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My man, a starving artist type, a big drain on my money

June 12th, 2008 at 02:50 pm

Well, so far people seem to be reading my blogs and so I hope things have been interesting so far. Today I am selecting a new topic to discuss and would appreciate your input.

My fiance is essentially a starving artist. He makes almost enough money to live on, but cant pay his car insurance, medical bills or cell phone. Sometimes he needs help with gas.

Actually, I think he could break even with his expenses if he took a mild interest in finances, put pen to paper and created a gameplan.

This is where I need help, I have fluctuated between being aggravated to trying to talk to him about it, to letting him sink in bills to covering the expenses. I cant frame this issue in a way to 'wake him up'. He ranges from feeling helpless to ignoring it so he does not have to feel helpless.

And before we go into the 'kick the bum to the curb' spiel, I have been with him for almost 10 years, he is a catch and I'm not letting him go. This is my one complaint I have ever had about him.

I dunno. The situation is that he plays professional baseball in the minor leagues. He's not a 'bonus baby' who signed a contract for half a million, and he's been playing for 6 yrs now.

The players get paid about 1-4k a month during the season (6 month season) and nothing in the off season. My baseball boy currently makes 1400 a month in the season and earns about 600 month in the off season giving baseball lessons.

I look around at other players to see how they are progressing in life and I'm realizing some things.
A majority of the minor leaguers live with their parents, the few who own a house are bonus babies who made cash to sign their contracts.
And as we get older, the players are so much younger. My baseball boy is the oldest on his team. Generally by this age 'life' and all the expenses related to 'life' cause players to quit the game and retire.

My baseball boy wants to continue until he's forced out of the game.

The baseball life does have its good points. He was offered a job 2 yrs ago as a college coach making almost 40k to start, but turned it down to keep playing. Every year he keeps playing is another year on his resume for a future in a baseball career. But every year he plays is another year of decent earned income lost.
I guess I look at it as, he's kind of been interning for 6 yrs now.

Now financially he is very good. He does not have a CC, he does not live very far above his means, he lives very simply. But somehow, it does not get his bills paid.

I am not so concerned with how long he wants to play, I am more concerned about having my life on hold to live this life with him.
I want to buy a house. I want to have the option to have kids. I want to have an emergency fund.

He just wants to play. And we have kind of worked out a tentative plan that I worry could go very, very wrong.

I have been saving for a house down payment on my own. I can cover the mortgage and all bills (barely) associated with the house. He pays/contributes nothing until he's done playing ball. He just needs to make sure his expenses are covered.

I dont want to do it like this, but I try to talk about finances, expences and he just has no interest, or he takes an attitude of "well, theres nothing I can do, I work as hard as I can for the money I have, but I just cant help you with buying a house or that type of stuff", and this leads to an "I dont have any say in this process because this is your purchase so I am not interested in anything about it."

What bugs me as well, ironically, is how generous he is with his money. He always buys me little things, or fills up my car with gas, or hands me $20 to get myself something to eat. I know he does it to give me what he can, but then it haunts us when he doesnt have $$ later in the month for basic bills.

And finally, to add to the complexity, his father is his biggest fan. And a total enabler. His father gave him a credit card years ago and my baseball boy will use it at the end of the month when the money is gone. My baseball boy justifies it by saying that he only charges things like gas and basic food now as opposed to a few years ago when he charged everything all the time. He doesnt get that he's too old to have a credit card at all in his fathers name. And I tried talking to his father who goes into how it's "his biggest dream to see baseball boy play, and well worth the money, and if baseball boy was told he had to play for free then Dad would gladly pay his entire salary if it meant baseball boy could keep playing."

I recently tried to explain that we are thinking of buying a house and his dad just blew it off as "you guys cant do that right now, keep doing what your doing and in a few years when this career is over then you guys can think about getting a house."

So, I guess my questions here are:

1. how can I get baseball boy to participate in finances? I think if he was interested, he could live within his means. But he just see's $$ as a "money comes in, pay the bills, buys some dinners, money is gone, wait until next paycheck comes."

