(Closed) Just found out FI is in a load of debt. Now what?

posted 9 years ago in Money
  • poll: How much debt will you and your FI carry (NOT including mortgages)

    Nothing-we are debt free!

    $10,000 or less








  • Post # 47
    2314 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: August 2012

    We are about $40k with a car and student loan.  We don’t really have CC debt because fiance had to foreclose on his house a few years ago so bye-bye his credit/debt.  So basically I AM 40k in debt….but my assets also balance out my liabilities so I am totally fine with it.

    It sounds as if your fiance really doesn’t respect money, or that you two have very different money management worldviews which is a huge issue.  It took us years to finally have him realize that I am the better one with money. Money is just not a priority for him as it is for me.  I need financial security in order to be comfortable, some people are more risky. He now comes to me before any large purchase and I occasionally check in to see how much he is saving.  He no longer has a credit card (we will get him one in another couple of years) and our money is 100% seperate until I can trust that he won’t sink me. 

    Start talkin’ lady….you got some work to do…  😉

    Post # 48
    3696 posts
    Sugar bee

    We have about $40k in debt total, two cars and my student loans. Everything has been full disclosure since we moved in together and we started paying down the debt immediately. I had about $3k in credit cards from a stretch of unemployment that we knocked out and we’re now saving and working on the cars.

    I can’t fathom your Fiance not disclosing his financials until this close to the wedding, but he did and it is prior to the wedding. I agree with a PP who suggested a prenup and I also agree with hiring a financial planner to help you come up with a way to tackle the debt he does have, come up with a budget and make a plan for the future. Having it mapped out will make it easier on both of you.

    Post # 49
    219 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: September 2012

    That’s sticky. Bottom line is, you need to talk to HIM about it. Communication, especially where money and debt are concerned, can make or break a relationship.

    Both I and my beau got stuck with debt from our previous marriages. Mine was small – apartment utilities that I never paid when the ex left me (as he said he would handle it and didn’t..should have seen that coming). I cleaned it up after a few years, though it was much more a mental/emotional ‘letting go’ thing than it was a money thing.

    My beau was in a similar situation, only it was mortgage payments and credit card spending. It took him a while to fess up, but once we were officially engaged, he disclosed it all. He is still working towards erasing his debt, and he takes is very seriously – it’s his priority to be debt free when we marry. Once that’s cleaned up, we will only have standard revolving credit in terms of debt, and we will be in good shape to save, invest, and secure our future. We have a financial advisor and are on a good path. Our healthy communication about it all has made ALL the difference.

    Post # 50
    467 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: August 2012

    That’s a lot of debt, and it seems like it was acquired due to poor financial habits… Those need to be resolved.  The two of you have pretty different attitudes when it comes to finances – maybe you can be a good influence, eventually…

    But in the mean time, I wouldn’t advise “hitching your wagons together” just yet.  You could have trouble getting any type of credit once you two are married – even if you personally have a perfect credit history and a very high credit score almost all lenders will consider his debt your debt as well.

    Plus, keeping huge amounts of debt from each other is a pretty big deal.

    My Fiance and I will have about $17k of debt between the two of us… I have a few thousand in credit card bills (I was unemployed for a while recently, these cards filled the gap – He’s aware & they’ll be gone within a few months.)  He’s got some student loans, the remainder of a car loan and a motorcycle to pay off.  We also each have a mortgage – although you’ve excluded that debt.

    Post # 51
    561 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: June 2012

    You stated that you are not going to postpone the wedding over this, so if that is the case you have a LOT to work out before getting married. I am a little concerned that you 2 hadn’t discussed finances more in depth by this point. I’d demand Fiance sit down and set up a plan to start paying back that debt and for you to have access to all his financial records so you know there is nothing else he is hiding. It sounds like he also needs some sort of counseling regarding his spending habits. It is not normal or healthy to be that in that much commercial debt and it is going to put a huge strain on your relationship/marriage.

