Post # 1
My fiance makes a good living and is regularly getting promotions at his company. He is currently making about $130,000 a year and is only 24. He is able to pay all of his bills on time and have money left over for trips, dining out, etc.
Before he met me, he was a single bachelor living it up. He was probably making about $110,000 a year. He told me the problem was that he started making too much money too fast and didn’t know how to live responsibly. He would dine out at fancy restaurants 5 times a week and order a 3 course meal with an expensive bottle of wine. It wasn’t uncommon for his meal to total $200 for just himself. He started shopping regularly at stores like Neiman Marcus and would buy $500 shoes and $2,000 suits. He spent money on expensive furniture. He leased a brand new BMW. The list could go on.
He told me at the beginning of our relationship that he had some debt, but he didn’t go into detail about it. I didn’t learn exact numbers until a few months ago. He said he was afraid to be honest, because he thought I might leave him. Apparently, he was too busy spending his money to remember to pay taxes. He told me he has a tax lien on him for $60,000. He also has about $15,000 in credit card debt and $7,000 in school loans. That is over $80,000 in debt! And I’m not even sure if those are correct numbers or if he’s underestimating the debt.
The reason why he says this shouldn’t be a big deal is because of his income. He says he makes much more than his current debt in one year, plus he has the earning potential to make much more. Since we have started dating, he has been more frugal with his money. He hasn’t accrued any more debt, but I haven’t seen him pay anything off either. He’s not much of a saver, but he says when we are married I can help him with budgeting. I love him and he is a great guy apart from his financial mess, however I’m concerned about marrying someone with debt when I am completely debt free. Do you have any advice for me on how to handle this situation? Should I be worried about marrying someone with this much debt, or should I assume he can pay it all off with no problem?
Post # 3
Time for you to put your foot down. If you’re still with him, you’re accepting of him AND the debt that comes with it. He can certainly pay this off (START WITH THE TAXES!) with his salary, but you need to be sure it’s happening. You’re name is getting ready to be tagged with his so you absolutely have some say in this.
As for marrying him, you can’t help who you fall in love with. I think it’s fine, but you need to control the finances.
Post # 4
I, too, am in this situation. However, FI’s debt was student loans that he used to buy motorcycles and other wants. His total student debt is over $125,000. When we first met, I brushed it off because it “wasn’t my problem.” However, after having been together for four years, the payments we make on this debt our higher than our rent and it greatly impacts our life. In fact, at one point, in order to pay for this debt, we moved back in with my parents and I had to reevaluate our relationship. I very much considered leaving in order to be more financially stable.
However, I decided that I loved him, he had changed his spending, and that the reelationship was worth the payments – literally. However, my life would be much much easier if he hadn’t been so irresponsible in college. It is certainly something to think about.
The most important thing is ensuring that you won’t hold this debt against him after marriage. If you marry him, you accept that debt. It can not be something that you drudge up when angry – it will destroy your relationship.
Post # 5
Yes, you should be worried. He may not be incurring further debt but I haven’t seen him pay anything off either.
He makes enough money that he should, be able to pay off this debt BEFORE you marry him. I don’t know if August is your real wedding date. Paying it off before then woujld be impossible, buit I would postpone the wedding until he cleared this debt. If he’s not much of a saver, then he is still spending his income even though he has this huge debt looming over his head.
Frankly, I would put things on hold until he clears up this debt. If you marry him, this debt may become your debt, depending on the laws where you live.
Post # 6
@caribbean_lover: Personally, I wouldn’t be comfortable marrying someone who has debt (beyond student debt) unless I could see an active plan in place for paying it down. Not only will it affect your good credit, you need to be on the same page as far as spending habits first. I would have an honest discussion with him, say that you understand his high income and have noticed his better spending habits, but you do not feel comfortable legally combining finances (i.e. marriage) until he has begun making regular payments and can calculate when he will be debt free. It’s not a romantic talk, but it’s important. [In my own case, SO has about 50k of student loan debt only– and it makes HIM uncomfortable! He has been paying off 500-1k every month on a grad student salary in order to get out of debt in the next 5-8 years. It’s not important to be, since it’s from education, that it be gone before we marry, but monthly payments and a serious plan to pay it off.]
