Episode #133: "She has $7k in cc debt—just 3 months after I paid it off for her" (Part 1)

Becki is 42, Dustin is 36. Becki moved to North Caroline from California two years ago, into Dustin’s house but is feeling disconnected from her family, like the space is still his, not shared. Her troubling credit card history keeps them from getting married and building a future together.

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Show Transcript

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[00:00:00] Dustin: Why are you still putting things on your credit cards that you aren’t paying off every month? I’m not going to bring all of mine to the table to piss it away. Because that’s what’s happened for two years. We’ve made $180,000 and we have nothing except you live with me in my world that I help facilitate and try to make your life easier. In a way, I feel sometimes like I pay a tax for you living here. 

[00:00:35] Becki: If we’re just going to continue down this road of parallel lives, if we’re not going to do this, and if we’re not going to become this team and really attack life and create this extraordinary life, then I have to rethink why I’m here.

[00:00:54] Narration: [Narration]

[00:00:54] Ramit: Becki is 42 years old. Dustin is 36. They’ve been together for four years. They’re not married, and she moved from California to North Carolina into his house. Becki feels like they are not making progress in their relationship. And of course, money is playing a huge role in this.

[00:01:14] Now, before I speak to a couple, I review their applications. I look at the notes, but I try not to make any judgments because I want to hear their stories. In this case, Becki was the one who filled out the application. She mentioned she was frustrated that he hasn’t proposed, frustrated that she moved across the country, leaving all her friends and family behind, frustrated that they keep their money separate, and he never seems to have money to improve their house, even though he has money for other things.

[00:01:40] Before we dive into this episode, I want to make sure you’re signed up to get my 2023 gift guide. This Saturday, on my newsletter, I’ll be sharing the system for giving amazing gifts, how I automatically save for them, how I find unique gift ideas, and of course, three holiday gifts that I’m excited to give this year. You can only get it this Saturday, December 9th, by making sure you are signed up for free at iwt.com/podcastnewsletter. Now let’s hear from Becki and Dustin.

[00:02:09] Interview: [Interview]

[00:02:09] Ramit: How often do you talk about money in your relationship? 

[00:02:12] Dustin: Once a week.

[00:02:13] Becki: Yeah, at least once a week.

[00:02:14] Ramit: And what’s the context when it comes up? 

[00:02:16] Dustin: It’s normally Becki trying to get me to spend money on something.

[00:02:20] Ramit: Okay. Is that true Becki?

[00:02:22] Becki: I don’t think that’s probably 100% accurate, but I probably do bring it up the most. We talk about it a lot because it’s a big deal to Dustin. It’s like his big red flag. And from the very beginning, it was like, I’m not going to be with someone who has these patterns with money, and I’m not going to be with someone who, like, this and that. So money has always been there.

[00:02:51] Dustin: We’re trying to figure out how to bring our money together and a few other things, but not really.

[00:02:56] Ramit: Okay. How long have you been trying to figure that out?

[00:02:58] Dustin: I guess since she moved in.

[00:03:01] Ramit: How long ago is that? 

[00:03:02] Dustin: Two years.

[00:03:04] Ramit: What? Trying to figure out how to combine your income for two years?

[00:03:11] Dustin: Yeah. Everybody does it differently, I guess.

[00:03:13] Ramit: No. Speaking as the guy who wrote the book on it, that’s not normal.

[00:03:19] Dustin: All right.

[00:03:20] Ramit: Two years? That’s like me going to Taco Bell and saying, I’ve been trying to figure out what to order at Taco Bell. They got the crunch wrap, but then they also got those cinnamon twists that all Indian people love. 

[00:03:31] And then you go, well, Ramit, how long have you been thinking about this Taco Bell menu? Two years. And everyone in the room is drop dead silent. They’re like, what the f– what’s the problem? Two years. That’s a long time.

[00:03:43] Dustin: All right.

[00:03:45] Ramit: Okay. Dustin goes, all right. Becki, do you think it’s a long time to go two years trying to figure out how to combine your income? 

[00:03:51] Becki: Everything takes Dustin a long time. 

[00:03:53] Ramit: Did I catch that you were married before?

[00:03:56] Dustin: Yes, yes.

[00:03:57] Ramit: And how long were you married for?

[00:03:59] Dustin: I was married for 10 years, high school sweethearts. We were together 15.

[00:04:04] Ramit: All right. And you two have been together for how long?

[00:04:08] Becki: Four years.

[00:04:09] Ramit: Okay. How serious is this on a scale of one to 10?

[00:04:14] Dustin: 10. 

[00:04:16] Becki: I feel like I’ve just gotten to the point– because I had to get here with some other issues where it was just like, I have a choice to make. I can either be with him and accept that he takes longer than I like to do things, or I cannot be with him.

[00:04:35] Ramit: And what did you decide?

[00:04:39] Becki: I’m still here. It’s just that we have talked about combining and taking this next step forward, combining our finances, getting married, doing the things. And we talk about it, and we agreed that end of this year, we’re going to do it. But when we try to come up with what is that going to look like, we talk about it, but then we can’t really come to a conclusion. 

