Failing business is tearing us apart.
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Navigation »Talk About Marriage »Focused Topics »Financial Problems in Marriage » Failing business is tearing us apart.

Financial Problems in Marriage When financial times are tough, it adds to the stress we deal with on a daily basis. This section is for talking about how financial problems affect our relationships and ways to cope.

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Old 04-22-2012, 06:13 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Unhappy Failing business is tearing us apart.

We have been married almost 12 years with 2 children ages 7 & 8 We are older - I'm 48, he's 53. When we met, he was in the process of starting his own landscaping business. It was going well until about 6 years ago. We live in a seasonal area, and as I was staying home with the babies it wasn't enough to get us through the year. Each year has gotten worse and we are in debt as a result. I've recently gone back to work as the kids are in school now and it is still not enough. All the money that comes in from this business goes right back into it. The expenses are HUGE, and the business has not grown at all over the years. I am working 2 jobs plus I have to do all the paperwork, books, billpaying, tax stuff for this failing business. I am exhausted, and trying to get through to him that it is time to pack it in and do something else because the whole family is suffering, and it is ruining our marriage. He's been working for 2 months now, and we are unable to pay our mortgage for April as of yet because we haven't received any payments.

He refuses to listen to me. He is in total denial, and he doesn't want to go work for someone else. I've tried to explain to him that if he just had a regular job he would work less hours, have less stress, and less expenses, and come out probably exactly the way we are now without all the stress.

I don't know how to get through to him. I feel angry, trapped, and resentful. I want to save our marriage but if we keep going like this, I don't know if we can. How can I get through to this stubborn, stubborn man? Please help!
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Old 04-22-2012, 07:09 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Failing business is tearing us apart.

So sorry you are going through this. I can relate though. Initially our business was so successful that my estranged husband and I were stressed beyond the breaking point. It destroyed us and our marriage. We so wanted to sell out, but our franchisor wouldn't allow it. We had to eventually go down with the ship. At least your husband is free to have a choice.

He's not going to see reality because it's his dream. Perhaps agree to see a business consultant or CPA to settle the "dispute". Agree to abide by his/her recommendations. Is there a larger landscape business he could sell out to? And have a job with them?
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Old 04-22-2012, 08:22 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Failing business is tearing us apart.

kitty24 my H has a construction business and we've been struggling for the past few years too.
My H made the mistake of going underground and making financial decisions without me knowing and it has lead to all kind of problems in our marriage... my point is my H would do anything to save his business. It is a part of him.

He's one of those blokes who introduces himself with his name and his work. He feels a kind of dignity in being self employed. I'm wondering if your H is similar.

If so his ego is involved so be careful and gentle....
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Old 04-23-2012, 10:34 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Failing business is tearing us apart.

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He's not going to see reality because it's his dream. Perhaps agree to see a business consultant or CPA to settle the "dispute". Agree to abide by his/her recommendations. Is there a larger landscape business he could sell out to? And have a job with them?
Agree. This is a landscaping business. The economy sucks and will for some time (per the economic projections). Foreclosures will keep coming. People not paying the mortgage are not worrying about the lawn. Businesses are making do rather than investing. IMO you have flat or shrinking demand; prices are falling because the small businesses have no ability to raise prices; one is seen as good as the next and is replaceable.

If your husband will not sell or wind down the business, then he needs to retrench. He needs to scale back to stable, profitable customers and go push a lawn mower himself. At least that way he's pocketing $10 per hour and is out in the field.

I'm troubled that he's putting money back into a declining business. It seems like he is either not charging enough to cover expenses or is ineffectively spending money trying to grow the business.
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Old 04-23-2012, 10:50 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Failing business is tearing us apart.

Thanks for your replies. He did meet with the mentors of SCOPE, & they told him he needs to do something during the winter to survive - that was 4 years ago - never happened. We live in a "summer resort" area. It is very limited what one can do during the winter.

It is definitely an "ego" thing with him. I cannot even bring it up or make a suggestion as he explodes. Like when I did suggest he sell to another landscaping company and take a job with them. He finds all kinds of excuses not to do it, and flat out refuses. I cannot discuss it rationally with him because he flies off the handle and loses it.

He is out mowing lawns also. Until sundown everyday, 6 days a week. It is a very small business which I thought would have grown by now, that was the goal. After all these years, I thought he would have a large crew by now. For the past 3 years, it's been him and one other guy out working all day. For some reason, he decided to hire another guy this season and because of it we have $100 in the business checking account because he's paying another guy but doesn't have extra jobs or $$$ coming in.

We have nothing for retirement, nothing. We have no savings. We are living on the edge. It's a sinking ship that he keeps putting all the money back into. It is making our lives miserable but he won't admit it. We never go anywhere or do anything. We haven't had a vacation in 10 years. I feel like I'm going to lose my mind. It's the same thing every year. It never improves.

My next plan is to have the accountant (who we owe $3000 to) write up some kind of summary about how the business is not making any money. If that doesn't help, I will try to find a business consultant. I need to find someone he will listen to because he won't listen to me, even though I'm the one that does the books and I've showed him in black & white the harsh reality of the numbers. But that's not enough. Do we have to end up on the street before he finally gets it???
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Old 04-23-2012, 06:41 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Failing business is tearing us apart.

