On Debt & Money
Or “You can’t take a stocking off a naked leg“
Having unsecured debt, is an interesting state to be in. The above quote is one my grandparents used to use. We’ve been dreadful with money. DW and myself are bad with it in different ways. This post is an open apology to DW because she feels that its all predominantly her fault. No, its not, I’ve made as many if not more mistakes with money.
The real issue is that we’ve never had a Team Family view of money. We are a team and a family, when one fails we all fail. When one looses we all loose. The real nub of the problem is that we were both only children, we lack negotiation skills, that siblings learn, we see our incomes as only individual money not as a group resource to be used for Team Family.
To be honest the money needs to be apportioned into fifths. First fifth is for team family, second fifth to DD1, third fifth to DD2, fourth fifth to DW and lastly me. Frankly, that not a real way to do it, but it’s a good way to visualise how the the money should be apportioned.
I need to point out that these aren’t exact fifths, the first one should be for keeping a roof over our heads and the bills paid, the bottom layer from Mazlow’s hierarchy of needs. So once that’s been done the remainder apportioned around the family.
As the children are too young to really manage money, it’s down to us to ensure that they have the necessaries for a good happy childhood. That doesn’t mean they get all the toys they want, rather the get the stuff to enjoy school, enjoy going places and get to experience things that will round them out.
The last two apportionment are for DW and myself. Now this is the place where it breaks down. This is where the selfishness of the only child messes things up. We both have different “takes” on how to use money.
We’ve got ourselves into debt several time and we’ve got out of it. We lost our house because of the first debt crisis, that was due to me having a spotty employment year and DW having post natal depression and we both used credit and store cards for comfort spending.
The next debt crisis occurred because I had a work stress related breakdown and DW had breast cancer. It knocked us for six. I hadn’t fully recovered when DW fell ill. We ended up living on benefits and just about scraped through. We recovered from that debt crisis pretty quickly, but sadly, DW made some choices that I wasn’t fully party too and got herself into difficulty.
To be brutally honest I can’t blame her, she was fed a lot of misinformation. She needed to see a dentist (the one from the toothpaste Ad – lesson learnt never trust a self publicist). Who told her she needed an expensive mouth-guard, then immediately took teeth out and encouraged her to get another expensive mouth-guard.
Then we used a Nannying agency, who demanded immediate payment or large interest penalties, and then the first wage payment for the nanny.
I was at fault as I wasn’t being supportive enough, I’d taken a job I loathed, at a company I hated, followed by having to take a month off to do childcare because DW’s parents were mamzer-schwein and gave us no help looking after the DDs’. The MIL’s job as a bum wiping care assistant was so much more important and FIL’s retirement golf schedule was even more important that helping his daughter’s children out (never rely on a child psychologist social worker).
So DW was getting herself into a pickle, she didn’t want to bother me because I was so wrapped up in looking after the children, worrying about keeping the job and hating the job at the same time.
Also this was the time we put the DDs’ into the independent school. With hindsight we should have waited, but the independent school twisted DW’s arm by saying “[that] if we didn’t take the place we’d loose it”. So DW jumped.
So two years ago the ground-work was laid for what became our year of misery 2013.