Welcome to ‘Ask Jenni’, a new money agony aunt series where I help resolve your big financial dilemmas. Let’s have a chat with Nina, who’s growing tired of her boyfriend’s attitude to money, especially when they’re meant to be buying a house together.
Nina, 28, Leeds
It sounds to me like you and your boyfriend are financially incompatible. Even if you love each other, the sex is amazing, you make each other roll on the floor in hysterics every day, your parents adore him, and you dream of spending the rest of your lives together, financial incompatibility can still push your relationship to breaking point.
Most people like to think that money doesn’t play a huge part in love, but it really does. If you’ve got your heart set on buying your own place while he’s hell-bent on splashing his cash on a regular basis, it’s just not going to work. You cannot magically click your fingers and change your dreams and aspirations. Equally, no matter how hard you try, you cannot change the dreams and aspirations of the person you’re with. As a result, financial incompatibility often sees people going their separate ways.
Some people might argue that his £2,000 saving is a sign that all hope is not lost, but when you take his salary into account and compare his pitiful savings effort to yours, it’s not particularly impressive. Besides, with more than £5,000 of unnecessary debts on his record, that £2,000 isn’t technically his! He could use that money to pay off some of his debts and he’d still be £3,000 down.
His lack of urgency when it comes to paying off the money he owes is a concern. If we’re concerned about it, mortgage lenders will definitely be concerned about it too.
If he’s been failing to make the necessary repayments, his credit rating may already have taken a hit. He needs to make repaying his debt a priority so that he can get back on the straight and narrow and fix his credit rating for the future. You also need to protect your own credit rating by not taking on any of his debts in your name or opening any joint bank accounts.
If you still want to try and make the relationship work, tell it to him straight. Tell him that unless he proves his commitment to you and shows he wants to build a future with you, you’re off.
You are not going to sit around and wait for him to grow up. He needs to grow up NOW.
If he was my boyfriend, this is what I’d tell him to do:
- Work out exactly where his money is going each month. The Money Dashboard app is great for this
- Identify ways to slash his spending. He should go through his bank balance and money apps with a fine tooth comb
- Make big money-related lifestyle sacrifices. A temporary clothing ban and night out ban may be boring but it will help massively
- Pay off his debt. Get him to speak to StepChange. They can help
- Once the debt is paid off, put £200 a month in a Help to Buy ISA
- Put any other savings in a high interest current account
What do you think? Have you got any advice for Nina? If so, share your thoughts in the comments below or join the free Money Mess To Financial Success Facebook community to discuss this dilemma with the rest of the group.
Or perhaps you have a money dilemma of your own. If so, please drop an email to jennisarahhill@and you might find yourself featured in the next Ask Jenni post. If you’d like to remain anonymous, let me know in your email.