Financial Picture Before Marriage – Part 2

Charlotte and I were discussing how each of us started out with debt in our marriages.  Part of my experience is the opposite of her and Mike.  My husband and I discussed finances early in our relationship.  At the time, my husband worked for a evangelism/discipleship ministry.  His supervisor was not only his spiritual mentor but also held him accountable on our relationship.   We benefited greatly from this man’s guidance and wisdom.  But one thing we chose to ignore was his advice to pay off debts before marrying.  I NOW understand why…marriage is hard enough without having to carry a HUGE burden of debt.  Couples should be concentrating on each other, not working overtime to pay debt off.  At the time, we had:

$8,000  Credit Card Debt (7 credit cards) combined
$12,000   Student Loan
$200  Car Payment
$300  Car Payment

Although we ignored our mentor’s advice to not wait on marriage, we did sit down beforehand and go over all the debts.  We set up a budget immediately and thus began my obsession with tracking expenses using Quicken (btw – this program has come a long way since 1996!)  We set up financial goals together and rarely argued over money.  My advice?  I think I would still warn couples to pay off debt before getting married.  The better your finances are starting out, the less baggage you carry into the marriage.  Whether you wait or not, I’m in agreement with Charlotte to discuss your financial situation as a couple before marriage.

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2 Responses

  1. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog.

    Tim Ramsey

  2. I agree. My advice for marrying with debt? I would even go as far as postponing marriage by a year or so to work on finances. If you already live together, it shouldn’t be much of a sacrifice. If not, invest time now in earning additional income so that when you do marry, you will be in a better financial place.

    Perhaps the most important step of all, never stop talking about money. Don’t let your spouse be surprised to hear about a large purchase you made, or a credit card you opened. At the same time, if your spouse spends more than you, don’t freak out every time he or she goes to Starbucks. Life is about choices, and marriage – at least when it comes to money – is about compromises.

    Sam
    Fix My Personal Finance
    http://fixmypersonalfinance.com/

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