Love and money are a great combination when two people are able to manage each with respect and appreciation. Unfortunately, money is one of the greatest causes of discord in today’s relationships. When finances are in order, life can be very harmonious. When finances are out of order, life can become a nightmare.
I received an e-mail from a gentleman I’ll call Frank. Frank requested some advice about a situation he is going through with his wife Tracy. Frank is a middle-class, hardworking gentleman who currently works for the City of Atlanta. He is very concerned because his wife Tracy is a shopaholic. She spends quite a bit of time shopping at the mall AND via television. Ordinarily this may not seem to be that big of a deal except for the fact the couple has amassed a considerable amount of debt…$27,500 to be exact.
Frank mentioned that he has tried to have conversations with his wife, but she gets very defensive every time the subject is brought up. He realizes their finances are heading toward even more destruction, but admits his extreme love for Tracy won’t allow him to leave. Did I mention that Tracy is a stay-at-home mom? Oh…I guess that is an important element to include. YES…Frank is the sole breadwinner in the family and works 50+ hours a week in order to ensure the core household bills are taken care of.
I asked Frank for a couple of examples to see if he was overreacting. He said over the past 30-days his wife has spent $2,200 at Victoria Secret, $2,700 at Macy’s and $900 via HSN.
Did I mention they have only been married for four months? Yes…they’ve amassed $27,500 in debt in only four months.
Looking at the situation, I definitely feel compassion for Frank.
Here are the things I recommended he do to assist with working through his situation:
1. Talk. Attempt to sit down and have another heart-to-heart with his wife. He needs to communicate just how serious this matter is and provide the credit card and bank statements showing how their finances are being impacted. When people have a chance to see the numbers on paper it usually creates a reality check and allows them to truly acknowledge what’s being communicated.
2. Plan. Develop a recommended plan of action to correct their current situation. No one wants to hear a bunch of complaints without a plan of action. In order to show just how much this is impacting the household, develop a plan of action to show how to overcome the situation. In the event Frank is unable to develop a plan, financial advisors are great people to seek out for advice.
3. Take Action. Create a strict budget and destroy all credit cards. Credit cards give the illusion that you can spend without consequence. This is what Tracy has been doing in their household. Cash spending forces people to acknowledge how much money they REALLY have.
What would you recommend to Frank do?
Kenny Pugh is a Life & Relationship Strategist, Author of ‘Can You Do It Standing Up?’, Speaker, HLN Contributor, singles leader and sought-after speaker on singleness, relationships, finances and life. You can find more information about Kenny at http://www.kennypugh.com. You can follow him on Facebook at Kenny Pugh or on Twitter @mrkennypugh.