially 70K in credit cards? Was it bad luck, a one-time poor decision, or are there bad habits that need to be discussed and hopefully corrected? Judging by your tone it sounds like it might be the latter, which will undermine your efforts in the future unless you guys get on the same page regarding your financial goals.

    #220937 Reply

Reply To: Debt Management Advice

In case of a glitch or error, please save your text elsewhere, clear browser cache, close browser, open browser and refresh the page.

Notifications Mark all as read  |  Clear