Household budgets: When one partner won’t budget

couple doing finances on computer

In my last article at Get Rich Slowly, I gave the background on my income and expenses. My husband's income and expenses are a little more difficult to compile. For one, Jake left the life of a steady paycheck about a year ago in order to start his own business. This means that his income fluctuates, which of course we knew going in. It also means that the first few years he's going to make much less than we hope he will eventually. We also knew that going in.

However, another major factor is that Jake's idea of household budgeting is “make so much money it doesn't matter what you spend because you can afford it all.” When he started working at The Big Firm right out of law school and was making $90,000 a year, this was something that was more or less possible, especially since he was working 80+ hours a week and didn't accumulate vacation or sick time. He didn't have time for anything really spend-y. However, even though he's now living the entrepreneur's life, he's resistant to budgeting. Earlier this week I sent him J.D.'s article about how to budget for an irregular income, and his response was:

This assumes that I actually have a budget…which I do not. I just make however much money I happen to make and pay whatever bills happen to fall due. Perhaps it's not the best system, but it's worked well so far.

Related >> How to Budget for an Irregular Income

I suspect that it's going to take a major crisis or two of his own making before he comes to view things differently. One of the things I've learned over the last six years is that he almost never agrees with me the moment when I propose something; however, six months to a year later he'll suggest it like it was his own idea. Go figure.

Since there's nothing I can do at this point to convince him without violating the tenets of how to talk to your partner about money, I'm willing to wait. And to keep our finances separate, at a minimum, until we've reached a point where we are more in sync.

Related >> How to Talk to Your Partner About Money

Even then, we may opt to continue to keep our finances separate. Interestingly, Jake grew up in a household where access to money was used as a weapon, and Jake is also the spender in our relationship. On the other hand, I don't recall my parents ever having a single argument about money, and Jake referred to me yesterday as “the most frugal girl he's ever dated.” In the meantime, though, since his situation does affect me and I have access to his Mint account, I have started compiling his data so it's ready for him to work with when he comes on board.

Jake's Irregular Expenses

Unless otherwise noted, the amount listed reflects just his share, even for things like auto insurance that will be joint going forward, since we haven't combined finances yet. For some categories — like auto expenses, gifts, and healthcare — I'm assuming his costs are about the same as mine until I have data suggesting otherwise. These are annual numbers.

  • Auto insurance: $840. This is the annual total; he pays $420 every six months in January and July. Similarly, in my recent post when I said my auto insurance was $500, that was also the annual total. I pay about $250 every six months.
  • Auto expenses (repair/maintenance): $250
  • Auto registration: $250. Quite a bit more than mine, since his car is 8 years newer (and also much nicer)
  • Gifts: $1000
  • Health care (copays, etc): $500. Numerous people said my $1000/year estimate was high, and when I double-checked, I realized that I'd double-counted my massage costs in both the irregular expenses category and the recurring monthly category. This means my actual irregular medical expenses last year were closer to $230. However, I think it's best to estimate high in this category, and I know Jake has more prescriptions than I do.
  • Vet expenses (pets): $2300. As noted in my previous breakdown, he would have paid half of this. All three of our pets had dentals last year, and one of the cats had an extraction while the other had some medical issues that had to be resolved before she could go under anesthesia. This category also includes grooming for the dog (a poodle), which runs about $50 per grooming.
  • Mensa annual dues: $60
  • Total: $4050

I am sure there are expenses I am missing, and will be filling in this category over time. For example, he recently spent $437.36 on his 30,000 mile check-up, so he's over my initial estimate. However, not only should he not spend any more this year (knock on wood), I believe that's the first major repair/maintenance since he bought the car in 2008. And, since he is only driving an average of 7,500 miles/year (and that average should be dropping even more now that he works from home), we fall into the category of “gentle drivers” and these costs should stay relatively low.

Jake's Regular Expenses

Like the irregular expenses, the amounts listed below reflect only his share for things, even if they are a joint expense. Accordingly, the pet, grocery, Netflix, internet, rent, satellite cable, renters' insurance, and electricity categories should be doubled if you want to get an idea of our joint/mutual costs. Please also note I solicited more information about his credit cards and have updated the information that originally appeared here. For his payments, however, I am going by what he has paid historically, not what the minimum payment actually is. These are monthly numbers.

  • Gas, auto: $55
  • Pet expenses: $50
  • Grocery/household: $300
  • Cell phone: $135 (Note: Jake uses his cell phone for the business, too, though I'm not sure if or how he separates it from his personal use.)
  • Drycleaner: $40
  • Netflix: $8
  • Internet: $32.50
  • Satellite cable: $37
  • Renters' insurance: $9
  • Electricity: fluctuates throughout the year, in summer $100
  • Withdrawal/cash: unknown, I suspect it varies widely
  • Charity: $10 (Humane Society)
  • Haircuts: $18
  • Rent: $488
  • Student loan 1: $180
  • Student loan 2: $70
  • Student loan 3: $176
  • Student loan 4: $112
  • Auto loan: $300
  • Credit Card 1 ($12,697.64 @ 4.99% for life): $400
  • Credit Card 2 ($2,202.87 @ 7.5% variable): $200. This is the one in my name.
  • Credit Card 3 ($2,648.33 @ 3.99% for life): $200
  • Credit Card 4 ($1,875 @ 0% until 3/6/13): $175. His share of the wedding expenses not covered in advance.
  • Credit Card 5 ($8,175.51 @ 0% until 9/1/12): $125. A loan to the business to sign up for a year's subscription to a client-referral service.
  • Credit Card 6 ($1,350 @ 9.99%): $150. A loan to the business to cover his partner's expenses when he was short.
  • Total: $3,370.50

Jake's Income

Here's where it gets tricky. Since January he's paid himself twice per month in amounts varying from $400 to $5,963.98. Based on his disbursements year-to-date, he can expect his gross salary for the year to be $47,577.42. On average, he's grossing $3,659.80 per month.

On the surface, then, he's making enough to pay his bills plus a little extra. However, I'm sure he's spending it all (that is, I expect that eating out and miscellaneous purchases would take us to the limit of his gross salary). I guess this is what he means when he says “it's worked well so far.” However, he hasn't been paying quarterly estimated taxes. There are some structural changes to the business that took effect August 1st, and he's been waiting for that to start his quarterly payments.

Based on my calculations (which I will freely admit are pure guesstimates based more or less on my own withholdings), he can expect to owe approximately $8,840 by the end of the year. This amount should include federal and state income tax, social security, and medicare. Based on his earnings to date, he should have $4,760 set aside for taxes as of this moment. Guess how much is in his savings account right now? $4,194.99. So he's short of where he should be and since he had been thinking of that as his emergency fund, not his tax fund…well. You see the dilemma.

Where to Go From Here?

Regarding budgeting, my plan is to continue to suggest it and wait for him to catch on before deciding whether to combine finances. He's never even calculated any of this himself, though I did share the projected tax information with him, which he appreciated. While he freely admits he has no idea when any specific bill is due and is always surprised when they arrive, he also doesn't see any need to change the system when he's never been late paying any bill and pays more than the minimum on all his credit cards.

On the positive side, his average disbursement to himself has doubled from about $1,000 to about $2,000, so his business is growing.

What would you do in my situation? As I mentioned in the comments of my previous post, I refuse to become The Girl Who Only Says No or The Girl Who Only Talks About Money, because that will only poison the well for every aspect of our relationship, not just our finances.

More about...Budgeting

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Lance @ Money Life and More
Lance @ Money Life and More
8 years ago

As much as a hate to say it if he runs his business the way he runs his personal account he is in for a load of trouble. You need to keep good records and have a budget for your business or else it has a very good chance of not succeeding. I worked for a CPA firm and see a lot of businesses die off because they simply don’t know what they bring in versus their expenses and are shocked to see that they’re actually losing money… Hopefully he sees the light soon and everything works out! Best of… Read more »

Dogs or Dollars
Dogs or Dollars
8 years ago

Agreed. Its one thing to run your personal financial empire this way, another thing entirely when it’s also your livelihood you are piloting toward destruction.

All that debt and no money for taxes? Wow. His personal philosophy of ‘Deal with it when it comes. No big’ is going to bite him in the @$$. The questions are just when and wether you’re going to let it bite you too.

sasha
sasha
8 years ago

Yes, this. We have paid quarterly taxes for over a decade and you cannot underpay your quarterly taxes by more than $1K without incurring additional taxes/penalties. It sounds like your husband really isn’t ready (emotionally or financially) to be self employed successfully. You need to address this NOW, or you are going to be looking at serious unhappiness down the road. I am surprised a license attorney would be so clueless about these issues and penalties. There are lots of place to take a “everything will work out” attitude…dealing with the IRS is not one of those places. Also, $90K… Read more »

CA
CA
8 years ago
Reply to  sasha

Yes, I was a first year associate at biglaw 12 years ago and made $155k. I’m at a small firm now and we start new associates at $150k. After school, I’m sure $90k felt like a huge amount of money, but it really is easy to spend. My wife makes more than that as a nurse. He needs a reality check.

chacha1
chacha1
8 years ago
Reply to  sasha

$90K actually is pretty standard now for a non-specialist first-year associate. These two aren’t old enough, and Jake didn’t stay with the firm long enough, to garner much in the way of increases.

Cannot agree more that Jake thinking that kind of money was “big,” in view of the debt load, was purely delusional.

