Post # 1
Okay, here’s the deal. My FI and I are each bringing a LOT of debt into this marriage…and I mean a LOT. We were both really open and up front about it from day one. Now that we are living together, I feel like we are having a hard time getting into a groove with our finances. We keep scheduling these budget meetings and then they put off. Today I met with some people about a payment plan for part of our debt and he flipped out because he said we can’t afford that kind of payment. I don’t really know what we can and can’t afford because I can’t get him to sit down with me and really look at the numbers. Has anyone else faced this kind of trouble going into a marriage, and how did you overcome it? I think we are both so used to doing things our own way (which clearly didn’t work for either of us) that I almost feel like we need a 3rd party to come in and take over. Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated.
Post # 3
Is your debt student loan debt or other debt? If he won’t talk to you about it, figure out your own payments for your own debt. He can do his on his own.
Post # 4
@peachacid: Some student loan and some other debt. I’m the first to admit that I’ve been horrible with money over the years and it’s going to take a long, painful process to work my way out of all the stupid things I’ve done.
Post # 5
Read Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey and have your FI read it, too. It’s a life-changer.
One of the number one reasons why couples fight is over money. You both must be on the same page about things. Even if it means compromising.
I would be very wary of “payment” plans. I don’t think you need someone coming in and fixing it for you – because that is usually a scam that will still cost you money in the end.
I just think you need to start investing some time to budgeting your money and start making cutbacks and changing the way you look at money and how you spend it.
Post # 6
@speechgal44: Your student loans can be consolidated in many different ways. I’d consolidate those separately from your other debt.
For my credit card debt, a few years ago I took out a loan from a credit union to pay off the entire card. Now I just pay back the loan, at a much lower interest rate. Maybe you could do that.
Post # 7
FI and I have lived together for 3+ years. We are still working on the finances part of our relationship, what works and what doesn’t. It’s an ongoing process, but we finally feel like we are getting somewhere and have been doing a great job with saving and making sure we’re not completely broke by the time the next paycheque comes in.
What REALLY helped us though was setting up a Google doc spreadsheet and sharing it with my fiance, he filled out the info after I did. His Debts and Her Debts listed across the top. Literally list every debt you have from student loans to car payments to credit cards and even old bills that you are still working on paying off. Whatever you owe on, include it. Also it’s helpful to list out the frequency and amount you normally pay on it and the interest rate if it applies to see how much all this debt is costing you in the long term. Get FI to do the same. It’s scary when you see the amounts, but if you can see everything laid out in front of you, it’s a LOT easier to set a plan to tackle the debt into motion.
Only after you both get everything written down, I would see a debt counsellor or go to the bank or whatever you plan on doing. Also once you see what each person has to pay every month, biweekly, it’s easier to set up a budget based on these numbers than going willy-nilly and spending the same as when you were single or just spending money vs. spending the household’s money.
Post # 8
@futuremrsk18: I’ve actually listened to Dave Ramsey, I’ve just never actually tried it! Guess it’s time to start! 🙂
Post # 9
@jlc3: Thank you for this! I guess I have to remind myself that we’ve only been living together for 5 weeks and it’s going to take some time to work this all out. I like the idea of a spread sheet, and I think once he sees it all written out, he’ll come around too.
Post # 10
I agree that you two really need to get together so you can see oth of your incomes and expenses as they are and determine what consolidations may be available to you. As others have said, money is a huge issue in relationships and it’s best to get it out of the way now before getting married.
I would check out Smart Couples Finish Rich or one of Suze Orman’s books like Young Fabulous and Broke to give you ideas.
Post # 11
Have you crunched the basic numbers yet?
Income minus expenses = remainder (postive or negative)?
Track all of your expenses. Every cent! Put them into categories. I have a spreadsheet and I keep track of
- House (mortgage/gas/elec/water/trash/cable/internet)
If you do not know what you can and cannot afford, you have to start with knowing what you spend. Then you can see if you have a deficit (spend too much) or a surplus (extra money to play with).
If you have access to his credit card accounts (or however he spends most of his money – cash/debit/CC) then you can do the tracking without his daily interaction. Then when you have a few months of expenses, sit down and share what the totals are. Of course let him know that you’re doing this.
I also would not have gone to the debt consolidation if you don’t know if you “can or cannot afford” it. There are ways to do this withOUT using a 3rd party.
I have listened to Dave Ramsey (I have no debt so I don’t need him!) before and I think his principles are good for you guys.
Post # 12
@speechgal44: even though it’s only been 5 weeks that you’ve been living together, kudos on trying to get things organized right off the bat! It was hard at first but once we both saw the numbers on paper, we were ready to tackle it together. I hope your FI comes around to the idea 🙂
Also another PP mentioned tracking spending! Seriously, do it for like at least 3 months worth or start now just keeping receipts or statements and figure out where you spend money. Even if it’s like a $2 coffee, it will be good to know that you buy on average 15 of those a month, so you’ll have to adjust your budget to reflect that (or cut it down, depending on how other categories are).
It also helped us decide to put away a certain amount per month for savings and for debt. We each still pay our own debts separately, but we have a joint budget and access to each other’s accounts. This will probably change to one joint account after the wedding, but for now it’s working out okay.
Post # 13
What we do is take the total amount of income, then write down every bill that must be paid (EVERYTHING, including gifts for birthdays, haircuts, cleaning products, oil changes, car wash) per month. If you only get 3 hair cuts a year, divide that by 12 months. Try to include a category savings (even if it is small, it is helpful to put something away, even just $20 a month), and misc.( going out to eat, movies, hanging out, etc). Also allot yourself some “just in case” money each month. EVERYTHING you have left over should go to paying off your LOWEST credit card. Once you pay the lowest, then go to the next lowest, so on and so forth. My FI did not want to listen to my finance/savings plan at first, thank god he came around or there would have been no money for a wedding! Definitely look up Suze Orman & her book: Young, Fabulous, and Broke. I haven’t read all of it, but it’s all the basic ways to get out of debt and saving money!
Post # 14
@sienna76: YES! definitely make a spreadsheet – I do! I don’t have any debt, but it’s great to KEEP YOU ON TRACK! I wouldn’t pay someone else to help since there are many FREE ways to help yourself! 🙂 GOOD LUCK! Keep us posted!