The wedding season is upon us, people. Love is in the air! But with the marriage vows- for better for worse, for richer or poorer et al. – comes a basketful of baggage.
We promise to love our better halves regardless of their faults. But have you thought about the baggage of debt? You could be debt free, either you have never had any debts or you just worked so hard to clear all your debts, and your spouse still has debts to pay off. Maybe they are yet to clear off their student loan, it can be a car loan, a credit card loan or even a combination of these and others.
In such a situation, your biggest worry and question for that matter is whether marrying someone with debt is the right move for you. Having doubts should not make you feel awful. This is the person you are willing to spend the rest of your life with. Once you exchange the vows you become one. Their debts are your debts. Their income is your income. It is totally understandable to have concerns about getting into debts.
We are here to make your decision-making process easier.
Ignore the Debts
The first step is to ignore the debt bit for a while and think of your partner’s character and behavior. Depending on how they carry themselves, how they think and talk, how they treat you- is this the person you want to spend the rest of your life with?
I usually tell my friends- and myself- that we all have faults but in the end, we choose to stay with someone because we love them, they treat us in the best way possible, and you can overlook their faults and live with them. If that is you then you are ready to go ahead with your marriage vows.
How to Deal with the Debt
What do you both think is the best way to deal with the debt? As long as you both aren’t on the same page when it comes to this then you might as well forget about your happy ever after. While talking about handling finances in your marriage is important, you should not overlook the debt bit in that conversation.
One of the questions to ask is whether the debt should be paid off right away or with time. Whichever time you pick to repay the debt you need to decide how aggressive you are willing to be on clearing the debt. Paying off debt is not an easy fete though.
Remember that not all debts can be settled. Actually, only unsecured debts such as credit cards can be settled. Secured loans cannot be settled. You, therefore, need to sit down and analyze the types of debts your partner has, whether secured or unsecured. From there, it will be easy to work on a debt settlement method or how to deal with the secured loan.
What if you are not on the same page? Well, that is going to pose a problem. This is where compromises have to be made. Maybe you want to repay the debts at once but your partner wants to pay on a regular basis. A sober discussion between the both you will be required. That way, you will both make a decision and a repayment plan that suits the both of you.
Now that you have both agreed on a way to repay off the debt, your next step is choosing a payment plan. There are three methods of debt repayment to choose from;
Debt Avalanche Method-
This method aims at repaying off debts with high-interest rates first. It is the method you should go for in case you want to save money. If your partner has more than one debt under their belt, list them down. Do not forget to indicate their interest rates too. From there, repay the one that ranks high than the rest in terms of its interest rate. How do you save on this method? Remember the longer you take to repay a loan the more interest you will pay. So, the sooner you clear a loan with high rates the better.
Debt Snowball Method-
With this method, you settle down the smallest loans first. It does not help you save money as such, but it gives you a motivation to keep going. I for one have tried this method, and the feeling of getting a notification that my loan was cleared was one of the best feelings ever. It actually gave me morale to keep working hard towards clearing my student debt. I am 3/4 of the way to achieving that! Remember your “debt list”? All you need to do is keep crossing off the debts one by one, from the smallest one.
If you are trying to clear off credit card debts at once, one way to go settle is using Payoff. This service helps you consolidate all your credit card interests into one that is payable on a monthly basis. All you need to do is taking the Payoff loan to repay all your credit card loans, and repay the Payoff loan on a monthly basis. Their interest rates are lower than credit card interests. Another lender that can help you consolidate your loans is OppLoans.
Rules to the Game
Deciding to go ahead and walk down the aisle, and working on a debt payment method once you are both on the same page is not the end of the road. There are rules to be followed if you want to keep your sanity and marriage intact.
For starters, are you ready to help your partner clear off the debt? Since you have decided to marry someone with debt, you are both on the same team. If you are not willing to get them off debt, then that might be your cue to turn around and run. Why? That question leads you to the second rule of the game.
If you go ahead with your marriage vows and you are not willing to help your partner clear off their debt, it will affect your financial standings. As an individual and a couple. This will lead to a blame game, which is not allowed. Additionally, even if you decide to help your partner clear the debt, do not blame them, become resentful, or bring up the debt bit whenever you both have a disagreement.
What do you have in mind in terms of your future and debts? Maybe you both want to avoid getting into debt in future– once you are done repaying the ones hanging over your heads, of course. For this to happen you need to be on the same financial page. Agreeing on this will save you numerous fights in case one of you goes ahead and gets a credit in future.
So, should you go ahead and book that venue or buy that wedding outfit you have been admiring for months? Definitely yes! Especially if you have both talked through it all, you agree to love them regardless of the debt, and you have a payment plan to handle the debt. As long as you both are on the same page when it comes to financial management and debts, then marrying someone with debt should keep you away from your happy ever after.
Related Post: Debt Settlement: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly