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Orator61

Financial Arguments_Supporting adult children

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My wife and I argue incessantly about financial support for children and as a result I am seriously considering divorce. All my children (5) are adults and yet my wife deems it necessary to pay for their cars (even though the child whose car is being paid for has been loaned another car, to be used by his spouse, by my wife) and provide other assistance (paying car insurance, cell phones etc.) that is detrimental to our financial security. That assistance has totaled more than $100 000 in the last 3 years. My wife continues to help the children even though she had promised me on numerous occasions she would not do so. She has used funds put aside for taxes and I have had to scramble like mad to ensure that somehow the funds would be available to meet tax obligations. When I find out that she has been in breach of her commitment to me I get mad and that becomes the subject of the discussion. She claims that she does not speak to me about helping the children financially because I get mad. I have been very generous with the children and if critical I have always given my approval (food money). I feel betrayed when she lies to me. In my mind she worries that I may say no and then to avoid that she helps them and lies about it. I have taken away her capacity to help children unilaterally by removing her from my account and she is furious with me.

She believes that our mistakes as parents means we have a responsibility to help them financially. I do not trust my wife with financial matters and that is impacting her feelings toward me and making her very cold and distant. She is provided $200 000 a yr after taxes to provide for the needs of the family with a total of  $48 000 for mortgage payments and $12 000 in debt payments, leaving $140 000 for every day expenses such as car insurance, food, utilities, life insurance, cell phones, etc. 

I am of the firm belief that I have every right to refuse to help adult children and to have them find solutions to their financial difficulties and in the process understand what it means to be an adult. I would prefer that we discuss each situation based on its merits and that if either parent says no then the help should not be forthcoming. She is of the opinion that she gets to decide unilaterally as she understands their needs and emotional state better than I do. I have no idea how to resolve this conflict without getting a divorce.

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1 hour ago, Orator61 said:

My wife and I argue incessantly about financial support for children and as a result I am seriously considering divorce. All my children (5) are adults and yet my wife deems it necessary to pay for their cars (even though the child whose car is being paid for has been loaned another car, to be used by his spouse, by my wife) and provide other assistance (paying car insurance, cell phones etc.) that is detrimental to our financial security. That assistance has totaled more than $100 000 in the last 3 years. My wife continues to help the children even though she had promised me on numerous occasions she would not do so. She has used funds put aside for taxes and I have had to scramble like mad to ensure that somehow the funds would be available to meet tax obligations. When I find out that she has been in breach of her commitment to me I get mad and that becomes the subject of the discussion. She claims that she does not speak to me about helping the children financially because I get mad. I have been very generous with the children and if critical I have always given my approval (food money). I feel betrayed when she lies to me. In my mind she worries that I may say no and then to avoid that she helps them and lies about it. I have taken away her capacity to help children unilaterally by removing her from my account and she is furious with me.

She believes that our mistakes as parents means we have a responsibility to help them financially. I do not trust my wife with financial matters and that is impacting her feelings toward me and making her very cold and distant. She is provided $200 000 a yr after taxes to provide for the needs of the family with a total of  $48 000 for mortgage payments and $12 000 in debt payments, leaving $140 000 for every day expenses such as car insurance, food, utilities, life insurance, cell phones, etc. 

I am of the firm belief that I have every right to refuse to help adult children and to have them find solutions to their financial difficulties and in the process understand what it means to be an adult. I would prefer that we discuss each situation based on its merits and that if either parent says no then the help should not be forthcoming. She is of the opinion that she gets to decide unilaterally as she understands their needs and emotional state better than I do. I have no idea how to resolve this conflict without getting a divorce.

Can I be frank?  Life is very short, and in a few short years, you (and me, and everyone else) will have passed on and your "financial shape" is not going to matter one bit.  However, whether you are married or not is going to matter very, very much.

What you described would be a horrible reason for divorce.  It would be tantamount to throwing away your birthright for a mess of pottage.  It is not adultery, addiction, or abuse (the three Church-sanctioned reasons to get a divorce).  Do not let crass materialism or a frivolous power struggle get in the way of your exaltation.  (And don't fool yourself - if you blow it in this marriage, you very well may not get another chance).

What would I do in this situation?  I would certainly try and reason with my wife.  Maybe even ask to talk things out with a marriage counselor and try to find some compromise everyone could agree with.  However, if my wife were adamant in controlling the finances, do you know what I would do?  I would let her have control and save my marriage.  I would live in a van if I had to and her decisions were that destabilizing.

