There is always so much when it comes to finances. We have both improved dramatically in the realm of finances since we started dating. That said, I wasn't that great to begin with and DHs version of controlling his finances was not to have any. The only bills he had when I met him was his car insurance and phone. He lived in the barracks and bought his car outright. He spent every dime he had every paycheck but took the attitude that it didn't matter because he didn't have any bills (or thoughts about the future.)
I was in financial distress for other reasons, mainly having student loans for 5 years of school with no degree in a field you have to have a degree to get hired into.
Since then we have paid off almost all the debt I came into the relationship with, invested in many of the creature comforts we lacked at the time (like couches and furniture.) And even put on a decent wedding last year. However, we still lack a savings because I have been hyper focused on paying off the debt so that if I get out of the military, I can get by on very little. (He is now out of the service and using his GI Bill towards school.)
So now, we are looking at buying a house, because its cheaper than renting and we intend on staying in the area for ten years or so. Thanks to the VA loans we don't need a down payment. And after taxes this year we have been able to start saving around 500$ a month. (Granted the one month since we have received them it hasn't stuck because we have to pay registration and renewal fees for both cars during my birthday month.)
Anyway, where we are right now isn't bad. We have enough for all our bills. We have decided to keep our finances mostly separate because he has had gambling problems in the past and we both agreed that would be best. But I am begining to feel extremely frustrated with his inability to manage the few small bills he is in charge of with his monthly GI Bill stipend. We recently hit the last straw in my mind and he is now making a mad effort to curb my wrath, I guess. But the thing is I feel like he is treating my comments like an attack and that he is very dismissive. There are only a handful of topics that he reacts to this way, finances when there's something wrong, taxes always, and his due dates for homework. Usually he is very receptive... though naturally forgetful.
I guess my biggest dilemma right now with it is that I told him last time that a bill didn't get paid on time that he only had one more chance before I took over his finances. Well, this would presumably be his last chance. But I also feel like he is genuinely scared and I can see him putting in the effort to improve right now. Having a two year old where you are constantly thinking about follow through and the impact your promised actions vs your actual actions have make me hesitant to not follow through with taking over his finances. But you know... he's not a two year old. And I feel like if he can show me that he has finally gotten all his accounts on mint.com and written down his due dates, and just sat down and spelled out on paper what his actual budget is each month...
I don't know. I want him to be able to take care of things but the problem that came up was the only account in both our names, our best buy card that we got for him to build up his credit, and its worked. But he had a small balance on it and thought it was zero like two months ago and didn't pay it... well, since I was checking credit and all the rest because we are buying a house... I saw it and just said to him in passing that there was a balance on it and he should take care of that. Well two weeks later I checked again and now it was at 50$. So, I brought it up to him more firmly saying that it was in both our names and either he needed to pay it or let me know if he didnt have enough so I could. Well he said he had checked it. So I didn't think about it for a little bit until last night. I asked him if he had taken care of it and he spouted some nonsense so I asked him to bring the computer over so we could log in and look at it. The balance was at 87$. I looked at it and the previous statements and it was literally all late fees from the past few months. I felt sick to my stomach because I have worked so hard to pull my credit back up from where it was and all I could think about was how now I was going to have this late mark on my credit again. Then I felt incredibly angry that I couldn't depend on him to manage this simple thing.
The conversation went worse than nowhere. Everything I said was combated rather than acknowledged. He got defensive about every damn thing. And wanted to explain it all away. Like 'oh well.. this bill is weird and the late fees and..." But it was all nonsense. The bill is due on the 5th every month. Its the easiest bill in the world. If its not paid on the 5th you get a late fee. No confusion. If he had written the due dates down like I had asked... If he had just done any of the checking I had asked.
So... you know its a small bill. Its taken care of. Its easy to recover from. But the problem is deeper than the debt in this case. I need to be able to be more involved in his finances but I still don't want to take them over. And anymore its not even an "I shouldn't have to" problem as much as I worry about if something happened to me and he was in charge of taking care of our daughter and himself. He needs to be capable enough to handle the family finances.
I get that there is a learning curve with finances. And this is true even without the challenges of ADHD. Im feeling very hurt right now and I just want to be able to trust him and rely on him to hold up his porton of our responsibilities. I want to feel like the lives we want are a possibility and that I am not doomed to a life in the military because my husband can't get/hold a job or manage his finances. And you know the worst part is his response when we talk because he gets so defeatist. He says, "I will just quit school and get a job." But that doesn't solve the problem. The problem isn't a lack of money its the management of it. And in my eyes anyway, he needs to finish school to open up the jobs that will work with his skills. Without school I don't know that he will ever do more than fast food or unskilled labor type jobs. This is why we are making the sacrifices we are right now. Why I am ok in a job that doesn't satisfy me. Because we are accomplishing our goals as a family.
I guess I mainly wanted to vent. But I am curious about those of you that have had success, and can maintain some positivity, what sort of time frames you think are appropriate for situations like these. How long do I give him to resolve the main issues before completely taking over his finances? I seriously don't want any of the negative "just leave him. Itll never work, never change, never satisfy" comments though. I know things will always be difficult but even in the time I have been with him we have both grown so much and he has become infinitely more responsible and capable and controlled in the last four years from where we met. I have faith that we can find a balance and that he can learn what is necessary to adapt and manage his finances satisfactorilly.