Jen
Jen
8 years ago
Reply to  sasha

We’re in a second tier city and big law here is paying about 125K. There are also plenty of in-house lawyers making around that amount with far more years of experience. In-house you’re paying for a much nicer lifestyle — whereas going to big law, it’s agreed that you’ve sold them about 20 of your 24 hours a day.

12 years ago isn’t now!

Jen from Boston
Jen from Boston
8 years ago
Reply to  sasha

I would only expect a lawyer specializing in tax law to know about quarterly payments and penalties…. Just because you’re a lawyer doesn’t mean you know everything. It really depends on what you specialize in… Honey, your husband really needs to get himself to a CPA STAT!!!!!! Yes, it will cost him money upfront, but it will be money better spent working with a CPA to get himself set up to have the CPA do the monthly books and payroll than money spent on nasty IRS fees and penalties!!!! Or dealing with employees and suppliers angry about the bounced checks… Read more »

Cara
Cara
8 years ago
Reply to  sasha

@Jen: I disagree. I expect a *business owner* to know about quarterly tax payments and IRS penalties. It’s a basic responsibility of owning your own business.

BD
BD
8 years ago
Reply to  sasha

Cara’s right. Any business owner, even a small “one person business” owner knows about quarterly taxes and IRS penalties. And if they don’t, it only takes a couple years (if that!) for the IRS to notice the mistakes in their taxes, and TELL them what they’re doing wrong.

Jen from Boston
Jen from Boston
8 years ago
Reply to  sasha

@Cara – I was responding specifically to someone who thought a lawyer should know all of this. However, they don’t teach you how to run a business in law school, and it’s probably why some law firms have a business manager to take care of the business side of things while the attorneys practice law. Ditto, I think, for doctors.

However, you are right – a business owner should know about this stuff. But, a lot of people start their own businesses without learning everything that is involved.

CA
CA
8 years ago
Reply to  sasha

At the very least, a business owner should be smart enough to get help.

I have a JD and an MBA (and a Mensa membership, if it matters), and I volunteered to help my wife start her small business. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I didn’t know anything about the nuts and bolts of running a business. As such, I have a meeting with an accountant this morning.

getagrip
getagrip
8 years ago

I agree you can’t run a business without some planning. It isn’t a month to month thing. A client pays you $10K, you don’t actually have $10K to spend since you have to seperate that to taxes, costs, etc. to see what you are really making. Additionally, if you are charging a “going rate” you assumed is good, which may be fine initially, without decent records you won’t know if the $10K you charged your client is high, low, okay for either you or the client. This is particularly true if you are paying for outside help and their rates… Read more »

Honey Smith
Honey Smith
8 years ago

I agree that he’s going to be in for a world of hurt. Part of the problem was there was actually a third partner for awhile who refused to let them file the firm’s taxes at all (I think because she hasn’t filed her own taxes). So the “structural changes” were removing her from the firm so they could do things right, but that process took a lot longer than they anticipated. I am nervous about what their accountant will say once he has the entire picture.

maria
maria
8 years ago
Reply to  Honey Smith

It just gets worse and worse.

Holly@ClubThrifty
8 years ago
Reply to  Honey Smith

Here we go again…..I have been trying to be a little more understanding toward Honey’s situation this time around but this is where I start getting annoyed.

Honey starts popping into the conversation with additional information and more excuses. People offer helpful advice and Honey tells us why that advice can’t work. I’m having Deja Vu!!!

Jen
Jen
8 years ago

Umm, this just seems to add more info, I don’t hear an excuse.

Holly@ClubThrifty
8 years ago

Read all of her comments and you will find plenty.

Rosa
Rosa
8 years ago
Reply to  Honey Smith

Good thing she’s gone. I have an ex who was one of 3 partners where one partner was like that, and that ties into the thing I wanted to say: Since you’re married, your finances can’t ever really be that separate. So it is YOUR BUSINESS to make sure that he is not taking on personal debt or obligations as part of launching his business. I should have put my foot down when my ex wanted me to look over the books (he was contributing unpaid talent, not money – Mr. Shady was the money guy) and shady partner said… Read more »

AnnW
AnnW
8 years ago
Reply to  Honey Smith

So one lawyer can stop two other lawyers from obeying the law? Then how good can the two other lawyers be? We know that one of them can’t manage to fund his own $1500 expense account. This is ridiculous.

Mark
Mark
8 years ago

That’s what I was thinking, his personal finance issues are a serious problem, but I am way more concerned with how the busniness is run. Especially if he is propping up the business with personal loans on his credit card, plus loans to prop up his partner. And he hasn’t been paying quarterly taxes? Obviously I don’t have the details of the business finances, but I don’t see this ending well.

CA
CA
8 years ago
Reply to  Mark

Especially as a lawyer…being sloppy is how people get suspended or disbarred.

Mom of five
Mom of five
8 years ago

Money is a difficult area for many couples so you do need to tread carefully. My husband also doesn’t like to budget. So I do it for us. I pay the bills, I determine the savings, etc. He just doesn’t want to do it, but he realizes that it needs to be done. I think your husband, if he’s honest with himself, knows that it needs to be done too. I’ve actually been handling the bills since before we were married, only I didn’t really hit a groove until we were a few years into our marriage. Before that, we… Read more »

maria
maria
8 years ago
Reply to  Mom of five

“This assumes that I actually have a budget…which I do not. I just make however much money I happen to make and pay whatever bills happen to fall due. Perhaps it’s not the best system, but it’s worked well so far.”

I highly doubt that someone who responded with the above statement would agree to get an allowance.
He personally has over a 100k of debt, six credit cards and no savings and thinks his system is working.

Adult student
Adult student
8 years ago
Reply to  maria

I don’t know about that. My husband came to our marriage with that sort of view (and it was true, he simply spent less than he earned and it did work well for him). However, we decided to at least start out with joint accounts for household expenses, and he pretty quickly realized that with different incomes and expenses that required more active budgeting. Now he budgets more and I budget less (you can’t plot and track every purchase obsessively on joint accounts if your partner doesn’t, it kind of turns you into a jerk). Our finances are mostly joint… Read more »

DOT
DOT
8 years ago
Reply to  Adult student

But, he is not spending less than he earns. He financed a college education, financed a wedding, financed his partner, financed a client referral service, had his girlfriend finance something for him ( credit card#2)…
He is not even close to living below or within his means. In this situation his “system” will never work.

Mom of five
Mom of five
8 years ago
Reply to  maria

I no longer remember the exact amount, but my husband brought well over 100k in student loans and credit card debt to our marriage – I know it was much closer to 200k. I do think the quote you’ve highlighted is the kind of thing he’d have said, but really, what he meant and felt was, “I’m overwhelmed.” And for us the fix was for me to just handle it. He’s not a stupid or selfish person and he really did want to be financially secure – he just couldn’t see how to go about it.

maria
maria
8 years ago
Reply to  Mom of five

How long have you been married and how long did it take you to pay off 200k of student loan and credit card debt after you took over the finances?
What are some of the techniques you used to pay off your debt and raise five kids?
That is quit an accomplishment.

Honey Smith
Honey Smith
8 years ago
Reply to  Mom of five

Yeah, mom of five! Submit a reader story, stat. You must have amazing knowledge to share!

Mom of five
Mom of five
8 years ago
Reply to  Mom of five

@Maria and @Honey – we’ve been married 17 years and debt free except for mortgage about 9. How did we do it? I wasn’t familiar with the phrase debt snowball at the tme, but the debt snowball is basically what we did. There were so many separate smaller loans and credit cards. The first three years were definitely the hardest financially for us with year number two the most difficult (lots of medical bills and lost income). I would say the biggest thing we did during the early years was not to increase our lifestyle. We didn’t have cable, our… Read more »

Laura
Laura
8 years ago
Reply to  Mom of five

Mom of 5: you may not think you’re a good candidate for a story, but I got a lot out of your small version here. I appreciate (very much!) the fact that you aren’t perfect, that you didn’t do everything right and hop the PF train without ever looking back. When I read stories from people who “came to Jesus” as it were in regards to PF, it seems like most of them are, “I saw the Light, I immediately did everything right, and now I’m free, you can do it too but you have to immediately do everything right… Read more »

Eve
Eve
8 years ago

Just making sure you did get his permission before publishing all this personal data?

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
8 years ago
Reply to  Eve

That was my first thought too! Though perhaps agreeing to publish his data is a sign he’s open to advice?

I have to admit this post makes me a little uncomfortable. I enjoy the “help a reader” type posts – but “help a writer”? I do hope Honey gets some good tips, and I’m sure they’ll be useful to some readers.

DOT
DOT
8 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth

agree, this definitely should have been a “help a reader”
Honey has written 4 articles (?) now and all have been asking for help. Nothing pertains to a situation where a writer is offering advice or knowledge to the readers.

Katie
Katie
8 years ago
Reply to  DOT

I think it’s interesting. Frankly, there’s only so much advice a personal finance blog can get. At a certain point, the most interesting and educational thing is the intersection of finance with human fragility and irrationality (something we all have to deal with, no matter how rational we think we are). Not everything needs to be a didactic lesson; sometimes reading just about somebody else’s experience can clarify your own in a much more important way.

Amanda
Amanda
8 years ago
Reply to  DOT

Honey doesn’t want help. She doesn’t take any advice offered.

