Post # 1
Curious question to see if my approach is the norm or if it’s uncommon. My good Girlfriend of many years is coming out of her medical program this year, and will be around 200K in the hole. I was explaining to her that my long engagement has something to do with finances and being completely debt free (cars paid off, school debt cleaned). She tried to remind me that with our post-grad degrees, money will come one way or another.
Her sister got married before she completed dentistry school and her husband comes from a well-to-do family (they footed the wedding bill). They were married at around $50K. In my GF’s case, I could also see her getting married with a more “simple” $20-30K pricetag even with school debt.
For myself, we’re expecting to punch out all of our debt in the next two years and we plan on no more than a $10K wedding. We have a house. No kids. Maybe we’ll buy another house in time. Am I the odd one out here?
Post # 3
I do not lump school debt in with other debt. To me, that is like a mortgage it is not something I would have a problem bringing into a marriage.
I would have a problem with credit card debt or any other debt that was unreasonable or due filling wants and not needs.
School debt can be at a very low interest rate and not really “worth” paying it off early. My money can earn more invested than paying my 1.25% interest school loans.
Also, its an investment in the money I am making now. I would not make the salary I have without the schooling. And depending on how much you make, the interest paid on the school loan is tax deductible like a mortgage.
Post # 4
I have quite a bit of school debt and it isn’t affecting our wedding one bit. Fiance knew I had it going into the relationship. Yeah, I could pay off my debt with the money I’m spending on the wedding, but I don’t see the point. My debt will be paid off in two years anyways, I’d rather have the wedding of my dreams.
I think if your debt isn’t holding you back from buying a house or being able to live then there’s no need have a tiny wedding.
Post # 5
I have no credit card or school debt, and my husband had school debt. Personally, I actually dont understand the waiting to get married until non-school debt is paid off. If you’re engaged and agreed to marry, at that point debt is accepted and I dont see why the commitment should wait. If i had a problem with someones debt, I dont think I’d accept the engagement yet.
Post # 6
You can take forever to pay school debt , there is no knife to your throat or threat- your degree won’t be taken away, where as a mortgage or credit card debt could put you in hot water.
Its great to get your finances in order before marriage. You will find though there is no perfect time to get married 😉 Shizzle will hit the fan when it wants to , which could be one month before your wedding or two months into your marriage etc.
For some , marriage is beneficial for the financial situation ( taxes, student loan amounts etc)
Best of luck with everything!
Post # 7
I think I am the only person I know that paid off school debt before I graduate. I went back for a Master’s and still had undergrad loans from 10 years ago, and I graduate this May. I had to take out loans for both my undergrad and this recent grad school stint. I worked full time while doing this and didn’t use a good portion of the loans so in essense I gave it right back to them plus the remainder.
I paid my debt off 3 month ago and the wedding is in 5 months.
My fiance also has no debt other than the mortgage, which I am now on the title.
It was my goal to pay off all my debt before marriage however, but my total was only $20k. It probably would be a different story if we’re talking $200k.
“I was explaining to her that my long engagement has something to do with finances and being completely debt free (cars paid off, school debt cleaned). She tried to remind me that with our post-grad degrees, money will come one way or another.”
What if that takes her 20 years? Does she have a game plan? Do you know how long it will take for her to clear herself of it? Is having a debt free fiance a deal breaker for you?
Post # 8
Hi, a New Bee here. =)
It really depends on the grad school degree the person is taking. Since your good gf is in a medical program, her income is likely to triple/quadruple when she finishes the program. The salary for a doctor ranges from 120 K to over 300 K. Depending on her specialty, she’ll be able to handle her school debt quite easily upon finishing residency. So she’ll be fine.
If the occupation after the grad degree is less lucrative, then it may be a problem.
Post # 9
We just got engaged after almost 6 years because we wanted to wait and be financially stable first. For us, that meant buying a house, and we currently have a mortgage together. I also have around 20K (GBP, not USD… maybe about 30K USD?) worth of debt from my undergraduate degree… rather a shame, as I only borrowed 12K and have been making repayments during that time. I don’t count it as debt because you have to earn over 21K a year here before you start paying it back. My PhD is in anthropology, and in today’s UK university climate, I won’t be earning 21K GBP a year for the best part of a decade, at least. The only thing that concerns me is FIs credit cards. It’s not like he’s in unmanageable amounts of debt (I guess he probably owes slightly more than a month’s wages, but I’m not sure… I don’t monitor his spending), but any credit card debt at all is bad news as far as I’m concerned… I have none.
Post # 10
Things like cars and mortgages and student loans I see as necessary debt. The only debt I would knock out before marriage would be credit card debt, which is what I’ve done. I paid off the last of my student loan debt a couple years ago but it wasn’t in preparation financially for marriage – it was just because I could. To me, you need transportation, you need an education, and you need somewhere to live. You don’t need credit card debt.
I don’t think what you’re doing is odd and I don’t think what she is doing is odd. You do what works best for you. Personally, I wouldn’t wait to get married for the sake of paying off student debt because, depending on your situation, doing that could take 10+ years. Which is why I’d go the route of your friend and get married anyways.
Post # 11
I agree with PPs who say it depends on the type of school debt. Fiance graduated law school last year, and if we put off our wedding until he paid it off… well, it would take a while. As long as he’s up front with the school loans and has a handle on them, I don’t see any reason to put off a wedding. Professional degrees – like law and medicine – are expensive and are an investment in the future. They’ll pay off over the course of time, so as long as payments are made on time, it’s not terrible to have that kind of debt.
Student loan debt isn’t considered “bad” debt — it’s more expected now because college and graduate school and any other higher education is so expensive. Plus, it helps your credit score (shows you aren’t afraid to carry some debt, as well as that you can make payments on time).
Post # 12
I wouldn’t refuse to marry someone (or delay marrying) over money! Bad money habits, maybe, but not debt earned in a responsible manner with a plan to pay it off. The vows are “for richer or for poorer.”
I had $200k in debt. I now have enough money in the bank to pay off the remaining amount, but I am not doing so yet for a varierty of reasons (became unemployed and wanted a large cushion, interest is less than if we buy a house and take out a mortgage, etc.). Meanwhile, the govt paid for his grad degree. Would we delay until we paid that off? That’d be silly, particularly because I’m 32 – turning 33 a few months after we get married – and he’s 36, turning 37 a few weeks after we get married. I took a few years off before grad school, which means I’m older. If we delay, that severely hurts our chances to have kids (my sister has already had issues conceiving). Why put our lives on hold??
Post # 13
I’m a student and have never had any debt. DH had student loans during both his degrees (he did an undergrad, worked a while and decided to get a 2nd undergrad). I actually paid off his second student loan short after he graduated and before we got married, but it wasn’t a large amount. Both times they were paid within months of him finishing the degree to keep interest down.
I don’t think debt should be the only deciding factor about when to get married, but I also understand taking it into account if you have to pay for a wedding.
Post # 14
I have a professional degree that cost me six figures to obtain. There is no way I could just “knock out my debt” pre-wedding. That being said, I am on an agressive repayment plan that is fiscally sound. I will be married with my student loan debt and my mortgage, both of which I will have for another 8-10 years.
Post # 15
I went to a private undergrad and law school and have about $150k of debt. No way that’s getting paid off before I get married. I have a plan to pay it all off in 5-7 years, and my SO knows about all my debt and we have a plan to handle it. I think that’s all that is needed. I have no credit card debt, but if I did, I would want to pay that off before marriage.
Post # 16
@lefeymw: Well said, I couldn’t agree more.