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  • Too Harsh with SO

    Hi Guys,

     

    This is my first post here. I am a young 2nd year med student and my dad introduced me to WCI. I can't wait to learn from all of you. Anyway, I have a tough question.

     

    Should you ditch a significant other (boyfriend) for poor spending habits, much more school debt and unrealistic expectations? or do people change and develop good habits? Let me clarify.

     

    I am 24, have no undergrad debt, live frugally but comfortably. I was raised to be very conservative with money. My dad and I started a Roth IRA when I was 16 and have been adding to it ever since. After med school, I will have around 200K in debt, with a solid plan of how to pay it off fast.

    Meanwhile, my boyfriend; also a med student, 30, is HORRIBLE with finances. He is impulsive with spending, has maxed out his student loans, has undergrad loans and as far as I know, credit card debt on top of that. If I had to guess his debt after he graduates, it would be 500K.

     

    I am not trying to be a cold person, but I don't necessarily want to sign up for a life of just paying off debt and his impulse buys. I want to save for retirement and live a happy comfortable life. Although he says he plans on paying off his debt in 5 years post grad, I don't think that is realistic between interest, living expenses and taxes.

     

    Any tips? Anyone else deal with something similar?

     

    Thanks!

    Emily

     

  • #2
    I firmly believe that to have a good marriage you have to come to at least truly friendly detente (if not actual agreement) on the following:

    • kids

    • location

    • parents

    • religion

    • money


    The last is the most practically important.

    As a student living on loans it's really hard to know exactly how things will play out. That said, you have a right to be concerned

    With the ENORMOUS caveat that I don't know you, him, or you situation I would have a hard time telling someone I cared about to go full steam ahead into a relationship with someone $500k in the hole who wasn't at least pretty freaked out by that. The kind of plan you're going to need to create to tackle that in a reasonable time frame is unlikely to be palatable to an impulsive spender.

    Comment


    • #3
      There are a lot of things that go into a relationship. You have to be compatible in multiple aspects: physically, emotionally, spiritually...financially. It's up to you to best judge your relationship moving forward.

      Comment


      • #4
        At a minimum, I’d proceed with caution. 30 is pretty old to not get the memo that you should pay off your credit card in full every month. It might not be irredeemably too far gone.

        I’m worried about your use of the word “impulsive”. That doesn’t pair well with spending. It would be a showstopper if you mentioned gambling or spending as if the rent or taxes weren’t due.

        Keep your sole and separate property separate. Don’t get married without a prenup. Get premarital counseling and make sure you have a meeting of the minds about spending, saving, debt repayment, and why we’re doing all this studying and working in the first place before you get married.

        I was dumb and carried a credit card balance before my wife and I got married. I had the foolish notion that I needed more income, not that I needed to make ends meet with how little or how much I made every year. I didn’t bring any student loan debt to the relationship, but my fiancé helped turn me around about paying off the credit cards each month and maximizing all available qualified funds every year.

        It takes quite a shift in mindset to realize that it isn’t what you gross every year, it’s what you save and have to show for it that matters. There’s a chance that your boyfriend will see the light, but be careful.

        Comment


        • #5
          I think you need to figure out whether he is horrible with finances because he honestly doesn't know how bad the situation is and what he needs to be doing instead, vs he has the attitude of "I'll be a rich attending someday, it'll work itself out". The former you can teach. The latter would be more worrisome- these are the same people that tend to go out and quadruple their lifestyle with that first attending paycheck and never get ahead. Sit down with him sometime and talk about this stuff- if he seems genuinely interested on reducing debt and is on board with living like a resident for a few years after then give him a chance. If he blows you off I would be much more concerned- you may turn into the woman on Physician's Mom Group (facebook) who was mad at her husband for buying a $65k truck without discussing it at all with her first (yes, this actually happened, and I was stunned that about half of the responses were "oh well, let him have his things")

          Comment


          • #6
            Sounds like you need to have a serious conversation with him.  Good luck.

            Comment


            • #7
              Not harsh at all. As others have already said, you need to be compatible in many domains, finances is a huge one.

              I met my fiance a lot older than you but I asked him early on about his finances. If he was like what you described, I would've dumped him. If your SO will continue to be like this, it will only lead to misery married. And people don't really change. My two cents.

