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Dear Bossip,

I have been with my boyfriend for 4 years.

We have been through everything together (miscarriages, being homeless, being broke), but through it all we are still living together and in love. He talks about marriage a lot and even informally proposed once, but I said no. I said no because he is not stable enough for me. I just graduated school and I am a juvenile probation officer while he is a banker at a large bank. That sounds nice right?

The problem is he owes everyone! He owes the state, the government, and even me. He doesn’t know how to manage his money. His credit is below average. And, when it’s time to take a trip “he doesn’t have it.” So, I go with my girlfriends, and then he gets jealous.

I’m planning to buy a home within the next year, but he seems not to be interested in getting his credit together anytime soon. He seems jealous anytime I talk about a house or when I buy nice things. But, it’s not my fault that I can and he can’t.

I’m 24 year old and he’s 27 years old. He’s got himself into debt before me and I’ve tried to set up a plan for him to manage his money, but he never follows it. I need to know if there is any hope that he will be my future or just a long memory of the past. – What Am I Gonna Do

Dear Ms. What Am I Gonna Do,

Do not get married until he gets his life and finances together. Do not get married until he learns how to manage his money, and he does not have any outstanding debts. If you get married, and merge your bank accounts, his debts will become your debts, and his creditors will take the money out of your bank account. DO NOT GET MARRIED NOW!

And, if you decide to buy a home, please, do not put his name on your mortgage. And, do not allow him to move in with you. He is a liability. A huge liability.

People don’t understand that when you are considering marrying someone you should think of your partnership as a business. Yes, it is about love, and two people who want to build a life together. But, it is also a business. Why do you think when you divorce the courts decide matrimony? Why do you think some folks have pre-nuptial agreements? Why do you think when you marry the two of you become one? And, when one partner passes on, the living partner assumes all the debt of their mate? It’s a business. The state and government see you as a business with assets. Thus, treat your relationship as a business.

Now, just like when corporate big businesses purchase small businesses they look at the books, their creditors, if they are making money, if they are a liability, and if they want to assume a small business with too much debt. It’s a risk. And, if you are a big business looking to merge or take over a small business with too much debt you may reconsider your offer.

You have your –ish together. You are making money, saving money, maintaining a great credit score, and you can buy and do things, such as go on vacation, because you know how to manage your money. Your boyfriend is not good with money. Though, it’s ironic that he works at a bank and manages money on a daily basis. He has a poor credit rating, and he can’t go on vacation with you, nor can he do certain things because he has poor money management skills. Now, is that your responsibility? No! You can’t make him save money, manage his money, or even get his credit in order. That is his responsibility. And, if he can’t see that his poor money management is a red flag for him and marrying you, then you may need to reconsider your future with him.

One of the biggest reasons married couples fight, argue, and get divorced is because of money. You are not even married yet, but you have red flag blaring down at you. This is a huge warning sign and you should take caution. He is a liability. Things will not change once you get married. He will not all of a sudden start saving money, or working on his debt because you are married. As a matter of fact, it will only become worse. Marriage is a huge cost. Then, you will own a home, and the bills will start coming in. Then, children, and other expenses will become part of your life – car notes, groceries, electric bills, water bill, cable, cell phone, gas, home owner’s insurance, home tax, and other incidentals. If he can’t manage the little money he makes now, and he can’t manage his own life, then he certainly will not be able to take care of you and a family.

What will happen is that you will begin to get credit cards, and messing up your credit. And, because he can’t do certain things you will have to cover him and his costs. You won’t be able to travel as freely with your girlfriends because you’re a married woman. If he gets upset now, he will complain and demand you stay home as his wife. Then, as your marriage declines because of the surmounting money problems, and because he can’t get credit cards, he can’t buy a car, and he can’t do a number of things, he will ask you to co-sign for him. He already owes the state, government, and you. He will continue to borrow from you, and ask you to give him more. He will lead you both into the red, and you both will be drowning in debt.

He is a liability.

Again, my suggestion is that you buy a home with your own money and credit, and you do not put him on your mortgage, and you do not allow him to move in. You give him an ultimatum – he gets his life and finances in order, or you are going to leave him. He has to work at getting his credit together, paying off his debts, including to you, and he has to learn how to manage his finances.

He can call his creditors and make arrangements to pay off his debts by making small payments. They will work with him. But, he has to make the necessary steps, and you can’t do it for him. Also, you have to put him on a payment plan with you to get your money back. Get it in writing, and have him sign. Make him accountable with a contractual agreement because if you break up, and he still hasn’t paid you, then, it will become a bitter and nasty fight with you trying to get your money back from him. If you have a contractual agreement, then you can take him to small claims court and get your money back. This is business, it’s not personal. Y’all gon’ learn about loaning boyfriends and girlfriends money with the hopes that they will pay you back. Get that –ish in writing, and make them accountable.

Think about it, if someone can’t borrow money from a bank, or lending institution because they have poor credit, and are considered a liability, then why are you lending money? You are not a bank. You are not an ATM. Why do you think banks and lending institutions have contracts for you to sign when you borrow money? They have interest rates and penalties if you are late or fail to pay back the money. You get yourself a contract and do the same damn thing!

So, again, it’s obvious your boyfriend needs to take baby steps, and not feel overburdened with making large payments to his debtors. However, he will have to pay off his debts, or he will have creditors taking money out of his salary, or even freezing his accounts. He needs to grow up, take care of his money issues, or he will forever be in debt, unable to do certain things, and not able to purchase a home or car because of his poor credit. And, I’m not sure any woman will want a man who can’t manage money, and will destroy her credit as well.

With your ultimatum that you propose to him hopefully he will see he needs to take care of his money problems and work on them. If not, then you will have your answer. – Terrance Dean

Hey Bossip Fam, what do you think? Share your opinions and thoughts below! Also, e-mail all your questions Terrance Dean:  loveandrelationships@bossip.com  Follow Terrance Dean on Twitter:  @terrancedean and “LIKE” Terrance Dean on Facebook, click HERE!

Make sure to order my books Mogul: A Novel (Atria Books – June 2011; $15); Hiding In Hip Hop (Atria   Books – June 2008); and Straight From Your Gay Best Friend – The Straight Up Truth About Relationships, Love, And Having A Fabulous Life (Agate/Bolden Books – November 2010; $15). They are available in bookstores everywhere, and on Amazon, click HERE!

    

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