Update: Do I Have a Right To Know About My Partner’s Finances?

Friends, I come to you today breathless with excitement. Remember Anonymous Rex, the bitchling who wrote to us about their secretive significant other? The one whose partner was all like “I can know about your finances, but you can’t know about mine“? The one whose partner was most likely hiding something sketchy from Anonymous Rex, according to moi?

They wrote back.

And oh baby is it juicy:

Hey Bitches,

Anon with the cagey significant other here. Turns out they were alarmingly deep in debt, were not honest about how much they were working, and more. They were very upset about having to mention anything financial, and were pissed that I thought I had a right to know their personal matters.

So, I broke up with them. Not just because of the finance stuff, though it was definitely the straw that broke the camel’s back. And I feel freer and happier than I have in years. Which probably sounds really heartless, because you’re supposed to be all torn up about ending relationships, especially ones that are as serious as that one was, but… it’s true. I don’t know what it says about the relationship if when it ends, all you feel is overwhelming relief, but… that’s how I felt.

Thank you so much for your response to my question. It’s good to know that it isn’t crazy or invasive or unreasonable to want to know a significant other’s financial situation/how they handle their finances. I was beginning to think it was. I’ll keep that “personal finance is personal—not private” mantra in my head, going forward.

-Anonymous Rex again

No but in all seriousness it sucks to be vindicated in this way. The full-body orgasm I receive from being right about something is somewhat dampened by being right about bad shit happening.

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Ask the Bitches: Do I Have a Right To Know the Private Details of My Partner’s Finances?

When we started Bitches Get Riches, we thought we’d be writing mostly about paying off student loans and building credit scores. And to be fair, we’ve done a lot of that! But more and more we find ourselves coming for Dear Prudence’s job. Because it turns out handling finances within a romantic relationship is hella complicated! And sometimes we get a question about financial transparency among partners that does us a concern.

Like this one:

Hey bitches! I know personal finance is personal, but if your significant other is being cagey about their finances even after you’ve been together for years and want to move in together/get married, is this a red flag? I don’t expect them to disclose all their spending habits or whatever, because yeah, personal finance is personal. But I feel like it’s reasonable to want to know what their income is and how much debt they have, especially if they know those things about you and you’re planning on a life together. Those things affect the rent you can afford and all sorts of stuff. But they act like I’m unreasonable and invasive for wanting to know, which makes me wary.

Anonymous Rex
Lack of financial transparency... scares me.

You’re right to be wary. And you’re definitely not being unreasonable. Let’s unpack this suitcase of red flags.

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Learning To Reverse the Golden Rule

As we mentioned in our last article, Kitty and I recently taught a workshop on burnout. We did a ton of research around it. Obviously, we already knew that burnout sucks and is bad (not our hottest take, historically). But that research led us to a much deeper, scarier understanding of exactly how widespread and devastating burnout really is. It’s the difference between knowing how big a blue whale is because Google told you, and knowing how big a blue whale is because it’s rising up from the water beneath you.

The causes of burnout aren’t straightforward. A variety of cultural, organizational, and individual traits work together to burn a person out. Although bigger structural issues deserve the lion’s share of blame, individual struggles with perfectionism, breakneck compulsory productivity, and a cruel inner voice appear in story after story.

I recognize those struggles in the stories we’ve heard from readers. And from many personal friends and loved ones. And from my coblogger, Kitty.

But most especially, from myself.

Today I’m discussing why I hold myself to a higher standard than I hold everyone else. I want to think about how to let go of this unhealthy habit and start treating myself with more kindness and compassion. And since I know this is something I’m profoundly Not Alone in, I’ll share what I’ve learned.

Note: I talk about suicidal ideation and post-traumatic stress in this post. If you don’t feel ready for those topics, maybe skip this one! And if you struggle with suicidal thoughts, please call 988 for help and resources from the Suicide and Crisis Hotline.*

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The Truth About Unions: What Has Organized Labor Done for You?

IT’S A STRIKE!

Keen-eyed readers who do not dwell under rocks might be aware that two large unions–the Writers Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild–have recently joined forces in a massive labor strike. Their terms are simple: better pay through more equitable distribution of profits, and assurance that they will not be replaced by robots.

Given that this is the first time since the 1960s that the WGA and SAG have gone on strike together… it’s a big fucking deal. And they’re not alone! Across the country strikes and labor negotiations are popping up among auto workers, fast food workers, UPS workers, nurses, hotel workers, and more.

Our awesome Patreon donors therefore requested we answer this question…

What’s the deal with unions? Because I’ve heard they’re amazing, corrupt, empowering, exploitative, equalizing, and expensive. What’s the truth?

Let me answer this question the way I answer most things: by starting with a tangent on a totally unrelated topic, until it suddenly isn’t! (It’s kinda My Thing.)

It’s toasted!

