I Need HELP Please

Updated on April 24, 2007
V.D. asks from Bradner, OH
21 answers

I have a big problem managing our money and our bills. My husband and I fight about it all the time, we have one huge blow out a year when I really mess up, well this is his last straw with me and our money/bills. I was wondering if anyone has sought a Financial Adviser to get help with managing problems? I have never been to one and don't know the first thing to look for. He's given me two choices, go to someone professionally or go to his mother. I love his mother to death, but I feel embarrassed to seek her help and am afraid of her telling others in our family and feel even worse. I would feel so much more comfortable going to a complete stranger that doesn't pick sides or put all the blame on me, even though it is all my fault. I just need pointed in the right direction....please help me!!! thank you so much.

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C.M.

answers from Cincinnati on

Without knowing the details of your income/debts etc... it's hard to help you target specific areas to save and pay off debt. Have you tried setting a budget and tracking your speding habits for a month? I will attach a link that might help http://www.managingmymoney.com/ I also have a booklet that I would be more than happy to email you. my email address is [email protected]____.com the way I am a risk manager for a prepaid debit card and have been in the financial services area for 10 years- I would be more than happy to help you with your specific situation if you would like. -C.

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M.W.

answers from Cincinnati on

V.,

I am getting the impression that these problems you are having managing your finances are having not only a detrimental effect on your marriage but also your self esteem. Firstly, this is not terribly uncommon. Secondly, you are 26 yrs old...give yourself a break! My brother is 30 years old and still can't get a bank account due to poor money management. I, myself, didn't really get any good at it until the last couple of years and I am 35 years old. It took a good computer program, a lot of practice and MANY MANY mistakes for me to get to this point. Now, I run accounting/payroll for an art gallery and my husband's business. (Oh and, I still screw up on occasion.)

My advice to you is, before you do anything about any of this...you first need to get it into your head that you're not inept!

Secondly, I think you need to get some marriage counseling. My ex-husband sounds a lot like your present husband when it comes to finances. He has obviously entrusted you to take care of these finances and has made the concious decision not to do them himself. He has ABSOLUTELY no right to blow up at you like that. Personally, I would be inviting him to manage the books himself (with an added expletive or two). I'm sure your husband is a good man but is obviously frustrated. These are communication issues that the two of you will have to work out ASIDE from the financial issues.

Lastly, I would go to my mother-in-law for help with this. It sounds as if you care for her and, if your relationship with her is a good one, you shouldn't be worried about her judging you or telling other members of the family. Really, I think, she will be flattered if you come to her on your own asking for her guidance as a daughter-in-law who respects her. You can sometimes glean more and better knowledge of matters such as this from a caring realative rather than some paid 'Adviser' who doesn't know you from Adam (well...Eve). And spending yet MORE money to get better with money is rather self-defeating. Make sure to mention to her that you ARE embarrassed about all of this and that you'd rather she keep your problems to herself. I think, following such a request, it would be most unusual for her not to comply. You may find, also, that your relationship with this woman will be strengthened from the experience.

Oh, as an aside, I use Quickbooks to manage our books. It's a VERY easy program with excellent tutorials. Amazon has the simple program for very little money.

Good luck with everything. Feel free to email me anytime. [email protected]____.com

- M.

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T.G.

answers from Cincinnati on

Years ago, we used Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Cincinnati and they are a non-profit organization that helped us get back on track and it was free then, but they may have a fee now but well worth it because we paid all of our bills off and got back on track. I just looked them up in the phone book and the # is ###-###-#### or www.cccservices.com. Check them out. We were glad they helped us. Good luck!

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T.

answers from Columbus on

Hi V.,

I am not sure I am clear on what you are having problems with, is it that you can’t get out of debt or that you can’t balance the check book. Not sure what you mean by needing help “Managing”. If is debt, I think a financial advisor would help, but I have never used one, hopefully someone else can give you more advise on that. If it is tracking and keeping the records in order, do you use quicken or on-line banking, they are big helps. Sorry I am not much help, I just wanted to give you a little support. I do all the money management in our family as well, because my husband can’t balance a check book to save his life or log onto our bank account. I can say I make mistakes several times a year, forgetting I sent a check somewhere that took a while to clear, missing due dates, etc. It is not as easy as it may sound to do it right all the time, you have 700 other, higher priorities (ie. Kids) to worry about. If you husband is so fed up, why doesn’t he take over the job? If my husband complains about the job I do, I just remind him that the alternative is him doing it, and we both know where that would get us. If you do go to a financial advisor, MAKE him go to. Two people working together are always better than one doing it all and another one complaining about it.