[00:05:09] So then we just stopped talking about it. I just feel like this pattern has really overwhelmed me. I feel the most when it comes to money because he really does make the big decisions because, as he’s going to tell you, he has the money, so it’s just not a great feeling for me especially when I feel I’ve given up a lot for this relationship to work. 

[00:05:37] I just want to feel like we are actually a unit and a partnership, and we’re going to do this thing. Because if not, if we’re just going to continue down this road of parallel lives, I’m missing out on a lot. I have elderly parents. They live in California. My family’s in California.

[00:06:03] My friends are in California. My gym’s in California. My whole life is in California. If we’re not going to do this, and if we’re not going to become this team and really attack life and create this extraordinary life, then I have to rethink why I’m here. 

[00:06:22] Ramit: Uh-huh. And what does rethink some things mean? I feel like that’s a word or phrase that we’re not really being specific about. 

[00:06:31] Becki: I mean rethink if this is the right relationship for me. I not only live in Dustin’s space, state, life, but also on Dustin’s timeline. When he’s ready to do things, that’s when we do things. We couldn’t be in a committed relationship until Dustin was ready to do that. We couldn’t move in together until he was ready. We couldn’t say I love you until he was ready.

[00:07:01] It feels like I am in a position where, one, I am having to prove myself that I’m worthy of being a partner, that I have to prove that I can show him that I can be responsible with money in order for him to want to build a life with me. Things that I want, or I feel are important, maybe don’t get done or happen because he has the money. 

[00:07:34] Ramit: Takes a lot of courage to say. I know it can’t be easy. And I suspect from the way you said it that you’ve probably thought about it a lot. So thank you for opening that up to me. Dustin, what do you hear when you hear Becki say that.

[00:07:56] Dustin: I already knew most of that without her saying it. 

[00:08:02] Ramit: But what do you hear when she said it?

[00:08:07] Dustin: She’s upset. So the root of it would be, I guess, we’re trying to figure out how to combine finances, but when she moved in, she had a bunch of credit card debt and stuff like that. So I was like, hey, I’m going to help out. I’m going to do these things. This is all I need you to do.

[00:08:30] Ramit: Do these things means what?

[00:08:32] Dustin: All she had to pay for was our groceries for the house.

[00:08:36] Ramit: You paid for everything else.

[00:08:37] Dustin: Yeah, for the most part, I think we can somewhat agree to. I didn’t pay her car payment and stuff like that. So I took care of all that under the assumption this credit card debt would be paid off. And I was told it was going to be a year and three months, and it’s turned into two years.

[00:08:59] Ramit: And how do you feel about that Dustin?

[00:09:01] Dustin: I’m not super comfy. I figured out a lot of it where it stood here recently when we filled out the little paperwork because I don’t ask. I try not to ask so there’s not some conflict.

[00:09:18] Ramit: All right, so you came into this relationship. And it sounds like you talked about money early on. How did he come to know about your credit card debt?

[00:09:26] Becki: He asked really early, before I moved here.

[00:09:30] Ramit: Damn, now that is unusual. I like that. What’d you say, Dustin? You handed over a questionnaire? Fill this out, and make sure you hit all those required fields because I need to know this information.

[00:09:42] Dustin: No need to find out later.

[00:09:43] Ramit: So what was it like, Becki, hearing that? That’s quite a direct assertive set of questions. I like that. How did it feel for you?

[00:09:51] Becki: It was fine. Our first six months of dating was all talk. We were 3,000 miles apart. I was still living in California. He was living in North Carolina. It’s like a joke. We would look up these lists of questions. That’s all we did.

[00:10:09] So we were both going through some tough times. And the only reason that our relationship worked was that we were uncomfortably honest about things from the get go. And we were not scared to have hard conversations early on, really early on.

[00:10:25] Ramit: Dustin tells me that you had credit card debt. How much credit card debt did you have back then?

[00:10:30] Becki: I had two loans that weren’t credit cards. They were loans. They were 8,000 and 9,000 maybe. And then I had two credit cards that were probably four and five, somewhere around there.

[00:10:49] Ramit: So you had 26,000 of debt.

[00:10:52] I think that was about right whenwe– 

[00:10:53] All right. 

[00:10:54] Dustin: I know she has a good career, so it doesn’t scare me. There just needs to be a plan to take care of it, I guess.

[00:11:00] Narration: [Narration]

[00:11:01] Ramit: This is a conversation I had with my friends back when we were single. If you found out the person you were dating had debt, would you be okay with it? And then, naturally, the question came, how much debt? What kind of debt? If it was $10,000 in student loan debt, nobody cared. If it was $25,000 in credit card debt, people definitely cared. For a lot of people I was talking to, they told me it speaks to a lack of control with money, maybe behavioral issues with money.  

[00:11:28] One thing I talk about is if you have debt, any kind of debt, the most attractive thing you can do is have a plan and be open about it. Like, yes, I have this debt. I went to school for a masters. Or when I was in my 20s, I wasn’t paying attention to my finances, but now I’ve read books. I’ve listened to podcasts. I’ve made a change, and I’m paying off my debt aggressively. I know exactly when I’ll be debt free, and it’s important to me to be in control of my money.

[00:11:55] How can you not love that? If you are not sure how to make that plan and you want the help of other people who have paid off their debt and they’re improving their money to live a rich life, you can join my coaching program at iwt.com/moneycoaching.

[00:12:12] We’ll be right back. 

[00:12:13] AD BREAK

[00:12:14] Now, back to the show. 

[00:12:16] Interview: [Interview]

[00:12:16] Dustin: It’s hard to tackle life with your $28,000 in credit card debt. 

[00:12:20] Ramit: Did you tell her that?

[00:12:23] Dustin: Pretty much. Yeah.

[00:12:25] Ramit: What does that mean, pretty much?

[00:12:27] Dustin: When she finally moved in here, I was like– when she was living in about an hour and a half away, it’s not in my business, I guess. But once she moved into the house, I was like, things were getting pretty serious, so what is our plan to take care of these things?

[00:12:42] Ramit: All right.

[00:12:43] Dustin: Because I don’t want to just paddle upstream the rest of my life.

[00:12:47] Ramit: Dustin, is it fair for me to say it’s really important for you that your partner is not in credit card debt?

[00:12:55] Dustin: Yeah, I’m not really prioritizing saving for vacations, so I don’t see why we should be going on any.

[00:13:01] Becki: Well, we made a plan. He said, you don’t have to pay me rent, and you don’t have to pay for utilities. You just pay for groceries and all of our subscriptions. You just need to worry about putting your extra money on your debt.

[00:13:16] Ramit: All right. Did you?

[00:13:17] Becki: Yeah.

[00:13:18] Ramit: All right. So here we are X years later. What’s the deal?

[00:13:24] Becki: Well, in typical me fashion, in July, it was paid off. And then I did a job in July that I was supposed to get a pretty big check for, and I spent money before I had it. So I just put on the credit card because I was like, oh, I’m going to get that check in September. And then that didn’t come through. It still hasn’t come through, Irish taxes or something. And then just little things. I just run it back up.

[00:13:59] Ramit: How much?

[00:14:01] Becki: Seven. 

[00:14:03] Dustin: Yeah. I don’t know where the seven came from or how it goes back up. July, August, September. Seven grand in three months. We worked all this time to get it paid off to go seven grand at three months.

[00:14:25] Becki: Yeah, a chunk of it was while I was in Ireland, hotel, and food, and all that.And then a chunk of it was the party. I thought I was going to have that money. So I was like, I really want to make this party so special, so let me splurge a little bit on this and that.

[00:14:46] So that was probably the biggest chunk of it. And then the other stuff has just been flights to Yellowstone, and flights to California, and medical stuff. Yeah, odds and ends, just little things, probably me just spending more than I have coming in and not really realizing it.

[00:15:13] Ramit: Can I ask a question?

[00:15:15] Becki: Of course.

[00:15:15] Ramit: Do either of you feel satisfied with what just happened right there? 

[00:15:19] Dustin: No.

[00:15:23] Ramit: Becki?

[00:15:26] Becki: Not particularly.

[00:15:28] Ramit: So can we try that again? Let’s ask the questions that you really want to ask but have not said out loud. Dustin.

[00:15:41] Dustin: Why are we still putting things on credit cards that we’re not paying off at the end of the month?

[00:15:47] Ramit: Okay. Love that question. Can I just do a quick reframe? It’s not we, is it?

[00:15:53] Dustin: No.

[00:15:54] Ramit: Ask her the question again and ask it with the proper words. 

[00:15:56] Dustin: Sorry. Why are you still putting things on your credit cards that you aren’t paying off every month?

[00:16:11] Becki: Because I don’t always have the cash to do all the things that we make plans to do in our life. And I don’t want to ask you for it because I don’t want to hear it, that you don’t get to do the things you want to do because you have to pay for both of us. You didn’t sign up for this, and you already had that marriage. You’re not going to do that again. So I just put on my credit card and figure it out later.

[00:16:38] Dustin: When does it stop? In my head, I was at 13 months. Hey, we’re going to get this paid off. It ends up going, whatever, 17 months. I’m like, boom, here’s what I feel is a little pretty good bit of money to get us, and me showing, hey, I believe in what we’re doing. This is me putting my effort to move us along in life. You don’t have to worry about this no more. This is stressing you out. I’m in a situation.

[00:17:07] Ramit: How much money did you give?

[00:17:09] Dustin: Two grand. 

[00:17:10] Ramit: Two grand. And that was a gift?

[00:17:12] Dustin: Itwas for her birthday.

[00:17:13] Ramit: Okay. All right.

[00:17:14] Dustin: That’s what I was told she owed on her credit card.

[00:17:17] Ramit: Great. So you said, hey, you’re close to the finish line. Here’s 2k. Wipe it off. 

[00:17:23] Dustin: Yeah. 

[00:17:24] Ramit: Okay,great. 

[00:17:25] Dustin: So I did that. And then to know it’s already back to seven grand, and we’re here trying to join money and things like that, but you still haven’t paid off your credit cards. So I was joining money or us saving money to go here, it needs to be paying off credit card. And it’s been the number one goal for 24 months at this point. 

[00:17:54] Ramit: Becki?

[00:17:55] Becki: Yes,you’re right.

[00:18:00] Ramit: So you charge the expenses to your credit card. And what are the consequences of that action?

