I’m not an avid New York Times reader but sometimes, I find some thought-provoking articles that inspire blog posts. Case in point, a recent article about how debt can doom a relationship. Oh this one hit close to home.
The article features several stories about women and men, all engaged or in long-term relationships, ready to take that step to marriage or a serious commitment, except one thing looms over them: debt. Each are heavily in debt (mostly from school loans or credit card debt) and the article asks the question: When and should you tell your significant other about the amount of debt you carry.
For me, the answers are, once you’re in a long-term, committed relationship and absolutely yes you should.
And, I would not marry a man unless he had made serious headway at paying down his debt.
I’m not the only one of my friends that feels this way too.
Debt is a reality for a lot of people right now. If it’s not school or car loans, it’s credit card debt, easy to accumulate when you are trying to find a stable job and have non-stop household expenses.
I am very fortunate that I have a small amount of student loan debt (under $20,000) and no credit card debt. Yes, I do not have a lot of established credit, but it’s solid.
And, debt doesn’t go away when you do get married because that debt ownership falls on both of you and could affect the partner’s credit score.
Yes, I’m obsessed with credit scores, it’s important!
When I talked to friends about this, they were very adamant that they would not marry someone with a high amount of debt as well, especially if he/she won’t be able to pay it off for a long time.
One friend said that her boyfriend has bad credit right now and lots of school/credit card debt and she made it clear that they won’t be getting married until that’s under control. Another friend said that he’s helping his girlfriend pay her debt down so they can get married sooner than later. Very interesting.
One example in the article was about a woman who told her fiance she was $100k in debt due to school when in reality, she found she was more like $170k in debt, causing his to call off the wedding because he felt she “lied to him.”
She admitted that she didn’t lie to him, she lied to herself by not finding out the true balance earlier. This I believe because I think at some point, no one wants to really know how much debt they have.
As great as college was, I’m so glad I’m not in school now. Costs and admission standards are truly on another level and many people are walking out with more debt than grads did five years ago. College is worth it but…damn that’s a lot of money. The fear of more debt is what’s keeping me from going back for my Masters.
What about you? How do you feel about having the debt discussion in relationships?