2. Is it..I guess..OK for me to buy a house on my own for us? Is it understandable that I have rented and saved for years now and am ready to have something to show for my life, I am ready to have a choice in where I live, and have some control or stability over our situation?

3. How can I get baseball boys father to realize he's not helping baseball boy by paying these bills? I help baseall boy out too every few months but it barely bothers baseball boy to take my money and it really bothers me when I get behind paying my own bills because I am trying to keep baseball boy from using that pesky credit card.
I feel that his father dis-credited the home buying idea because he feels "well, if they buy a house then thats another thing I have to pay for." I dont want him to feel that way. I want him to be excited for this step in our lives.

So..I dunno. This can only last another few years, and there are many, many other baseball wives in my situation. We just dont talk about it. We walk around with our coach handbags and pretend to be rich. But secretly, we all live in a 1 bedroom hell hole, or with our parents. Thats the big baseball secret revealed.

30 Responses to “My man, a starving artist type, a big drain on my money”

  1. creditcardfree Says:

    Gosh, I don't know what to say. I don't think I realized how little the minor leagues paid.

    If your planning on getting married, it seems that being able to communicate about finances is important. Eventually, the money coming in will be your money together...and it will no longer be just YOUR money. When that happens, the money you earn will need to go to necessities such as gas, medical bills and auto insurance for both of you. Those bills will need to be paid first BEFORE buying or saving for a home.

    I would avoid having his dad pay any bills after you are married. If he wants to give a gift of cash so be it, but don't use his credit cards.

    You may need to get counseling before you get married to work this out. Someone else who can be a moderator could help tremendously. Best wishes!

  2. greengirl Says:

    hmm i have a similar but not so drastic problem with my BF. he does not have that much interest in finance. or rather, i may have too much interest in finance Smile BF gets paid twice as much as me so he always has money in the bank, but the only money he saves is the automatic deposit that I set up to go to his Bankwest Account. he pays bills as they come, and does not save for them. me, i have worked out my weekly cost of bills by dividing a years worth of bills by 52, and this is money that I save every week.
    i also save for a house deposit like you. i have tried talking to my BF about saving for a hosue deposit, and while he says he will, he has not started yet, and mentions sometimes that we might be able to get a family member to loan us 20k for a downpayment. it is not the way i want to buy property, and i don't want to feel like i owe a family member (his or mine) for a house, nor do i want to owe a family member that much money!
    we have been together 5 years, and renting together for about 3 years. i think that finally, after three years of rents getting higher and higher, he is starting to realise he has to save money, and he is starting to listen to my financial drivel. it is like a drip of water against a stone, but it is working.

    i guess my advice is, don't bail him out, and make him stand on his own two feet. it doesn't help anyone when there's always someone to lean on. obviously it's going to be hard with the father. i guess it is a waiting game. don't put your life on hold for either of them though. can he get a part time job or something?

  3. sillyoleme Says:

    Hmmm... definitely a tough situation. Obviously he's got alot going for him if you've been together for 10 years.

    I guess I would just be completely honest with him. Tell him that you don't want to go into a marriage feeling like you're still relying on parents. Or that you don't feel like his goals for the future are the same as yours, if his plan of playing a low-paying game forever is going to get in the way of you guys buying a house or having a family.

    Maybe he will realize how much this makes you worry, not only for the present, but for the future too. And I agree with a previous poster... is there no way he can get a full-time job in the off season to earn more?

  4. gamecock43 Says:

    Actually, you guyshave eased my mind alot. I was expecting alot of 'tell him to quit' talk, and I just cant do that. We are getting by and not out on the street, and there are perks to this life that I enjoy too.
    He cant get a full time job in the off season because he needs to be available to practice and work out. Teaching is very helpful, because it keeps him on the field, keeps his baseball senses sharp, and he's very good at it, He has a waiting list of kids waiting for him to come back from each season. He would be making decent $ teaching, but he teaches at a baseball school, so the owners get 50% of his lessons.
    Actually, me writing this gave me energy to approach him again about it, but he just doesnt see a problem. Or maybe he thinks we resolve it in our conversations. But 5 min after I broach the subject he is back to watching TV.
    I agree with greengirl- her BF's attitude is so similar to baseball boys! I smiled reading it.

