I'm Embarrassed to Tell My Girlfriend the Truth About My Financial Situation

Pay Dirt is Slates' money advice column. Do you have a question? You can send it to Athena or Elizabeth here. It can be anonymous!Dear Pay Dirt26 years old. I don't make much. I make enough to pay my bills and rent. Sometimes I'm lucky enough to be able to afford food. Recently, I started dating a woman who is not working but is interested in pursuing a relationship. Although we have discussed moving in together, she has a child and I live paycheck to paycheck. She is applying for positions that pay more than mine and has already received interviews. It makes me feel embarrassed that I cannot pay my bills. I feel ashamed that she will be the breadwinner. She has also asked me numerous times why she doesn't go out on dates with me, rather than her visiting my house. It feels as though she doesn't get it. What should I do to talk with her about my financial situation? It is difficult to switch jobs while working night shifts, so it is not an option.AdvertisementAdvertisementAdvertisementMr. Mr.Dear Mr. I am embarrassed.It is not uncommon for 26-year olds living in areas with high costs of living to find themselves in your position. This is nothing to be ashamed about. If you're not willing to talk about this with your partner, then you shouldn't move in together. You also mentioned that you have just started dating her. Is there a rush? If you want to see this relationship as serious and with potential future growth, you should be open with her about your financial situation. It seems premature to ask her if she is the breadwinner, as she doesn't have a job. However, if you are serious about this topic, it is worth having a conversation about where you see yourself going professionally and what income that would mean. If one of you makes significantly more, you can discuss how you feel about splitting expenses.AdvertisementBefore you can decide who is going to bring home the bacon, there are many things you need to discuss. You will also be a part of the child's life if she has children. Before you look at renting a place, it is important to discuss all of these issues.Dear Pay DirtMy stepdaughter, who is now 18, and I have been married for 10 years. My husband supports her financially, as she is currently pursuing her Ph.D. Both of us contribute equally to our retirement savings and household expenses. Our marriage has worked because we have kept clear boundaries about our private businesses. My husband and I make approximately the same amount but my husband has inherited a lot of wealth from his late uncles and parents.AdvertisementMy niece was accepted to both a private and public university. She would like to attend the private university, but she can't afford it even with all the college funds that her family has saved for her. My sister and brother in law came to us asking for moneyeither co-signing loans or paying direct. It was something my husband and I discussed. The loan idea was rejected. My husband was concerned about creating a precedent for my other children (I have six nieces, nephews). My husband agreed to pay some of the living expenses for my niece over the next four years, as well as her brothers, when they turn. However, he said that my sister and brother in law would be able to help when my younger cousins (they are 6 and 3) reach their turning. This seemed fair to us. My sister disagreed. My sister was furious and called us miserly. My niece wept that we were ruining her dreams. My sister told me that we had enough money for my stepdaughter, and her absurd degree that will never be worth anything. I was shocked. My husband helped me get up, and we set off.AdvertisementAdvertisementMy sister texted us a week later to say that they would accept our offer, but that she would not include the condition that her family would pay for the support of the other children in the future. My husband told me to inform my sister that the offer was withdrawn. We disagreed. He told me to do whatever I wanted, but he wasn't rewarding their greed. My niece will be paying a lot of bills, and I won't be able pay the rest. What can I do?An Aunt Broken-HeartedDear Aunt Broken-Hearted,Your sister and brother in law are not obligated to financially support your niece. It's unfortunate that they have created a sense of entitlement in your niece that she believes you are obligated to fund her dream. But that is not your problem. Your husband is not to blame for putting the idea on the table, particularly considering the insulting description of your daughters' educational goals.AdvertisementYou say you and you husband have clear boundaries about your money. So if your sister isn't aware that you and you handle your money differently, let her know. Also, inform her if your brother or sister decides to send any checks. Make it clear that they don't owe you anything. You and your husband should have clear boundaries. The same goes for your sister. Your money is yours and not the money of extended family members. You can choose to give, but you may not want to share what you have. It's still very generous. If they don't see it, they are the ones with character flaws.AdvertisementSubscribe to the Pay Dirt Newsletter for Money Advice from Athena & Elizabeth