Is it worth losing eternity over a frivolous power struggle with your wife, or over finances, or because you think your wife's approach to raising your adult children is wrong?  I think not.  Let go of the crass materialism, let go of the need to "win" the power struggle, strike "divorce" from your vocabulary, and focus on maintaining and improving what is truly important - your eternal marriage, the only thing you are going to be able to take with you after this life is over.

Edited by DoctorLemon

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I agree with DoctorLemon.  I also agree with you that adult children should not be getting this much support, and I can imagine that the arguments and stress over finances have taken a toll on your relationship.  I totally get that, and you have my sympathy.  However, I don't think this is a reason for divorce.  As DoctorLemon said, first thing to do is strike the idea of divorce from your vocabulary.  Tell yourself that is not an option, and then decide what to do.

I think that you two could benefit from a third party mediator...perhaps the Bishop or a marriage counselor?  To tell the truth, I think your wife's need to help the children so much is unhealthy, and so one of the first steps is to figure out what is driving that.  Of course, another important step will be rebuilding your relationship.  I think you will need some help....there's nothing wrong with needing help now and then, so don't be afraid to seek it out.  

Edited by LiterateParakeet

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While I don't believe finances is a reason for divorce; the fact of the matter is that financial decisions and arguments over finances is the #1 reason for divorce.

Unfortunately, this is a problem that should have been solved long, long ago with your wife and because it wasn't solved many moons ago it has caused a much, much bigger problem.

4 hours ago, Orator61 said:

She believes that our mistakes as parents means we have a responsibility to help them financially.

This is precisely why your children have problems-she has never let them be responsible for their own lives.  

This probably started when they were young and she wanted them to live a good life; not realizing that as a parent you can teach but you can't live their life for them-which is what she is trying to do.

This is also why (as much as people complain about rich inheritances) wealth does not pass three generations. The 1st generation worked hard, by the sweat of their brow and built something, the second generation has it a little bit easier but saw the hardwork of the parents and tries to do the same, by the time the 3rd generation roles around the kids are spoiled brats who can't do jack for themselves.  

The very wealthy families (who's wealth has passed down through generations) teach their kids very, very differently; kids who are slackers are cut off-everyone is expected to work hard, etc. 

I completely agree you need to get control of the situation-without causing a divorce.  The only way you are going to completely solve the problem is for you and her to get on the same page-for that, she needs to understand at a very deep emotional level the massive problems she is causing with your children's lives by providing them with financial funds (they will never be financially stable on their own, their own self-worth will be less, etc.).  I don't know how that is going to happen at this stage . . . 

Baring a complete mindset change on her part, probably the best you can do is find some compromise you both can live with.  Giving your wife 200k/year for the needs of the family is a lot of money; that isn't needs that is 200k/year for wants.   If you are providing 200k/year to her but then complaining about the 100k/year she gives to the kids-you are doing it wrong man.

Think of it this way . . . if as an employer you give your employees 50k/year and then they take 20k and blow it on shopping do you get upset at them?  No, b/c it is their money to do with as they see fit. If you give her 200k/year then you can't complain with what she does with the money as long as the actual needs not wants of your family is paid for. A huge part of this life is learning how to give people responsibility over things and then letting them fail or do with it how they see fit.  You have given your wife responsibility over 200k/year and obviously she is being irresponsible with that money (in your opinion and in mine-but not in her opinion).  

So what do you do? I don't know-this should have been solved a long time ago, if you don't nip things in the bud they can get real, real bad.

I would start of with obviously she doesn't need 200k/year so dial that back-what is appropriate, I have no idea, but obviously 100k/year isn't since she blows that on the kids.  No if you go from 200k to 100k/year that is probably going to cause some major problems.  Do you scale it back gradually or rip the bandaid off (which might be a  turniquet that is keeping blood from going everywhere).

And finally, is a divorce really going to solve this problem?  My guess is that a lot of things are tied together in your names and since you are fairly well off she will most likely get a significant portion of your income-which may amount to 200k/year??? In that case, she continues to do the same-except you've now lost your wife.

My condolences and good luck!

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First - Sorry you're dealing with this.  It's unfortunate that your kids are being enabled, crippled and stunted in their growth.  Some good insights have already been shared but I'm wondering if the underlying issue is that if your wife doesn't 'help' them with money, that she won't feel needed and/or loved by them.  I also see the kids as part of the problem. They are way too comfortable accepting all this 'help' so I would be asking them some questions.  Maybe they think mom will feel slighted if they turn it down so they don't or maybe they see Sam getting money and they don't think it's fair if they don't get their piece of the pie as well.  There are a myriad of possibilities but I think some discussions need to be had. Money issues usually aren't about money so I hope you can work through whatever the issues really are.  