Do you know when cigarette smoking among Americans peaked? It was in 1963. How about when we first got pretty solid evidence that smoking caused lung cancer? It was thirteen years earlier, in 1950.

Thirteen years is a long dang time! If people knew it was a health risk, why did so many not only continue to smoke, but begin smoking who hadn’t before?

The main culprit is the tobacco industry’s social engineering. Which is to say: their deliberate, coordinated campaign of disinformation.

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I Have Become the Rich Relative I Always Wanted

After nearly nine years of living on top of a dungeon, I’m turning it into a palace. That’s right, kids: we’re finishing the basement!

And it’s going to be sick. There’s going to be a bathroom fit for a queen*, a veritable Shangri-La of a bedroom-cum-sitting-room, acres upon acres of well-organized cabinetry and shelving for storage, built-in bookshelves the likes of which Trinity College can only dream, and a laundry room—a laundry room! Try to contain your jealousy.

Doubling the livable space in my home is obviously costing Bear and I a pretty penny. But we think it’s worth it. Because it’s not just for us. We’re spending loads of money to turn our basement into an affordable apartment for someone we love.

*Only because Kitty picked out the tiles.

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Screw Up Your Taxes? Here’s How To Get Out of Paying Tax Penalties

Bitches Get Riches had been a business for a mere three years before we got a massive tax penalty fine.

Yes, that’s right: even your flawless finance aunties occasionally regularly make money mistakes! Despite appearances, we are but mere mortals, flubbing paperwork and misunderstanding deadlines! Aren’t we relatable??? Don’t you like us even more now?!?

Stars--they're just like us!

And in this particular case, we screwed up our annual tax filing—a mistake that was going to cost us upwards of $4,800. Which, uh… was not ideal.

But while we are more than capable of mistakes, we are also equally capable of researching our way out of most financial problems. Which is exactly why we were able to make that $4,800 tax bill… disappear!

And because we love you, today we’re going to share that trick with you.

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How to Build Good Credit Without Going Into Debt

How to Build Good Credit Without Going Into Debt

Adult human beings need credit—good credit—to do lots of important adult things such as renting apartments and buying cars. We’ve been over this! But conventional wisdom says that the best way—nay, the only way—to build good credit is by accumulating debt.

That assumption about building credit through getting in debt feels backwards to me. For after all, the entire purpose of a credit score is to show that you’re worthy of loans. So you have to owe money so that you can then… owe money? And having debt, whether it be in the form of a balance on a credit card or just Ye Olde Student Loane, can lead you down a fucking terrifying cycle of overspending and interest that can eventually damage your credit, rather than helping it.

So let’s toss out the conventional wisdom. There’s got to be a better way! And there is. For it’s entirely possible to steadily build good credit without going into a day of debt.

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The Expensive Difference Between Recreation and Recovery

Bitchlings, I am exhausted. Yet I’m also kind of… bored? Or not bored, but lacking in enrichment. The zoo enclosure that is my life is simultaneously stressful and dull in a way that I had trouble putting into words until recently.

As alert readers know, I recently read Barbara Sloan‘s excellent book Tipped: The Life Changing Guide to Financial Freedom for Waitresses, Bartenders, Strippers, and All Other Service Industry Professionals. Check out our interview with the author right here!

Reading Tipped gave me an epiphany: my exhaustion, my boredom, and my money stress are all symptomatic of a larger problem. When I’m not working, I’m spending too much time and money recovering from that work and not enough time and money simply in recreation. From Barbara’s book:

“Winding down after a shift, because of the shift, is a work expense.”

Barbara Sloan, Tipped
Poor Tiana does nothing BUT recover from work on her few hours off.

In other words, spending time recovering from your work is a cost of that work. Spending money recovering from your work is a cost of that work. And that’s a problem.

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A (Somewhat) Comprehensive List of Fun Job Perks that Won’t Pay Your Rent

If you’ve ever applied to a job, you’ve seen it: the list of ~*fun job perks*~ at the end of a job description, meant to entice would-be employees with grand promises of free coffee in the break room and foosball tables! Who wouldn’t want a discounted monthly membership to the fancy yoga studio, or massage chairs in the lobby, or an automatic vacation day on your birthday???

ME, that’s who. I righteously spit in the face of your fun job perks! And you should too! Because no matter how much you might appreciate a monthly pizza day in the office… it’s not going to pay your rent.

I am here today to call out fun job perks for what they are: infuriatingly meaningless bribes meant to distract us from a lack of humane compensation. And I brought backup.

We asked our readers for a list of the kind of fun job perks employers offer in an attempt to attract potential employees. The kind that seem great on the surface, but are almost always offered instead of rather than in addition to higher compensation or better quality insurance. And as always, when we sent up the Bitch Signal, the citizens of Bitch Nation delivered.

When we turn on the Bitch Signal, the bitchlings come running.
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