Dear Dave: My boyfriend is not very good with money, and he is in a bad situation right now. He has a huge car payment every month, plus about $30,000 in credit card debt. He also lives in a very expensive apartment. He recently quit a really good job because he doesn’t like his boss anymore. He has talked about filing bankruptcy, and yesterday he asked if he could move in with me. I love him, but I’m also scared. I try to manage my money well by saving, investing for retirement and staying out of debt. What does this mean for our future together? — Crislyn
Dear Crislyn: My guess is the guy’s not really bankrupt, but it sounds like he has some maturity and character issues that need to be addressed. I’m not saying things can’t change, but this is not someone to move in with or consider marrying anytime soon. You two would have a hard time as husband and wife unless he makes some real course corrections in his attitudes about money and life.
For starters, he needs to get another job, sell the expensive car and find a cheaper place to live. Leaving one position for another is okay, but deciding you just don’t like something and walking away from it without another job waiting — especially when you’ve got bills and a bunch of debt — is just plain irresponsible.
Lots of people identify too strongly with what they drive or where they live. They come to believe those things are indications of their value or worth, and that’s sad. It means something inside them is broken, and bankruptcy isn’t going to fix that.
All this doesn’t mean he isn’t basically a decent guy, but it does mean he needs to get control of his finances — and that he’s got some soul searching and growing up to do. — Dave