He’s bad with money

Hi Meredith,

I have been with an amazing man for almost a year now. He is a bit older than me (9 years) – I'm in my early 30s. He is very sweet, makes me laugh, has the best smile, gets along with my family, and takes an interest in my life. The relationship has moved fast, and we've already moved in together and talked about marriage and children.

My one hesitation is that we fight about money. Not the lack of money, but more the mistreatment of mundane tasks like paying credit card bills on time, penalties for overcharging, prioritizing spending, etc. When we get in these arguments, I feel like a mother nagging her child. He has stated he has no problem with me handling all finances, but I am not sure if that will help or hinder him and the relationship. Since we hardly fight, when we do argue about money, my head goes to different places. I question if he is the one for me. Is it normal to question these things when you are upset? It is hard for me to know since this is the one thing we argue about. Should I just take full control of finances?

– Money Woes in Medford


There are financial advisors out there who meet with couples and talk about the division of household responsibilities. I like to recommend that people see one of these experts before moving in and combining money. A third party can make it less awkward to talk about who's good at what and how cash is spent. That kind of expert can also tell you how other twosomes make it work.

You're not wrong to question whether this is a deal-breaker; when couples divorce, money management and spending is often part of the problem. There's nothing wrong with you taking over the finances, but there's only so much you can control. You can't follow him around all day and dictate what he spends. Even if you're the boss of the bank, he still needs to understand the plan.

Partners with different spending habits make this kind of thing work all the time, but now is the time to figure out how. Start googling financial services in the area. Make an appointment and get a system in place before you worry yourself out of the relationship.

– Meredith

Readers? Financial expert? Or is this a deal-breaker?