    But I appreciate that no one has told me to leave him or make him quit. I love him alot, and i do love this life. It just agravates me too.

  5. terri77 Says:

    You can't be afraid to discuss finances if you plan to marry him. You really need to be completely honest about your expectations, wants, and needs.

  6. Apprentice Fun-Frugalist Says:

    I remember hearing on TV that most divorces in Britain are over money troubles..... I really think it is essential to the long-term success of your marriage that the 2 of you are reading from the same page when it comes to finances...

    Money is such a deep-rooted thing that it can tear 2 people apart over the years....

    I'm not dissing him when I say this... but I feel that when he puts that ring on your finger he should change his mindset from Baseball-BOY to Baseball-MAN....

    Don't wanna sound old-fashioned.. but part of being a Man is knowing how to deal with business and get it done... then freeing himself up for his personal interests after.

    I would hope your fiance will marry you because he ranks you as the most important thing in his life...and not second to baseball.

    You know that his father is an enabler... Please don't let your fiance trade in his current enabler for a younger model....

    Best of Luck !! I know the two can you can work it out !!

  7. Apprentice Fun-Frugalist Says:

  8. gamecock43 Says:

    Yes, we need to get a plan going. Up to now I have been content because we split everything 50/50 and he does not have any bad financial habits. He doesnt go out to the bars, he doesnt gamble, smoke, his worst vice is the video games.
    But we are entering a new era where its not $100 bills anymore. We will be getting into hundreds of thousands of dollar debt and its time for a new financial approach.
    I just gotta find a way to make him interested

  9. asmom Says:

    First you need to realize that his father is not the only enabler. Nope, he isn't.


    1.Why should he take an interest in his finances when you and his father are doing it for him?

    2. There's nothing wrong with you wanting to own a home and taking the steps to make it happen. From what you are telling us, that's the only you are going to get one anyway.

    3. His father gives him money and thus feels he is entitled to weigh in on whether or not you can buy a home. If your boyfriend is A-OK with that, if he has no problem with discussing major life decisions with his father just like a little kid, then what can you do about it? Telling the Dad to back off won't do any good. It has to come from the boyfriend and right now, playing baseball is more important to him that his independence. Since you have indicated that you have no intentions of letting him go, then you need to just accept it. This is one of the sacrifices you are making to be with him. Good luck you the both of you.

  10. Petunia Says:

    What asmom and apprentice fun-frugalist said.

    Short of hitting him over the head with a baseball bat (figuratively), I don't think there's much that will change his mindset. Your buying a house for the two of you is unlikely to get him more involved in mutual finances and mutual goals. I wish you both well.

  11. baselle Says:

    The other twist that you have to think about is that any athlete has a shelf life. Baseball players last a bit longer than other sports, but not forever.

    How old is he? He's been at it for 6 years, waiting for his chance at the majors, right? Past a certain age, the majors aren't going to be interested, and the minors won't either. Then what? Plan B might involve baseball in another facet, but it should involve more mature fiscal behavior. Hopefully it will involve you rather than his dad.

    I really didn't realize this aspect of baseball. Wow!

  12. merch Says:

    First of all let me say that I glad to hear you care for him so much and you really are trying to work it out.

    1) You can't make him change his mind. You can tell him how it makes you feel and that you have dreams to and how his actions affect your dreams.

    2) I think you have house fever. You mention you could barely afford a house.

    3) Baseball boy's father is not the issue. It's your boyfriend.