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6 hours ago, Orator61 said:

My wife and I argue incessantly about financial support for children and as a result I am seriously considering divorce. All my children (5) are adults and yet my wife deems it necessary to pay for their cars (even though the child whose car is being paid for has been loaned another car, to be used by his spouse, by my wife) and provide other assistance (paying car insurance, cell phones etc.) that is detrimental to our financial security. That assistance has totaled more than $100 000 in the last 3 years. My wife continues to help the children even though she had promised me on numerous occasions she would not do so. She has used funds put aside for taxes and I have had to scramble like mad to ensure that somehow the funds would be available to meet tax obligations. When I find out that she has been in breach of her commitment to me I get mad and that becomes the subject of the discussion. She claims that she does not speak to me about helping the children financially because I get mad. I have been very generous with the children and if critical I have always given my approval (food money). I feel betrayed when she lies to me. In my mind she worries that I may say no and then to avoid that she helps them and lies about it. I have taken away her capacity to help children unilaterally by removing her from my account and she is furious with me.

She believes that our mistakes as parents means we have a responsibility to help them financially. I do not trust my wife with financial matters and that is impacting her feelings toward me and making her very cold and distant. She is provided $200 000 a yr after taxes to provide for the needs of the family with a total of  $48 000 for mortgage payments and $12 000 in debt payments, leaving $140 000 for every day expenses such as car insurance, food, utilities, life insurance, cell phones, etc. 

I am of the firm belief that I have every right to refuse to help adult children and to have them find solutions to their financial difficulties and in the process understand what it means to be an adult. I would prefer that we discuss each situation based on its merits and that if either parent says no then the help should not be forthcoming. She is of the opinion that she gets to decide unilaterally as she understands their needs and emotional state better than I do. I have no idea how to resolve this conflict without getting a divorce.

You wrote about the issue of money here as your primary topic.  But I'm also seeing other red flags of lying, vastly different goals, and poor communications.  My recommendation is martial counseling to help you two improve communication and get back on the same page for life goals.  Once that root problem is fixed, the accessary problem (kids & money) will be much less of a mess.

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I'm a hard-nose, but . . . I don't think financially illiterate spouses have the right to jeopardize the retirements of the financially literate spouses.  Knowing you're condemned to spend the next 20-30 years of your life with nothing more than Social Security is a hard thing; especially when you spent forty or fifty years working your tail off to avoid that exact scenario.  If after all her spending you can't get by on what's left; then that does strike me as the sort of forfeiture of one's dignity that some GA's have referred to as perhaps justifying divorce.  I mean, how is it that Mom can blow $100k on fully adult kids; and Dad doesn't even get a new boat/truck/library/fishing pole/ whatever your priorities are?  And of course, if you had spent $100k at the racetrack in the past 3 years, most of us would have no qualms about advising your wife to do whatever it took to safeguard her financial future.

Obviously, there are nuances here worth considering (were you a sole breadwinner?  Just how much money do you get to blow?  Is this spending  sustainable; or are you eating into principal?  What is the long-term financial outlook?). Speaking generally:  So long as you still have a sustainable standard of living, I wouldn't divorce her; but given her refusal to govern herself I think you're well within your rights to isolate some core amount in such a way that she can't fritter it away.  And if she doesn't like it--

--well, it's her move.  The questions she is going to have to ask herself are a) whether you're really such a terrible guy; and b) whether, if she divorces you, she'll get enough alimony to be able to give her little darlings as much as she gives them now.  

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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I have a slightly different opinion here.  There's something you should be focusing on here.  It's your temper. Don't expect things to get better between you and your wife, until you can control your own crap here.  And if you go through with this divorce you're considering, you can expect your out-of-control temper to be spotlighted and micro-analyzed, and not in a favorable way.

When I find out that she has been in breach of her commitment to me I get mad and that becomes the subject of the discussion. She claims that she does not speak to me about helping the children financially because I get mad

So, since your wife isn't here and we can't talk to her, let's talk to you.

So tell us, Orator61, why can't you control your temper?

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10 minutes ago, NeuroTypical said:

So tell us, Orator61, why can't you control your temper?