SweetCoffee
SweetCoffee
8 years ago
Reply to  DOT

I appreciate reading writer’s stories that ask for help because they [Honey in this case] can write and express themselves well. When Honey asks for advice, I sometimes feel like she’s asking for me (hey, I want to know that too!). Also, when I read the multitude of comments from the awesome reader base, I usually glean useful advice.

kate
kate
8 years ago
Reply to  DOT

i don’t think it’s entirely fair to say that honey isn’t interested in taking any advice. it appears that she is laying the groundwork for what will hopefully be the start of a well-documented, successful, albeit long, journey to becoming debt-free. she’s taken a few articles to outline where she and her husband are currently. i would imagine over the next few weeks we see articles about her starting a budget, prioritizing her expenses, what lifestyle changes she is making to free up more money to pay down her debts, and eventually the success of paying off the first credit… Read more »

Carla
Carla
8 years ago
Reply to  DOT

This is a lesson for me in what NOT to do should I get remarried.

Audrey
Audrey
8 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth

This makes me uncomfortable too. I hope that after these “what would you do in my situation?” posts that she starts writing about what’s she and her husband are actually doing.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
8 years ago
Reply to  Audrey

I think you nailed it there 🙂 At first I kind of felt like this was the blog version of reality TV — someone being paid to air out their dirty laundry, so to speak. Then I sat back and really thought about what it would mean to put so much personal information out there and realized no amount of money could make me do that! Kudos to Honey — it takes a lot of guts! I’m interested in seeing the direction her writing will take now that she’s laid the groundwork. If we GRS readers can help her with… Read more »

Ro
Ro
8 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth

I hated the “help the writer” aspect at first, but it’s sort of become like a trainwreck I can’t look away from now. I do hope she has her husband’s permisission to disclose so much. I’m usually a “one family, onn pot of money” kind of person, but in this case, I think she shold keep her finances seperate.

Marla
Marla
8 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth

Where it’s coming from, I think, is that reader’s have been requesting more writers that are “just starting” on the path to financial stability and success. This stops the site being written by a bunch of people who already know everything. 😉

Honey Smith
Honey Smith
8 years ago
Reply to  Eve

Yes, he knows all about the article! He’s totally supportive of what I’m doing. Which makes me think, yes, a starting point. Part of him is open to change.

CincyCat
CincyCat
8 years ago
Reply to  Honey Smith

OK, that’s a relief. However, I am still stunned at the situation you are permitting yourself to be in. That said, try approaching him with a word other than “budget” such as maybe “spend plan”. For people (like my own husband) who views words like “budget” as paternalistic and controlling, a phrase like “spend plan” was more acceptable (even though it is basically the exact same thing…) My husband also likes seeing the “middle line” of the spreadsheet (not the top/bottom line) which is basically money that he and I have, free of any obligations, that we can really spend… Read more »

Rosa
Rosa
8 years ago
Reply to  CincyCat

i think the phrase for a small business person is “cash flow management plan” (or projection but for too many people that’s like saying “daydream”)

Eve
Eve
8 years ago
Reply to  Honey Smith

That’s good. I hope that he is then listening to those who react with horror when they hear his it-all-comes-out-in-the-wash “strategy” of money management! Maybe your experience here can help him also. Since I’m responding here, I’d also like to register that I’m really bothered by the fact that people are leaping right in and predicting that, because your husband currently sucks as a money manager (let’s admit it, he does), your marriage is doomed. Marriages are made of more than money; you guys are young and will change and grow; and, most importantly, your relationship is none of our… Read more »

Allyson
Allyson
8 years ago
Reply to  Eve

I think she made her relationship our business when she voluntarily posted this article and voluntarily asked us for “relationship-affirming” financial advice. I’m not in Mensa or anything but I don’t see any other way to take that.

Jennie @ centssaved.com
Jennie @ centssaved.com
8 years ago
Reply to  Eve

That is the first thing I thought as well. I am still trying to be on the same page as my significant other —- and man on man, I would need to ask first. 🙂

It is SO HARD when you aren’t on the same page — do you say something? do you not?

Man, it’s a battle.

maria
maria
8 years ago

I tried, I really did try to come up with something from experiences, education, etc that would offer some sort of concrete advise and I’ve got nothing. All I can come up with is a “defense” strategy. If this is truly the man you want to spend the rest of your life with I guess just keep your finances separate, DO NOT incur ANY JOINT debt with him..NOTHING!( including a mortgage), keep paying down your debt. Save a SMALL amount for emergency. I just do not see this marriage working out. If I were Honey, I would put ALL my… Read more »

maria
maria
8 years ago
Reply to  maria

I just noticed his credit card#2 was in your name….CLOSE THAT ACCOUNT IMMEDIATELY… Pay it off yourself if you have to.

TB at BlueCollarWorkman
TB at BlueCollarWorkman
8 years ago
Reply to  maria

Agree! Keep finances separate in every way possible until he comes around. If he comes around. You can love him but protect yourself at the same time.

Mark
Mark
8 years ago
Reply to  maria

Keeping finances separate is a common way of limiting liability, many business owners put the house in the name of the spouse for this reason. You guys don’t have a house, and law firms don’t usually have to worry as much about liability, but I would still keep things very separate as a defensive measure.

chacha1
chacha1
8 years ago
Reply to  Mark

and speaking of liability … where the heck is Jake’s business insurance expense? If he doesn’t HAVE business insurance he needs it.

Because: he has terrible money problems and bad money habits, and those two things lead to impulsive behavior, which leads to business problems, which leads to work being done not to the client’s satisfaction, which leads to lawsuits. Jeez.

Harry
Harry
8 years ago

Pet peeve of mine: people who separately list their Mensa dues on their budgets, just call it annual dues/subscriptions, no one cares that you are a member. Similar pet peeve is describing student loan debt as “ivy league”.

Honey Smith
Honey Smith
8 years ago
Reply to  Harry

All our student debt is “state U,” and while our Mensa membership won’t come up for renewal until April, I am thinking I don’t get utility out of it that’s comparable to what I pay in. I only joined in the first place because it was my mom’s lifelong wish to join, but we lived in a really rural area hundreds of miles from a testing location for many years and by the time we lived in a more urban area she literally couldn’t hold a pencil anymore. For me, it was a way of honoring her memory.

Jen from Boston
Jen from Boston
8 years ago
Reply to  Honey Smith

Oh, that’s really sweet, Honey… And a little sad. Perhaps, as a way to still honor your mother, you can donate a portion of what you’d pay to Mensa to a charity in her name? Did she have any special causes that she cared about, e.g., ASPCA, cancer research, etc.?

Honey Smith
Honey Smith
8 years ago

This is a good idea. I could investigate to see whether there are any charitable organizations funding research into the disease that killed her.

Ms. Rants
Ms. Rants
8 years ago

Honey, I can almost guarantee that there will be a charity that works on her disease, or on many diseases including hers. Donating or volunteering in her name would be a lovely thing to do. Look up the charity’s finances on http://www.guidestar.org/ (it’s free) to make sure they’re handling *their* finances to your satisfaction. Even $10 will help will help them, so don’t go overboard. Keep the donation low and offer to donate your time instead. You like to write – maybe you can edit their newsletter or help with grant applications. Maybe you have other skills they could use.… Read more »

Honey Smith
Honey Smith
8 years ago

So I looked this up. There was one 501(c)3 in the US devoted to her disease, but it was disbanded in 2005. The only other charities in existence are based in Australia (as there is a population there that has this dominantly-inherited disease). Those organizations, however, focus on improving the quality of life of those who have it, not on research (which is what I’d prefer to support).

So, no go on that one. It’s SUPER rare. Most doctors haven’t heard of it.

Ms. Rants
Ms. Rants
8 years ago

Honey, if you can’t find an organization devoted to that particular disease, here are a few other ideas: 1) Look for a rare diseases organization that includes that one. There are quite a few out there that focus on groups of rare diseases. 2) Look at related disease organizations to see if they are including it. For example, I know of a Multiple Sclerosis organization that does research into related diseases such as NMO as well, because the work is mutually beneficial to both communities. Contributions can be given to support just the NMO portion of the research. 3) Find… Read more »

chacha1
chacha1
8 years ago
Reply to  Harry

And that’s another thing that’s missing here. Annual bar dues and CLE expenses.

This guy was NOT ready to start his own business.

cajh
cajh
8 years ago
Reply to  chacha1

See if DH can find some free CLEs (California offers a lot of free “bias” and “ethics” CLEs every month) or maybe he can start teaching some CLEs. I also look for “deals” (CLEs that are under $35 and only if I think the course will be really, really helpful for me in the area of law I practice). I’ve only spent $100 on 23 credits worth of CLEs this year by using these three methods. According to the AZ Bar website: How much credit do attorneys receive for teaching? If the presentation is accompanied by original written materials prepared,… Read more »

Honey Smith
Honey Smith
8 years ago
Reply to  cajh

His company (a PLLC) has been paying his bar dues. He hasn’t had to do CLE’s yet because you can carry forward if you go over, and he did so many CLE’s when he was at Big Horrible Firm just to get out of the office (and because they paid for them) that he’s good to go for now. In fact, he was going to do a CLE about a month ago because he thought he was short, but when he logged into the system he had more than enough. His company also pays for his malpractice insurance. Teaching CLE’s… Read more »

AMW
AMW
8 years ago

While everyone has to deal with their money in a way that makes sense for their family, I have never come across a family with children where the separate finances worked. So while this is working for you now, have you discussed how this will work if you have children, or someone loses a job, or becomes disabled? My husband and I were not on the same page about money when we first got married 24 years ago. He came from a family who, while not rich, never had any lack. My family scrimped and saved and made do. It… Read more »

Eileen
Eileen
8 years ago
Reply to  AMW

Been married 24 years and about 3 years ago we decided to open a 2nd checking account so that we (basically) have separate accounts. We found that it actually helps us meet all our financial goals more easily. We still pay all our bills out of the original account (mine) and he transfers a large amount into that each time he gets paid. It’s made us more aware of what we have “left”. It has eliminated the chance for any surprises….for example I pay a large bill and he makes a larger than normal expenditure at the same time. Our… Read more »

Sam
Sam
8 years ago
Reply to  AMW

I agree, regular meetings are helpful. We met every month when we were killing our debt. With paper reports, treat it like a business.

