Post # 1
My boyfriend and I are in a tough spot and I wanted to ask some neutral 3rd parties for some advice.
Here is the situation:
My boyfriend is going to law school this fall, and we have been planning that I would move with him wherever he goes. This is no small thing to me, as I will be leaving my job and my friends to pack up and move across the country. I would not be doing this if we had not already talked about getting married, and at this point I am just waiting on the proposal. (I am tired of getting judgemental looks from people when they here I am moving with him, but that is another story.) The problem is that he is worried about our finances. I am in about $10,000 of credit card debt (from living in a city and apartment I just couldnt afford), and while we have been working together to pay it off, and I haven’t used my cards in almost a year, it realistically could take me another couple years to finally be debt free. The boyfriend does not think it would be financially responsible for us to get married right now, with him about to take on huge student loans, and me having this debt. The other kicker is that I come from a very taditional family, and while they love my boyfriend and are excited about us moving to law school, they insist on us having separate apartments until we are married. In my mind, this makes it an easy choice to get married sooner rather than later, so we are not paying for 2 apartments.
I know he loves me and is just trying to do what he thinks is best for us, but I think he is wrong. What advice would you guys give me? I can’t beleive that $10,000 is standing in the way of our happiness.
Post # 3
is it that big of a deal to you that your parents dont want you to live together?
If you feel you are ready to get married I think you should be able to make the decision to move in to gether even if it will upset your family…with being 10k in debt, how did you plan to pay for the wedding?
Post # 4
How upset would your parents really be if you moved in together? If you’re already planning on getting married & it’s the more financially reasonable option, maybe they’d be swayed a little.
But I didn’t vote yet, because I think it depends a little on how you were planning on paying for a wedding.
I also wanted to say good for you for being up front about it with him. I definitely know a couple people who weren’t very honest about their credit card debts (or other loans) with their spouse/fiance/SO whatever, and it seems to really cause a LOT of stress.
Post # 5
I don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t get engaged with your debt. I think you should try to pay off as much as possible between now and whenever it makes sense for you to get married. For example, if you pay off 5K in the next year, I don’t think it would be a big deal to get married with 5K in debt.
If you are going to have to pay for your wedding yourself, I would suggest paying off the entire amount before throwing a party that could only push you further into debt.
My only other question is whether it makes sense for you to leave your job (and risk not getting a new one since the economy is bad….) if you have debt that you can’t avoid paying right now.
Post # 6
My Fiance is a finance guy, so he has helped to instill financial values in me, so my response would be to wait till you are out of debt before you pay for a wedding. One of the number one reasons for divorce is money, and you don’t want to start out on the wrong foot by being in even more debt because of the wedding.
On the other hand, I do understand about wanting to be married before you pick up your life & move. My FI’s company offered him a position in their Shanghai office (this was before we were engaged) and my Fiance asked me if I would move with him if he were to take the position. I was not comfortable moving with him unless we were married, ultimately he ended up staying here and just traveled to China for 3 months.
So, to offer a solution for you, would you be open to getting married through justice of the peace? or perhaps a small, fun trip to vegas with a few friends? THEN a year down the road (after you are out of debt) have your dream wedding? I have heard of many couples who get married for various reasons (like yours with being in a position of moving, your parents, etc) and get married, but they do make sure they eventually have their dream wedding and it is still very special. Is this something you would be open to? Its a toughie, and not ideal, but I think its the best of both worlds because you will be pleasing yourself, your family, & your Fiance by not going into more debt…but you still get your dream wedding!
Post # 7
Coming from a very conservative view point, I personally would not get married with 10k in debt, especially credit card debt. the only reasonable debt IMO to have is a mortgage and student loan (at a reasonable rate).
It sounds like you are already committed to each other as you have an open line of communication and he is helping you in your debt recovery, but some other questions to ask:
- Are you really ready to be married, emotional, physically, psychologically and monetarily?
- Who is paying for the wedding? While your parents may commit to this remember they too can run into their own financial difficulties especially with this economy.
- What kind of wedding on what budget? This follows suit from the previous question.
- Is one of your key reasons for marrying is so "suitable" for you to live together according to the parents?
- Have you both already figured out your future financial situation with the move? A budget presented and agreed on, etc?
Obviously I can not answer the questions for you but they are food for thought. Just remember that marriage is a huge commitment not just a party, and monetary issues is a key factor in causing arguments in marriage.
Good Luck in your decisions!
Post # 8
My Fiance and I discussed this as we both have HUGE student loans, he’s a lawyer too & I have a business degree… and we decided that there’s never really a good time to make a major life change. Something can always come in the way & make us second guess our decision. If you have that much bad debt, continue to pay it down, but still save some on the side. Save as little as $100 a month, if you can, towards your wedding.
Realistically, with that much in credit debt- you’ll just have to scale back. Instead of a grand wedding, you may need to host a more simple one! There are tons of cost cutting options- you just have to dig.
Realize what is important to you & your day will be everything you wanted it to be whether you spent 100k or 1k. 🙂
Good luck & don’t get discouraged! I believe you can make it happen w/ the debt, it just requires more planning & saving. A lot of people have credit card debt, even more than 10k & our economy is not helping anyone! I always find it interesting how a lot of people on similar boards claim to not have a lick of debt… so kudos for being so honest! Just keep going & working hard.
