I CONFESS: Husband’s spending out of control
I HAVE A BIG PROBLEM on my shoulder and would like to hear what readers feel and any suggestions they may make, including online in response to my views as outlined herein. I do not want to be too quick or too harsh in any action or reaction to my situation.
This situation started about 11 years ago when my husband became a changed man. Not a better man, but a different man – a man who became interested in the “I” and not the “we” in a marriage. We have been married for a number of years, as I do not want to give the exact length of time we have been in a union.
The marriage started out like a fairy dream. I always remember our wedding and the reception and the honeymoon. One of my long-standing friends, on the other hand, had a very quiet wedding, a party following and no honeymoon. I always felt for her as if she had missed some major points in her life. We maintained a close relationship over the years. She and her husband focused on purchasing an average size property. My husband and I built our home, a much larger property and a more upmarket vehicle.
Somehow my friend was able to manage her affairs in such a way that she and her husband were able to travel overseas while raising their family.
Things took a turn about 12 years ago when my friend and her husband bought another property and subsequently, in preparation for retirement, renovated the one in which they lived. My husband and I changed our vehicles and opted for two eye-catching jeeps. We worked hard and felt entitled to some of the nicer things in life.
But soon afterwards, my husband would always be very tight with money or have none. We were able to eat out at certain dining establishments, thanks to his work, but since his retirement, the opportunities to eat at these places free of cost have all but disappeared. Still, I am not worried about the inability to dress and enjoy a Friday or Saturday night or a Sunday lunchtime out without worrying about costs. I believe on my retirement funds I can pay sometimes for this pleasure. It is my husband’s inability to manage his reduced pension which has me hurting and worried.
On his retirement he got a handsome sum in gratuity and subsequently gets two pensions: one from the Treasury because of the nature and full time he put in in the job he did; the other from the NIS, even though reduced. I too am entitled to two pensions, but did not get cumulatively as much as he does. However, when combined we ought to be able to live very comfortably on the pensionable income.
But my husband is often flat broke and cannot account for what he has done with his money, or so he claims. After he got his gratuity, which was more than $170 000, within a year he had less than $50 000 in deposits. Yet, there is nothing to show at our home or that of any of the children to suggest that he has spent it either paying off debts or fixing and upgrading structures. To be fair, he did buy a new refrigerator, a flat screen television and a stove and changed two doors. His mother has complained that at her age, he along with his siblings, could have repaired her house allowing her a measure of comfort.
Yet my husband wants to go on a cruise annually. We went on the one which begins in Bridgetown and since then he loves it. He struggles to save to buy his own ticket and usually asks me to buy my own. He pays some of the utilities and buys a little food. My only conclusion is that he gives a lot of his money to charity.
I must confess that I am tempted to ask him to get his pension cheques directed to a joint account in our names but where I have the withdrawal rights. My feeling is that I would then transfer some of the money to an account from which he could withdraw as he so pleases, whether over the counter or on the ATM machine. I would not have to care too bits about how he spends that money, knowing that it would be an allowance of sorts for the entire month.
On the other hand, I would be able to put aside a small portion for health care, for emergencies, towards insurance payments, for overseas travel and to ensure the utilities are paid as well as an adequate supply of worthwhile food items are bought. I am sure that by the end of the year he would be surprised to see what has been set aside. So going on two cruises a year may be very possible.
The other thing is that I believe our house is way too big for us and the occasional weekend visits by children and grandchildren. I also think that we are cleverly being used by his relatives who journey here for their annual holiday, so it is very possible that between December and April we will have house guests, often as many as five people at any given time and certainly at least four sets of people during that period. While they may provide food and take us out, sometimes the constant pressure of having house guests is simply too much for me. The unfortunate thing is that these visits are often not reciprocal and certainly not for more than a week since the other parties are often too busy or must be going elsewhere.
I may be a little controlling but confess that this is necessary if I am to maintain my sanity, financial security and to ensure that my husband’s pension can be easily accounted for so that he does not become a burden. At this age I do not want separation to be an early option.