Now we generally meet twice a year, but we talk regularly and I prepare a monthly report.

Kirk
Kirk
8 years ago
Reply to  AMW

I would say that in most cases, combined finances are the way to go. However, separate accounts can work as well. I’ve been married a little over 8 years and we’ve always had separate accounts. We both added each other to our accounts in case of emergency, but we otherwise run them like we did before. For my wife, she likes the feeling of independence and I respect that. I believe that the reason it works for us is constant communication. Also, neither of us are big spenders and we have similar views on money. We just split the bills… Read more »

Honey Smith
Honey Smith
8 years ago
Reply to  AMW

I like the idea of “board meetings” in a public place. Thanks!

Patti
Patti
8 years ago

Hi Honey! My one piece of advice comes from some personal experience as the spouse of a new business owner. When my (now ex) husband started consulting on the side, he did not pay quarterly taxes and I could not convince him to. In addition to living outside of our means, and being unable to have good productive conversations about money, the taxes became a huge problem for us. When we first separated in late 2008, the tax bill was the most contentious item we had (I resented it) to discuss and in 2012 he is still making payments for… Read more »

Tom
Tom
8 years ago
Reply to  Patti

Excellent point! Effectively, there are two major reasons (and one minor) to file Married Filing Separately on the Federal Forms 1. You’re already going through a separation or divorce 2. You don’t like how your spouse handles their taxes and don’t want to be liable for it later. (3. The minor reason: your incomes are so disparate that you may actually qualify for some tax break you wouldn’t otherwise receive jointly, though I think this is exceedingly rare and could disqualify you for other tax incentives.) He needs to be earning $44,490 AFTER PAYING TAXES to pay all the liabilities… Read more »

Honey Smith
Honey Smith
8 years ago
Reply to  Patti

Thanks for the comment, Patti! I have gone back and forth on this. The problem is that you can only deduct student loan interest (which, incidentally, is an above-the-line deduction, which as I understand it means that you can take it in addition to the standard deduction even if you don’t itemize) if you file jointly. Since that is the bulk of our debt, it is in both of our financial best interest to file jointly so we can take the deduction, especially in the early years when our loan payments are almost 100% interest.

Patti
Patti
8 years ago
Reply to  Honey Smith

Yes– the ed interest is an issue with filing separately. However, if you file jointly and he sees the tax bill then it may help move things along. In my case, we didn’t file for years and we got killed in penalties and late fees. This is the cost of playing ostrich! If you file, then you can have a reckoning with the numbers.

KS
KS
8 years ago
Reply to  Honey Smith

Honey,

While the student loan interest deduction is not available if you do MFS and it is an ‘above the line’ deduction, you can only deduct $2500 in interest, which if you are in a 25% bracket, only saves you $625 in taxes, which is small potatoes compared to the tax hammer that you husband will be on the receiving end of soon. I would not let student loan interest sway you too hard when it comes to protecting yourself in this situation.

William @ Drop Dead Money
William @ Drop Dead Money
8 years ago

You didn’t marry Jake for money (it seems). So, while money’s important (and it is) it’s not the only issue in your relationship. When you talk with him, it’s important not to harp on the one issue that’s not in line with your expectations. Be sure to talk about other things, the points of agreement. And be sure that affirmation is a healthy part of what you’re saying. It’s easier for people to hear healthy criticism if it’s not the only thing being said, that’s all. About him buying your idea six months later, I’m a male with lots of… Read more »

getagrip
getagrip
8 years ago

I feel that many folks commenting on this blog have direct or indirect personal experience with spendthrifts shafting a marriage, and I think that is where much of the concern I’m reading comes from (especially given the chosen quotes in the article, which makes alarms ring off with me and I’m guessing many others) That said, I would like to offer, as mentioned above, a bit of encouragement on the positive side for, you see, I married someone who simply cannot and will not truly budget. When I mention we need to look at the spending plan (or whatever the… Read more »

Honey Smith
Honey Smith
8 years ago
Reply to  getagrip

This comment is amazing.

Holly@ClubThrifty
8 years ago
Reply to  Honey Smith

Why doesn’t it surprise me that the comment you like most requires you to do nothing?

Laura
Laura
8 years ago

Why doesn’t it surprise me that [email protected] has yet another nasty, bullying, negative, kick-you-when-you’re-down comment? Aren’t you done yet? Or does it build you up to tear somebody else down?

And more important, why has GRS stopped editing comments from trolls?

Holly@ClubThrifty
8 years ago
Reply to  Laura

Not a troll, Laura. I have read for years and only commented for a short time. If you want to listen to all of Honey’s BS and give her constructive criticism that she will ignore, then by all means…go for it. I personally think it’s a waste of everyone’s time.

The last time I checked I was free to say whatever I think. You are definitely free to disagree with me.

Laura
Laura
8 years ago

You are free to say whatever you think. It is the volume of comments you’ve made, almost all of which are nasty and negative, that pisses me off. It’s bullying, plain and simple.

Thank you for teaching me my lesson of the day: that it is better to be in financial debt but supportive of others who need support (which includes allowing them time to work through changes), than to be out of debt but somebody who makes repeated hurtful remarks designed to make their struggles even harder. Better to be broke than a bully.

Holly@ClubThrifty
8 years ago

That is a total joke.

During this conversation, Honey managed to imply that she is smarter than 98% of people that she meets and that they are too good to deal with “religious types.” She has insulted a lot of people, not just me.

I personally don’t feel sorry for her at this point. Furthermore, she has posted her entire life story on a blog. She had to have expected to get some comments that she wouldn’t like. I doubt she’s surprised at all and if she wasn’t strong enough to handle it she wouldn’t be posting anyways.

Laura
Laura
8 years ago

Your reply basically dismisses any self-examination on your part, justifies why you believe Honey “deserves” your bullying remarks, then states she should be able to take it if she isn’t a victim.

These are all things a bully does.

Holly@ClubThrifty
8 years ago

I call BS when I see it. If that makes me a bully, then so be it.

Instead of trying to control and censor other’s opinions, why don’t you focus your energy on giving this support of Honey’s situation like you mentioned.

I am an opinionated person but I don’t feel like people need to agree with me. The fact that you don’t doesn’t change my opinion on this end.

Laura
Laura
8 years ago

The problem is that the way in which you call what you perceive as BS is belittling and hurtful and yes, bullying. Plenty of other people have made posts calling what they perceive as BS without stooping that low. You could focus your energies instead on providing Honey with support to help her with the changes she is struggling to make, or you can continue to make nasty and negative remarks that seem to make you feel better but do little to nothing to help. Just be clear to yourself as to what you are doing. We do disagree and… Read more »

Maria Barker
Maria Barker
8 years ago

In my opinion, this was not bullying. I also found it telling that Honey reacted strongly only to comments that said she was doing fine. If she had also liked any of the comments that told her she was not fine, and why, then I would be happier with her POV. As it is, I was hoping to find more help from the article. When I found it was pleading for indulgence, I hoped to find help in the comment section. So I kept reading. Holly has offered cogent points, and others have too. I wish Honey all the best,… Read more »

TB at BlueCollarWorkman
TB at BlueCollarWorkman
8 years ago

Tough spot to be in. For starters, STICK WITH THE SEPARATE FINANCES. That’s the best idea you mentioned!! And it’s great to compile data so that when he comes around, you’re ready to talk. But. BUT! WHat if he never comes around? Then I dont’ know what to tell you, dude.

Colin
Colin
8 years ago

He has $29k in credit card debt according to your numbers. That won’t stay at close to 0% forever. Was the credit card debt just regular spending or was this used to help start the business? The $438/month in super cheap for $100k in student loans obligations. That’ll take you 25 years to pay off that debt – Ouch! I don’t see an active plan to pay off these obligations quickly. That scares me and seems to be financial irresponsible which is probably indicative of his business practices as Lance pointed out. It is fine for you guys to bring… Read more »

Honey Smith
Honey Smith
8 years ago
Reply to  Colin

Except where noted otherwise, his credit card debt was accumulated when he was in law school and not earning a salary. He had over $50K in credit card debt when he graduated, so you can see he’d paid off quite a bit of it until he borrowed to get his business off the ground. While I think he could have done a lot of things differently, he has only borrowed to achieve specific objectives that we both think will pay off in the long run, and he has spent the majority of our relationship paying off debt rather than accumulating… Read more »

maria
maria
8 years ago
Reply to  Honey Smith

He is absolutely accumulating debt.
In your “reckoning” article you list his (5) five credit cards with a total balance of 27,659.00 and then today you list his SIX credit cards with a total balance of $28,947.00…$1,288.00 added debt to be exact.

Honey Smith
Honey Smith
8 years ago
Reply to  maria

In the reckoning article I listed the sixth credit card as belonging to me (since it’s in my name); I listed it in this article about his expenses and income because he makes the payments, not me (since he transferred one of his balances to my card).