Out of control temper?  Would you be singing kumbaya if your spouse was going behind your back to the tune of six figures and you had to rush to fix the issue before the tax man came looking for his share?  

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Losing temper or singking kumbaya, of course, at the opposite ends of a pretty wide range of reactions.  Orator61 came here for advice, so my advice is for him to focus on what he can control, in order to increase his influence and ability to resolve the issue.  Orator61 tells us his wife refuses to talk about the issue when he's mad.  Sounds like his options are 1- divorce her, 2- try to force or manipulate or pressure or brow-beat, etc, her into talking, or 3- work on his temper.  Do you have a fourth option?

We can sit here and opine about what's right or wrong all day, but if he wants to actually fix something, it sounds to me like he should start with himself. 

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Possible solution: concede that you have differences of opinions on helping adult children.  Give her an allowance, say $10,000 a year (as OP seems to have considerable means) by which she can decide to help children at her discretion.  Once she hits this limit, no more.

When I was younger, I used to spend more than I probably should have on entertainment (particularly Itunes), and my wife decided to propose a limit to me of fifty bucks a month for each of us (yes, I can spend fifty bucks a month on albums).  It worked out really well, and completely de-fused the tension that had surrounded the issue.

Compromise is the key here.

Edited by DoctorLemon

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Hi @Orator61... I think your wife has an addiction.  She's addicted to motherhood.  She can't let go of it.  She feels useless, purposeless, etc., when she's not fussing over the kids.  Unfortunately, her addiction is costing you a lot of money and is in danger of putting you in the poor house for retirement.  If you were Filipino, it would be different because Filipino kids are their parents' retirement plans...

So, you've got lots of good advice above.  I'm going to add to this by giving you a perspective adjustment.

The way you've been handling this has been a My Wife Versus Me problem.  This is not a healthy way to look at this.  This is why you're contemplating divorce which is an unhealthy escapism solution to your problem which doesn't really solve the problem at all, it just makes it worse.  I suggest you look at this as a My Marriage versus Addiction problem.  What you want to accomplish is for both you and your wife to be on the same side of the fence fighting the "motherhood addiction".  So, your first step is to stop thinking of your wife as the enemy.  Rather, start thinking of your wife as a prisoner of war that has been captured by the enemy.  You get to save her from the enemy.  You should not get mad at your wife - you can't bring a POW back to your side if you're mad at the POW for getting herself captured, you see?  Rather, you should LOVE YOUR WIFE EVEN MORE - because this love will give you strength to free her from the bonds of the enemy.

So, how to free your wife from bondage... go get help from the Marines - the marriage counselors, financial counselors, etc who know their stuff and can help your wife overcome her weakness.  You might also try to get your adult children to help you.  Tell them to stop asking Mom for stuff!  For shame!  And, of course, get down on your knees and ask God to help you.

That's really all I can say about that.  Hope you get through this. 

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23 minutes ago, DoctorLemon said:

Possible solution: concede that you have differences of opinions on helping adult children.  Give her an allowance, say $10,000 a year (as OP seems to have considerable means) by which she can decide to help children at her discretion.  Once she hits this limit, no more.

When I was younger, I used to spend more than I probably should have on entertainment (particularly Itunes), and my wife decided to propose a limit to me of fifty bucks a month for each of us (yes, I can spend fifty bucks a month on albums).  It worked out really well, and completely de-fused the tension that had surrounded the issue.

Compromise is the key here.

My husband and I went through this too.  Before we got married, I had $50K worth of credit card bills - this is all mall cards, with at least 12% interest, some at 18%.  I didn't know anything about credit cards then.  They send this stuff in the mail, I go sign the card and... tat-tada!  Money!

Anyway, he told me that if I marry him, he'll have to manage the finances until I'm completely debt free then he'll hand the whole thing over to me.  So, we got married, he cut up all my cards except the Mastercard.  Took the Mastercard out of my purse and put it in the dresser drawer and gave me $50/week to spend on anything.  Then he gave me an envelope for groceries only, another envelope for gas only, etc.  If I have grocery money left over in the envelope when I get the new grocery envelope, I get to add it to my spend on anything money...

So yeah, he paid off every single debt I had except for the mortgage within a year.  Needless to say, it was a terrible year for me because I had to switch my thinking when I see something I want as costing me $500 instead of $12/month and I hated the feeling of not being able to buy something I want the moment I see it.  I was fighting with my husband a lot then.  But, yeah, after a year, he gave me the finances and that was another terrible year... because I wanted to spend $3,000 on a bday party but I can't find $3,000 in the budget without swiping the Mastercard and he'd have a cow instead of being happy on his bday.... anyway... we're going on 19 years and he'd had the finances for most of those years because I hate doing budget.  I would rather just live off of the envelopes.