[00:18:08] Becki: Then I feel guilty because I’m not supposed to be doing that. And we made this agreement. And then I feel stressed because now I have more money to pay off. 

[00:18:19] Ramit: What else? Think about your partner?

[00:18:25] Becki: I know that if he knew he would be upset and disappointed.

[00:18:33] Ramit: And what about the connection between you? When you charge up your credit card again, what does it do to the connection, the intimate connection between you two?

[00:18:45] It make it difficult. It put another barrier because that is a big deal to him.

[00:18:52] And I think we’re here because, Becki, you wanted some certainty around where’s the relationship going? Which is a totally fair question. So it seems like part of the behavior here, part of the consequences of that is that it makes the relationship less certain. Is that accurate?

[00:19:14] Becki: Yeah.

[00:19:16] Ramit: So have you made the connection with yourself that when I charge up my credit card and go back into credit card debt, it makes Dustin hesitant to commit more deeply to this relationship?

[00:19:30] Becki: No, I’ve never made that connection.

[00:19:33] Ramit: [Narration]

[00:19:34] If you’re listening or watching this on YouTube, you might be looking around like, what? How could you not see that? But I think it’s important to highlight that a lot of people have difficulty seeing the connections between cause and effect. This happens for money, where people will buy a car, but they don’t understand that a 65,000-dollar financed purchase affects their retirement.

[00:19:58] And they don’t understand how much it’ll affect their ability to vacation, or even their spouse’s stress level. This lack of understanding of cause and effect also happens for health and wellness, where we rarely understand the connection between what we eat and how it affects our body, our energy, our mood, even our skin.

[00:20:17] And of course, this happens for relationships, and work, and parenting. So it might seem obvious to you, the cause and effect here, but I can guarantee you there’s one important part of your life where you are ignorant to cause and effect or simply in denial about it. This is human nature. It happens to you. It happens to me. It happens to all of us. Now back to Becki, who’s going to share a very interesting way that she rationalizes her behavior. 

[00:20:47] Interview: [Interview]

[00:20:48] Becki: No, I’ve never made that connection.

[00:20:50] Ramit: Sit with it for a minute. Tell me what comes to mind as you think about it and how you feel about that connection.

[00:20:58] Becki: I guessI havethought about it because I’ve often thought he’s never going to marry me because I’m never going to be frugal enough, or I’m never going to be financially responsible enough, because I’ve always been this way. So I guess to say I haven’t thought about it is a little bit of a fib because I have thought about it.

[00:21:26] And so I think sometimes then I go in this spiral of like, he’s never going to make that commitment. He’s never going to do this because I can’t do this. And then I get upset because I’m like, I shouldn’t have to prove myself or be perfect for him to want to be with me. [I’m like, I shouldn’t have to prove myself or be perfect.

[00:21:48] But no, because that was a thing that he was very clear about. I guess I just get in these spirals about it and probably just end up feeling frustrated and, I don’t know, like it’s my fault, like I’m not worth marrying.


[00:22:22] Dustin: Why do you feel like that? And why have you never told me that?

[00:22:28] Becki: I feel like I have told you that. I feel like I’ve told you that– I’ve never said it that blatantly. And if I haven’t, it’s probably because I guess I was afraid if you knew that I didn’t think I could change, then you wouldn’t want to be together.  If I was worried, then you would be more worried. 

[00:23:04] Ramit: What’s the end goal? 

[00:23:07] Dustin: I want her to be able to spend on– if she wants to say– 

[00:23:18] Ramit: I’m talking about the end goal. What’s the end goal? 

[00:23:19] Is it a year or 10 years? 

[00:23:23] Dustin: For me, the main thing would be to see this team come together and go down the road and be like, okay, two months, probably not enough. I can be anybody for two months. You know what I mean? I need to see we’re doing what we want to do and this is going to work.

[00:23:43] Ramit: For how long?

[00:23:48] Dustin: Again, I’m on a feeling thing. I’m not going to be like, seven months, or something like that, and then I’m going to propose and have this grand plan.

[00:23:59] Ramit: Becki, you see how I’m asking these questions? How come I’m the one asking these questions and not you?

[00:24:08] Becki: Probably because I got tired of asking them. 

[00:24:13] Ramit: Do you mind if I read a little bit from your application? Youokay with that? 

[00:24:18] Becki: Yeah. 

[00:24:19] Ramit: Okay. Have you seen thisapplication,Dustin?

[00:24:21] Dustin: No.I think she might’ve read it to me, but she might’ve gave me the cliff notes.

[00:24:30] Ramit: She writes, “My boyfriend and I have been living together for almost two years, and we do not know how to move forward in terms of money, and it feels to me like our relationship. Since before I moved in, I was clear that I want to change the house or not stay here. I have been patient, but in a few months, it will be two years. He will do one thing, like the floors, and will want a medal for that. I’m 42.” This is Becki. 

[00:24:54] “I’m living 3,000 miles from my home, friends, and family. I need to know that if I am here, it is for something special. I need our relationship to be special. If we aren’t going to be a team, and if we aren’t going to work together to create something amazing, why am I missing out on life with every other person I love.” Thatis the cruxof our conversation today.So do we want to talk about that now?

[00:25:30] Dustin: Yeah.