delivered weekly. Signing you up was difficult. Please try again. To use this form, please enable jаvascript. Email address: I would like to receive updates on Slate special offers. You agree to our Privacy Policy & Terms by signing up. Thank you for signing up! You can cancel your subscription at any time.Dear Pay DirtThe house we share is owned by my roommate. He recommended me to a credit account so that we would both receive a signup bonus if we spent $500 in the first three months. He agreed verbally that he would use my credit card to order food and would reimburse me afterward. He even added my card on to his food delivery apps. After that, he began verbally abusing me and I moved in with him. I was afraid to mention the debt because it would only make matters worse. He makes more than me, and he also owns two houses. I realized that there was no reason for him to not pay me back. I sent him the spreadsheet. It had a detailed breakdown of costs. This spreadsheet was what I promised him at the beginning. He told me he had to get it approved by his accountant and that it was up to them to decide if he would pay. Now it's been six months and he refuses to talk about it. He makes excuses and gets angry. When I have done nothing but good, helpful things for him, he has become more aggressive (gaslighting and manipulating), passive aggressive, retaliatory behavior, and even hostile. I don't know how to approach this because I fear that if he stands up for himself, hell do worse. The emotional distress is already overwhelming. With just a few months left on my lease, I thought about whether I should deduct the debt from his rent. Let me know what your thoughts are.AdvertisementAdvertisementAdvertisementOverdue DebtDear Overdue DebtIt would be reasonable to deduct the amount owed from the rent that you pay him. But, understand that this could lead to more engagement than you wish. If he withholds the reimbursement to manipulate your feelings, he will do it again and use the rent to justify his horrible behavior.Although the idea that the accountant must approve minor personal expenses sounds suspicious to me, it is likely that the accountant will be more neutral and not have any emotional involvement from your roommates. If he insists on all of this going through his accountant, you can contact him directly and send the rent payment along with a breakdown to that office. If he resists, tell him in person or in writing that you will be taking the rent payment and deducting any expenses. After you have moved out, you may also consider suing him in small claims court. However, this can be difficult if there is only a verbal agreement.AdvertisementIf you are able to afford the repayment money, it may be worth considering writing it off and focusing your efforts on finding a new home. This is a small price to pay in order to protect your health and get rid of a manipulative and hostile person from your life.Dear Pay DirtMy relationship with money is terrible, even by the standards of most people. I have control of it, and then it is out of my life. I pay my bills, pay my rent, travel, treat my friends to food and gifts and donate to charities and political causes. However, I'm over 40 and have credit card debt. But I'm happy! I don't have to worry about supporting my children. Are I really in such a terrible position?AdvertisementMoney isn't even realDear MoneyIt's not a bad situation. However, there is one caveat. You need to have an emergency fund in case something happens. It doesn't have to be something extraordinary. It is unlikely that most Americans would be able to cover a $1,000 surprise expense. Three months of expenses is a reasonable minimum.AdvertisementNevertheless, you appear to be asking if it is OK for you to spend your money as you like. Your columnist may also be in trouble if it is not. I have never been one to build wealth, and I don't see the point in having second or third homes or luxury cars or yachts. My eyes glaze over when people discuss real estate.AdvertisementKnowing what makes you happy is knowing how to give back to others, support causes that you believe in, and being able to share it with friends. You shouldn't feel embarrassed about spending money on these things, rather than socking away all of it or buying things just for the sake of it. Money is an instrument. It relieves poverty-stricken people from suffering and allows them to do more with their friends and family. Sometimes, it even buys them comfort in form of expensive homes and other possessions. It can help you live a better quality life in areas you value. Many people don't realize that these things are what make them happy until later in life. For your own good, start an emergency savings account.AdvertisementAdvertisementElizabethClassic PrudieMy 16-year old daughter was accepted to the prestigious Ivy League summer program. Although she can likely get a scholarship, it will not cover her housing. My brother offered to take her in, but she would need to walk the mile and a quarter to get to campus. My brother is a pot smoker and his judgement becomes less reliable when high. His girlfriend, who I love, threatens him with being kicked out. Our home is in 700-person town on the other coast. My daughter has not been exposed to urban life.