 

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On 4/24/2017 at 0:15 AM, Orator61 said:
  1. All my children (5) are adults and yet my wife deems it necessary to pay for their (expenses) that is detrimental to our financial security.
  2. She is provided $200 000 a yr after taxes to provide for the needs of the family.
  3. I have taken away her capacity to help children unilaterally by removing her from my account.
  4. My wife continues to help the children even though she had promised me on numerous occasions she would not do so.  I feel betrayed when she lies to me. 
  5. She claims that she does not speak to me about helping the children financially because I get mad.
  6. I am of the firm belief that I have every right to refuse to help adult children and to have them find solutions to their financial difficulties and in the process understand what it means to be an adult.
  7. She believes that our mistakes as parents means we have a responsibility to help them financially.

I've done my best to boil it down to the fundamentals of the OP.

  1. Statement of the problem that you perceive.
  2. Statement of her stewardship financially.
  3. The measure you've taken to stop gap the financial bleeding and hopefully solve the problem.
  4. Statement of wife's betrayal.
  5. You get mad.
  6. Statement on your stewardship re: parental responsibility to children.
  7. Statement of justification & admission of past mistakes.
  • She has lied and betrayed you financially.  That is indeed a big no-no.  You have every right to feel upset by this.  To me, as the sole breadwinner, if my wife behaved like this, I think I'd react similarly to how she would react if I committed adultery.  It is a complete lack of respect and diminishes all that you've worked for to support and provide for her and the family. 
  • I'd ask for more detail on "how mad" do you get.  I'd get mad if my wife did that too.  But I control it because of how much I love her.
  • Removing her from the account is a huge step.  Be warned that this should only be a short term fix until you can figure out something better for long term.  This is NOT healthy for the long term.
  • Are YOU providing her the $200,000/yr?  Or is that her own income?
  • I'd agree with your admission of past mistakes.  SOMEthing went wrong if ALL your children seem to be of this mindset that they can leech off of you.  You stated your beliefs about what an adult does.  But apparently, that lesson was not passed onto them.  What past mistakes is she talking about?

Regardless of the past, you have to do your best to deal with the present.  

  1. Control your temper and remember the woman you married.
  2. Perhaps you can agree that YOU need to keep a portion of the income in a separate account to pay for things she does not seem to have the will power to keep. 
    1. This will be for things like the taxes you mentioned.  
    2. Decide what you will pay for out of that account (like retirement, other long term savings, savings for a project you're working on, etc.).
    3. If she decides that helping the children is more important than groceries or eating out or electricity or whatever, then don't pay the appropriate bills.  When she sees the electricity turned off, then she'll suffer right along with you.  This is not a punishment.  It is a natural consequence of financial irresponsibility.  
    4. OR you may find that you can get along just fine without the extra money.  But you won't go out to eat as often or some such.
    5. BUDGET it all.

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This situation would be a nightmare for me. I can completely understand where the OP is coming from--he is concerned about the finances of his family (his wife and he at this point--and I'm guessing the retirement years) and yet his wife lies to him and spends behind his back (no matter what it's for). I get that he's upset his adult children are not supporting themselves, but I'm guessing if she spent $200K a year on hair ribbons (and using budgeted money and lying to him about it), he would still be upset.  

I think they need marriage counseling. At this point, they are both so furious with the other than a mediator is probably needed. 

From an outside perspective, I think a budget needs to be agreed upon. And, I agree that what money is given to the wife is hers to spend as she wants. But, same deal with the husband. Both need some money to be able to spend without having to account (within reason) for it. 

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On 4/24/2017 at 1:15 AM, Orator61 said:

She is provided $200 000 a yr after taxes to provide for the needs of the family with a total of  $48 000 for mortgage payments and $12 000 in debt payments, leaving $140 000 for every day expenses such as car insurance, food, utilities, life insurance, cell phones, etc.

First let me say that you are in a very difficult situation, and it is understandable and reasonable to be upset that your wife is seriously mismanaging money.  Also, in general I agree with much of the advice that has already been given.  Now that I've got that out of the way, I'd like to address a different problem, and will openly admit that I am making a biased judgement here.

