My fiancée owes me $10,000 and has no intentions of paying it back

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Dear Pay Dirt,

My fiance has a rich social life and likes to hang out with his friends to drink and dance the night away. They have a monthly dinner club where they go to the coolest restaurants and spend over $100 per person on dinner. He recently spent $600 on a weekend trip with friends to celebrate his birthday.

The problem is that I have very little savings/emergency income. He currently owes me and his mother about $10,000 due to an emergency that arose in the last year or so. The last big ticket item was the wedding we had to plan. He wants to throw a big party but then complains about not having enough money.

I’m really impressed when I explain how savings of $300 to $500 a month can be accumulated by giving up social activities as part of a decent change—maybe enough to pay for a fancy wedding that he likes. It’s also a bit ironic that he prioritizes hanging out with his friends over getting me back. But these conversations are always controversial and uncomfortable. In the future, I’m sure there will be another big purchase and I don’t want to go through this struggle again when I plan to have children or when I have to buy a new car, or, fingers crossed. , a single family home. Should I live the rest of my life ready to bail us out financially? Any tips on how to approach this diplomatically when it ends up costing so much?

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—Financially imprisoned wife

Financially challenged,

Do you really want to marry this person? Your financial priorities and lifestyle seem to be out of sync. It doesn’t sound like marriage to me, but marriage is a set of legal contracts at heart. Even if you keep separate accounts, there are still many ways your financial futures can be intertwined when you sign that marriage certificate. This is especially true if you are in a community property state.

I’m not going to push your fiance to spend money on his precious experiences—it seems like my fiance’s life is a big part of who he is. (And by the way, his monthly dinner club looks pretty cool!) But if he’s not worried about paying off his debt at the expense of these events now, what makes you think but he will be a little more motivated to pay you again after your marriage? He doesn’t seem to think that he should be involved in your wedding so much. I dare say he expects someone else to pay for it. you EFA saved him earlier.

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There is more to marriage than financial agreements, but this type of disagreement points to a clash of values. Not only does your fiance prioritize vacationing over paying you and his mother back, but you two can’t even have a productive discussion about it. You should consider marrying her after talking to an adult about finances without turning into an opponent. Marriage requires you to have the same long-term goals. Partners must agree on shared financial priorities even if one partner is more financially savvy and manages the budget.

If more people talked about money before marriage, I would have fewer letters to write about in this column. I recommend attending premarital financial counseling or with a personal finance workshop before you let your wedding planning go too far. Offer it as an opportunity to work together on budgeting for your wedding, but also use it to assess whether you’re a good match. If you can’t find a way to have an open and honest conversation about money, you’re setting yourself up for constant arguments (and resentment) around every life decision. Money is just an exchange, but sharing the same values ​​is the foundation of a successful marriage. And if you decide to go ahead with the union, I have three pieces of advice: Get a prenup.

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-Lillian

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