My Wife is Stressed and I’m Feeling Like a Failure and Don’t Know What to Do


Dear Steve,

I’m 41 and married with kids, 2 and 5 years old.

Home loan and credit cards on hold while we identify affordability. Van unregistered just received penalty notices. 20 years history of spending more than we earn. We’ve got a box of beer at home and chocolate biscuits and now can’t afford food for lunches.

Owe a construction supplier 10k. Owe dad 3k. Owe road tolls 2k. Wife suffers from anxiety. I’m self-employed in new business.

Had 5 weeks off over Christmas and now getting no sales. Marketing hard but overwhelmed and feeling pressured so often procrastinate to distract myself from the situation.

Can’t see a way out. Ashamed to ask dad for more help. 10k would be a bandaid. Then we’ll be back in same situation a month later.

Need a mind transformation. I just want to disappear hiking for a week and hope it all goes away. Wife just trusts I’ll find a way out as I have in the past but feeling hopeless and trapped. Ideally we’d save something, anything, week upon week to support the kids in their future and for us to retire on.

What simple rules or controls can we put in place to never get into this situation again?



Dear Guy,

Your situation is a great example of how money troubles are not about the money. It is the underlying choices we make that result in the symptom of debt.

I can give you a load of free advice about why this happens and changes you can make. You can read my free book The Path to Happiness and Wealth and it deals with the exact subjects you raise.

The hardest changes to make are those that alter who we fundamentally are. To change the situation you will need to make big changes in the way you handle money and plan for the future.

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It sounds as if you may have reached a tipping point and ready to alter the path you are on. Only you will know for sure.

The simple math tells us you are spending more than you are making. I’m sure it is stressing your wife out and feeding her anxiety.

So to change the situation you have to be willing to either increase your income, reduce your expenses or a combination of the both.

Your wife’s anxiety and your desire to run away are both emotional reactions to a math problem that is not adding up. Ultimately what I need for the both of you to do is come together, hold each other accountable, and agree on a solution that you can commit to.

And it is times like these when you need to contemplate bigger options. For example, maybe being your own boss is not a great idea. You might very well benefit from working for someone else who can give you a paycheck in exchange for your labor. When you are your own boss and things are not going well it’s easy to fall into things not working out when you are desperate.

I hate to assume how in the world you wound up with $2K in road tolls. A client I had in the past had a similar amount just because he was going through tolls and not paying them at the time.

How much do you think it will cost to get the van registered?

Are you willing to hunt down a job where you can work for someone else?

Post your answers in the comments below.


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Damon Day - Pro Debt Coach

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Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
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5 thoughts on “My Wife is Stressed and I’m Feeling Like a Failure and Don’t Know What to Do”

  1. Could be in an industry that is contracting and unable to offer the econ. Opportunity needed to overcome financial issue. If that is the case scaling back spending won’t fix issue as directly as changing career path for more lucrative opportunities in growing fields or even just sustainable fields. Maybe get a job at Costco to just instigate a new start. Trying to b helpful. Been there. Took 8 years to get out of that hole


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