How to Ruin Your Marriage

Step One: Listen to Suze Orman

Step Two: There is none needed after step one.

Does that seem a little harsh? I don't think that it does. It actually took me several days to calm down enough to write this post. Last Friday I was watching the Today show while folding laundry. It's the one time I actually watch TV. Anyways, on comes Suze looking like she just rolled out of bed with a hoodie on and her hair not done. I usually don't judge people by their looks but come on, your on national TV. Matt proceeded asked her about what couples should do with their money so that they don't end up like Jon and Kate (I guess Jon emptied their bank accounts before he moved out). What is her wise advise?

Don't trust your spouse from the beginning. The preacher didn't REALLY mean "and now you are one". And if you are a stay at home wife you must feel like a little child asking her daddy for her allowance. How in the world does any of this advise make for a strong marriage? I can tell you right now that if we didn't have joint accounts on everything along with 100% open communication about our finances I would not feel comfortable staying home with my kids. I also would never fully trust my spouse. How could I if he doesn't fully trust me?

On top of all of that depending on what state you live in your death could cause even more financial stress then the emotional stress of losing a spouse. Right now we are "walking" with a widow from our church who is suffering. She lost her husband last month unexpectedly. Because they had bought off on bad advise like Suze's she didn't know what type of financial stuff was going on in her husbands life. It turns out that he had a mountain of credit card debt that she didn't know about. She didn't even know he had the cards.

Right now you are probably thinking so what? She isn't liable for his debt. You are right, but his estate is. Their home as well as their paid for cars where all in his name since they could qualify for better rates that way. Now she is looking at losing everything they had work for. Along with the home they raised their 12 kids in.

If they had joint accounts she would have known what was going on. She would have said "No thanks honey, I don't NEED a new coat this winter." She would have made different decisions. He would have been held responsible for his actions as well. Living two seperate financial lives in marriage only caused their family extreme pain and suffering after his death. She lost her husband and her whole world. She is now faced with moving out of state to live with one of her children because she has no home.

If that is what you want your future to be then go ahead and take Suze's advise. Have separate accounts and just one "monthly shared bills" account. For me and my household... We will serve the Lord. We will be one in marriage. We will make all of our financial decisions together in an open and honest way. We will give, spend and save while keeping in mind that we are called to be good stewards of all God gave us. Because really, it's not ours to begin with! Why hide it from our spouses when we are called to do just the opposite?

And by the way, if you work for the Today Show I'd like for you to know that was the last time I will watch your morning show so long as she is a guest on your program. I'm sure that some of your competitors have better experts on their show. I mean really, can't you do better then a never been married lady in a hoodie, with bedhead giving out serious marriage financial advise?

You can view the follow up post based on the comments below at this link.


Kika said...

I choose to trust and believe that our commitment is forever rather than living in fear in our marriage; I don't see how we can have real intimacy otherwise.

I do want to say though that I saw no problem with the hoodie or hair.

ctreit said...

Suze Orman proposes one way of handling a couple's finances which probably works for many if not most couples. Her advice would have even worked for the widow from your church. Had this widow and her late husband done what Suze proposes, the widow would probably not be in such dire straits right now. She might have some of her own savings now. Having said all that, issues likes this one are very personal. What works for one couple, doesn't work for another. So, I think that the only advice that is valid for any couple is this one: talk about it. - Well, that goes for really any issue a couple faces, doesn't it?

feministfinance said...

Agreed, ctreit. But I'm curious about how how the poster has such a clear bead on how God feels about separate versus joint accounts. I've read a lot of Bible in my day and I don't seem to recall the issue ever coming up.

Mrs. (not) the Jet Set said...

Ctreit- They did handle their money the way Suze says too. She has a part time min. wage job so she had no savings. They talked about things like the mortage and car but his money was his and hers was hers. They talked about the joint bills only like what Suze said in her Today Show clip.

I also don't believe that her advise works for most couples. Having helped close to 100 couples with their finances none of them found her method helpful. Most of them felt like it was part of the problem in their marriage.

Feministfinance- If you are looking in the bible for it to spell it out for you, you are right. In no place does Jesus say to his disciples "And that is why you should always have joint banking accounts".

I'm by no means a biblical scholar or a theology teacher. What I do know is that you have to read the bible, think about how it would apply to today's world, and look at what your specific faith teachings/ interpitations are for that specific bible verse, parable, or allegory.

Saying that, there are several places in the bible that I feel speak directly to this topic. Instead of making this comment go on forever I'll try to write out a post for next week going over some of the key teachings on this topic.

Anonymous said...

First let me say I am not a Gay basher. But to me her advice is geared to people who live together. (she has a 'partner' not a husband. There is a difference in it too. I have seen her on Oprah, read a couple of her books, and I think that she is a 'take care of ME' person.

Mrs. (not) the Jet Set said...

I have the follow up post I promised finished. I just need to re-read it one more time before it goes up. It should be up first thing tomorrow morning if not sooner.

Jennifer said...

REgardless of what the Bible says - Suze Orman gives bad advice all the way around. i can't stand her or her advice. It just doesn't make sense. She is so cocky about everything, like she knows everything, and gives out advice that is not in the best interest of who is asking. Oh, you shouldn't have gotten me started!

sara l said...

We use Suze's way, not because she said, but after 2.5 years it was the system that worked best. We have different hobbies and like to save up/spend at different rates. This way with 'our' portion of the money we can play as we see fit.

This doesn't mean you don't talk about ALL accounts, or have a framework for your financial life. At any given point we each have an idea of how much cash the other has. As a couple we've decided that we won't carry debt on personal/house cards. If we're making a decision, say changing the card we use or opening a new account somewhere we discuss so if something happens to one of us the other knows where things are.

When it comes to joint property (house, cars, etc) just becuase someone is not on the loan does not mean they can't be on the title/deed. We've taken loans in just one person's name because of a better rate that way, but if we're both paying for it we're both on all of the non loan documentation. I'm pretty sure Suze would say the joint assets being paid for by the joint account need to be in both names.

This is much longer than I intended. I just don't think one pot is the only way to go when you're married. Any system you build relies on honesty and communication from both partners.

I hope things work out for the widow from your church, I can't imagine being in that position.

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