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K.B.

answers from Cincinnati on

I have no clue where to go, but could your husband help? If he is so upset about the money and you not being able to handle, could he do it instead of you? I do all the bill pays because I'm a single mom and I make mistakes every now and then. Probably about once a year I end up with a negitive balance but since I started doing things online I can see if its going to go into negitive the night before it does and I can transfer the money from one account to another to cover for that. It's wonderful.

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W.B.

answers from Cleveland on

Never been to a financial person, but have learned how to stretch a dollar along way. Straight from my mom growing up and always good with money. I suggest you figure it out without going to his mother, some things our best left in your own home, and privacy of your marriage.No matter who's at fault moms tend to side with their own, and place judgement on the others, think about it, and good luck!!

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A.R.

answers from Columbus on

let me know what you find out ... in the same boat

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E.F.

answers from Columbus on

I totally understand! My husband and I have the same problems. I'm in charge of the money/bills but he makes all of the money so he doesn't understand why he can't spend it sometimes and where it all goes. I called a few credit counselors but they all seemed to charge a fee even though they were supposed to be a non profit organization. I ended up going to my bank and talking to one of the managers there. They gave me a lot of advice and I opened a seperate account just in my name. I call it the mess up account! After I pay bills I look at what I have left and transfer some money over to that account. So, if we ever run short or need the extra money it's always there. I hate dealing with the checking it really stresses me out and this has really seemed to help! Good Luck!

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K.C.

answers from Cleveland on

if you find one that doesn't cost an arm and a leg let me know!

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I.J.

answers from Cincinnati on

V., I'm not sure I understand. Are you saying that you are in charge of the finances and your husband yells at you when you can't keep things running smoothly? I am also in charge of my family's finances, but my husband knows that his room for complaint is small since he really doesn't want to do it. What is the division of responsibility between your husband and you with regard to the finances?

I am not thrilled with the set up my husband and I have; largely because when I'm not well (like months 3 & 4 of my pregnancy) or under stress from my family, I do mess up (like yu that happens at least once a year). I'm trying to 'cross train' my husband with my system of accounting. He helped me create parts of my tracking system and I consult him for advice from time to time, which keeps him in the loop. However, I have been stressing to him repeatedly the importance of him being able to do the finances during the first few months after our baby's arrival since I expect to be pretty exhausted and loopy then. Plus, it is necessary in the event that something happens to me and he has to raise the child by himself, at least for a while. If both of us are familiar with the same system, then I know I can ask him to pitch in there when I know I'm going through a stressful time. I realize that as he works (someday) with the finances, he may make suggestions about doing things differently and I have to be prepared to work him in order to keep him feelin ginvested in teh process. Of course, I say all this and he has yet to get motivated to do anything. lol!

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T.G.

answers from Cleveland on

I am a Financial Analyst so of course I am in charge of all the bills too so I understand how you feel. Do not be ashamed to go to your husband's mother for assistance there is really no need to be ashamed and it may be just what you need. Not everybody's money methods work. I have a great budget in place but it took a long time to get there & now I help my friends & even mother in law.
Your computer should have Microsoft Excel. Use it. In one column label "Monthly Expenses" Next column "Monthly Income" this is a good way to track what comes in & goes out. USE your check book!!! Always put everything in there. In my purse I have my calculator & pen always ready. Everyday I monitor my checking account online to see what has cleared and check it against my checkbook. Do you have lots of debts & car payments & not enough $$$, sometimes that can strain any budget & make it even harder. But it sounds like you have the $$$ just our not spending it correctly.
My husband loves to spend and it drives me nuts. I always tell him $$$ does not grow on trees. So I pay the bills the day I get paid whatever is left is what we can spend on MISC junk..like going out to eat, movies, haircuts, etc.
If you need help setting up a good (Excel) spreadsheet I can really help email me [email protected]____.com

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B.S.

answers from Toledo on

I don't know anything about financail advisors but its not all your fault either. You could be me. My husband of 20 yrs. will not and doesn't not want to have anything to do with the family bills, he just wants to make the money. I wouldn't go to his mother. I went to my husbands brother who is an accountant and that was the worst mistake of my life. This isn't totally your fault yes you made a mistake but its also hubby fault for leaving it all on your shoulders. If you ever need to talk I'm here for you just email me [email protected]____.com

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T.P.

