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POLL RESULTS: She's gonna pay: (10 comments)

POLL: She's gonna pay

Friday, October 08, 2010 - 12:00 AM

A reader writes... Q: I just moved in with my girlfriend. She went on a fall shopping spree and can’t pay her half of the rent. She looks good in all her new clothes, but that’s just so irresponsible. If I don’t pay the electricity, it will go out. She can’t even pay her own cell-phone bill. I didn’t know she was this bad with money.
POLL: If the girlfriend/boyfriend can't pay half the rent, he/she should be evicted.
 
6% (114) No way! Relationships are about sharing.
 
21% (375) Yes! Kick them to the curb!
 
71% (1257) Maybe. Who's name is on the lease?
1746 people have voted in this poll. (This poll is not active.)
MadDavid
Lover

Posts: 4

Registered:
Jul 2009
Re: She's gonna pay (Score: 0)
posted Friday, October 08, 2010 - 01:06 AM (#57264)

This is why you should get to know someone thoroughly before moving in with them. *Especially* if that someone is a boyfriend/girlfriend, and dropping the deal has side complications.

Have a serious talk with her about finances. If she doesn't understand what kind of hole she's dug for herself, or if she tries to give you the "It's my money, don't tell me how to spend it!" defense, run. In not paying her half of the rent and bills, she is spending your money.

Figure out if this is a "one-time" deal or chronic behavior. If she's had a lot of boyfriends, roomates, etc. and has never lived on her own, this is chronic, and you're not going to change her. If she was doing just fine on her own until you moved in, she might shape up again if you take a hard enough line of "I'm not paying for that."

Don't pay any bill you can live without paying. Certainly, don't pay her phone bill or credit card bills, period. It will help if she learns that when she can't pay for something, she goes without.

If you *do* stick around and pay the bills you were supposed to go half-in on, make it clear that next month, she will pay them in entirety. In the sense that if she doesn't, you two will no longer have a place, and you will both go back to your prior living arrangements. If she doesn't make enough in the month to cover rent and utilities, you might go for several months of her having absolutely no luxuries instead.

Finally, start looking for a new place and room-mate for next month. You don't have to sign the contract if you find out you can keep your current place.

She might be clueless and incompetent, or she might be purposely taking you for a ride. Either way, people like her spend themselves into debt *only* because someone has always come through and bailed them out in the past. Every single time. You don't want to be that person, because she will just spend until *you* need someone to bail *you* out.

Ultimately, when people are given a choice between "get a job, pay the rent, and stop buying luxuries" and "starve," they invariably choose not to starve. Really. The people in the world who go hungry and homeless are the people with absolutely no say in the matter whatsoever.

Short answer: She will change when she is faced with loosing something more important than the clothes. If she sees that she will lose you and if you are more important than the clothes, she will shape up. Otherwise, don't look back.


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Henchman21
Lover

Posts: 9

Registered:
Oct 2010
Re: She's gonna pay (Score: 0)
posted Friday, October 08, 2010 - 03:03 AM (#57265)
In Response to MadDavid (#57264):

Have to agree with everything stated here. However, I feel I also have to add that things like this can potentially ruin your credit for years to come. Sure, it sounds like a tired, old, nearly cliched line, but it is also very, very true.

Anything your name is on (lease agreement, bills, etc...) take priority for you, yourself to get paid until such time as you can get your name off (this is a legal standpoint, not advice. I'm specifically not saying go out and get your name off the lease, electric, phone, or whatever else have you.)

Secondly, how much can she put forward toward rent? Does she contribute in other ways (say doing a disproportionate amount of chores)? While not a legal factor, these can make a difference in the heart of the situation. Still, it is best to have some form (if not formal) agreement regarding divisions of labor, utilities, etc to prevent these situations from arising again. Ultimately, if you decide you can live with paying the extra rent, but you like seeing her in new outfits; well... If you can live with that (and not get resentful), and she can, that is your choice. I'd say that isn't the case if it is bothering you enough to ask advice on, but it is an option (if not a very likely one...)


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abb3w
Lover

Posts: 46

Registered:
Jan 2008
Re: She's gonna pay (Score: 0)
posted Friday, October 08, 2010 - 10:00 AM (#57266)
Yeah, I've seen this one.

You have a choice. If your income allows it, you can become a sugar daddy and let her pay some of her share "in trade" - which will change the nature of the relationship. You can resign yourself to various utility outages and other associated inconveniences becoming a permanent staple in your life (and retirement becoming very tricky). You can see if she will improve her financial management skills. Or you can develop an exit strategy.

On the bright side: girlfriend, not wife. Getting untangled takes fewer lawyers.

