I met my boyfriend in 2016. A year later, he went through tough times after helping his son with financial issues. This prompted him to leave his apartment and move in with his elderly parents.
We spent a lot of time together, so he ended up moving in with me after several failed attempts to get another apartment because his credit was bad. I really didn’t want us to live together, but I knew it would help him a lot and he wouldn’t have to worry about finding accommodation.
Five years later, we’re still living together and I feel like the relationship has always been about him, what he wants and needs to do. It’s never about us.
He wanted to improve his credit, so I told him I could help him because my credit score was over 800. I thought if we were going to be together, his credit must be as good as mine. He started with all three scores in the low 500s, and now his highest score is 795.
He wanted to buy a new car, which he bought in 2020. There was nothing wrong with his car. (It was a want, not a need.) Now he wants to get married and buy a house so we can use his VA loan.
““He doesn’t have a retirement plan or a savings account, but he wants us to buy a house without a deposit because he can do that with the VA loan.””
He doesn’t have a retirement plan or a savings account, but he wants us to buy a house without a deposit because he can do that with the VA loan. It’s crazy to buy a house without having money in the bank.
I own my own home, have had the same job for over 20 years, have 401(k) and IRA accounts, and also have multiple accounts that I put money into. During the pandemic, I was able to save over $15,000 in a very short time because I work from home. We don’t travel and we eat at home. This money will go towards our new house.
Last year, I told him it was time for us to pay off all our debts and save as much as possible if we were to buy a house. He said, “I’m just trying to get a house on a VA loan and we don’t have to put down any money.”
I make more money than him and I’m okay with that, but I need us to be on the same page with finances. He wants to start a marriage without thinking at all about our financial security.
How can I make him understand that we need a financial plan together?
Dear Miss Struggle,
Your boyfriend’s continued dependence on you contradicts his years-long quest to regain his financial standing and achieve independence.
There’s a line that sticks out in your letter: “I really didn’t want us to live together.” It suggests that you’ve become more involved with your boyfriend’s finances through a series of moves that either made you feel uncomfortable or pushed your personal boundaries. Home is the last and perhaps the biggest pressure on your comfort zone.
If you’re not sure about buying a house with him, don’t. It also seems clear that you don’t want to take this step with your boyfriend – and if he needs you to buy one with him, it would be a good idea to save some money. He has to stand on his own two feet if he wants to do things his way. It might be the right choice for him, but it doesn’t seem to be the right one for you.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with him buying a new car, but you shouldn’t be the cushion for his financial decisions. You’ve done this long enough.
To answer your question: you can’t get someone to see things your way and then act on them. You can live your life in a way that gives you peace of mind, and he can do the same. It’s not up to you to manage his life. However, his issues will become your issues if and/or when you buy a house or get married, so make sure you have the same goals and values before signing either contract.
There’s a word that didn’t appear in your letter, but that permeates it nonetheless: trust. It doesn’t sound like you trust him to make sound financial decisions, and given what you’ve said, he’s not willing to learn from past mistakes. You say he helped his son, but he – and he alone – is responsible for allowing his credit score to sink to the low 500s.
Unless he takes responsibility for his own role in his past finances, he is unlikely to take responsibility for future decisions.
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