              Comment


              • #8




                I think you need to figure out whether he is horrible with finances because he honestly doesn’t know how bad the situation is and what he needs to be doing instead, vs he has the attitude of “I’ll be a rich attending someday, it’ll work itself out”. The former you can teach. The latter would be more worrisome- these are the same people that tend to go out and quadruple their lifestyle with that first attending paycheck and never get ahead. Sit down with him sometime and talk about this stuff- if he seems genuinely interested on reducing debt and is on board with living like a resident for a few years after then give him a chance. If he blows you off I would be much more concerned- you may turn into the woman on Physician’s Mom Group (facebook) who was mad at her husband for buying a $65k truck without discussing it at all with her first (yes, this actually happened, and I was stunned that about half of the responses were “oh well, let him have his things”)
                Click to expand...


                Agree! I hope he is in the former camp...

                Comment


                • #9
                  The fact you are on here posting about this shows that finances are very, very important to you and as such you need to find someone that is a match with you financially.  I would approach him very bluntly about how you feel.  Tell him you're concerned he's heading towards a life of financial trouble with debt and over-spending.  If he blows you off, start looking elsewhere.  It's so much easier to end it earlier than later.

                  With that being said, at the age of 30 I was still not quite on board with being financially smart/responsible and I eventually "saw the light" by time I was 33/34.  But, as you rightfully are aware of, if he graduates with 500k of debt it's probably going to take a lot longer than 5 years for him to get rid of it, especially with his poor spending habits and use of credit cards.  The sooner you can get through to him the better.  My gut feeling is to just dump him and move on.  You're 24.  You have PLENTY of time to find a better match.  

                  I agree with Miss Bonnie MD, people don't change much, especially after 30.

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                  • #10
                    I agree with Liz and Bonnie.  You need to have a honest conversation.  If he acknowledges he has a spending problem and does not become defensive the relationship has a chance.  If he becomes defensive or abusive then run dont walk. As Bonnie says people do not change.  If he is receptive to education and is grateful then you have your answer.

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                    • #11
                      Welcome to the forum - glad to have you here! Yes, people can change as (if) they mature. Maybe he will, maybe he won't. He is definitely not the first to exhibit these "symptoms" and lenders are complicit in encouraging it.

                      The problem you have on your hands is that, even if he does mature (and graduating training and realizing how poor you are can have that impact), you're still going to be hitched to someone with 1/2 million dollars in debt. That can be a real mood killer, if you know what I mean. Making a marriage work isn't easy, especially when you start out with such an imbalance. Tread carefully - you're not being harsh, you're being realistic.
                      Working to protect good doctors from bad advisors. Fox & Co CPAs, Fox & Co Wealth Mgmt. 270-247-6087

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                      • #12
                        Attitude towards money is important, but not the most important quality in a spouse. Show him WCI see if he bites a little.

                        A dual income physician couple generates a lot of income that can overcome a number of mistakes. Just ask here, so many saw the light a little bit later, sometimes with help of spouse.

                        That said if it’s completely oil and water like differing religions maybe a deal breaker.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          You are 24 and a 2nd year med student. Your BF is 30 and still a med student. That means he has had 4-6 years where he either earned and squandered the money or he did not earn at all. If he had a job between undergrad and med school he should have paid off most, if not all, his undergrad loans. I do not think at 30 he is going to change much and might even expect you to pay off his loans, since you are also a high earner with little debt and good savings ( Roth).

                          Money is the number one cause of disagreements and divorces in marriages, not sex or adultery. I think you are better off finding a person who is more financially compatible with you than trying to change him. At the very least, keep the finances separate and have a prenup.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Are you compatible everywhere but money? If you are lucky, money will be the biggest source of disagreement—because you will likely have enough with both of you working.

                            People go through their lives and change at certain ages. What Is a priority for him now may change at different times than for you. This in my experience can also lead to stress.

                            Raising kids is incredibly stressful in two physician families. Especially if you don’t have family around. Especially if both are career minded. Especially if people are in specialties that are not sympathetic to family demands. I remember in my fellowship when one of the female fellows took a sick day because of the kids the amount of outcry about why the husband couldn’t take the sick day was significant. Not fair for sure, but that’s the culture.

                            Some of these things you can’t know until you get there. But are you in the same place with kids? Where you want to live? Religion? Etc.

                            Tl;dr

                            Dump him. You don’t need the stress of raising an immature 30 year old.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              This is probably the wrong place to come if you want advice from people with diverse viewpoints. Most people posting on this forum are a self-selected group of super savers that will mostly serve as an echo chamber for you. People on here (including me!) have been known to be critical of folks only saving 20% of their income.

                              Some people value other things more than amassing wealth or retiring early, and I don’t think there’s necessarily anything wrong with that. However, money causes a lot of problems in relationships, so it is best to get on the same page early on. That said, as beagler mentioned, it’s going to be hard to spend yourself into financial difficulties as a dual income physician family.

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