Enjoy the Podcast, I have a question that I will try to condense as much as possible.
I have been happily married for 26 years and we have a modest life and income. Due to recent economic conditions I have taken a 22% cut in income, so I am trying to reduce expenses. In your terms, I am the CFO of our household, but my wife takes no interest in our finances. When I say no interest, I mean none. She came from a very good home, but a home that lived in lifelong poverty. We have started to eat out less, but if I suggest trying to figure out other sources of waste her response is always stop contributing to my IRA (aka my only source of retirement besides SS). I firmly believe that her lack of interest is due to her childhood because her Dad (aka Extremely hard working tobacco sharecropper) spent his entire life living day to day and struggling to even put food on the table.
As I stated earlier we live a modest life, we have no mortgage or cable bill or other low hanging fruit that would replace the lost income. I am also not interested in taking on another job at 50 years old. I really just need her to accept that we can’t spend like we did.
Steve, wow, this is a tough one, but it is a concern that we see on a regular basis. Most would attack this from the standpoint of your wife and her lack of interest, but I’m not going to go there. Over several decades of being a financial adviser, I have learned that it is very difficult to change a person’s perspective when it comes to finances. Rather than address it from that standpoint, I’m going to address it just as if someone were reaching out wanting to improve their overall financial picture at the age of 50. My gut says that, over these 26 years, you’ve become bitter or almost angry with your wife’s lack of interest in finances. You’ve had to take on the burden of thinking about the future and you’re looking for help in these areas; and, because she’s not interested, you’ve reverted to a more defensive strategy than an offensive one. There is one sentence I take issue with when it comes to your question, you said “I’m also not interested in taking on another job at 50 years old.” This doesn’t make sense to me. You refer to the age of 50 as if you’re close to being retired or dead. You write the age as if it is super old and past the age of greatness. I think you really need to look into the mirror and wrestle this to the ground. Around the age of 55, my mother was left penniless from a divorce and basically homeless. She moved in with my wife and me to get her feet on the ground. Other than family businesses, she hadn’t held an outside job in a few decades and when faced with the decision to either succumb to her situation or improve her life for the better she chose the latter. She began working part-time jobs taking whatever she could get. At one point she was making ice cream cakes at the local Cold Stone Creamery at 5am. Fast forward to today, my mother is in her early 70’s, she leads a SkillsU GED Plus program and works part-time at a local women’s boutique, Chico’s. She has a home that is paid for and has saved several hundred thousand dollars in various accounts. The bottom line is, at the age of 55, she was forced to start over and made the most of it. I couldn’t be more proud of her and her accomplishments.
So, the bottom line is this, you have a wife of 26 years who doesn’t care about the finances. OK, accept that and move on. You are responsible for your financial future. I think that if you want to improve that you need to look at getting a better job, consider relocating, or training for a new job, going back to school for a new education, starting a business, buying a business with owner financing, getting into rental property. We’re in the midst of the best economy we’ve seen in our country in over 50 years, I am certain you can improve your situation and I strongly encourage you to do so.
Side note: If you find yourself commenting on how each of my ideas won’t work each time you read them, please understand that you have negative programming in your brain which must change, and you must begin looking at playing offense rather than defense.
Go get em!