Hope this clarifies things! He’s paid off about half that balance from the original transfer and can’t use that card to charge things, since it’s not in his name.

Scott
Scott
8 years ago

Honey,

I highly recommend you start with the money makeover book for yourself. Then consider (no just do it), enrolling in financial peace University with your partner. It will change your lives and your marriage forever.

I am not affiliated with Dave Ramsey in anyway but a fan of his show, book, and methodology.

Obviously you have to do this with consent of your partner so try to make the case as just an experiment you will both try.

Good luck,

Scott

Holly@ClubThrifty
8 years ago
Reply to  Scott

I agree. Maybe he would take financial advice from someone with such a good repuation more seriously.

It couldn’t hurt!

Honey Smith
Honey Smith
8 years ago
Reply to  Scott

We have the TMM book, as well as a few others (Debt is Slavery and at least one more). He wouldn’t ever enroll in FPU because he is an “evangelical atheist” and I don’t think he could be civil to religious types. While I think some of Dave Ramsey’s financial concepts would make sense to him, the packaging would totally distract him from the message.

Holly@ClubThrifty
8 years ago
Reply to  Honey Smith

Honey,

My husband has checked out some Dave Ramsey stuff from the library before. I don’t think it was FPU-I think it was Total Money Makeover.

mc
mc
8 years ago
Reply to  Honey Smith

Although Dave Ramsey is Christian and the course is usually offered through local churches, the course itself has a fairly light touch on the religious aspects. There are some biblical quotes that emphasize the points (i.e. ‘the borrower is slave to the lender’), but otherwise is pretty well focused just on the financial aspects. The courses allow you to to visit the 1st class of the course as a ‘free trial’, or to visit any 1 class for free as a guest of someone attending the course. It may be worth trying a free one to see if it is… Read more »

jay
jay
8 years ago
Reply to  Honey Smith

“I don’t think he could be civil to religious types”

wow… it says something about someone when they cant be civil to people who think different from them.

Eileen
Eileen
8 years ago
Reply to  jay

Yup. Another great suggestion that is dismissed…this time due to intolerance.

KT
KT
8 years ago
Reply to  jay

Seriously. This guy sounds more and more like a winner.

Holly@ClubThrifty
8 years ago
Reply to  jay

I just re-read that part. He couldn’t be civil to religious types?

I am not particularly religious either but would be willing to get help from ANYONE who could help me if I were in the huge financial mess that he is in. I don’t know if this is accurate or not….but your description of him is making him sound like a huge overgrown narcissistic child.

maria
maria
8 years ago
Reply to  jay

I’m tired of all the excuses also. I wonder if anyone has kept tally of them in the last four articles.

Jen from Boston
Jen from Boston
8 years ago
Reply to  jay

Sometimes this sort of intolerance started with intolerance… There are some equally intolerant “Christians” out there who berate non-Christians, and/or constantly proselytize to the point that they are giving Christians as a whole a bad rep. So, while his attitude is very, very unfortunate, I can see where he’s coming from. To many non-Christians the stereotype of church people who want nothing better than to save your soul any way they can because their Christian way is the ONLY way (and they would count other Christian denominations as being in the wrong) has some truth to it. I know where… Read more »

Greg@ClubThrifty
8 years ago
Reply to  jay

Jen from Boston, I think you’ve totally missed the point in this thread. The point is not about intolerance. The point is that this couple is totally unwilling to seek help from sources that are proven to help those in their situation. Try Dave Ramsey? Nope, too Christian. Try a written budget? Nope, I don’t like budgets. Try the envelope method? Nope, it kills too many trees. Honey has repeatedly asked for helpful opinions and has found an excuse not to use each and every suggestion that would require action. It is completely frustrating and utterly ridiculous. In fact, I’m… Read more »

Honey Smith
Honey Smith
8 years ago
Reply to  jay

@Greg, I’m confused how people could say I’m resisting change. Changes are in the works, and will be blogged about. It’s only been 2 weeks since I started working at GRS! I still have to to sort through all the advice, phase in the changes, and wait for the effects to reveal themselves. This process is going to take months , and of course since I will be Doing What Works For Me, it will be different from what others might choose 🙂

Joyce
Joyce
8 years ago
Reply to  jay

Dang… As a business owner, you certainly can’t be hostile to those that don’t have the same belief as you or you eliminate an enormous client base. People don’t like to pay people that are not civil to them.

Patti
Patti
8 years ago
Reply to  Honey Smith

While Total Money Makeover helped me in the beginning to assess things and make some initial changes, Elizabeth Warren’s All Your Worth, helped me when I needed to get back on track and is a major reason (other than GRS) why I have been successful achieving my personal finance goals. Totally secular approach, if you know Dave Ramsey won’t work for you.

Allyson
Allyson
8 years ago
Reply to  Honey Smith

Wow, good luck being a small business owner who “can’t be civil to religious types.” I’m sure that he will be very profitable when he starts insulting prospective clients.

Marcia C.
Marcia C.
8 years ago

I took a Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University class a few years ago and it was most helpful! I wish I had done it years ago!

The materials might be beneficial to you.

Best wishes!

Ed
Ed
8 years ago

My parents are in a similar situation. My father is a spender and my mom is a saver. My mother managed to have him debt free but it lasted 5 months he got back into debt fixing and inheritance he received. My father also thinks like your husband that as long as they make enough money to make ends meet it’s fine. No matter what you earn it’s how much you keep that matters. It may look like you need marraige counseling, or is there someone in his life that he respects and listens to who can have chat with… Read more »

Amy
Amy
8 years ago

2 very small cents here – Your husband doesn’t have the same concerns about your financial situation as you. He doesn’t care about his financial situation like you do. You seem convinced he will “get on the band wagon” and the language you write this article in is dripping with your intentions for his life. Your desires for him are understandable, but if it’s not his desire, it may cause you more stress than you already have to focus on what he’s not doing ‘right’. Plus you probably can’t change him, either through subtle or more blunt approaches.Further I am… Read more »

Randy
Randy
8 years ago
Reply to  Amy

I’ve had the most success with leading by positive example rather than trying to convince someone that smart financial planning is important. I graduated from school over 2 years ago and began immediately attacking my debt and avoiding letting my lifestyle inflate. It didn’t happen immediately, but I noticed my friends and fiance gradually start responding to the thrill I got when i paid off a loan or reached a milestone. This caused them to want to do more so THEY started the conversation with me about how to better for themselves. Make paying down your debt and saving responsibly… Read more »

Marla
Marla
8 years ago
Reply to  Amy

The problem is, she isn’t worried about a friend or a sibling. This is her husband, and if the ship sinks she’s going down with it.

Honey Smith
Honey Smith
8 years ago
Reply to  Amy

Lead by example is my current plan, yes. Our student debt is pretty comparable and when I met him I had about $20K in credit card debt, so if I show him what I can do on my pitiful salary, it will hopefully serve as a motivator for him.

Emily
Emily
8 years ago

REALLY tough spot to be in! I get the feeling reading your second blog that he just doesn’t WANT to get it and doesn’t trust your judgement. I’m not saying that him trusting your judgement = having joint accounts. Him taking some of your advice and being OPEN to change = him trusting your judgement. It’s fine, all be it more difficult, to keep separate finances. In our relationship, having his/mine/ours accounts, made me feel like we were less of a team. For us it was a no brainer – both our mothers had handled the finances for our families… Read more »

Pattie, RN
Pattie, RN
8 years ago
Reply to  Emily

“This sounds like a relationship problem, not a money problem.” Emily, you saved me a post saying the EXACT same thing. This house of cards surrounded with smoke and mirrors can only stand for so long, and it looks like the IRS is going to be the Big Bad Wolf that blows the whole thing down. The IRS has a serious lack of compassion for people who do stupid things instead of paying their Uncle Sam! An illness, unexpected pregnancy, or an injury are also life events that test a strong and financially sound marriage, which this sure does not… Read more »

Maria Barker
Maria Barker
8 years ago
Reply to  Emily

Emily, I agree with everything you wrote. Relationshipwise, this woman Honey seems to be more “mommy” than wife. One hint, I think you mean the word albeit, rather than the 3 words all be it. Like your point of view.

Dentist
Dentist
8 years ago

Story time. You never know what kind of punch in the gut life event will come your way. Even in your 20s. At 25 years old, 8 months after graduating from dental school, I developed a medical condition that totally prevents me from working. It literally happened overnight. Good thing I had a strong private disability policy and I can cover monthly expenses. My husband and I had no credit card debt and enough excess from the disability policy that we could travel to experts out of state to get the best care. (Maybe I should submit this as a… Read more »

Honey Smith
Honey Smith
8 years ago
Reply to  Dentist

Your advice is good and I’d love to hear your story if you submitted it!

Eileen
Eileen
8 years ago

If your husband commits to not charging anything more on his credit cards, then his income/cashflow will impose certain budgeting automatically.

If he is making up for any negative cashflow by using credit cards, then I’m not sure what can be done.

Jennifer Lynn
Jennifer Lynn
8 years ago

Wow. I’ve always been a firm believer in joint finances and working as a team, possibly because once kids are introduced, it forces both parties to use their compromising skills. My significant other is a financial wreck, but thankfully he trusted me to take over with the family bills/budgeting. You mentioned a psychological aspect tied to your dear hubby’s reluctance to entrust you with the coffers, stemming from his parents and their relationship with money. My curiousity is piqued; is this something you’d be willing to write more about?

