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The Long Road, But Worth Every Step

It's never too late to learn

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by , 02-18-2009 at 11:03 PM (1972 Views)
If you know someone who has their head in the sand (or shoved up another hole) don't give up hope.

Little story for you... I met my now ex-hubby in 1996. Only child of filthy rich parents, worked for Daddy, 30 and still living at home. Not only was he still living at home but his parents were paying his CC bills (I didn't know that at the time)

In 97, I got a shiny ring and we got our first apartment. Budget? Not a word in his vocabulary. We split all the bills and at the end of the month he would be asking me for gas money -- he made 3 times what I did, and I still had money left over. I tried to teach him how to manage his money better.

In 98 we got married and bought a condo about 2 weeks after the honeymoon... but after the wedding I was exhausted from explaining to him why I don't think he should buy (insert insanely expensive item here) without paying the mortgage first and took over the finances.

I take some of the blame for his lack of financial savvy because I chose to sleep instead of staying up 24/7 drilling the budget in to his head... I put some of the blame on his parents (Dad is a financial planner!!!) for always paying his way through life before we met. He didn't even have a checking account until we opened one after we got married. (The great checkbook battles will be saved for another thread)

We have been divorced since 2004, but his parents once again swooped in and took over his bills. Other than child support, his parents paid for everything. He has a checking account, but doesn't know how to balance it. He 'lets the bank do that' and he checks on his account online.

He spent his money on our DD... taking her to the movies, out to eat, buying every toy that caught HIS eye (she is more like Momma... learning to be creative with what she has and appreciates a big cardboard box and a pack of markers). I told him over and over that he should be saving money instead of spending every penny on her. He listened, or so I thought... until he bought a $50K car that he refuses to drive in the snow, rain or winds I call it the garage decoration because that's where it is for about 46 weeks a year. He took out a HELOC on MY condo to buy the car (long story short, big no-no which could have landed him in jail).

Fast forward a bit... he was still paying child support and making $200/mo repayment on the HELOC (at this rate, it will never be paid back), he was spending the rest of the cash on DD, charging his food, supplements and car insurances on his parents CC.

The market crashes, his parents lost over $500K of personal investment... their clients lost money too which meant their Financial Planning firm was losing money. His parents are now living off of and running the business on the money they have in a saving account, roughly $30K.

Present day -- The Ex calls me up and tells me he wants to talk... his parents have taken their CC away (finally... he's 42!) His personal CC is maxed (luckily it's only $5K), He is now on his own, financially.

He asked for help.

He didn't ask for money -- not that I could have given him any as we are trying to pay things off here and stash some away because the Old Man's office is on a short-list to be closed. He asked me to teach him how to balance things out.

I hung up the phone after a long conversation crying my eyes out. No, I wasn't sad, I was happy. No, not happy at his reversal of fortune but because he turned to ME, not his parents, for budgeting advice. He told me how proud he was of me and the Old Man for always holding it together - especially during the rough patch we hit at the beginning of 2008 when for about 4 months we didn't know where any money would come from.

It's almost as if the Ex is a new man... a new OLD man but a fledgling in the world. Now that he doesn't have wild money, he is learning to make food at home instead of always calling for take-away. He is spending more TIME on DD than money... playing games with her and SHE is teaching him to cook frugal meals she learned while standing at my hip. (DD is 8, he does the cooking, she tells him how "Momma does")

He is now on a budget. All his bills are organized in weeks. There isn't much wiggle room because I set the Child Support and HELOC and insulin as level 1, groceries as level 2, his cc, car insurances and gas as level 3. If he can't pay for level 3... he needs to sell the garage decoration which will take off a car insurance and pay back most of the HELOC. If he wants to keep that car, he has to follow the budget, simple as that. He stops paying for child support or the heloc, he will be explaining why to the judge... if he doesn't have groceries while DD is there - he will have to deal with me. He has a better chance with the judge

If my Ex can finally understand the need for balance anyone can. I think he finally took the silver spoon out of his mouth and is trying to sell it on Ebay

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