    Post # 52
    7384 posts
    Busy Beekeeper
    • Wedding: August 2013

    Oh wow…yeah. This is huge. And a problem. I have no advice to give you at all. 🙁

    Fiance has no debt. I have about $50k in student loans (with interest), $7500 car loan, and like $400 in consumer debt (which is getting paid off next month). With any luck, we’ll have my car paid off quickly and I’ll have a better paying job soon, as well. Fiance hates debt and got a degree paying out of pocket (must be nice!), but I was completely up front with him about my student loans and what I’m putting on credit cards (which has been nothing for a long time, actually), and he’s okay with it. He’s very money-conscious and pays for everything with cash, even if he’ll get a better deal otherwise (my engagement ring, for example, he could have gotten a better deal opening an account there and paying on that, but he didn’t want to).

    YES, you do really need to sit down with him and talk to him. Keep it calm and non-accusatory. He needs to get another job, stop buying things he doesn’t need, and cut up the credit cards and get them paid off.

    Post # 53
    515 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: August 2009

    As someone who entered into marriage debt free but married someone with a significant amount of debt, I don’t see the amount of his debt as the most concerning issue here.  What concerns me is the huge difference in both of your attitudes about money.  Although my husband came into the marriage with debt, he had already changed his attitude about spending and debt.  Yet, there are times when his tendency to spend and my tendency to save create tension.  We are aware of this and work through it together. 

    Even if you could miraculously pay off all his debt tomorrow, if he doesn’t change his attitude about money and spending, it has the potential to cause massive problems in your relationship.  I would highly recommend geting premarital counseling and telling the counselor up front that you specifically want to focus on discussing the difference in your financial habits.  This will be benficial to both of you.

    Post # 54
    2128 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: October 2011

    This is a lot of debt and would be a deal breaker for me.

    I would suggest you treat it as “our” debt, not “his” debt. You’re marrying him and it’s going to be one household now. Obviously you want what’s best for the household, not just yourself. I would use your own money to help pay down these debts.

    Post # 55
    1417 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: September 2012

    Yikes…between my student loans, our car and credit card debt we have about $50,000 in debt. However, I don’t view student loans as “bad debt” nor do I generally include our car as “debt.” We plan to spend the first year of our marriage paying off all of our credit card debt…roughly $16k and then begin to work on paying off our car. Once we pay off our credit card debt we’ll be happy…

    However, we also have about $30,000 in various forms of savings account…

    I would plan, plan, plan how you are going to pay this debt…and make sure that you guys have the same ideas towards savings and spending.

    Post # 56
    4812 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: January 2010

    I am not only alarmed at the amount of consumer debt, but also alarmed that he was not upfront about it AND continues to make poor spending decisions (like “needing” a Camaro). The financial irresponsibility to me would be very concerning. I would NOT be getting married before or if this could not be sorted out and until I could be sure we were sharing similar financial goals and values, including complete honesty and transparency. That financial dishonesty – by direct lying or omission – would have been a big dealbreaker for me.

    When we got married, I had about $70K in law school loan debts, and my husband had about $20k from the result of a separation from his common-law spouse and losses taken on the house sold. But, we were both very upfront about it, and we have been very financially honest and aware throughout. We have a budget we stick too and have a shared plan for paying down our debts, so we are down to about $45K now (on what we consider our debt, just as it is our income). We also have over $115,000 in savings so we also have other financial goals we are dedicated too. We continously review our finances and financial goals and maintain the conversation around it.

    There is a reason people always say “money” is the number one cause of divorce, because such different financial attitudes, goals, and so forth can lead to great conflict within a relationship, and it also jeopardizes your own financial security and freedom. Do not underestimate this issue. You need to get some counseling, not only to discuss finances, but to discuss your communication regarding finances and I imagine many other areas as well.