    What I would suggest is that you two seek some counseling. Just to clear the air. He needs to realize that you have dreams too (a family. house, etc.). The longer he holds on his dream, the harder it will be to achieve your dreams.

    So I think that money and his behavior around it is one issue, but the larger issue is that you two are starting to go down different paths in life and want different things.

    Good luck to you.

  13. snoopycool Says:

    Is he going to be okay if he doesn't get to be in the majors? Is he still holding out for that? My concern would be his reaction if he has to face the fact that he won't get to do what he ultimately wants to do. Is he prepared to do something different?

  14. Carolina Bound Says:

    Well, you love the guy and it sounds like you want him to have his dream. I say go ahead and save for your down payment -- my guess is by the time you're ready to buy, he will have a better sense of his future. If he can't buy in at that time, it's not an awful thing to own a home on your own.

    It doesn't sound to me like he's a leech, just someone who is satisfied to have a less material life in order to do what he loves. He's made that pretty clear; you just have to decide whether you can live with it or not.

  15. monkeymama Says:

    I come from a little different perspective. My mom was never ever really able to work and so my dad always took care of her. It works for them.

    I see a VERY similar pattern in my own life. My spouse wants to be a film maker - definitely one of those starving artist types. I'd be surprised if he brought home $1k during the last 5 years. BUT I have a good paying job and am happy to support his dreams. I don't mind "taking care of him" and he does PLENTY to take care of me in non-financial ways. We're a team.

    So, really, I see nothing wrong with taking care of someone that you love. My husband always worked many jobs when we were young so I was rather unprepared for his own issues in adulthood. Not a lot of self confidence. At times he needed money he's apply for one or 2 jobs and sulk he didn't get them. Way out of left field since he had always had jobs before. So I am adjusting. But I am starting to realize he is much like my mom in that sense. & I realize he is lucky to have me. I think he will probably work again, but I rather pursue his dream and make pennies, then work at a job he hates just so we can have an upper middle class lifestyle. I guess mostly my spouse is more important to me than money.

    I realize one thing - both my mom and my spouse were lucky to marry someone with decent means. IT means it doesn't really matter if they work. But my spouse is very conscious of the budget, and really spends little money. I guess that is the trade off here.

    But also, my spouse gives me so much in return. I read your post and wonder what your fiance gives you in return. What does he do for you? If you buy a house will he pay the utilities? Will he do the handywork? Will he take care of things around the house? If so, this could be a fair trade off.

    On the flip side, if he does nothing to help you, then why are you with him?

    I think you have some serious thinking to do. I think it is very fine when part of a couple doesn't bring in any money. But they should bring something to the table. We don't always have to agree on everything and see eye-to-eye. But having a spouse makes life easier, and its really how it should be. I am not sure how I would feel trying to be a team with someone who wasn't being very helpful.



  16. Swimgirl Says:

    You never know what will happen in the future. It is possible that when he's done playing baseball, he'll have a great job and support you. I say, let him play now.

    He probably doesn't like to discuss finances because he KNOWS he doesn't have money, and despite what he says/does, it's probably a bit embarrassing for him to borrow money from you or dad.

    My husband went to graduate school. For 6 years. It sucked. I had a real job, and it seemed that all he had was a little homework and lots of free time and no money. I knew it was temporary, so I suffered through. He hated not contributing, and truth be told, I resented it at times. But then, graduate school ended and he got a job, we had kids and I quit mine.

    I would focus on the plan for the future. If he wants to coach, could he be taking a classes or two on the side that will prepare him for eventually having that job? Education classes, psychology, etc.... those will make him more qualified. OR maybe he wants to do something else when the baseball ends. He could prepare for that in his free time (take a test, or class, or do some reading).

    Does he have a part time job in the off-season (other than lessons/coaching)? You might both feel better if he was bringing in some $$-- even 10 hours a week at Starbucks would feel like an effort. OR if he has a college degree, he could likely be a substitute teacher, which would give him connections for future coaching jobs and also give him more experience working with kids.

