We Have Different Views on Money. How Do I Get Him to Act His Age?

Dr. Wendy Walsh
Dr. Wendy Walsh Updated:
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Reader Question:

I have been with my boyfriend for close to two years. I’m 21 and he’s 27. He makes me laugh and he is good to me, but our views on money are completely different. I am finishing up my last year in school and work 20-30 hours per week. I’m responsible with my money and have quite a bit saved up.

He works as a server and he either doesn’t make any money or he’s doing something I don’t know about. I’m not materialistic, but I don’t want to live like that. He wants to live together, but I know all the financial burden will fall on me.

How do I convince him to act his age and get his shit together?

-Candice (Kentucky)

Dr. Wendy Walsh’s Answer:

Dear Candice,

What a responsible young woman you are. Congratulations on being so financially smart.

My first reaction is to warn you not to cohabitate with this man. Couples who live together have lower rates of marriage and if they do marry, they have higher divorce rates.

But on to your real question. How do you convince him to “get his shit together?”

Honey, we can’t ever make someone change. That change has to come from inside them.

However, we CAN enable someone to maintain their bad habits. If you are paying for things and silently consenting to his poor money management, then you are enabling him.

Now first, know this: People rarely respond to nagging.

So the only thing he’ll respond to is behavior. Ask yourself what you can do to send a message you are ready to move forward without him if need be.

I must say, though, differing money styles aside, the phrase in your email that struck me the most is “or he’s doing something I don’t know about.”

What could this be? And why would you not know about it?

Please don’t comingle your finances with someone who keeps money secrets. You could be inheriting his debt.

Find out more about this man before you move forward.

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