I know other people live differently than I do, however, per the OP, here is the breakdown of the 200K spending allotment to your wife:

1) $48,000 Mortgage Payments
2) $12,000 Debt Payments
3) $140,000 Needed/Other Expenses

So if this were me, I would reorganize as follows at the absolute minimum:

1) $48,000 Mortgage Payments
2) $12,000 Debt Payments
3) $90,000 Extra Mortgage/Debt Payments
4) $50,000 Needed/Other Expenses

Now personally I would go even further than that and my wife would be all in with me.  The real root problem in my mind is that you and your wife are not united in financial matters and you need to find a way to get there.

I am assuming that the provided money is post-tax.  That being said I find it extremely unlikely that your wife would have $140,000 of legitimate expenses while you have other debt at the same time.  If you have that much expense for food, car insurance, utilities and cell phones, you should probably sell your cars and buy cheaper ones, shut off the electricity in some of the unused rooms in your very large home, cut out the number of phones you pay for, etc, etc, etc.  If you have maids, and lawn service, and so on so forth, those should be reconsidered as well while still in debt.

With the exception of medical needs, there are exactly zero other legitimate reasons, in my opinion, for an individual to have 200K in after tax expenses while also still having debts.  If you see that as reasonable, I would suggest that while your wife may be terrible with money, you just might not be that good with it either.  Once again I would suggest that the advice others have given has generally been good, and I sincerely wish you the best in working out your issues with your spouse.

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On 4/23/2017 at 10:43 PM, DoctorLemon said:

However, if my wife were adamant in controlling the finances, do you know what I would do?  I would let her have control and save my marriage.  I would live in a van if I had to and her decisions were that destabilizing.

This is a rare occasion where I disagree with DoctorLemon. Just because your wife is intent on flying your plane into the ground doesn't mean you should let her.

I don't have a quick solution. I do know that if you're bringing in $200,000 a year, you should have complete financial independence for the rest of your life within a decade. Your wife is completely out of control. She must not be allowed to control the purse strings, not for any reason, not for mortgage or daily expenses or anything.

I do have some other questions, though: You're paying $4000/month in mortgage. Why? Unless you're living in San Francisco or Manhattan, $4000/month is one huge house. And just for the two of you, given that all your children are grown.

So sell the McMansion and MOVE. Get a small bungalow, or buy a condo, or maybe rent an apartment. Cut your mortgage/rent by 75%.

$1000/month in debt repayment and...$11,667 in monthly expenses?! Those two numbers should be reversed. Live on $1000/month (other than mortgage), and pour huge amounts of money into getting your debt repaid.

You are a rich man. But you and your wife are spending money like you're filthy rich -- and you are not. It would be criminal for someone with your income to get to retirement penniless, but it sounds like that is where you are headed. Get control of this train before it derails.

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If I were in the Op's situation, and the money coming into my household came from a pay cheque, I would have the salary diverted into another bank account. I would set up payments for the new bank account such that I control expenditures. I would ask the bishop for the name of a counsellor and take the name of the counsellor and the information about the new financial setup to my spouse.

i acknowledge that this change is very risky. The spouse may leave. She may call the kids. The kids may side with Mom. Make that 'probably side with Mom'. I might go to the bishop first and tell him what I plan to do. But..I would make the changes no matter how angry the kids and my wife react.

i would try to get my spouse to agree to counselling and if not, I would go myself.

This tactic might well lead to civil war..but I would still do it. I went to many group counselling sessions in which this type of behaviour was labelled financial abuse. I personally would have put my foot down a long time ago.

If the money is coming from investment accounts. I would go off to a lawyer and see what could be done.

i have to admit that I have dated quite a few men who were very foolish with money. I have contemplated what steps I might have to take to control the finances and I have always broken off the realatiinship because I did not want to get into this situation. I do not envy the op. Someone has to take control of this situation. When I get to points like this in my life, I picture myself turning off my emotions and doing what needs to be done. This is a very unpleasant situation.

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I think you got some excellent advice. I have a few additional thoughts.

First, There is a thing called financial seperation. I would definately look into that before considering divorce. 

I would read The Millionaire Next Door, and also one of Dave Ramseys book together with her. 

The Millionaire Next Door, makes a great case for the need to cut the financial strings to kids. It also outlines ways to help them financially without destroying them. Your wife is destroying them.  The reason why Bill Gates has said several times publicly he is not going to leave one penny to his kids isn't because he hates his kids it's because he loves them.

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