Post # 17
I don’t necessarily believe that you have to have all your debt paid off before getting married, but I do think that if you want to get married right away you should have a very small, inexpensive wedding and stay serious about paying off your credit cards after you’re married. You said that it could take you a couple years to get debt free, but then what about the wedding? You might need to save up for another few years to be able to afford it or else you’re back in debt again (unless your parents are paying for it). The decision is between you and your bf, but I think you’re choices are basically to wait until your debt is paid off and you can really afford the wedding or just have a small wedding now and have a more elaborate celebration a few years down the road if you really want it.
Also, I think you need to do what is best for you. Only get married if it’s what you and your bf really want, not because you’re feeling pressure from your parents and don’t get 2 apartments and get back into debt just because you’re worried about your parents reaction. My fiance and I were in a similar situation where I moved for school and he moved with me. I had to take out $40,000 in student loans for my first year and his parents thought we should get seperate apartments, despite the fact that we were already engaged with just under a year before the wedding. We moved in together anyway because we felt it was the better decision financilly and they got over it.
Post # 18
If, in your heart, you know you want to be married, you’ll find a way. Your parents are paying for the wedding (as you said) so you won’t have to make payment to vendors instead of your debt. If your boyfriend possibly worried that if you go into marriage with the debt that he’ll end up paying for it? I know going into marriage with a ton of debt isn’t ideal, but then again, a lot of things aren’t. My husband and I entered marriage with a ton of debt, but are working as a team to get rid of it. Some of my most favorite nights are those spent on the couch with our bills and a calculator, day dreaming about what we’ll do once we’re debt free.
If you have the right mentality, the debt is just one more hurdle you’ll face together. But if your boyfriend is adamant about paying it off before you get married, then concentrait on that – the last thing you want is your debt to come between you.
Post # 19
My husband and I both made a big effort to pay down our credit card debt before we got married. We talked about it in detail. We didn’t actually pay if off befor the wedding, but we did get it mostly paid off. And then we waited to take our honeymoon until it was paid off. So I think that it’s great in some ways that you’re having an honest discussion with your BF about these types of issues.
I do think, however, that maybe you have a little cause for concern. Because I sort of suspect that it isn’t really the simple matter of $10,000 that is the issue. Maybe he has issues with the way you spend money in general – so he’s waiting to see if you’ve really changed your ways – whether you actually can pay it off. Maybe he’s got other issues. But it doesn’t seem right for him to ask you to give up your job and your friends and move just to be with him – especially knowing that you will still have significant expenses, since you won’t be living together – with out any commitment at all. And honestly, just having an "understanding" that you will eventually get married is no commitment at all. When the $10,000 is paid off, you have to sort of wonder what the next reason will be. Maybe I’m too suspicious, but I don’t think that this should be something that keeps him from officially asking you to marry him – if he really, whole-heartedly wants to be with you at this time. It sounds more like an excuse to keep from making a commitment at this time. I wonder if he would think differently about it if you said that you simply couldn’t move with him without some kind of official commitment?
Post # 20
I know how you feel.
My parents are very against my bf and I moving in together before marraige. Right now, we live seperately and it’s been hard on our wallets because of travelling costs and such. I’ve respected my parents’ old fashion way of thinking and decided to live seperately until we are engaged/married. My bf and I also don’t have a lot of money, we have a lot of responsibilities and is barely making it paycheck by paycheck. In this economy, you have to be at least partially conservative.
If I were you, I’d prob work on getting rid of a big chunk of that debt but not necessarily pin pointing an exact date. If, let’s say, that 10g debt was decreased to 3g’s…it’s much more manageable. You can get engaged, manage for now lower debt and save up for a wedding at the same time. I guess my point is to make the debt more manageable for you and your sig other so you don’t have to feel too overwhelmed once you plan your wedding.