Laura
Laura
8 years ago
Reply to  Jennifer Lynn

This. I’m still wading through all the comments and was looking for someone to mention Honey’s remark that Jake comes from a family where money was used as a weapon. Based on the limited info I have, my best guess is that Jake’s attitude in part may be from that experience: if he can spend what he wants when he wants, then he perceives money can’t be used against him. Given this, Honey, if I were you I would suggest counseling to work through the differences. If you go that route, try a communication technique: I observe, I think/feel, I… Read more »

Holly@ClubThrifty
8 years ago

That must be very frustrating! I don’t have any advice except to be an example for him (since your finances are seperate) and maybe he will see you making progress and want to do the same.

amber
amber
8 years ago

I am really happy to hear you can access his Mint account. This shows he is not trying to hide any details from Honey which is a great place to start. Since you already seem to be doing a bit of work for him on the personal side, maybe it is time to ramp up the work you and he do together on the business? You can take over things like making sure the taxes get paid on time. I know this could be tricky to work together but if you are going to be up late over worrying about… Read more »

Tom
Tom
8 years ago
Reply to  amber

I had the same thought. Why don’t you take on the CFO position (even if it is unpaid)?

Meaghan
Meaghan
8 years ago

I don’t think I can provide any advice that’s both relationship-affirming and financially astute, because your posts make your husband (who refers to you as “a girl he’s dating?”) seem quite toxic, at least financially. He has 6 credit cards and 4 student loans, and he’s making minimum payments. He’s gone from making $90,000 to (you hope!) $47,000 and hasn’t changed his spending habits. He refuses to make a budget, cut his spending, save money, or pay his taxes. And it sounds like he’s got YOU fearing that you’re the one who’s somehow going to destroy your relationship if you… Read more »

Kelly
Kelly
8 years ago
Reply to  Meaghan

He was always making around $48k. $90k at 80 hours a week is how that math works.

Face facts. This dude is financial Armageddon.

Megan
Megan
8 years ago
Reply to  Meaghan

Thank you, I agree. This entire post just doesn’t sit well with me. The husband really isn’t on board, and doesn’t seem to want to change. This means Honey will be seen as cramping his style – even though she’s trying to save him from himself.

Kelly
Kelly
8 years ago
Reply to  Megan

But that’s why she LOVES him!

Kristin
Kristin
8 years ago

Is it possible that he has undiagnosed ADHD? My husband and child both have it. Your husband’s behaviors sound similar.

Also, he needs to realize that he is not a wealthy lawyer. This is a trap many young lawyers fall into – they think because they are LAWYERS, they can spend like they’ve got it when they don’t. How do I know? I am a not-so-new lawyer who has seen it a lot.

Honey Smith
Honey Smith
8 years ago
Reply to  Kristin

We actually suspect he is somewhere on the autism spectrum. His dad has it, and Jake recognizes that a lot of his own behaviors are consistent with it. I’m not sure where that leaves us if it’s true.

Kelly
Kelly
8 years ago
Reply to  Honey Smith

Give me a break. He’s not autistic in the least. If you even had a clue about autism, you’d know that. He’s just blatantly irresponsible, both financially and emotionally.

Good luck.

Laura
Laura
8 years ago
Reply to  Kelly

Respectfully but totally disagree with you. There are many, many adults with Asperger’s and other mild forms of autism who aren’t diagnosed. The emphasis on diagnosing still tends to be on children when they display trouble coping in school. Adults who have AS or similar and who have trouble coping are usually labeled as blatantly irresponsible or worse.

I am not saying that this IS Jake’s issue, only that I cannot say that it’s not.

Ramblin' Ma'am
Ramblin' Ma'am
8 years ago
Reply to  Kelly

Agreed that there are many adults unknowingly on the autism spectrum. However, in this context it reads like another rationalization.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
8 years ago
Reply to  Kelly

Actually, my husband was told by a psychiatrist that he may have Aspergers (this was a a youngish teen) his father had mental issues and more than one disorder, so this is not definite, but it is not out of the question either. He also has these kind of problems with money – don’t know if it actually is a symptom of that, though. We just have me take care of the money for the most part and I let him know if/when he can buy things – he doesn’t have any accounts of his own (other than student loan… Read more »

Katie
Katie
8 years ago

Yaaaawwwnnn. Honey, really, have you taken any advice offered here on GRS in regard to your prior questions to the readers? Or are ya just spillin’ it to collect the award for “Most Commented on Posts”. YOU’RE GOING TO CARRY THE HEAVY IN THIS RELATIONSHIP FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE. If you want to do that, go ahead. It’s not about getting advice, it’s about accepting what you’ve already committed to. The only advice you can get has been covered time and time again. Someone here needs a second job or your just going to have to keep racking… Read more »

Honey Smith
Honey Smith
8 years ago
Reply to  Katie

Changes are in the works, but it’s meaningless to describe them until people know where we’re starting from, I think. This is only my second post as a staff writer, and it’s a story that can’t be told in a day 😉

Katie
Katie
8 years ago
Reply to  Honey Smith

So what you’re saying is…that this is all a prelude to a big conclusion? You’ve already “finished the book” or come to terms but you’re dragging us through the chapters? Isn’t that fraud? Wow! I’m out.

Honey Smith
Honey Smith
8 years ago
Reply to  Katie

No, what I’m saying is that it took me 10 years to get in this situation, and while I have at least that long to go, it’s not a backstory that can be completed in one post.

Sam
Sam
8 years ago

Honey, I am really enjoying you posts. First, I’m no sure JD and Kris are the best example since they ended up getting divorced. Second, I feel your pain. I am married to Mr. Stubborn (also known as Mr. Sam). If I tell him to do something (and I should be known as Ms. Bossypants) he will dig his heels in, if I tell him to do something twice, he will do the opposite, and so on. In our relationship, I am the spendthrift. But, Mr. Sam will spend as much money as is available without thought or planning. He… Read more »

Pattie, RN
Pattie, RN
8 years ago
Reply to  Sam

Sam, I agree about JD and Kris, and I told him openly several YEARS ago that about 90% of the couples I know who did not combine finances by their fifth anniversary went on to divorce. I am sorry that I was correct.

It is usually a symptom of a couple not being able to communicate and work things out together (EXCEPTION: Second marriages when both have children and/or assets to manage).

Emily @ evolvingPF
Emily @ evolvingPF
8 years ago
Reply to  Pattie, RN

Provocative stat. Do you have a reference?

David
David
8 years ago
Reply to  Pattie, RN

95% of couples that divorced within 5 years ate chicken at least once a week.

Is this statistic true? Actually, it probably is. Does it mean that eating chicken will cause divorce. Most likely not.

Please provide references when spouting off statistics like this.

Samantha
Samantha
8 years ago
Reply to  David

I don’t support her comment or her contention, but I do support actually reading something before responding negatively to it.

“about 90% of the couples I KNOW”

LauraElle
LauraElle
8 years ago

The most financially astute advice I can give to Honey is to keep her finances 100% separate. Everything, including getting a mortgage in her own name [he can sign a quit claim] and filing taxes separately. Do not enter into any joint debt or assets with him, ever. I can’t give “relationship affirming” advice. [What does that even mean?!] He does not sound interested in even meeting Honey halfway or even entertaining her ideas. And that’s worrisome- because what else is he dismissing, ignoring and disrespecting? Honey and Hubby need more help than comments on a blog can give. She… Read more »

maria
maria
8 years ago
Reply to  LauraElle

Agree, except the mortgage should be in his name and she signs a quit claim deed. she has way to much debt to add too.

Liz
Liz
8 years ago

Agree with all the readers who say KEEP YOUR FINANCES SEPARATE.

Also, working this through with a counselor or mediator is an excellent idea. This is a touchy subject, he’s clearly in a significant amount of denial, and he is going to have to make major changes in order to achieve any measure of security.

A counselor might also rejigger priorities a bit; at the moment, he’s got a $0 annual savings budget and a $120 annual charity budget which, forgive me, does not speak very well of his ability to allocate beyond the day-to-day.

Jay
Jay
8 years ago

Thanks for another honest post, Honey. I’m sympathetic to your situation, but am definitely aghast at how your husband can think he’s doing okay when 53% of his monthly expenses are loan repayments. The last credit card makes me wince, too. He took out a new line of credit at 10% to make a loan to his business partner, who couldn’t cover $1,350 worth of expenses? Also, is he still charging things to these cards? I agree with others that it’s too soon to combine your finances, not the least because I think the combined total of your debts seems… Read more »

EMH
EMH
8 years ago
Reply to  Jay

I also wonder about the loan to the business partner. Why didn’t the business partner open his own credit card?

Tyler Karaszewski
Tyler Karaszewski
8 years ago

“Love is all you need” is one of the biggest frauds perpetrated on the American public of the last 100 years. Marriage and family are as much business relationships as anything and it doesn’t really matter how much you love each other of you can’t afford to feed your kids. Love may be nessecary for a marriage to work, but it is not sufficient. You wouldn’t hire someone who was super nice and friendly if he couldn’t get the job done, so why would you marry someone with the same problem? Single people, take note – marriage is forever: through… Read more »

BD
BD
8 years ago

I can’t “thumbs up” this comment enough.
I also wish I would have been told that when I was younger. It would have saved me a world of hurt.

Carla
Carla
8 years ago

Better yet, don’t get married before the age of 30 or even 35.

Matt
Matt
8 years ago
Reply to  Carla

Age and maturity often go hand-in-hand, but not nearly as often as people seem to think they do.

