When you get married, does his and her debt all of a sudden become our debt? Perhaps if you decide to keep separate checking accounts, it’s a lot easier to keep debt separated. But if one partner has a lot of debt, and another partner has minimal debt—will they begin to resent each other for the big disparities in disposable income?
How do you manage debt in a marriage?
Eric and I had minimal financial conversations before we got married. It wasn’t until after three months of marriage and consistent months of spending more than we made, that we finally sat down and got serious about our finances.
We quickly realized we were going to have to make some serious life changes in order to pay down our debt. Between Eric’s credit cards, my car loan and my student loans, we had a hefty amount.
And while we made decent incomes separately, we were much more of a financial powerhouse together. It never even occurred to us to separate it between his and her debt. Granted, I doubt Eric would have been as motivated to pay off his credit cards if it weren’t for me forcing us to make the payment each month, but to each his own.
On the other hand, I’ve known couples who kept their finances and debt separate and I could see how that would work too. Perhaps there would be less resentment or jealousy because each partner is responsible for their share of the bills and are responsible for paying off the debt they each incurred prior to getting married.
The argument for paying off debt together is that you’re now married and a team, what’s his is hers and what’s hers is his. On the flip side, each person should strive to not bring debt into the marriage and if they do, they should be responsible for paying off their own debt they incurred prior to the marriage.
It’s a bit too late for us to change our debt paying strategy. We’ve paid off debt and are in the home stretch of paying off my student loans. I won’t say there haven’t been any battle scars though. Sometimes we really disagreed on how we should handle our finances and how aggressively we should pay off debt.
But we’ve made it through.
Did you combine debt when you got married? Do you plan on combining debt when you get married?