Is this a good idea?
Economist Brad DeLong did the math calculating that the author and his wife saved spent $90,000 in equity, unpaid rent and tax benefits. A comment in this same post reveals that a $30,000 advance was paid for the book which I’m sure the author immediately sent to his mortgage company.
Boy meets girl.
Boy marries girl.
Boy and girl buy a house they can’t afford.
Boy writes a book about the evil mortgage company that made him buy a house he couldn’t afford.
I’m leaving out a few pesky details (two divorces, two bankruptcies, four kids, the inability to either control their spending or tell the truth), but so did he. The author doesn’t let the truth stand in the way of a good story or an advance that will pay his delinquent mortgage payments.
Seriously, DON’T buy this book. Rewarding the author’s stupidity is like giving your money to a failing auto company. (Well, you’re doing the latter whether you want to or not. With the former, at least you have a choice.)
Instead, let’s learn from this reprehensible person’s mistakes:
#1: He got married. Twice.
If you charge your wedding expenses, you’ll be in the hole from day one of your marriage. Even if you don’t, you can still screw yourself over financially.
Divorce, long–term health problems and job loss are the top 3 underlying reasons cited in bankruptcy cases. The author feel in love with a woman who: 1) he wasn’t married to; and 2) didn’t work , which led to alimony & child support payments. This didn’t leave much money for the second wife, who was unwilling to forgo a dream house, Starbucks habit and name-brand clothes.
#2: He didn’t talk about money with the second wife.
He knew his wife had declared bankruptcy during her previous marriage, because her ex-husband (allegedly) failed to file (or pay) taxes. Did the author read the bankruptcy filing? If he did, did he have absolutely no questions about it? Here’s one he could have asked: why were so many consumer loans included in the bankruptcy if it was only to clear tax liens?
Forget about which table to sit your ex-felon uncle at or whether to serve fish or chicken; the conversation you and your betrothed need to have is the one about money. Who has what, who owes whom and what goals you’re going to pursue.
If one partner is profligate and the other a spendthrift, that’s a far bigger discrepancy than any black/white or Christian/Jew marriage. If your fiancé has current money problems, think with your brain instead of your heart and don’t marry him/her. If the thought of such irresponsibility hasn’t turned you off, you can still date the person. Just don’t set a wedding date until the debts are paid off and the credit cleaned up. If you’re a man, she’ll either get it together or find another sucker. Either way, you’re now free to build a future with someone responsible.
Mistake #3: He didn’t pay attention to his fiancée’s spending and saving habits.
He either didn’t know or didn’t care that his wife was carrying debt that she either couldn’t pay or didn’t feel like paying.
I have a friend who peeks at the signed check at the end of a first dinner date. She swears she can tell everything about a man by how much he tips. Our relationship with money is often wrapped up in our self-worth, which can lead to overspending or stinginess. People with money issues often lie, too: about how much they spend, what they owe on their credit cards and what they buy.
Mistake #4: He treated his wife like a child.
Other than to request or demand things, she wasn’t involved in the financial decisions. He made the money and paid the bills. His wife isn’t even on the loan documents for the house, which might mean she’s not on the title either. When money got tight, he didn’t tell her she had to stop spending. When he finally let her in on the stress he was feeling, she didn’t care – probably because he’d always taken care of things and she expected him to continue.
Do you want an equal partner? Why would you think about marrying someone who isn’t willing and able to handle his or her own finances? Your partner to be should be self-sufficient in every way, but especially financially. A marriage should be between equals who create something greater than the sum of its parts. If you’re a dependent partner, you’re setting yourself up for disaster. Not only do half of marriages end in divorce, the average woman’s net worth declines 27%* after one.
Mistake #5, the most annoying one of all: He presented himself as a victim.
The primary determinants of everything you are and everything you have are your daily actions. Until you claim responsibility for creating your own destiny, you’ll always feel victimized. Own your life, and demand that the people you love own theirs.
*National Marriage Project, Rutgers University 2001
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