Post # 7
So many married couples have said that conflicts about money cause problems. You two need to work on this NOW and have serious conversations about money management. I think your instincts are right. You two need to make a plan for him to pay off his debt quickly. Yes, he has a good job, but everyone knows that anything is possible in this economy.
Post # 8
@julies1949: Whoa! I missed that part! My FI wasn’t making payment when I met him, either. However, we sat down and arranged payments on all the loans. This is extremely important.
If you ever want to own a house, regardless of how much he’s making, you will have to ensure that payments are made.
Post # 9
Yeah, I think the fact that he’s not addressing it is the big deal here, not necessarily the debt in place – although how common is it to accrue that much in tax lien debt? Did he fail to file?
Post # 10
Yes, I think most people have debt (CC or student loan, at least) but I think he needs to show more responsibility than just stopping the accrument of more… I would let him know that it’s important to you to set a plan to work off the debt. Then, maybe sign up for a website like Mint (I think that’s what it’s called) or a financial adviser, and set up a plan that will outline how/when the money will be spent.
Post # 11
Have him start making payments before you get married. He’s reassuring you by saying he makes a lot of money… but he’s not backing up that assurance by actually using it to offset his debt. Heck, I’d be inclined to try to live off your salary and put his entire salary into breaking even during the first year.
My FI and I both have school debt (over 100k combined). He’s already putting payments to his and luckily I have 5 more years of a PhD until mine kick in and we have to pay (though we’re going to start before then!) We plan on living off his salary and putting all of my (albeit small) income towards debt and savings.
Post # 12
Hi there. Debt scares the heck out of me. Like you, I’m debt-free and I want to stay that way. My FI has about $5000 worth of school loans to be paid. I’m not thrilled with THAT…so I can’t imagine how you must feel knowing how much debt your FI is in. I’m not sure when you’re getting married, but I would not wait until your married to start working on a budget. I would put one together right now and see if he can abide by it. If he can’t…there maybe be a serious problem there that he needs some help with. I guess my concern is that his debt, becomes yours. This will affect purchasing homes and how you live your life from the day you get married on. So why not start now and see if he can really do what he says he can.
The important thing is getting all the facts out on the table so you’re both on the same page. if you’re uncertain of whether he’s told you the full story…you need to get it now before you guys get married.
Good luck. Debt sucks and so many people are in this position…especially with the economy…but it’s important to know what you’re getting into before you take that leap, ya know?
Post # 13
It sounds like he is willing for you to help him budget and basically control his finances, which is WHAT HE NEEDS. My ex was like that, his parents were like that so that’s what he knew. He didn’t see anything wrong with the way they lived though and I couldn’t see spending money as if there’s no tomorrow. That was a deal breaker for me, but it sounds like there’s hope for your SO. Good luck!
Post # 14
Don’t wait until you’re married to help him out. Sit down with him and stop estimating what his debt is, figure out exact numbers, interest rates, etc. There are all kinds of calculators you can use to figure out good payment plans to get that debt down. If you’ll be combining finances, you want to know exactly where your money will be going once you get married.
Sometimes debt is unavoidable for things like student loans, mortgages, cars, etc. But it’s always necessary to have a plan to pay them down. If he’s just paying the minimum balance on these things, he will could end up paying double the amount in interest. Maybe he actually needs to SEE all of the debts written down on paper to grasp exactly what he needs to do. Good luck!
Post # 15
@atalante: He is an independent contractor, so he is supposed to keep up with his own income taxes. I think he got behind and probably didn’t file or filed too little.
Post # 16
Ack. I couldn’t handle being in an adult relationship with someone who lacks the ability to manage his own finances. I want a partner, not another child.
Start budgeting with him now, so you can see that he is capable of it. Making $130,000 a year doesn’t mean he can repay his entire debt in one year, unless he has no other expenses (which I find doubtful). My guess is that he has less than 10% of that to contribute toward debt, without some major sacrifices. Find out now if he is willing to make those sacrifices, before you find yourself in a marriage where you are always skrimping and saving to pay down debt while he keeps racking it up.