Choo
Choo
8 years ago

Ugh. I’ve tried really hard to read Honey’s posts with an open mind, but I read GRS to learn about personal finance, not to read about someone else’s train wreck. JD – I’m thrilled for you that you have made a ton of money off this blog, but I already see it going seriously down hill now that you’ve taken a step back.

J
J
8 years ago
Reply to  Choo

I disagree. Seeing the perspective of people who are in financial despair helps me understand my own faults and affirm that my corrections are necessary / working / worthwhile.

Seeing constant success stories gets old.

Patti
Patti
8 years ago
Reply to  Choo

During the trial period for new writers, there were several suggestions about wanting writers from different points in the process– just starting out, on the road to financial freedom, etc etc. I think many people will identify with Honey and enjoy reading about her challenges and successes.

Laura
Laura
8 years ago

Well Honey, I’m in a similar boat in that my husband wants to just make it all work out and doesn’t care so much about the day to day budget. Our big differences are we don’t have any credit card debt or student loans. But he says stuff like if we have to put a trip to Europe on a credit card that’s fine but we will be taking our kids to Europe before they are 18. I totally disagree and started a travel fund that I am slowly building up. Luckily I handle the finances but I feel like… Read more »

superbien
superbien
8 years ago

In the outlines of your and your husband’s expenses, I noticed that you mentioned healthcare expenses (copays etc), long-term care insurance, and massages (which you’ve corrected to be back under healthcare expenses). Nowhere do I see how much you are spending on actual healthcare insurance. That is a significant chunk of change (you are American, right?) that seems to be missing from the report. I also really hope that you got his permission before you posted his (very personal, and in fact probably PII data) financial information. You mentioned in an earlier post, unless I’m mixing up writers, that he… Read more »

Paula
Paula
8 years ago

Honey, this article is honest, interesting and will help others; thank you for sharing. I was more like Jake, than you, until I remarried to a frugal man. I wanted to learn, from him, about handling finances more wisely than I had done previously. He has been a terrific mentor and we have prospered together. In an earlier comment by Maria, she suggested sharing no financial burdens/contracts with him and I agree. If there are plans for you to marry, postpone them until he changes how he handles money, for the better. Combining finances with Jake will be problematic, as… Read more »

kate
kate
8 years ago
Reply to  Paula

“if there are plans for [them] to marry”?? they are married, and they racked up a bunch of additional credit card debt to do it. they are “keeping their finances separate,” but filing joint income taxes. i am certainly not an expert, but that seems a bit incongruous to me. not to mix metaphors, but i think honey has hitched her wagon to a sinking ship – he started a business with a guy who not only can’t pay his half of the overhead but also apparently can’t get his own line of credit to handle the shortfall and another… Read more »

Paula
Paula
8 years ago
Reply to  kate

WHOOPS!
Kate, thanks for correcting me. I read it but it must not have computed.
I’m so sorry Honey for my interpretation of your relationship.
And Kate, you are correct, it does make a huge difference as to how all this affects Honey.
I blew it and I apologize.

Lincoln
Lincoln
8 years ago

Cancelling the Mensa membership would save you $60 ($5 per month). Not sure what tangible benefits it provides, but I could be wrong. Just a thought. Over 20 years, that’s over a thousand dollars. As far as the budgeting thing goes, it seems that you are along for the ride. But you know what they say, if you don’t know where you are going, it doesn’t matter where you end up. If none of it matters, then it seems somewhat strange that you are tracking it. If you think he’s destined to out-earn his money habits, then why not let… Read more »

superbien
superbien
8 years ago

In the outlines of your and your husband’s expenses, I noticed that you mentioned healthcare expenses (copays etc), long-term care insurance, and massages (which you’ve corrected to be back under healthcare expenses). Nowhere do I see how much you are spending on actual healthcare insurance. That is a significant chunk of change (you are American, right?) that seems to be missing from the report. I also really hope that you got his permission before you posted his (very personal, and in fact probably PII data) financial information. You mentioned in an earlier post, unless I’m mixing up writers, that he… Read more »

Honey Smith
Honey Smith
8 years ago
Reply to  superbien

We are insured through my employer (they provide domestic partner benefits so this has been the case since he left his job). It is $55/paycheck and is excellent.

Babs
Babs
8 years ago

I am a bookkeeper for a small business so I have a few suggestions along that line. First does he have a professional accountant for his business? He should. He may owe income taxes at the end of the year, he will owe self employment taxes. He may also need a business license and owe property taxes. You have stated that his partner does not have a good work ethic and he has had to borrow money to cover overhead (which is pretty shocking since your husband is in no position to be a creditor). It might be wise to… Read more »

Daria
Daria
8 years ago
Reply to  Babs

As someone else who has worked as a book keeper for several small businesses, I second having a good accountant. Also, are he and his partner’s actually taking salaries or are they taking money out in the form of loans from the business so that they don’t have to claim it as income and pay taxes and they have the loan as an asset to the business. I had several clients go out of business because they deluded themselves that they had a viable business b/c the loan made the business look like it was in the black, but they… Read more »

Andrea
Andrea
8 years ago
Reply to  Babs

I’ll add my two cents with this comment, since they’re similar to what I was going to say anyhow. Self employment taxes are different than regular income taxes. My husband started his own company about 9 months ago, so we’ve been learning a lot about the process. I know some of this will depend on how the company is set up and how he is paid, but if he is considered self employed, he will have to pay regular income taxes like you pay, PLUS whatever an employer would have to pay, like unemployment insurance, the full social security amount… Read more »

Angela
Angela
8 years ago

You are worried about becoming “The Girl Who Only Says No or The Girl Who Only Talks About Money” but you’re on your way to becoming “The Tired Woman That Cleans Up Her Husband’s Messes and Pays Her Husband’s Debts.”

PB
PB
8 years ago

Here is a possible solution, which worked for me: My husband will literally sit in the chair next to me and check out of budget discussions by falling asleep. That’s how much he does not want to deal with the subject. He is, however, a visual organizer. I finally put every debt we had into a graph with when it would be paid off and colored it in rainbow colors. Finally, it made sense to him and he became very interested in our progress. Perhaps if you could graph how long it will take to pay off all this debt… Read more »

Sam
Sam
8 years ago
Reply to  PB

Agree, different people process information differently. Until I had put down on paper, with charts, how we could pay off our $55,000 in debt Mr. Sam couldn’t see it, couldn’t think it, couldn’t imagine it.

Debbie
Debbie
8 years ago

I think you are burying your head in the sand. What your husband does can and will affect you–regardless of whether your finances are combined or separate. If you continue to ignore the situation, you and your marriage are headed for big trouble. He should be saving a bit of every check for quarterly taxes, a SEP IRA (which will save him taxes), and an emergency fund both for himself and for the business. Check out the book “The Money Book for Freelancers, Part-timers, and the Self-Employed” by Joseph D’Agnese and Denise Kiernan. Good system for managing irregular income. I… Read more »

Kristin Wong
Kristin Wong
8 years ago

Hey Honey! Would Jake object if you refused to go halvsies on things like cable? And by “object,” I mean would it start a huge fight? Because aside from keeping your finances separate, I think all you can do is set an example, hope it rubs off on him, and offer input on his finances until you see it’s making him defensive. “One of the things I’ve learned over the last six years is that he almost never agrees with me the moment when I propose something; however, six months to a year later he’ll suggest it like it was… Read more »

Honey Smith
Honey Smith
8 years ago
Reply to  Kristin Wong

Kristin, I think that he will eventually come around and once he does, he will probably be even more gung-ho about it than I am (if history is any indicator). I’d prefer that happen sooner than later, of course.

I did mention that I might have to drop out of the cable bill, and his response was “just let me know,” so while there was a time where that would cause a fight, I don’t think it would now.

Holly@ClubThrifty
8 years ago
Reply to  Honey Smith

Honey, your marriage sounds absolutely dysfunctional. In the past, mentioning cutting the cable bill would start a fight? Geez….

If I needed to talk about the cable bill or any other bill and my husband refused or got snippy with me, he would find himself sleeping in a sleeping bag in the garage.

I have a hard time understanding how someone who is as smart as you claim to be could be living as a giant doormat. Seriously, grow some balls and learn to assert yourself or spend the rest of your life tiptoeing around your selfish husband.

Kat
Kat
8 years ago

Knock it off already, Holly. You are not be constructive in your comments, and in fact appear to be taking every opportunity to belittle and shame Honey. Enough already.

Holly@ClubThrifty
8 years ago

Sorry, her comments bring out the worst in me. I’m starting to agree with some of the others that she can’t possibly be a real person writing. So….either way, I’m wasting my time.

Tina
Tina
8 years ago

My husband and I lived just like you. Hubby and I both had full time jobs plus a side business. My hubby being the spender(raised that way too) and me being the saver, made for some hard financial years. Hubby said “money is replaceable” when he would spend money on junk and had nothing to show for it. All of my hounding and budget making didn’t work because he didn’t believe in budgets and my credit paid too for the mistakes he made. Here is how we solved it: 1)The checking account is only in my name and all full… Read more »

Drew
Drew
8 years ago

Honey, Completely agree that you need to maintain separate finances in the near term, until some acceptable behavioral changes can be made. Step one is to have a third-party (perhaps a professional financial counselor) demonstrate to him that the mess exists, and it is of enormous and immediate magnitude, so that some behavior change can happen sooner rather than later. Not only have you both behaved irresponsibly in the past, but the hole is getting deeper every single day. Step two:I don’t understand how marriage works with separate finances, any more than I understand how marriage works with separate residences.… Read more »

Kat
Kat
8 years ago

I am a sort of “reformed” spender who is now, in my marriage, keeping track of the bills and outgoing money. We have a joint checking/savings account and one joint “gift” account. Things are working for us. My husband is only responsible for paying one bill (because it’s a family plan with his extended relatives, and he is responsible for getting their share and ours paid). As for advice, now that I am much more responsible than I was before (I wasn’t married at that time), I don’t think there’s much you can do until he reaches his own tipping… Read more »

EQ
EQ
8 years ago

You are going to get nowhere fast if you aren’t on the same page. I recommend attending Dave Ramsey’s Finacial Peace University.

