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Ask Dave

You need actions, not words

Tessa's husband says he's onboard with the idea of paying off debt and getting control of their finances, but his actions tell a different story.

QUESTION: Tessa received a $50,000 inheritance, and she’d like to use it to start getting out of debt and begin saving. Her husband says he is onboard with the idea, but his actions tell a different story.

ANSWER: Until your husband is willing to get rid of the camper and the truck, I’d hang on to the inheritance money. You need more than just his words right now—you need his actions. At this point, the real issue isn’t the debt or the idea of using the gift you received to pay off the debt. The issue is you can’t see a future where your husband isn’t going to repeat the same financial stupidity. You need to have that future cleared up, and it isn’t going to be cleared up until he proves he has changed his heart and his ways.

I know where you are, and I know where he is right now. I’ve been there. Years ago, I was a “grown man” but I was still really a little boy buying things I couldn’t afford just to impress people. This guy likes stuff. He likes shiny trucks, and shiny things to pull behind shiny trucks. But it’s time for him to sell all the crap, grow up, and start putting you and your family first.

Keep talking to him. Explain how important it is to you that you’re both on same page financially and in every other aspect of your marriage. Until he proves he’s ready to do that, though, I’d say just hold on to the inheritance money.