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Ask Dave

Standing Up and Saying No

Alan and his wife are debt-free. His wife wants a new car. Her idea is to spend the emergency fund to buy a car, or to get a car loan. Dave thinks there are some maturity issues at work here.

QUESTION: Alan in Tennessee and his wife are debt-free except the house and he has his full emergency fund saved, along with retirement savings. His wife wants a new car since she wants it to be safe. The idea is in the air to spend the emergency fund to buy a car, or to get a car loan, which Dave thinks is absurd. He thinks there are some maturity issues at work here.

ANSWER: She’s driving a 10-year-old car now and that hasn’t put her in a rubber room. You can’t afford a new car because you don’t have the money. You’re going to use your emergency fund to buy a new car! She hasn’t been on the plan, she’s just been going on the ride with you and now she wants to take you back down into debt after you’ve worked all this time to get out. I would have a problem if I were you.

I don’t know how you deal with someone who’s that irrational and that emotional and that immature. She’s being absolutely ridiculous. We have a rule in our house that Sharon and I agreed on many years ago regarding major decisions; we have to be in agreement or we can’t do them. That would keep this from happening because I’m not going to agree to this, because it’s absurd.

This is a big issue and I think it’s going to continue to be. Here’s the answer: She is being very childish and, honestly, she doesn’t value you very much. You’ve worked your tail off to be free and build this up in spite of her, and now she wants to undo all the work you’ve done.

She may have done some things that were cheap, but she’s not a frugal person. This is an emotional, ridiculous, childish purchase. I’m not trying to just call your wife names, but I’m trying to give you the courage to say this is wrong, and as her husband, to say you are not doing this.

Some marriage counseling with a pastor is probably in order here because she is so disrespectful of you and of the work that you’ve done. It doesn’t have anything to do with me or what I teach as much as it does, in this conversation, with her not standing with her man. She’s acting like a little princess here. Dude, you do not have the money to buy this car.

You can buy a different car, but you cannot afford a new car. You do not have the money. Whatever car you can pay cash for and not touch the emergency fund, I’m good with that as something to discuss. If you can’t agree on that, then your marriage has some issues. You need to stand up here and say no.