Friday, April 15, 2011

The Cause of my Funk

Years ago, long before Collin and I even knew each other, let alone were married with a house and two children, I heard the statement that financial issues were the #1 cause of divorce. I have no idea if this is still the case, but what I know is that at the time I heard this I could not wrap my mind around it. Why would money be the #1 cause? I mean it’s just money. What about infidelity? That, to me, seems like a likelier cause, doesn’t it?


Back then I lived in an apartment by myself. I had a rent payment and a car payment. Beyond the normal things like the telephone, groceries and utilities, that was it. Was I rolling in cash? Oh hell no. I cleaned the home of one of my friend’s moms for spending money. I was in no way rolling in it. But I wasn’t drowning in debt either. I had an elaborate tracking system for all of my credit card purchases and I paid off my bill each and every month. I was able to buy new clothes whenever I wanted. I had subscriptions to magazines and a membership to a pretty nice gym (it included free tanning, woo!) I could not understand why money would cause a divorce? I mean, budget better, what’s your problem?

Then Collin and I started dating, and shortly after, planning a wedding. The wedding expenses and honeymoon bills accumulated. We kept track of them tediously, had plans of how to pay everything off. Before the wedding we bought a parcel of land and started building a house. Things were going good. The family business had one of its best years. We built a duplex. And then another. And then a spec house. And then the real estate market, and the economy in general, crashed. People started losing their jobs. Stopped paying rent. Weren’t able to get a loan to buy a house.

Past tenants owe us over $10,000 in rent never collected. The spec house has been on the market for two years. We’ve had to lower the rent on our duplexes just to get someone, anyone in there. When fully rented we just barely cover the monthly mortgages. Not taxes. Not insurance.

Business hasn’t picked up. Collin has been off of work, on work, off of work for months. Every so often we get a chunk of change that keeps us going for a little longer. A bonus, a tax refund, something. And then we burn through it catching up on mortgage payments or medical bills or the fucking credit card that we can’t seem to fucking control. And then it’s gone. And we’re back to being sucked into this never ending abyss of financial woe.

I refuse to let this destroy our family but to say it hasn’t affected us would be a lie. I yell. A lot. Out of frustration and fear. I don’t know where the end is. I don’t know how far we will fall.

I get it now. I get how finances could be the #1 cause of divorce. I won’t let it happen. But I get it.

7 comments:

CaSondra Shim said...

Ugg- I know how money issues can get us down! Hang in there and keep being diligent on the spending and they ( the card payments) will come down! You have to look at each other as a team, not the enemy. I only say this as we have to work through issues like this too. This is why the bible says Money is the root of all evil. Hang in there Kate! Love you tons- sending hugs your way!

Patten Family said...

I hear ya.

I do...

Story of our life.

Kate W. said...

Kate- TOTALLY am right there with you. The fear and frustration are the worst! Why can't we just win the lottery??

hugs....

MaLinda said...

We totally understand too -- most folks do these days, its just not always apparent when you look at them. Alex and I are just keeping our heads above water and we don't have the kids and the dog. Hang in there. I think most people dream about what they will do when they win the lottery -- it would help if I played, but I have the list down to the fine details, in my head if I ever do.

Jill said...

Totally understand where you're coming from. We both work and still find that we have trouble fitting things into our annual budget. Like CaS said, don't take it out on each other, just try to work through your concerns together. We try to find creative ways to control it too, like limiting trips to Wal-mart to once every 2 weeks (cause inevitably you buy more than is on your list when you go there, so limiting exposure helps). We buy our meat in bulk at one time and freeze, so I have to make sure I'm not doing that in a month where I buy Market Day (cause I often buy meat from Market Day too) and then it's a double-hit to the grocery budget. Or we try to limit our road trips (if possible) like not going out of town more than once a month, especially with gas as it's creeping up right now. And we only eat out once or twice a month to try to avoid tips or delivery expenses. Just a couple of ideas, but nonetheless, ways to find a few extra dollars. Hopefully you're seeing a difference with not driving to work every day now too (that was an AWESOME help to our budget when we started working from home). Also, look into it with whoever does your taxes to see if you can deduct any part of your utilities because you have a home office now. I know there are limits, but it's something you could look into if you haven't already. Hang in there! If you ever need to vent, just let me know!

Kate said...

Thank you, everyone, for all of the support on this post. Just putting it out there, writing about it, has helped my mood so much. And hearing you guys say you get it, you understand, you too dream about winning the lottery :), well, it makes me not feel so alone!

xoxo to all of you!!

Em said...

I'm so glad to hear that writing about the cause of your funk has helped. I had a feeling it would. And it always helps knowing you're not alone. I will echo everyone else and say that I understand, too. This year has strained us financially more than ever before, and (like you said), I GET IT now. I get why it tears people apart. You guys are in my daily prayers. I just know that things have to look up soon...