He does also do sprinkler repairs and installation, as well as pool openings, closings, and maintenance. You'd think all that would cut it. Every time customers send checks, he needs it to buy more mulch, fertilizer, pool chemicals, put gas in the trucks, pay the guys, etc, etc. We got some checks today, and I calmly asked him if I could use it towards the mortgage payment - he totally freaked out and screamed at me "I need that money to work, I have to buy supplies for a job! It's late anyway, just wait for more checks." I can't even discuss it with him in a rational way.

He uses the debit card & makes withdrawals without even checking with me if it's covered. He just uses it as if there's an endless supply of money in there. Not even checking if I've got checks written. All this money goes towards the business. Then we have to pay the payroll tax, sales tax, etc. The money is gone before it even comes in. There is nothing left by the time the business expenses get paid. We only have a little extra for 2 months out of the year - that's it. I cannot live like this anymore. I am DESPERATE to get through to him but he won't hear it. He won't listen to any of my suggestions - all of which everyone that replied also suggested. He is just irrational and delusional. Please someone help me find a way to make him see the light.
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Old 04-23-2012, 08:13 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Failing business is tearing us apart.

Open a separate checking account and put your pay checks in it. Do not fund his business with what you earn. Let reality begin to set in. He's obviously not charging enough for his services. It sounds as though he has plenty of work.
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Old 04-24-2012, 11:00 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Failing business is tearing us apart.

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Originally Posted by *Dean* View Post
The price of everything has gone up over the last yr. Gas is up big and all his chemicals used in the pool business is way up. Most likely the mulch and everything else has gone up as well. If he hasn't raised prices to customers due to this than that's a problem too. If he tells his customers this, they will understand and know why he needs to raise prices.
Agreed.

If, however, he can't raise prices due to competition, then he needs to get out and do something different (assuming he runs an efficient business). You need to have huge volume to succeed as a commodity business.
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Old 04-24-2012, 03:42 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Failing business is tearing us apart.

I am sorry that you have so much stress. It isn't fair. This isn't your dream, but you're paying for it.

What about marriage counselling? It sounds like there are some imbalances in this relationship that need to be worked out. He should not be willing to put his family through this just for his own ego.

I think you're doing a good thing by recruiting professionals to tell him what a hole he's in. To save your marriage, you should be the understanding one - you supported him, and you'll stand by him as he transitions out of this business and into something more stable, and you'll be there when he tries again down the road when the prospects are better.

Let him know there is no shame here - he tried. It's not his fault that the business (the business, not him) failed. And he can always try again.

Get him in to see as many professionals as you can - at the bank, accountants, etc, etc. Keep going until it sinks in.

And I definitely agree about opening up your own account. Take care of yourself and your kids.
Big hugs.
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Old 04-24-2012, 03:51 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Let him know there is no shame here - he tried. It's not his fault that the business (the business, not him) failed. And he can always try again.
Unfortunately, if this goes too far he won't get to try again. Since they are now falling behind on house payments, time is running out. Once his credit score is ruined, it will be hard to do anything. Your husband has got to face reality....and quickly!
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Old 06-06-2012, 05:07 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Failing business is tearing us apart.

Any update? I have a similar situation.
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Old 06-23-2012, 07:52 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Failing business is tearing us apart.

Kitty - I was in a very similar situation and I can totally understand the frustration and marital strain.

My STBXH is a general contractor and the business has lost about 90% revenue.

My story (A bit long) - We married in 1996 when we were both 35 years old. At that time, he owned an electro-static painting company. I work in the IT field and have always worked during our 16 year marriage. My paycheck covered most of the bills while the painting business barely survived. After many discussions and arguments he closed the business in 1999 and went to work for a construction company. Getting a steady paycheck was wonderful.

Our daughter was born in 2000 while he worked as a construction manager. In 2002, he took the GC exam in Florida and talked about opening up a GC business. I was VERY reluctant since I knew how he handled money with the painting business. He went ahead and opened the business in 2003. We lived in a very small house and were able to afford nights out, vacations and had a nice savings account. We were extremely happy. I handled all the business books, insurance, and household bills while working full time myself.

In 2005 the business was doing incredibly well. We sold our home and put down a huge amount of savings onto a 4 bedroom executive home with pool.

In 2007, we purchased an investment rental home with the blessing of our accountant to help with taxes deductions.

In 2008, the economy began to decline and the real estate market hit rock bottom. The business clients began to decrease. Our expenses were plentiful. We lived off of my paycheck and savings for the longest time. My husband refused to talk about the bills or discuss closing the business or getting a part time job to help with money. He became very withdrawn and started going out more and more. The business was losing money each month and the insurance and the monthly expenses were mounting.

I cashed in my 401Ks and used the rest of our savings hoping to survive the slump but we were barely ahead each month. Our accountant suggested we come up with a 6 month business plan.

My H went into a full mid life crisis and started spending time at the track, bought a motorcycle, and ended up having an affair. He said I was not meeting his "needs" and that I emmasculated him by always nagging about money. I was destroyed.

I was worried about all the mounting bills, had 2 homes that lost all their equity due to market crash and now had a H who could not deal with reality and cheated.

The absolute worst time of my life. We tried MC but he could not deal with the guilt and was so angry at me for always bringing up money.

After many months of trying to rebuild our marriage while dealing with the debt and parental responsibilities alone, I found out my H started texting another woman. I kicked out of the house in May of 2011 and filed for divorce in Feb 2012.

Men and their egos and pride are a very delegate. I hope your situation turns around and has a much better outcome than mine.

Good Luck
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