Post # 9
I agree, too, i think it’s in your best interest to pay off your debt first. You don’t want to get married with 10K hanging over your shoulders if you have a wedding you’re paying for, too. That said, if your parents are helping with that, then you could theoretically eliminate one apartment cost and together budget for the 10K in loans. Or, if your parents are paying for the wedding, consider asking them to simply give you the amount they’d give you for the wedding (let’s say 15K), pay off your debt, and have a simple wedding with the 5K. Too birds, one stone, right? That being said, a lot of this depends on "how" traditional your parents are. and it depends on how old you are, too. If you are in your later 20’s, well, it’s your life and do what makes you happy because your parents will eventually realize you’re an adult and you have to make your own decisions. Unless you agree with them, then that’s your choice. I have had a LOT of friends get engaged just to get their parents approval…and it hasn’t always ended well. Or they say they are living with a friend but really aren’t. *sigh* so many politics, ha! I think you are very wise to address your money issue head on though! Credit card interest is much higher than student loan interest. It’ll make it harder for you and your hubby to buy a house and all that other fun stuff that comes when you are married.
Post # 10
My parents are going to be paying for the wedding, so I am lucky in that I don’t have to worry about that. They will not however bail me out of debt.
While living together is not a big issue to me, it is such a large issue for my parents that it simply isn’t worth it. We are already planning to get one nice apartment, and one not so nice one, to save money since, let’s be honest, we practially live together anyway.
Post # 11
PS I think it sucks that people are SO judgemental about you moving in before you are married. You’re happy and with someone you love, that should be all that matters! Sometimes you just have to shrug it off. It really depends on where you live, but I got a lot of snooty looks about it, too. My parents encouraged it…they said that if i was ready to say yes to marrying him, i better make sure I know what my future is going to be like. Feasibly, I don’t see how you could afford separate apartments and law school. More debt!!! Surely they don’t want you to have money problems! How mad would they really be if you lived together?? Like, shun you forever, or pretend like you don’t really live with him and not acknowledge it to your family and friends? They KNOW you plan on marrying the guy…i think you could make a good point to it so they’re maybe not thrilled, but understand and kinda deal with it. Good luck
Post # 12
Sorry I didn’t see the post you just made. I was typing at the same time. I say if they’re paying for the wedding, then get married and work on paying off your loans together. You’ll save more money by not getting separate apartments. Your debt could be paid off faster! I’m sorry your parents aren’t more understanding!
Post # 13
Would your parents feel differently about the move-in if they knew that their position on it is a barrier to further paying down your debt? You could use the X amount per month that you will be paying for the *crappy* apartment towards paying off your credit card. It seems like an honest discussion with them is well worth it.
I faced a similar situation with my parents not being cool with us living together before engagement/ marriage. We sat down with them and explained that this was a decision we had thought long and hard about and that we were committed to each other. We explained that the next step was engagement and marriage.
We were 27 when we moved in together and I felt like we were old enough to make our choices and that my parents would love me regardless. It’s true and they do. They were not comfortable with the living together thing at first, but got over it.
Post # 14
I understand your hesitation to move w/o some kind of commitment. I picked up and moved twice before we were engaged. The first time was b/c we’d started dating LD and it was really me driving it more b/c I needed to know whether we’d work. The second time I pretty much knew he was ready (had been for a while) to get married but I was still dragging my feet…partially b/c I felt the need to establish my career or something. Anyway, oddly the second time was harder for various reasons. I’m pretty comfortable with my choice, we’re getting married after all, but it was hugely stressful and in retrospect pretty risky. If you are on the fence about moving, I’d strongly consider waiting until you have a firmer commitment in your relationship (e.g. engagement). That wasn’t what I needed, but I actually think I’m in the minority for feeling that way. And I did have a pretty good job offer in the city we moved to. That said I don’t think there’s anything at all wrong with moving w/o being engaged, but you need to protect yourself as well (do you have a good job lined up, financial independence, etc). I think those are things to consider even while married, but the need to be self-sufficient financially is probably less (at least for me).
For the debt, I’m a little confused on why it’s an issue if he’s already helping you pay it back (e.g. he’s already taken it on as his responsibility as well). Is there something else you guys know, like it’ll make it harder for him to get student loans etc once you join your finances? In general, I understand wanting to clear the financial air before joining finances, but is there a reason you can’t do it while engaged? I guess what I’m wondering comes down to why the engagement is being postponed when you sound like you are clearly ready to be so. Do you not believe in long engagements?
Post # 15
SpaceC06- You had some really great questions, so I will try to answer them to help everyone further understand our situation…
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Are you really ready to be married, emotional, physically, psychologically and monetarily? I know we are absolutely ready to get married, but this financial issue is one that we need to deal with head on. My boyfriend wants to ask my parents for advice when we go visit them in two weeks, and I know that he will take whatever they say to heart.
Who is paying for the wedding? While your parents may commit to this remember they too can run into their own financial difficulties especially with this economy. My parents will be paying for the wedding.
What kind of wedding on what budget? This follows suit from the previous question. Still up in the air, but we have guessed around 15k.
Is one of your key reasons for marrying is so "suitable" for you to live together according to the parents? I would not say it ia a key reason at all. There are a million other reasons why we want to get married, but it would certainly help out in this department as well making things easier.
Have you both already figured out your future financial situation with the move? A budget presented and agreed on, etc? We have not created a formal budget yet, as that will depend greatly on where we end up living. Right now it is down to Dallas, Malibu, or Tucson, and the cost of living between those varies GREATLY. There are different perks to each place (I have a job already in place if we move to Dallas, Tucson is very affordable, and Malibu is close to his family) but until we reach a decision, its up in the air, which is causing me a lot of stresss.
Post # 16
Thank you all so much for the comments, this has been really helpful/therapuetic for me to get some good advice!
FizicsGirl- I think you really nailed it on the head with the long engagements comment. That is why I am upset…if we clearly want to get married, why can’t we go ahead and get engaged (an I can stop getting the dirty looks for moving, added bonus), have a long engagement, and have most of my debt paid off when we get married? I am just trying to understand his line of thinking as well, I know he only wants the best for us.