(Closed) Marrying a spendthrift with debt

posted 5 years ago in Money
Post # 3
8576 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

First off, getting married doesn’t mean to assume her debt – it’s her own, and she’ll be the one liable for it.

However, financial hardship is something that breaks up ALOT of couples, and this is definantly something you should work out before marriage.

I can relate to your situation, because my fiance is/was the same way. Not with clothes and makeup, but more like tech gagdets, video games, and other things he really didn’t need. Anything that looked “cool”. He spent ALOT of money on these things. Before we moved in together, I didn’t care, it was his money. Once we moved in together, it became a whole ‘nother story.

When we discussed finances, he admitted that he knew he spent too much money, but he just wasn’t able to control him self. We made out a system that works for us.

I basically, control all the money. I pay all of our bills, and give us enough money for living expenses [gas, coffee, whatever the case may be].

Once everything we need to LIVE is covered, I take the rest and divide it in half, half goes into savings/retirement, and the other is divded between us – or sometimes combined for a large purchase. If he spends his, [lets just call it an allowance], in 1 day, then he’s screwed until we get paid again.

This system has worked for us because everything gets paid, we save for our future, and he can still buy a new toy or “want”. It’s helped him cut down spending a ton.

Post # 4
296 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

I think it is very wise to talk to about your concerns with her.  If she understands your concern, it is something she can be aware of and hopefully start to work on.  There are budgeting classes/seminars you can take together to help prepare you for the future. If you love her, don’t let this be the determining factor if you haven’t even shared the issue with her. 

My Fiance and I were very open about our debts from the start.  I have some medical bills and student loans and he has a house payment.  We worked around our issues and made a plan on how to make it all work.  Hopefully she understands and is considerate of your legitimate concerns!  Good luck!

Post # 5
4656 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

@Seb:  Are you my FH? hahaha. We’re in almost the exact same situation, here’s how we handle it:

1. Any debt acquired before marriage stays with the individual. Even if she spontaneously combusted after you got married, they can’t come after you for the money. So you’re safe there.

2. My FH and I have agreed NOT to join our money. He handles the administrative bills and stuff and just asks me for an amount every month. It’s totally don’t ask don’t tell. I’ve said “if you think I should pay more, ask for more, if you wanna pay more, ask for less, just give me a number and I will pay it.” We kind of trade off things like vet visits for the dog and grocery shopping trips and stuff. (I’ll get this one, you get the next one.) Once in a blue moon we bicker about it but it’s gotten rarer and rarer.

But we do not have any joint banking. The money getting saved for the wedding is going into my US account (we live in Korea and have our own personal korean accounts) with a record of how much he contributed. Obviously if I want to HAVE a wedding I can’t touch it except for wedding things lol. Usually I use that account (outside of this unique time) for savings and loan payments and online shopping.

Anyway, we still talk about big purchases, anything over 100 or so, but there’s no real “veto power.” Just “this is my opinion, please consider it before you do anything rash.”

This way, by keeping the money separate, me (the spendthrift in debt with the financially wonky family and the slightly checkered college experience) and him (the frugal saver) can get along. I always make sure I’ve got enough to contribute to the house, but beyond that, it’s a “do what you want” sort of thing.

Post # 6
6123 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2012



Hi and welcome Seb!


Money is a HUGE factor in relationships.  It’s the #1 cause of divorce in the US!  So, if you’re thinking this is petty and you’d be silly to rethink a relationship over this – I’d say not at all!  You are being smart.  You did grad school right and I can tell you have your act together.


I think if you’re going to move in with someone with the intent on maybe getting married one day, it’s time to lay it all on the table.  I don’t think you can no longer “not care” what the other does with the money because you are possibly working towards a partnership where you will have to care a lot about what they do with their money.


I would sit her down and have a heart to heart with her.  Don’t move in just yet.  I think that I would first need to see my partner do financially smart moves BEFORE I considered living with them.  So hold off moving in. 

Tell her you know that money is the #1 cause of divorce, and you are already seeing things that could be issues with you two.  Your values with money don’t match.  You don’t have to nit pick what she spends her money on (in fact I advise to not actuall say you spend too much on makeup), but make the conversation more about “we have such different money values” and how that is going to cause tension when you combine money one day.  Your values being: saving, not accruing debt, being responsible with money, living below your means.


Maybe she’ll offer solutions, maybe you’ll both come up with solutions, maybe she’ll scoff at you and tell you to get lost – who knows!


But don’t move in toether until you see her change things with her money.  After being down the marriage road once before with someone with totally different money values than me, I would not say move in and wait for changes to happen after the fact.

Post # 7
6123 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

@Seb:  “On top of that, her parents are not financially wise. They both have debt, spent a lot of money filing for divorce (even though they still go out form time to time).”


So I have very financially irresponsible parents.  Well it was more so my dad than my mom.  My mom is frugal, but my dad was a gambling addict and he did drugs we later found out.  My mom was powerless to this all.


Every piece of financial adivce he has ever given me I throw it out the window.  He didn’t have a leg to stand on. 


So not everyone is destined to be like their parents.  It’s not a learned behavior that can’t be undone (yes, some may follow in their foot steps only if they are blinded).  In fact I want to be the complete opposite of what they did.  So far I have more in retirement at age 36 than my dad did at age 58 when he died.


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