[00:25:31] Becki: It just feels really hard because I have to wait for you to be ready for everything. I know you think the backyard is so stupid or the house is so stupid, but I want something that feels like ours. I don’t know. I want something that’s ours. I just want to feel part of it. And I don’t sometimes.

[00:26:10] Dustin: Okay. So it’s hard for me to feel like we are building a swimming pool in the backyard when it’s all of the money from my account. In a way, that’s hard for me to understand how it’s ours because in my theory, if we went and bought something or we were doing something, it would be, we did it, not, I paid for it, and we enjoyed it. That’smy disconnect. 

[00:26:51] Becki: I think that’s why I’ve been wanting to join things, because I don’t know how else to contribute so that you don’t feel– is it going to be that until I have $67,000 in savings, like it’s not yours? When does it stop being yours, and when does it become ours? Not until match you? Because that’s going to be years. So that’s what I don’t understand. 

[00:27:18] Dustin: For me, if I’m financially putting the book bag on of like, oh, we want to have all these things for ourselves, like we want to build a gym so that we can have it, the gyms for you. I would be buying it for you. And now it would be ours, but I would have to financially prepare all of that. I told you this a long time ago. We can go buy whatever house you want. And I feel sometimes if I put a pool, build a gym paint, did all of it, it still would not be enough.

[00:28:01] In a way, I feel sometimes like I pay a tax for you living here. I’m already at a deficit because you’re so far away. And it’s like I can’t pay that financially. I can’t put a beautiful pool out there and then overcome every time you miss home. And you’re like, but we have this nice pool. I don’t want to spend all of my money to do it.

[00:28:27] Narration: [Narration]

[00:28:29] Ramit: Until now, it’s been polite, like a visitor was in their house. But when they start talking to each other, it starts getting much more concerning. 

[00:28:39] Narration: We’ll be right back after this. 

[00:28:41] AD BREAK 

[00:28:42] Now, back to Becki and Dustin. 

[00:28:43] Interview: [Interview]

[00:28:44] Ramit: Are your parents still together?

[00:28:46] Becki: Yeah. 

[00:28:47] Ramit: What do you remember about them as it relates to money when you were a kid?

[00:28:51] Becki: My dad worked, ran his own business. My dad ran his own business. My mom pretty much stayed home until I was 12, and then she went back part time. My dad pretty much took care of everything.

[00:29:10] Ramit: Why’d you laugh just a second ago? 

[00:29:13] Becki: Because Dustin runs his own business, and I’m my mom, and I spent– I just, all of a sudden, was like, oh my gosh, we’re literally reliving my life.

[00:29:21] Ramit: Okay I like that. So what happened?

[00:29:26] Becki: My dad never said anything explicitly, but he was always like, live below your means. They always made a point to let me know that. When they bought a new house, they only bought a house for what they made on their last house, so they never went and lived, extravagantly. My dad ran a business, and he would always tell me about how he had a 100,000-dollar line of credit at a bank that he’d never touched in 30 years. 

[00:29:53] Ramit: Okay, so that’s good advice.

[00:29:55] Becki: Yeah, yeah, my dad’s great.

[00:29:57] Ramit: Butyou mentioned that you’ve been living above your means for years now. Where’d that come from?

[00:30:04] Becki: That probably came from my mom. So my mom always probably spent a little bit more. We always had it, but she would just squirrel away money all year so that she could go over the top at Christmas. I can remember Christmases that were just stupid. 

[00:30:27] And she always was so nervous about money and not having enough money to pay the bills, but we did, so I never really understood why she was like that, because we always had enough money, but she was always like, oh, I don’t know how I’m going to cover this. I got to move this money from this account, and I got to get cash from this stash that I’ve put away all year, and I have to do this, and I have to do that.

[00:30:59] Ramit: Do you see any connection with that and your behavior today?

[00:31:02] Becki: Yeah. A 100%. Yeah. I didn’t realize how much Dustin was like my dad. That was the laughter epiphany, was like, my dad has a lot of money stashed away, squirreled away. I don’t even know if my mom knows how much he has.

[00:31:21] Ramit: And in that relationship of your parents, your mom, nervous energy, saving money, but then overspending, who would come to the rescue?

[00:31:32] Becki: My dad. He paid off all her debt when they first got married.

[00:31:35] Ramit: Oh, gosh. Any similarities 40 years later?

[00:31:40] Becki: I never wanted to tell you that.

[00:31:42] Ramit: Look at Dustin’ssmile. Now that’s a big smile right there. Dustin, you’ve become her father, which is–

[00:31:50] Dustin: Worst thing to be.

[00:31:52] Becki: Big Dave’s an amazing guy.

[00:31:54] Dustin: Yeah.

[00:31:54] Ramit: Okay. So Becki, in your parents’ relationship, your dad came to save the day.

[00:32:00] Becki: Right. But even in talking, as an adult, it was very much my mom was a single mom who was struggling financially. My parents are much older, so they come from a different time. My dad was a 35-year-old bachelor who had a successful business, and it was time to get married and have a family. And my mom was a nice woman who would stay home and take care of the kids, and they checked the boxes for each other. Yeah. 

[00:32:37] Ramit: What happens when Dustin writes you a 2,000-dollar check to pay off the last of your credit card debt? How did you interpretthat?