    I think it is key to focus more on the long term goals. My husband is a dream, a gem, a catch... and those 6 years he spent in graduate school sucking up money instead of making it were very short in retrospect.

    Good luck!

  17. gamecock43 Says:

    Thanks you guys. I have read your responces and you opened up some questions I need to cover and asked some questions that need to be answered. So I posted an update because things started turning around in a good way.

  18. koppur Says:

    I am in a similar situation with my boyfriend. Only problem is, he doesnt work right now. He has sever social anxiety and it makes it almost impossible for him to do what he needs to do to get a job. Is he on meds for it? In counseling? Nope. I get paid decently, but there is a point where he needs to bring in some financial help just because we need more than I earn for basics. I love him and want to marry him, but he has a lot of fixing to do to his financial past and present before that happens.

    Good luck to you both!

  19. gamecock43 Says:

    wow koppur, that is is quite a story. Good luck to you and your BF as well.

  20. SicilyYoder Says:

    I remember before I became famous, and had such a large fan-base- I was sooo broke, and sold books from the trunk of my car- my dad and I depended on my author fees at libraries and appearances ( which was very low- about $200.00 per event) to pay our meals and hotels at SWuper 8s and other lower chains. Was it worth it? You bet, but I did struggle financially for awhile. Maybe he will get a contract- you never know.

  21. Paula Says:

    My advice is based on your own words, "So...I dunno. This can only last another few years....." You have to decide whether his ball-playing ability will be able to make up for his unwillingness to take care of you. Seems to me, he's okay with you and his Dad making the big decisions of his life, while he devotes his time to hearing the "CALL" from the bigs! In the real world, most people would see that as being immature.

  22. James Says:

    I don't mean to be resentful, however I think it is time for him to grow up. I understand why he wants to play. It's his passion, however you need to put your foot down on his expenses. I think it is great that he is so frugal. I think when he begins to earn a decent wage he should be able to hold himself well. In the end it is all his decision. When he does reach the end of his baseball career I think he will hit a wall and need your help with finances and getting him on track. Best of luck.

  23. CouponAddict Says:

    Here are my ideas on your questions

    1. Have you made up a "TEAM" budget? You are a team and so if you are loaning him money to pay his share of the bills and then late on your because of it the system is not working. If you buy a house he will not be able to support half of the payments so it would be fair to track what half of your current expenses are now and then have that be the amount he pays from this time forward until he is done playing ball. If you were to get married more than likely you will be the budget person, do you want to keep this up for the next 40 years. People do not truely change!

    2. YES!!!! It is OK for you to buy a house on your own just make sure it is in your name only. That way IF you have to sell because he gets relocated then you can without much difficulty. It is understandable that you are ready to have something to show for your life.

    3. You will not get baseball boys father to realize he's not helping baseball boy by paying these bills, YOU need to stop bailing him out and DADDY may see the issue when Baseball boy is asking for more money. If you feel that his father dis-credited the home buying idea because he feels "well, if they buy a house then thats another thing I have to pay for." Make sure it is in your name only because then it has nothing to do with dear daddy.

    Good Luck.

  24. tiki Says:

    Wow, I thought it was revealing that he didn't consider that he had anything to do with the house you want. You want to live in it with him, I assume--won't you be living together? If the house is where you both live, it should be his concern too. Just looks like a red flag to me--is he not interested in his future with you?

    Maybe it's time to put him on the spot (in a loving way) and say, look, I love you, I want to marry you, and I want to make a life with you. It has to be both of us in this together. Are you on board?

    Don't keep doing everything alone. You need him to commit. I know you're saying he's great and this is the only rough patch--but it's a huge thing that bleeds into the very fabric of your relationship.

    Don't be the mom.

  25. gamecock43 Says:

    Coupo addict, i like your approach. A team budget. I have always had my budget and he has..had his money. I have always been 'weird' about money so I made it clear from the start that we split things 50/50 and my money is mine, his is his, and we are equal contributors.
    It has not been going in the direction I had expected it to, and thats where my problem came in.
    Now i need to look at it more like a team budget. That way his finances get squished in with mine and it's less of a his thing/my thing.