You can suggest that it's important to you that she improve her financial organization if the relationship is going to continue for the long term, and ask if she'd like help with it. If she's eager to make the relationship work and keep working, go for it; but that's not where I'd put my bet. If she doesn't care, doesn't work at it, or doesn't get better, DON'T waste your time, emotional energy, or breath on complaining. Just quietly plan to move out. If your name is on the lease, you're probably stuck in the mess until the lease end; become absent minded about renewing it. If your name ISN'T on the lease, plan to move out in a hurry; she may kick YOU to the curb as soon as this conflict in financial attitudes, your reluctance to play sugar daddy, and a more promising sucker become apparent. Either way, expect the relationship (and perhaps the living situation) to go downhill once it sinks in to her that the financial implications leave you not interested in continuing it. I wouldn't condone lying to her, but I also wouldn't go out of my way to make the truth known.

You might consider letting the power go out at least once, to see if the experience changes her willingness to organize her finances. I doubt it will, but how she reacts will at least make clear which way you should jump.

Oh, and as long you're stuck in a sugar daddy role, indulge your sweet tooth as much as you can get away with - but do use condoms, regardless of what birth control she's on. (And have you discussed her abortion position if you get unlucky?) You probably won't be able to afford much other entertainment for a while, but a baby makes rent and utilities seem cheap, and might legally tie you into a relationship you want OUT of.
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delzoup
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Posts: 8

Registered:
Jan 2010
Re: She's gonna pay (Score: 0)
posted Friday, October 08, 2010 - 10:30 AM (#57267)
In Response to abb3w (#57266):

Wow, unforgiving crowd.

Sit down and talk to her about money and set boundaries. Let her know that if either one of you can't pay rent or utilities, than the offending party may be asked to leave (or be left). If you haven't paid her half already, see if she can return the clothes, or get a loan from someone else. If you do pay her half, make it clear it is a loan.

Anyone can make a mistake (even a really stupid mistake) once. It is important that this is not a pattern. It's important that you are both have the same financial goals if you're living together as a couple. There's lots of learning tools out there to improve one's financial IQ.

Talking about finances before committing to a single household is something I learned the hard way. But one really spectacular mistake is too soon to be calling sugar daddy syndrome. Good luck with your relationship.


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networkguy247
Lover

Posts: 1

Registered:
Oct 2010
Re: She's gonna pay (Score: 0)
posted Friday, October 08, 2010 - 12:15 PM (#57268)
In Response to delzoup (#57267):

I'm not sure the group is unforgiving. These responses are about setting a tone that this behavior is unacceptable. Sure, anyone can make a mistake, but a recurring, uncorrected mistake is behavior - a pattern. Setting a tone that this is unacceptable behavior breaks that pattern.

On the flip side, would this advice be any different if this was a female poster with a boyfriend? For example, if he spent his share of the rent on computer hardware, a new muffler or shiny chrome rims, is that any different?


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zmortis
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Posts: 76

Registered:
Jun 2009
Re: She's gonna pay (Score: 0)
posted Friday, October 08, 2010 - 04:45 PM (#57269)

I'm going to side with the majority of others here and say that someone with this lack of fiscal responsibility is going to be highly problematic for your financial well being and your relationship.

This is a person (male or female) who doesn't understand basic priorities. Food, Shelter (including core utilities of heat, water, and power), and necessary clothing come first.

By necessary clothing I mean enough weather appropriate shoes, bottoms, and tops to wear clean clothes for 5-7 days for each major weather season experienced. Everything else is a luxury which is nice to have, but certainly not in the necessary clothing list.

Then comes the next tier of necessities - such as transportation costs to get to work/school.

Then come the basic luxury items such as TV or radio, clothing accessories, and a personal communication device aka a phone (land or cell).

Then come the unnecessary luxuries which come after all the priority items are fully paid for the month (cable/satelite bills, computers, internet access, multiple matched clothing outfits, restaurant food, etc.)

You have to consider whether the person you have chosen to financially link yourself with understands, and abides by these priorities. If they don't understand, or refuse to abide by them, I highly recommend you look into and exercise your options for separating your personal financial picture from theirs. They will drag you down along with their poor choices if given the opportunity.

I hope this helps.


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Stevarooni
Lover

From: KCMO

Posts: 64

Registered:
Jun 2008
Re: She's gonna pay (Score: 0)
posted Friday, October 08, 2010 - 09:31 PM (#57270)

Money problems are hell on a relationship. I think that you ought to talk to her about finances. No ultimatums, but do tell her that you're living together; she isn't a guest, and you expect her to pay her half of the bills. It's very likely that neither her parents nor teachers taught her anything about being responsible with money. Give her a break, and try to help her, but after a while...it's not worth living with each other. You can't afford someone leaching off of you.


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DanialArin
Lover

Posts: 92

Registered:
Apr 2009
Re: She's gonna pay (Score: 1)
posted Saturday, October 09, 2010 - 02:46 AM (#57272)

First things first... Let her know this is a serious problem, and for you two to continue living together, it has to never happen again. That being said, assuming you prefer to resolve this in a way that keeps you two together going forward, and not in a bad way...

(I know this is long, but bear with me. Not saying this is perfect, but at least hear me out. Everything in here comes from knowing someone, or knowing of someone, who got burned financially when a relationship went bad.)