[00:32:48] Becki: I was annoyed, in all honesty, because he did it because he didn’t get me a birthday present. So three days later, he gave me a 2,000-dollar Venmo because I was pestering him about not getting me a birthday present. So in all honesty, in that moment, I was irritated. 

[00:33:05] Dustin: She preferred Venmo over cash. Easier to get it in the bank.

[00:33:10] Ramit: Becki? Are you seeing the similarities between your parents’ relationship and what’s going on here?

[00:33:16] Becki: Yes.

[00:33:17] Ramit: Tell me what you notice. What are the connections you see? 

[00:33:21] Becki: That Dustin’s the reliable one and the steadfast one, and he makes all the decisions, and he makes sure we’re not going to go into financial ruin, and I spend the money, and then he comes in and, as annoyed as he is, takes care of it because he cares.

[00:33:50] Ramit: Dustin, is that an accurate representation of the roles right now?

[00:33:55] Becki: Yeah. I feel like she knows she doesn’t have to worry.

[00:34:00] Ramit: That’s exactly what she just said. You’re going to be there to make sure everything’s okay. But can I ask a question to both of you? Are those the roles you both want in your relationship?

[00:34:16] Dustin: No.

[00:34:17] Becki: No.

[00:34:17] Narration: [Narration]

[00:34:18] Ramit: Becki never noticed the similarity between her parents relationship and their own. I’m interested that when I gently pointed that out, she went right back into her story about why she was annoyed that he gave her a 2,000-dollar gift because it was late, and the true point totally passed her by.

[00:34:37] This is really important. Sometimes people are so deep in their own stories that they don’t notice what’s going on right in front of their eyes. That’s happening here, and that’s a tough way to live. It was at this point in the conversation that I noticed something peculiar about their relationship.

[00:35:00] Interview: [Interview]

[00:35:00] Ramit: Can I ask you something? You two ever say positive words to each other?

[00:35:06] Becki: No. 

[00:35:07] Ramit: Dustin, you ever say positive words to Becki?

[00:35:12] Dustin: I feel like I do sometimes, but I’m also very terrible at conveying my feelings.

[00:35:18] Ramit: So what? Kids are terrible at riding bikes. They still try.

[00:35:23] Dustin: Okay. True.

[00:35:25] Ramit: Y’all want to practice right now? Should we try doing something nice? What do you say? All it took was you filling out an application, getting through literally thousands of other people applying, getting screened, me showing up here, having a Netflix show. All it took was a few simple things for us to come together and maybe, just maybe, say a couple of nice words to each other. What do you say?

[00:35:52] The dead silence on this call tells me that I might need to give you a little bit more guidance. That’s fine with me. I don’t mind. Who wants to go first and acknowledge their partner and say something nice?

[00:36:08] Becki: I’ll go first.

[00:36:10] Ramit: Please.

[00:36:10] Becki: I very much appreciate everything that you’ve done for us up to this point, and for me. And I know that that was difficult for you, and I know that it means that you care a lot about me and our relationship, and I don’t want you to have to feel that way anymore, and I want to be a better partner so that you can feel more secure in our relationship.

[00:36:43] Dustin: I guess I didn’t understand or didn’t know if you did appreciate everything I did, so it’s nice hearing that. I would love for us to come together and move forward, and you not have that boundary where you can’t speak to me about money, I guess. That way, I feel like that would be a wall that’s coming down.

[00:37:07] So maybe we feel more together about everything, and that moving forward, you’re not on your page, and I’m on my page. We’d be on the same page and both have a general understanding of where things are going.

[00:37:22] Ramit: How’d that feel?

[00:37:25] Becki: Okay.

[00:37:28] Dustin: Pretty good.

[00:37:29] Ramit: Looked good. I’m not kidding. It looked awesome watching the two of you really hearing what their partner was saying. One thing I learned in my own relationship is that I there’s never too many nice things you can say. It’s never too much. I love you. I like that shirt. Thank you for emptying the dishwasher today. Wow, I can’t believe that you packed the suitcases for us. That’s so cool. And on and on.

[00:38:03] It could be as small as packing the suitcases. Could be as big as, I just love waking up next to you. And I hope that this little exercise just scratches the surface of it’s actually okay to say nice things to each other. In a way, it actually connects you so much more than talking about logistics. Anybody want to say anything else to your partner while we’re here aboutthis?

[00:38:35] Dustin: Ibelieveshecan do it. I believed in her the whole time.

[00:38:40] Ramit: Talk to her.

[00:38:41] Dustin: I’ve believed in you the whole time. I wish maybe there was some more openness so I would have known, hey, maybe I need to pick this up right here. Because if I don’t, we’re going to put it on a credit card. I’d rather pay whatever right now, instead of pay 500 towards interest because we may pay it all. I’d just rather take care of it and know we’re headed in the right direction.

[00:39:08] Becki: Thank you for not making me feel crappy about it, and I’m sorry that I didn’t feel, I could just tell you. I’m sorry that I– it’s hard for me to not be perfect, and I didn’t want you to– I don’t know. But I’m sorry. It definitely will be more honest because, I guess, I can feel safe that you’re not going anywhere.

[00:39:52] Dustin: Still here.