    And I did post another blog updating on the whole matter. People keep commenting on this post and I feel bad cuz we have made progress!

  26. Paula Says:

    Hey, this past weekend I had the opportunity to speak with a gentleman who spent some time playing minor-league baseball. When I asked how his experience was, he replied, "I remember very little lunch money and lots of broken-down transportation!" When I questioned further, he said, "Probably the best thing that happened to me was my lack-of-talent sent me packing in a hurry; some guys spend YEARS and YEARS trying to get to the majors!"

    I am the world's biggest sports fan, so I understand "chasing your dream". But....I also understand that "chasing your dream" can sometimes mean putting the rest of your life--marriage, kids, career--on hold. I stick by my original advice: Decide how long YOU are willing to wait on the call from the majors! Best wishes!

  27. Nic Says:

    You've put it all together very nicely. He wants to play. PLAY as in he doesn't need to grow up as long as he has enablers around. He turned down a 40K contract because he wants to PLAY. He uses daddy's card so he can continue to PLAY. He has you helping him so he can PLAY.You're eve calling him "baseball boy." He isn't a child,he's a grown man with no responsibilities. He isn't going to the majors or he would have been there by now. How many tryouts has he had? Has he been invited by ANY major league to try out? Scouts are sent to minor league games all the time and if he hasn't been asked by now....well,you know the rest.
    Sorry to be so brutal but it sounds as if your "catch" has a LOT of growing up to do. Be THANKFUL you two aren't married yet and don't rush it. You may have to go the "catch and RELEASE" route.

  28. fern Says:

    It is clear that you and he have very different goals right now. Him: Play baseball. You: Buy a house. It would worry me if it were mostly your $$ going toward the house purchase. I think it sends the wrong message, that you'll always be there to bail him out so he doesn't have to really worry.

    An ideal partnership is one where 2 people share a common goal and both sacrifice and contribute to make it happen. That's not what this sounds like here.

    In my earlier dating years, in my 20s, there were many men i dated who were generous and good to me. Later, in my 30s when i owned my own home, i wanted to return that kind of generosity by sharing my home with 2 other men (at different times, of course). One man decided he needed to take an unautorized, extended "mental break" from his job for 3 months; amazingly, when he felt ready to return, the job was waiting for him but i grew annoyed that i was busting my butt to cover expenses and he had everything paid for quite a nominal rent.

    The other man remained unemployed for months and took a relaxed attitude toward job hunting. I just ended up feeling like i was used and taken advantage of. When i asked him how he spent his day, he told me of a nice long nap he took and about the one job letter he got out.

    Sorry to sound so negative, that was just one of my experiences.

  29. klbb90 Says:

    I think its great he can live his dream. So few of us can. Based on what you have said, I would hold back on a house at this time. The market would not be kind to you if you wanted to sell to follow him to a college town so he can continue to follow his dream. However, since you think it will only be a few years before he has to leave the minors and take a college coaching position, you won't have that long to wait. Just keep saving so the mortgage will eventually be less. Consider the money he gives you for gas and going out to eat food the money you just return to him at the end of the month. Best wishes!

  30. Lost in Debt Says:

    I think we all have come to similar points in our life, whether it is supporting our children or a significant other. I have done both.

    When I supported a significant other I found he was gone a lot living his dream, while I was working, earning, taking care of the house, his kids and my kids, my bank accounts were not growing, my credit card debt was growing and eventually when the money was gone, and the credit cards were building, I talked to him about being partners and supporting each other and my dreams too, well ski boy never changed and eventually I ended up resenting him and feeling slighted and the relationship ended.

    It's a personal choice and I think ball boy has made it clear that his first priority is ball. I decided after I turned 40 I would never be second choice again and have not wasted time in relationships that did not at least make me an equal.

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