More and more couples are finding themselves overwhelmed with student loan and credit card debt as they enter into marriage. This is a serious issue that needs to be discussed in the preparation for marriage.
How to Talk about Debt with your Fiancée/Fiancé
1. Set Aside a Time to Discuss It
Financial conversations that occur in passing are never a good thing. Set aside some time to discuss your financial debts with your future spouse. List them on a sheet of paper. Consult some of the websites below for some help in guiding this discussion.
2. Set Financial Goals Together
I wish I would have read Dave Ramsey’s book The Total Money Makeover before I got married. I knew debt was bad, but I really didn’t know where I should put the money that I was saving each month. Had I done things differently, I would have built up an emergency fund and paid off debt like crazy (while saving up for that ring!). We might have been in a better place financially if I had some financial goals in mind. As a couple, set out some short-term and long-term goals for your family.
3. Dealing with Disagreements about Debt
You are bound to disagree about money. Money is often sited as one of the top reasons couples get divorced. Don’t let the disagreements get in the way of you living your life together in peace. A tough lesson I had to learn (and continue to learn) is humbly meeting my wife in the middle. Like everything in a relationship, you have to compromise. Try out your spouse’s idea and test to see if it works. The fact that you are taking steps to make a change will be all the difference in the world.
Resources for Having the Debt-talk
Dave Ramsey’s The Total Money Makeover
The book about paying off debt. It is a great book to read and discuss as a couple. It has changed my life and many others.
The Newlywed’s Guide to Budgeting (Faith and Finance):
A perfect little eBook for newly-married couples and couples preparing for marriage. It’s free when you sign-up for the email list.
A blog by Matt Jabs, Debt-free Adventure provides tips for paying off debt from a young-adult’s perspective.