[00:39:55] Ramit: Wow. Honestly, amazing. I’m so impressed with both of you. The level of communication, the honesty, and what makes it even more special is that you haven’t really talked like this much at all, right? They’re both shaking their heads. Been together for four years. Haven’t really talked like this.

[00:40:23] Narration: [Narration]

[00:40:24] Ramit: If you’re listening to this on audio, I would highly encourage you to come watch their body language on YouTube. Every week now I’m getting comments from people who come over the videos. They go, hey, I was listening on my phone, but I finally decided to see what they look like, and now I’m hooked on the videos.

[00:40:40] In terms of Becki and Dustin, I loved their communication. I’m a little shocked that this was the first time they’ve said something nice to each other, which obviously goes a lot deeper than we can tackle on one call. But I am pleased to see how they were able to communicate. 

[00:40:56] Now I wanted to get into their numbers, and a bunch of you have asked me where you can get the template that all of these guests are using for their finances. It’s called the Conscious Spending Plan, and it’s free to download at iwt.com/csp.  

[00:41:13] Let’s take a quick pause for a message from our sponsors. 

[00:41:15] AD BREAK 

[00:41:16] Let’s get back to the show. 

[00:41:18] [Interview]

[00:41:18] Do you mind if we take a look at the numbers? All right, I think it’s going to shed a lot of light on what is going on here. To summarize, we’ve been together for four years, talked about the credit card debt being paid off. It was paid off earlier this year, but now it’s run back up to $7,000.

[00:41:37] And we’re really here because, Becki, you want to know, where’s this relationship going? And right now, your finances are separate. You both want to know that you’re going to be part of a team. Let’s take a look. Dustin, can you help us through the net worth section? Just read the word in bold and the full number next to it. 

[00:42:01] Dustin: Assets, 537,900.

[00:42:06] Ramit: All right. Investments? 

[00:42:08] Dustin: 30,189. 

[00:42:11] Ramit: All right. Next.

[00:42:12] Dustin: Savingsis 69,815, and debt 450,215.

[00:42:23] Ramit: All right. Total net worth?

[00:42:24] Dustin: 187,689.

[00:42:28] Ramit: So let’sgo underneath these numbers because it’s important. It shows the difference in your finances. So in terms of assets, Dustin, you have $520,000, and Becki, you have $17,000. In terms of investments, Dustin, you have $25,000, and Becki, you have $4,800. Savings, 67,000 for Dustin, 2,800 for Becki. 

[00:43:00] Debt. I want to talk about this. Dustin, you have $243,000 of debt and Becki, you have $206,000 of debt. So if we actually split out the net worth by partner, Dustin, your net worth is $307,000, and Becki, yours is negative $181,000. Accurate? Becki, what does it feel like to hear those numbers?

[00:43:34] Becki: It doesn’t feel great.

[00:43:40] Ramit: What is the $206,000 of debt that you have?

[00:43:44] Becki: Mostly my student loan.

[00:43:49] Ramit: How long have you been paying that off?

[00:43:51] Becki: I graduated seven years ago.

[00:43:54] Ramit: Oh.

[00:43:55] Becki: And I haven’t been paying for the last three years. So I just made my first payment this month.

[00:44:00] Ramit: How much payment did you make?

[00:44:02] Becki: 369.

[00:44:04] Ramit: Okay, how long will it take you to pay it off?

[00:44:07] Becki: Forever. I’m on the income-based repayment plan, where after 25 years or whatever, it gets forgiven, and I think you take a tax hit.

[00:44:17] Ramit: All right. And Dustin, what’s your $243,000 of debt? 

[00:44:21] Dustin: It should just be the house, the remainder of the house, and a truck.

[00:44:26] Ramit: Whatkind of truck?

[00:44:29] Dustin: For the business. 

[00:44:31] Ramit: Thatdoesn’t answer my question. What kind of truck?

[00:44:34] Dustin: F350.

[00:44:35] Ramit: 350? How big is that freaking thing?

[00:44:41] Dustin: It’s the biggest one you can get.

[00:44:43] Ramit: Jesus. And what do you do for a living?

[00:44:46] Dustin: I buildswimming pools, so I haul equipment, andwhatnot.

[00:44:50] Ramit: Oh really? How much did you pay? 

[00:44:52] Dustin: 65.

[00:44:52] Ramit: 65,000. All right. We haven’t gotten to your income yet. So assuming you have a very high income, that sounds like a very reasonable purchase. Let’s see. Let’s pop it up here. I’m in suspense just like you. Income. All right. Gross monthly income. Becki, what’s this number here, your total combined monthly income?

[00:45:19] Becki: 10,333.

[00:45:21] Ramit: That’s gross income. That’s $124,000 a year. All right. Did you both know that you make $124,000 total per year?

[00:45:30] Dustin: Yeah. 

[00:45:31] Becki: Yeah.

[00:45:33] Dustin: I think we did.

[00:45:34] Becki: I think I thought we made more than that because I make–

[00:45:37] Ramit: That’s what I want to know. Hold on. Before we go on, one, I legitimately do not know the answer to this. One partner makes $8,333 a month, and the other makes $2,000 a month. Who makes what?

[00:45:50] Becki: I’m partner 1.