answers from Dayton on

Hi Valerie,

Money Management is a big issue in any relationship, and doing it right or wrong takes everyone involved to help really! I have went to a Consumer Credit Counselor, I was in what I thought was terrible debt and ready to file for bankruptcy, here to find out, the counselor told me it wasn't as bad as it seemed and the general debt factors were not even close to me. So I urge you to call them, they are in most areas now, and usually are sponsored by a church in your area. They took a look at all my finances, showed me how to work on a budget, and suggested all other avenues and resources for my stressful problem of how to handle the money, or lack of as I put it! If nothing else, it was good advise, and I wasn't made to feel shameful or anything, maybe your husband will even go with you. It is a free service! Don't be fooled by the ones that want you to pay! After visiting them, I didn't go through there budgeting plan, I wised up and thought, I can do this on my own...I think you will too, sometimes it just takes someone to show you the way! :) Not debt free here, but again most of American isn't anyways! But I do know how to manage the bills now, or at least do a better job of it now!

Good Luck to your family!
Your Mamamsource friend,
T

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K.N.

answers from Cleveland on

I guess i have teh same problem here as everyone else and that is what exactly are you struggling to do? are you having trouble paying all the bills on what your husband makes or sticking to a budget or is it a debt problem or are you like most ppl and simply can't always manage to balance a check book, I'm so bad I stopped writing them at all. depending on teh problem you have very different solutions and a financial advsior isn't a whole lot of good if say you just don't have enough money coming in and can't budget what you do have. it sounds to me like you stay at home so therefor you get stuck managing the bills along with the rest of the house, so here are some pointers that should make life simpler nomatter what the problem really is. eliminate all credit and debit cards, how often do we all make a debit purchase and think i'll write it in the book later and then forget and tehn our check book is off? so stop using it use cash for everything you buy, it helps eliminate debt and keeps you from going into debt any further, truely I have a checking account and have never ordered checks. second use a bank that has online banking and free bill pay you can pay all your bills this way i even pay my father in law back this way and it saves money on postage since i don't have to mail out checks and you can even get internet versions of most bills sent to you and the bank will alert you when they arrive and you can track what you are paying out each month which makes making a budget a lot easier, and third if money is tight make a budget and stick with it, make sure it is realistic but you need to be aware of where your money is being spent. other than that i'm sorry but i can't help much, hopefully you can get things straitened out, to many marriges fall apart because of money and it's such a shame, hang in there, and good luck.

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H.P.

answers from Cleveland on

I go to a local church that offers a financial peace university class several times a year. This class worked wonders for my husband and I. We are following Dave Ramsey's methods and we are finding that everyday we are closer to financial freedom. It has been an awesome ride. You don't have to be a member of the church to take the course. They do charge for the class as far as the materials goes but this information and these tools have been great. For their regualr attenders and memebers they also have financial counseling free. If your interested I would be willing to share more info with you. Otherwise some books you might be able to get from the library are Dave Ramsey's Money matters book. It covers the basics in there. or see if you can get your hands on any of his Financial peace university materials from the library. Hubby and I will be debt free in two yrs. We will be mortgage free in 4 yrs and have retirement in the bank in 12 yrs and I am only 27 so this is all very comforting to know. Yeah life will throw us some loops here and there so give or take a few yrs, although we have a pretty good emergency fund. But we have lived credit card free for two yrs now. Its exciting to know that we are on the right track. A big thing though...couples need to do finances together. It is not all on you. He can't get mad at something thats for a family if he isn't being part of the team with it. you both need to be together on this one.you both need to be aware of what is being spent and where and what the completel budget is. And you must have a budget on paper and follow it..tweek it when you need to and stay on it...good luck, let me know if I can help. This church does welcome non-memebers to take the course and the cost is 95 dollars a couple. Dave ramsey also states in his books that credit card counselors are bad, they are out to take your money and they can screw up your credit if they aren't all honest. Many of them will try to argue down your balances which really messes you up. You need to go with a company that will only help you get your interest rates down but will still have you paying back the amount you borrowed. He suggests a company called American Credit card counselors or ACCC if you have to go with a counselor at all because they are the only company that has staid reputable and honest. I wish you luck.

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M.T.

answers from Pittsburgh on

I would try to avoid a financial advisor, unless you have one that is a friend, willing to offer some free professional advice....otherwise, their job is to make money and they'll make it from you. Later down the road once you get finances together, they can help you with investing or setting up long term saving plan...and you both can make money together :)

I would also avoid the mother-in-law direct approach, as inviting inlaws into your personal business is risky, as it's difficult to tell them enough is enough....sometimes the advice just keeps coming and coming and coming - I wouldn't want to open the flood-gates! But your husband could casually ask his mom n dad how they did finances when he was a kid, without giving any pesonal business up - then he can share ideas with you.

