Did my husband betray me by giving our broke daughter our car?

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    Dear Penny,

    My husband and I had a four-wheel drive pickup truck. He bought this vehicle unseen in 2017. The parking lot drove it to our home, all without my intervention. We had it for a year. During that time, our payments were $ 513 per month.

    That year he kept trying to get rid of his truck. Fast forward to now. He made a deal to sell it to a car dealer without me. Then he bought another car. Of course, I wasn’t happy about it, but it cut our interest and payment down to $ 230 a month.

    Our daughter got a check for $ 1,400 and wanted him to help her find a car, but her credit wasn’t enough to get one. She was upset and crying. Without my knowledge, he sold her our car for $ 500 and let her do the payments.

    We have been married for 48 years. I was ALIVE that he didn’t have the courage to speak to me about it, and he told me over the phone with everyone there. I am angry and hurt about it. I feel cheated. My daughter almost ruined our credit because our names were on the cover of her previous vehicle. Now he’s doing the same thing AGAIN !!

    He trusted her that with the other money she owed us, she would make payments, which ended up being $ 430. Am I right to be so hurt and betrayed?

    – Lively wife

    Dear Livid,

    Your husband made at least three major financial decisions without your consent. So the answer to your question is, yes, you have every reason to feel betrayed. But focusing on whether you have a right to feel a certain way doesn’t get you anywhere.

    You need to focus on mitigating the harm from your husband’s final decision. Your daughter has obviously made no payments in the past, so your husband has put your creditworthiness at risk again.

    More importantly, you need to make it clear to your husband that it is not okay to make big decisions unilaterally.


    The best way to protect your finances from your daughter is to have her make payments to you directly. Then you can make the payment directly to the lender. At the very least, you need to have access to the account so that you can confirm that your daughter is actually making payments.

    Unfortunately, the reality of helping someone who is not creditworthy is that there is a high chance you will not get paid back. So you have to assume that you won’t get that $ 430 every month. If your names are still on the title, that’s a good thing because you can take the car back if your daughter doesn’t make the payments.

    The bigger challenge is communicating with your husband, especially once he’s got used to being the only decision maker in your 48 years of marriage. You need to have an open discussion with him about how you handle money matters before he makes another important decision without your involvement.

    Tell your husband that you feel hurt and betrayed, and explain how his actions affect you. Ask him why he feels he cannot discuss these things with you. The key here is to be proactive and talk about it before making another big decision.

    A couple of things in your letter – like the fact that your daughter’s tears made him drop the car keys and then told you over the phone instead of in person – make me think he might be the type who doesn’t like conflict . If you think it does, make it clear that avoiding hard discussions creates a lot more conflict. But if your man doesn’t include you out of arrogance, your problem will be much more difficult to resolve.

    The ideal solution would be if you both agree that you will not make a purchase above a certain amount without consulting. That way, you won’t fret about minor expenses, but you won’t make financial decisions that will significantly affect the other spouse. Allow a time each month to review your expenses. You should also discuss any major expenses or purchases that are coming up.

    This pattern will not be easy to fix, especially if it persists for the past 48 years. But your man needs an impetus to change. Otherwise, this cycle will continue and your feelings of hurt and betrayal will only intensify.

    Robin Hartill is a certified financial planner and senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. Send your tricky money questions to [email protected] or chat with her in The penny hoarder community.


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