[00:45:52] Ramit: You make $8,333 a month?

[00:45:56] Becki: Mm-hmm.

[00:45:57] Ramit: I have a lot of questions. Dustin, you make $2,000 a month?

[00:46:04] Dustin: All right. So Ramit, we didn’t know what to put here. I own a business, and I’m not really set up to pay myself, so I just put money in my account when I want to.But I automatically draft 2,000 a month.

[00:46:24] Ramit: But how much does your business make?

[00:46:27] Dustin: I think last year we cleared 150. We pulled out a bunch of money throughout the year.

[00:46:37] Becki: So Ramit, the truck.

[00:46:40] Ramit: Yeah. Let’s start at the truck.

[00:46:42] Becki: We had to buy the truck at the end of last year, or else he was going to have to pay taxes.

[00:46:47] Ramit: Whotaughtyouthis extremely poor use of personal finance? Who taught you this?

[00:46:53] Dustin: No one, just winging it.

[00:46:55] Becki: This is part of the big issue. Dustin graduated high school, barely, and then worked for a little bit and realized, I cannot work for someone else. I am going to work for myself. And started a business. And I think he’s done better than he really thought he would.

[00:47:15] When I met Dustin, he had one account, business and personal. He just lived out of that account and did a little bit here and a little bit there. And so now he doesn’t know what’s the business’s money and what’s his money. And that leads to a lot of our issues of like, I don’t really know how much money we have because sometimes it sounds like we have a lot, and sometimes it doesn’t sound like we have any.

[00:47:39] Ramit: I’m so confused. I have so many questions. First of all, the way you talk about money– Becki, I’m talking to you.

[00:47:47] Becki: Yes.

[00:47:48] Ramit: You talk about money like you don’t make that much money. Do you know that?

[00:47:53] Becki: I never realized it.

[00:47:55] Ramit: Yeah. You talk about money likeyoudon’t– 

[00:47:56] Becki: LikeImake that much money.

[00:47:58] Ramit: You make almost a $100,000 a year, and you live in North Carolina, and I don’t think you pay rent, right?

[00:48:06] Becki: Mm-mm.

[00:48:07] Ramit: So the way you talk about money is completely at odds with the numbers on the page. You are living an old story. It’s striking. I’m frankly shocked when I found out that that 8,333 is yours. Because the way that Dustin talks about money, it’s like way more confident. And it’s like, we shouldn’t be traveling. We have boundaries, and on, and on, andon.

[00:48:36] And when I hear somebody making 8,300 bucks a month and they have debt, I’m like, okay, just pay it off, especially with your cost of living. Let’s solve the problem. We can literally knock this thing out in two months. I’m candidly surprised. Now, Dustin, what the fuck man? Explain to me how you can afford a 65,000-dollar truck, please.t

[00:49:02] Dustin: It’s the business audit.

[00:49:05] Ramit: The business made $150,000.

[00:49:09] Dustin: Cleared.

[00:49:09] Ramit: Howcana business making $150,000 pay you no salary at 150K? How can that business afford a 65,000-dollar truck?

[00:49:20] Dustin: I don’t know. It’s doing it.

[00:49:22] Ramit: Who told you that, Chet, your friendly, local, North Carolina Ford dealer? What’d he say? Come on in here, Dustin. What kind of payment you want to make? You want to pay 600 a month? I can’t do 600, but you’re a good friend. I’ll tell you what. I’m going to go ahead and give you 650 a month. It’s going to be a 96-month loan at 7.5%. Yeah, your credit isn’t that good, but you know what? Something special for you. I’m going to throw in the floor matsall for you. 

[00:49:47] Becki: Iwish that truck was $650 a month.

[00:49:49] Ramit: How much? Oh yeah, it’s way more. How much?

[00:49:52] Dustin: The payment?

[00:49:53] Ramit: Yeah.

[00:49:54] Dustin: 1,450?

[00:49:57] Ramit: You’re the one who’s paying $1,450 on a fucking truck? Plusgas. 

[00:50:06] Becki: More than ourmortgage. 

[00:50:07] Dustin: Ohyeah.

[00:50:08] Ramit: Explain this to me. How much do you spend on gas per month?

[00:50:15] Dustin: Oh, I’d have to look it up on the– I spent over $200 on Monday to fill up some of the work [Inaudible].

[00:50:22] Ramit: And do you love your truck? 

[00:50:27] Dustin: I didn’t want a dually.

[00:50:29] Ramit: What’s that?

[00:50:31] Dustin: It’s just a dually. I’d want a regular truck.

[00:50:34] Becki: Histruck has six tires, Ramit.

[00:50:37] Dustin: Instead of four.

[00:50:42] Ramit: Wait, this is crazy. Hold on my video’s– oh my god, I think my video got frozen. Oh my god, what happened?

[00:50:48] Narration: [Narration]

[00:50:48] Ramit: 100 episodes of this podcast. This was literally the first time my video cut out on me, and I think it’s because I encountered someone who makes $24,000 a year and bought an F350 with six tires and a 1,450-dollar monthly payment, including $200 in gas he filled up this Monday. Well, in part 2 of our conversation, you’re going to hear the surprising conclusion of Becki and Dustin, including the rest of their numbers. I’ll see you next week.