I was in your same shoes, and at a later age, it took me a long time to realize the plastic cards aren't magic - we do end up paying in the end and in more ways than one. One day I sat down and went through our last quarter of bank statements with a fine tooth comb and categorized what we were spending things on (food, clothes, gas, entertainment) This was an eye opening experience and helped to change our behavior (you need to realize how bad it is before you can change it). I never knew how much I spent on clothing, and my husband didn't realize how much he spent with the guys at lunch and how it all added up to crazy figures. We worked as a team and both gave up our debit cards for a month - using cash only! We both did keep one credit card that we never used, just for an emergency, like a flat tire, or car needing brakes. It helped us to learn how to budget..what is in your wallet is all you can spend...and we only put in so much daily. A month later we got our cards back and were better about what we spent and keeping track of everything.

Something else that helped is that I now use 3 accounts instead of one (despite my husband's disappoval). I set up a checking account, a debit/check account and a savings account. His checks go in account 1, Mine go in account 2. We use his to pay all bills note there is not debit card on this account so we can't take money out that is meant for bills, and mine for spending money, whatever is left over at next pay period is transferred to account 3, which is stricly savings with option to transfer money out if needed (for emergencies - like putting some back to checking if a gas bill is higher than expected). It's a lot of juggling but it works well for us and since the money is thrown into savings right away it can't be spent on things we don't need.

The reason I did this is that when we had one account and see the balance after using the ATM - it looked like "boy we have alot in there" -- neither thinking about the mortgage check that didn't clear and so on... so now we don't touch the checking acount for spending money at all. Gotta keep it separated :)

Best of luck to you. If you are dealing with credit card debt, I would cut up cards now... and try working with them to lower interest rate or make payment plan. If they aren't receptive (most won't be, as they want your hard earned money while keeping your original debt in tact). If worse comes to worse, I wouldn't hesitate to ask mom/dad for a loan, as you are going to be throwing money in the tube every month just to cover their finance charge. They are Modern Day Loan Sharks!

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W.S.

answers from Cleveland on

Dave Ramsey has been a big help to several of my friends, and he offers classes (not sure of the cost, etc.)
Also, WWW.CROWN.ORG offers FREE budget and money management help, if you click on "Budget Coaching" then you should be able to fill out a form to request a FREE counselor in your area. Others gave great advice so I won't repeat them, but just wanted to add this link because others may want it also.

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A.M.

answers from Columbus on

You shouldn't feel embarrassed. We all have areas of our lives that we struggle with, some of us it's money. My husband works for an Insurance Agency and alot of them also have Financial Advisors. And usually will give you a free consultation. My husband does reviews with people all the time for free without trying to sell you anything, just there to help. Check and see if your insurance agent offers something like that. Just an idea.

Also, my husband handles most of our money but I know exactly what's going on also. If he were to pass away suddenly I wanted to be informed of our financials. We use Quicken and it's amazingly simple, even I understand it! The program does most of the work for you. If you're interested but have more questions please let me know. My email is [email protected]____.com. I'm happy to help! Hang in there, it will get resolved!

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J.B.

answers from Cleveland on

Hi Valerie:
Get the book The Automatic Millionaire. It sounds corny, but it makes much more sense than any financial adviser I've ever talked to! You can get it with a workbook and you could read the book in a night. If you do decide to go with a Financial Adviser, DON'T go to Ameriprise. They're a rip off and all they want to do is sell you life insurance. The book really works! Good luck.

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B.M.

answers from Columbus on

Maybe your hubby needs to do them for a while. If it's not your strength then that's fine. If he finds it's not his strength then check out the book the total money makeover by Dave Ramsey. My hubby and i both are not skilled at handling our finances but we've gotten better over the last 8 years. We often switch finances back and forth depending on how much we each have on our plates. I am more confident of handling the finances now and plan to do them from here on out. But honestly i also pray about it too and have consistently over the last 8 years. I have a problem with materialism and that gets me a lot and i also try to make myself feel better by shopping. SO i guess what i'm getting at is maybe there's a deeper issue. I don't know just a thought.
-bam

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B.P.

answers from Dayton on

my husband and I started off this way almost 6 years ago then I started sitting down and he gets paid every week so I wrote out what needed to be paid ASAP and what could wait for the next weeks check. this has helped a lot. before I started doing this we faced tons of over drafts from the bank. I would try a budget before I pay someone to look at what is wrong and they tell you that you need to write everything down. one of our biggest problems was while hubby was at work he would lose his receipts from lunch or whatever and then would tell me I think it was such and such amount figured when he did that I would just add an extra dollar or two to cover just in case.

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