Sit down with her, and create a budget. Make a list: Your two incomes; your shared expenses - rent, power, water, heat (remember that heat is more expensive than air conditioning, and it's starting to get COLD out there), groceries for shared meals cooked at home, and any other utilities tied to the apartment; and your individual expenses - cell phones, non-automotive commuting costs, lunch out of the house, cars (loan/lease payments, maintenance, insurance, gas), laundry, college tuition or student loans, medical expenses, and replacement of clothing as it wears out or no longer fits. Remember to estimate everything HIGH, not average. See what's left. Then take those listed expenses, and pad each of them by 5-10% to cover unexpected stuff, increasing prices, etc. If there's anything left after *that*, put half that away to save for hypothetical upcoming major expenses (like weddings, pre- and post-natal care, down payments on real estate), and if there's anything left, that's your budget for not-free entertainment.

As for the allocation of expenses... For purposes of running numbers, subtract the budgeted amount for individual stuff from your individual incomes; that money gets deposited to your individual accounts. Then pool what's left, and subtract the shared expenses. The half of what's left after that that you're saving up, deposit somewhere in a joint account that's set up to require TWO signatures for any withdrawals. The other half, split that either 50-50 or proportional to the amounts you were able to put in. That's your individual "pocket money". You can either use it individually, or pool it to do or get something together.

In practice, you need four separate accounts. Two individual checking accounts, one in each of your names alone. One joint checking account, with each check requiring dual signatures, any online bill-payments being reported to both of your e-mails, and both paper statements and e-mailed statements sent to both of you. And one joint savings account, again with the same restrictions. Paychecks get deposited to the joint checking. Then shared bills get paid. Then bills for individual expenses get paid, and funds to cover out-of-pocket expenses that don't show up as bills get transfered to your individual checking accounts. Finally, once a month, take whatever's actually left. If it's more than you budgeted, then transfer the savings money budgeted, transfer the pocket money budgeted to your individual accounts, and leave the rest in the joint checking to hedge against the unexpected. If you're short, the difference has to come out of extra money left in checking first, then from pocket money for both of you, and only when there's no other way do you pull from savings... and immediately re-evaluate your budget, to account for the increased costs.

Keep track of the whole thing in a spreadsheet, or in something like Quicken if you have that. Also, if you have PDAs or smartphones, you can carry copies of these files around and update them as you spend.

That's another thing, you need to both keep track of what you're spending as you spend it. Check register, a small accounting ledger book, or the aforementioned spreadsheet, whatever works. Every time either of you buys something, it needs to be marked off against the budget for that expense. Your personal expenses, it's ok to mark them off on paper as they happen as long as the computer files get updated before the next bill-paying session. Your shared expenses, though, need to be marked off rig...

Read the rest of this comment...

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ProtoMickey
Lover

Posts: 3

Registered:
Sep 2010
Re: She's gonna pay (Score: 0)
posted Sunday, October 10, 2010 - 10:40 PM (#57279)

Should you pay her half of the rent? Yes, because if it is a brand new landlord, you don't want him to be thinking that he's going to have to pull teeth with you every month to get the rent. Also, you don't want to be kicked out because of her.

Should you pay the electric bill? Yes. You need electricity. Plus, if your name is anywhere on the bill, it will negatively impact your credit score. There are enough ways for a person to hurt their credit on their own without the help of someone else.

Should you pay her cell phone bill? Nah. This is the bill you should use to try and instill some sense of fiscal responsibility in her with. It won't affect you too much since you live with her and can just yell her name if you need to get a hold of her. She'll either figure out a way to pay the bill or she'll have to borrow money from someone else who will want it back. Or, it will get turned off. Either way, she learns a valuable lesson on priorities.

Also, sit down with her and explain what you're doing and why. Give her a mulligan on this month's rent and utilities, but make sure she understands that she only gets one and if she doesn't have her half of the rent next month, then the living together experiment is over (the relationship is a different story) and you're going to find a roommate who will pay his share of the rent.

Either she'll straighten up and get her act together, or she'll leave you. Regardless of which way she goes, it's a win-win for you.


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abb3w
Lover

Posts: 46

Registered:
Jan 2008
Re: She's gonna pay (Score: 0)
posted Saturday, October 16, 2010 - 12:50 PM (#57310)
In Response to networkguy247 (#57268):

Or, alternatively, establishes that the pattern won't be broken. Incompatibilities in attitudes about some things (sex, money, drugs, and children) can result in a break-up. It's possible to avoid them - if the attitudes are not so far apart or so entrenched as to preclude that. By all means, make the attempt to work things out; it's often possible. But blindly hoping that a partner will become more responsible with his/her money is as foolish as hoping that he/she will get out of the habit of cheating on partners. Yes, it happens; no, not always.

Hope for the best; plan for the worst.

It's not so much that I'm unforgiving; it's that my own experience with such matters was rather unforgettable.


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