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!