A Teacher’s Day In The Life (3): Joining Hands and Bank Accounts

Molly is our resident teacher, who is sharing her personal life and openly discussing the financial life of a teacher.

My husband and I got married in 2012 and I love the team we make together.  Unfortunately, money is not one of our strengths.  We both really struggle with the same temptations and impulsivity, not to mention that we both love to give and receive gifts.  It’s a recipe for disaster.

David’s parents split up when he was in 7th grade.  Following this, he lived with his mom, four siblings and grandmother.  He says his mother’s answer to most things was to spend money, not that they had very much.  Even now, gifts tend to take the place of conversation or actually dealing with the problem at hand.  They did not discuss money, and David was not taught any financial strategies.

When David and I got engaged and moved in together, we were confronted with the ugly realities of our finances from the start.  David’s credit wasn’t awesome due to some poor choices he made when he was younger.  I had credit card debt to pay off, while we were trying to plan a wedding.  David had a bunch of parking tickets and issues with his car that came up one right after the other.  (Of course – when do things NOT happen all at once?) We both had to own up to and deal with our less-than-stellar financial decisions.

Molly headshot

Having a joint bank account helped for a while.  I felt more secure, and it held us accountable to one another.  But then we had to deal with what we had spent on the wedding and honeymoon.  We’ve had to ask for help from family a couple of times.

Shortly after the wedding, I got a notice from the bank that we were more than $2000 overdrawn on our account.  Naturally, this freaked me out.  I was at work, but I called the bank as soon as the bell rang for lunch.  I told the bank that none of this made sense – I was sure there was some sort of identity theft going on.  “Oh, no,” they said.  “A debt collector withdrew money from your account, and it is now frozen.  You have to call them.”

That was probably the most traumatic financial mishap I have experienced.  I had to call David, who was traveling out of state for work, and explain what was going on.  We didn’t have enough money to get by until payday, so David had to borrow money from his boss.  It was humiliating, but that event did compel us to sign up for a budgeting class at our church.

Money has been a huge source of shame for both of us, and it was really scary to talk about the realities we were facing.  It’s still scary.  Things are much better, but we still struggle with budgeting and making wise choices with our money.  We’re committed, though, to remain a team and figure it out together.  It’s way less scary when we have a plan and when we can be open and honest about it.