Post # 21
My Fiance and I were both in some credit card debt when we were thinking about getting married. Without me knowing, my Fiance actually cashed in on his 401K so that he could pay for my ring. When I found out later, I felt so bad!!!! We sat down with a financial planner and now are both aggressively paying of our credit cards and then continuing into savings so that we do not have any credit card debt when we start this marriage. I think that is very important for us. It all depends on your situation though…
Post # 22
I do not see why your credit card debt should stand in the way of your marriage if both of you are already committed to paying it down (which I take to mean that both of you are contributing). My husband personally paid off his credit card debt before our marriage, and that was something we agreed upon as fair—but that also fit into our more general marriage timeline. But if you both are already contributing, waiting to get married for that reason doesn’t really make any sense because you are already acting as if you are married by acting jointly financially. None of that would change because of a wedding, so why wait? What tangible detriment would occur as a result of your marrying with some credit card and student loan debt? Will you be hit hard at tax time? Will it impact his student loan eligibility?
At some level, I think he may be worried about marrying someone who once—even though you are being responsible now—got themselves into a lot of credit card debt. I’m guessing this because I felt the same way once about marrying my husband. I married my husband after he paid down his debt and I thought because of that I was "safe" from his further financial blunders—but I was always marrying a man who managed to get himself into such a situation in the first place. And sure enough, some other serious financial "surprises" have emerged since we’ve gotten married (he wasn’t hiding them, btw, other circumstances were at play). At first I was livid, but now he is showing me that he is dealing with it in exactly the same responsible manner as he dealt with his other debt. That we are married now and weren’t married then really doesn’t change things much at all.
In a similar way, perhaps your boyfriend imagines marriage as something you do once both your lives are in ideal circumstances: debt paid off, education got, houses bought, etc. However, we all know that such circumstances are pretty much impossible to achieve because life always gets in the way. He may be grappling with two images of you: the ideal image, where you are an unfettered, debt-free woman who will move across the country with him to start a new life together, or the real image, you the woman who made some mistakes and is now quite literally paying for them, but doing so in a way that is responsible and admirable. He may be wanting to "wait" for the ideal debt-free version of you to come around so that he can marry her and forget about this past trouble. But in reality you come with a history, and he has to love and accept that part of you as it is, because in that history may try to repeat itself somehow (it has a way of doing that). We all have our flaws. Whether the debt is paid off or not won’t change who you are. If he loves that and is totally accepting of that (and vice versa), and there’s no compelling tangible financial reason to delay, then there’s no reason not to get engaged and to marry.
Post # 23
I agree with Chelseamorning 100%. Well said.
Post # 24
Thanks for all of the advice! As far as tangible detriment, he is meeting with a financial planner today to see what the legal ramifications would be if we were married, as far as student loans and what not. I do think you are dead on as far as him imagining the ideal circumstances for us to get married. But life is never perfect right?
Post # 25
First of all, kudos to you for being up front and honest about your debt. This is a complex situation. While on one hand I think to myself there are 100 reasons you should be getting engaged if you are moving, are ready to, etc etc….
As someone who has never carried a balance on a credit card in her life – and I don’t mean that to sounds judgemental I just want you to know where I’m coming from – I would have a hard time stomaching taking on my FI’s debt and his credit score. I don’t mean that to sound heartless but I worked really hard to have a 720 score, scrimping and saving, living pay check to pay check and not doing a lot of things I wanted to do. So, I could understand wanting it paid off before getting married.
On the other hand from a practical stand point where you both want to pay it down as fast as possible: having two apartments is a total waste of money and if being engaged could ease the living together situation it might be the way to go. All of that money could be gong towards paying down your debt. I think an honest conversation with your parents could go a long way to helping this situation.
Have you tried transferring your balance to a new card with no interest for a year? I got very upset with my Fiance when early in our relationship he got himself about $900 in debt for no good reason other than he wanted to take me out to dinner etc a lot. He found a no interest card and managed to pay it off rather quickly. I have no idea what your interest rate is like but that’s where they kill you and make their money. Another thought I don’t know what your parents financial situation is like but would they be willing to pay off your debt with the wedding money and you could pay them back with interest at say 4-6 percent, which is way better than what you are paying now I’m guessing. Good luck. Let us know how things work out
Post # 26
Do you live in the same town as your parents? could you live with them and put most of your paycheck into payig off the debt until your wedding? Then move after you’re married? At least they’ll approve that you’re not living together. I know long distance engagements are hard. I had one.