You two have made a huge mess. Good lord you are over $200K in debt and on a good month bring home only a combined $7K a month.You guys need to get you income up and get it up fast to knock out this debt.

By the way we are Debt Free, do a budget every month and have combined all of our money and accounts.

KT
KT
8 years ago

These posts are a train wreck. Your finances are beyond repair (because you refuse to make necessary changes or take it seriously) and your husband is just ridiculous.

Is anyone else sure where this will go? In another year, I’m sure they’ll be “how to get divorced without taking husband’s debt” posts.

ShackleMeNot
ShackleMeNot
8 years ago
Reply to  KT

It’s so predictable. If they both don’t change their attitudes (entitlement, immaturity, stubbornness) they will be declaring bankruptcy.

Of course, that won’t be their fault either. They did everything they could. It’s just the way the system works, right?

jim
jim
8 years ago
Reply to  ShackleMeNot

Declaring bankruptcy won’t be a free ticket out of debt for them at all. Student loans are NOT dischargeable in bankruptcy (with very rare exceptions like maybe with full permanent disability). The vast bulk of their debt is student loans. They’re stuck with it. Plus their income is too high to discharge their debts in general and they’d have to make payments to repay the debtors. Their income is > median household income so they likely wouldn’t qualify for chapter 7. They’d have to do chapter 13 which means repaying the debts over time.

Peg
Peg
8 years ago

I commented on your first article, as most of the rest of the free world! With that said, I’ll limit my comment to “good luck”. You’re going to need it. I’m not being sarcastic because I’m not any better off-as far as having a spouse that just doesn’t get it-and feel it would be ironic at best, and two-faced at worst, to offer advice.

Meika
Meika
8 years ago

Honey, I admire your courage in sharing your journey with a tough crowd. My husband and I had a similar profile when we got married – he’s an engineer who was making the big bucks as soon as he got out of college (with almost no debt) while I had opted for impractical-no-career-value-financed graduate degree (ahem, yes, hindsight). What got us more or less on the same page was attending a Dave Ramsey-based one-day financial seminar at our church – it was actually required as part of our premarital counseling. You could see if he would go for the Financial… Read more »

KSK
KSK
8 years ago

Has your husband talked with a CPA about his quarterly tax payments? He really should. Your calculations for his estimated tax obligation for the year seem very low to me. I’ve been self-employed for 15 years. And I can tell you from experience that If you are not setting aside a very substantial monthly amount for quarterly tax payments and retirement, you will be burned come April 15th. I know this from painful experience. I miscalculated one year, and ended up owing $9K. I had to borrow the money from my business line of credit and it took me several… Read more »

Tracy
Tracy
8 years ago
Reply to  KSK

Yeah, I’m self employed, and I set aside 25% of gross income for quarterly taxes. Because we live in a state with no income tax and my income isn’t very high, I usually end up owing a bit less than that, but I’ve always heard the rule of thumb is a quarter to a third of income.

Margaret
Margaret
8 years ago

This woman is in for a world of hurt down the road. A man who says he wants to be in business for himself, but doesn’t want to budget, is a man who is playing games. And she will be the loser in this game. Whether she combines finances with him or not (and I strongly advise NOT!, she could, depending on state laws where she lives, be on the hook for debts he runs up. (Learned this the hard way when I found myself responsible for half of my ex’s debts after our divorce). When it comes to financial… Read more »

EQ
EQ
8 years ago

Oh I missed the part about him not paying taxes.

You guys are completely out of control and headed for disaster. You either need to find a good accountant or divorce lawyer.

MB
MB
8 years ago

So far the only thing I have enjoyed about this series is that the reconciliation of accounts is nicknamed “The Reckoning”. That was clever. This inspired me to visit the Mensa website and look at the criteria for membership. It is pretty impressive that both you and your husband have IQs in the top 2% of the general population. Which means the combination of your elite minds through marriage should yield some very powerful brainpower. Unfortunately, personal finance is just common sense… but maybe if we framed your situation as one of those little IQ test puzzles… debt + lack… Read more »

Honey Smith
Honey Smith
8 years ago
Reply to  MB

Where does hindsight go, in this formula? Yes, ego is definitely part of the equation (on both sides). When you have empirical proof that you are smarter than 98% of the people you meet, it is hard to admit sometimes that the other person has a point.

KT
KT
8 years ago
Reply to  Honey Smith

We have empirical proof that a vast percentage of people have a better handle on their finances (and relationships) than you. How does your IQ rationalize that?

Eileen
Eileen
8 years ago
Reply to  Honey Smith

Perhaps honey’s post above is an honest bit of sharing, but anyone who uses the phrase that they have “empirical proof that they are smarter than 98% of people they meet” is just a complete turn off.

Who talks like that?

Honey and hubby need to get over themselves.

Cara
Cara
8 years ago
Reply to  Honey Smith

You’ve got to be kidding me. My IQ is also high enough to qualify for Mensa, but I’m smart enough to realize that IQ is a very specific way of measuring a specific kind of intelligence. I certainly don’t think it means I’m smarter than 98% of the population, especially when faced with empirical proof every day that other people know plenty of things I don’t.

jay
jay
8 years ago
Reply to  Honey Smith

wow… combine this with your “I don’t think [Jake] could be civil to religious types” comment.

You and your husband come off as extremely close minded and condescending. not the type of people that A) i would like to give advice too, and B) not the type that would likely listen anyways

Honey Smith
Honey Smith
8 years ago
Reply to  Honey Smith

I was being facetious, for Pete’s sake 🙂 For one thing, almost everyone I know has or is getting a PhD, so I’m not actually smarter than most of the people I know. For another, smart people do dumb things ALL THE TIME, because as a general rule people use emotion to make most of their decisions, not logic. I fall into this category, too, and I’m painfully aware of it. My point would have been better articulated if I had said something along the lines of “people with high IQs tend to forget that they don’t make the majority… Read more »

Meaghan
Meaghan
8 years ago
Reply to  Honey Smith

For the love of pete, you two aren’t even smart enough to save $40 and get the family membership fee! I’d make that the final test if I were MENSA.

jim
jim
8 years ago
Reply to  Honey Smith

Being facetious is not a good thing.

maria
maria
8 years ago
Reply to  Honey Smith

162 Meaghan
That post made be laugh out loud. Funniest thing I have read all day.

Holly@ClubThrifty
8 years ago
Reply to  Honey Smith

Honey,

I do not have a Phd…nor do I belong to Mensa. However, you make me feel like an absolute genius!!!!

Please keep talking.

K
K
8 years ago
Reply to  Honey Smith

Getting a PhD is not necessarily the mark of smartness.

Often it’s a mark of “bad job market”, and “poor job field choice” .

AnnW
AnnW
8 years ago
Reply to  Honey Smith

This can’t be a real post. You can’t be a real person, thinking because you have a real PhD that you are better than other people. A lot of people could get PhD’s but choose not to. It is very self indulgent. Mensa is a pretentious association. If you can’t or won’t pay your taxes, you aren’t very smart. Lack of understanding of the autism spectrum is not very “intelligent” either. You should resign from this position. You are wasting our time.

Carla
Carla
8 years ago
Reply to  Honey Smith

Honey, I tried. Honestly. Over your past few posts I’ve defended you when others torn into you, but I just cant justify it anymore. I reread all of your comments in this thread and I am dumbfounded. 1. What does having a high IQ have to do with personal finance? I know you didn’t bring it up at first, but you continue to harp on it. 2. Some of the most intelligent people I know do not have PhDs unless they chose to work in a field that absolutely requires one. 3. Most people with high-average to high IQs don’t… Read more »

Lincoln
Lincoln
8 years ago
Reply to  Honey Smith

There is certainly a disconnect between the life Honey seems to want and the life she currently has. On one hand, she is highly educated Ph.D., member of Mensa, and is married to a lawyer. On the other hand, despite her education and privilege, she seems to be floundering. Part of me wonders if it’s an elaborate gimmick for attention, but then I think not. She’s just bought into a completely distorted vision of herself as a “success,” that I think prevents her from critically evaluating her own mistakes, including that she doesn’t seem to realize that she’s an enabler.

Allyson
Allyson
8 years ago
Reply to  Honey Smith

If you and your husband are so smart, why are you asking all of us dummies for advice? Figure out how to solve your own problems.

imelda
imelda
8 years ago
Reply to  Honey Smith

Honey, I’m tempted to say that I am shocked by the stupidity of your comment, but then I remember all the foolish Internet remarks that haunt celebrities. If stupid, you are not alone.

Regardless of how serious a faux pas that was…. if you believe that your IQ makes you smarter than 98% of people, then you are a damn fool. Whether a joke or not, your choice to make that comment seriously lowers you in the estimation of readers here.

And for you, it should serve as empirical proof that intelligence isn’t just about IQ.

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