    Post # 57
    218 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: February 2012

    I haven’t read all of the responses, so if what I say has already been said, I apologize for repeating it!

    I’m the one who brought most of the debt to our marriage; my DH is VERY good with money. For me, most of the debt I have brought is student loans, so that I don’t feel terrible over. It is what it is and the money was needed for my education, and I’ve been working to pay it off for some time before we got married, though do have some time still to go.

    I also at one point had a little over $20K in credit card debt. I always considered myself responsible with money and I’m not stupid about how cc’s work. It just got away from me. A lot of it was moving to a big city and trying to adjust to a new budget. You wake up one day and you’re like ‘what the what?!’ and can’t believe you got there, with so much debt. It’s stupid, but it happens.

    The credit card debt used to cause me SO MUCH STRESS. I would loose NIGHTS of sleep due to stressing about it, and worried that when I found ‘the one’ he’d bolt as soon as he found out. Money can have an amazing and terrifying hold over your life.

    At the rate I was going, I wasn’t going to get my credit cards paid off any time soon, which only added to my feelings of being overwhelmed – the interest rates were too high, and because I was living in an expensive city, I could really only afford the minimum payments.

    I did a lot of research and learned about non-profit credit counseling agencies. Essentially what they do is look at your income, your budget, and your debt – and then go to your creditors and negotiate a payment plan, of sorts. They can help you reduce your interest rates DRASTICALLY – I’m talking from like 22% down to 3%, which makes paying them off much more realistic. All of the debt is consolidated into one payment too, so you’re not having to worry about multiple credit cards. Another good thing, especially if your Fiance is tempted by the credit cards still, is that these type of programs essentially close your accounts. You still are paying them, but you can’t use them.

    The company I went with is called Take Charge America (there are others, however) and it has really been a godsend. I know they don’t help with student loans, but I’m not sure about other debts, but it is definitely worth looking into. If you have further questions about it, please feel free to PM me!

    Lastly, you and your Fiance should get into some financial counseling together – part of the cure of overcoming debt is to learn how to stop creating it! And he needs some intervention!

    Best of luck to you! I truly understand how stressful this is and I am sorry you are going through it, especially on behalf of your FI!

    Post # 58
    1860 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: June 2012

    My debt is ALL student loans: about $25K

    His debt is ALL car stuff: about $10k

    Post # 59
    2314 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: August 2012

    @MrsTahoe:  Thank you for posting your experience!  I looooove that there are credit counselors out there and they do such a world of difference for people.  🙂

    Post # 60
    709 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: June 2012

    That’s bad.  Both the money and the deception (and hiding that amount of debt equals deception).  With money problems being the primary cause for divorce, this is a huge red flag.  I have about $40k in student loan debt (I have an advanced degree), but pay just $265/month with a less than 2% interest rate, so there’s no reason for me to rush to pay it off.  I have zero consumer debt (pay my credit cards off in full each month), and assets in an amount that exceeds my student loan debt.  When I met Fiance, he was in a lot of debt.  He was divorced, and he and his ex made very bad decisions (like paying for their big wedding on credit, all in his name).  He counted on saving lots of money by living together after the wedding, and paying it down together.  Well that didn’t happen.  They barely lasted a year.  So not only did he still have all that wedding debt, but he had to find a new place to live, with no one to share rent, furnish it, etc etc.  He went into credit counseling (he used one recommended by Suze Orman, NOT one of the many sharks who are looking to gauge people), and now he’s almost out of debt.  I wasn’t willing to marry him until his debt situation was much better, and his first wedding was totally paid off.  He now only uses his debit card.  No more credit.  He had saved the money for my e-ring, and we are both using cash on hand to pay for the wedding.

    Post # 61
    514 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: August 2014

    I have about $10K in OSAP (student loan) but that’ll be wiped out by the wedding. He doesn’t have anything significant. As of August we will have a mortgage to deal with, so I’m happy our other debts are almost non-existent.

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