As for the comments on parents not approving people living together… Hurray for them. Honestly, I don’t think it’s a good idea. I don’t think people are bad people for doing it, but I don’t believe it’s the right thing to do. Monetary considerations are tough, and I understand a second apartment might end up being a "waste of money". But I think someone’s parents have every right to be judgemental. They were given the responsiblity of raising their children with morals. If they feel you haven’t acquired those morals, they let you know. Adult children are under no obligation to do what they say, but of course they express their feelings if they feel their child is doing something wrong.
Post # 27
Get married now in faith with all your hearts, parents included on the line. Your FI’s debt will outweigh yours soon enough and committed together in all ways, you will be able to withstand the financial challenges.
I agree 100% with this prior comment: 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!
Post # 28
Thank you all so much for your advice. While we are not sure what we are going to do, we decided last night to:
1) Talk with my parents when we go back to my hometown in a couple weeks and get their opinion
2) Go to some pre-marital counseling sessions to work through our philosophy as a couple when it comes to money.
I think these two things will be a big help. What do you guys think?
Post # 29
Definitely a good idea. Especially number 2. When it comes to finances, my Fiance and I do agree strongly on a few things (in our case no debt outside of school, which luckily neither of us has, or a mortgage..but that’s just us, everyone’s different). But we also disagree on other things. He thinks we should save every penny that isn’t used to buy an absolute necessity, and I think we should enjoy our earnings within reason. One thing to consider, for both of us these issues are pretty emotionally charged b/c of how we grew up (his father has a gambling problem and has bankrupted their family twice while assuming massive amounts of debt, my father can be very controlling with my mom’s spending b/c he’s afraid of not having enough money…I think this is probably the hardest aspect of their marriage and not something I want to experience). I think our cases are extreme in how much financial issues are tied to emotional ones, but I think for everyone there is at least a little something. Maybe counseling might help you better understand some of teh deeper reasons for his financial concerns, so it wouldn’t feel so arbitrary or judgmental.
You might consider a third thing on your list which is writing out a budget and a plan for paying back the debt. Sometimes such concrete steps can really help reassure both parties (it helped us for sure). The most important thing is that you both have equal input into this…not him controlling it just b/c it’s your debt. Can you possibly divert a portion of your paycheck directly to the CC payment? That might help make it faster and more automatic.
Post # 30
It’s a great idea! I would add a third suggestion of your bf speaking to a financial advisor at the school he selects about the financial implications of being married. Obviously this is not a major deterrant of being married but it can definitely be a sticker shock kind of thing. Like for my husband and I our taxes increased by an amazing amount (bummer). But the more knowledgable you can be about your current financial situation and its impact on the future financial situation the better off you will be.
Asking for parental advice is always helpful! I would make sure to address the separate living situation and the impact it has on the debt payoff. They may not be accepting but they at least deserve to know how you feel.
Lastly, pre-marriage counseling will likely open up many doors and viewpoints as to the restraint your bf has to marriage to you and maybe even some restraints you have yourself. Its always a good idea to talk about difficult topics (particularly money) with a third moderating party!
Best of luck in all of your future endeavors! I am sure you will both make the right decision for each other! 🙂
Post # 31
Great insight on getting more input from parents, doing counseling and writing out a budget.
I think I read on the boards that couples that do premarital counseling together eliminate divorce 9 out of 10 times.
I used to think debt was a factor NOT to even date someone. After being with people with a lot of money, I just thought it was not even potential. Because I grew up poor and paid off my credit cards each month, I felt I would have more security if I just ruled the people not financially set –in my prior opinion- as not potential.
One day in prayer, I realized I was being judgmental and didn’t want to be ‘that kind of person’. One month later, I started dating my Fiance. When I found out he was in debt and actively/responsibly paying it down, I didn’t blink my eye and continued on. He grew up from a poor background also but went the other way, when he finally had access to money, he didn’t have the discipline or wisdom to manage or invest it. It worries me once in a while when he talks of dreams of buying big things, learn how to invest in stocks or dreaming about owning a Rolex someday but I also know he talks about his debt-incurring days as a mistake and hasn’t demonstrated any major mis-use of money. So, like I have made less-than-ideal decisions (lots of previous relationships) not thinking about my future husband…he, too has made decisions with after-effects and we just forgive each other and move on. I know I have to learn to trust him and appreciate our differences that help keep us balanced individually and as a couple.
Ok..that said…mutual love, parental support, a solid game plan and premarital counseling is an excellent ideaa!