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Money differences = dealbreaker?

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Frequent Contributor

Re: Money differences = dealbreaker?

This is something they need to talk about and come to an understanding on BEFORE they get married. They should lay out their debt and assets, agree on a financial goal, agree how they will meet those goals, agree on how they will pay current and future bills, agree on how they will commingle money, agree on how they decide on investments / major purchases / allowances / budgeting, and agree on how often they would do a financial check (I suggest fairly often early on). Your cousin needs to learn directly from her fiancé his attitude about money, be able to ask him about what concerns her, and see how he treats her concerns about finances. If he dismisses them, then that’s a HUGE RED flag. Apparently most marriages break up because of money; they shouldn’t be starting at a disadvantage.
Message 11 of 26
Valued Contributor

Re: Money differences = dealbreaker?

I feel that when that time comes where they do move forward with potentially shopping around for homes, reality will kick in quite quickly.  The moment (Again we don't know his finances so 30-40k in credit card debt could very well be just 5% for him) the mortgage firm goes to pre-approve him, I would think the first comments out of the conversation entails something like "Hey, great news, you're pre-approved..   but I would recommend paying down most of your credit cards and utilization before closing otherwise you're taking a significant hit."    So, there is hope the debt could also be reduced before the home in this scenario.  Money is definitely one of the top most reasons for marriage issues though so as already advised, they should both be on the same page and talk about debts prior to the wedding.

Message 12 of 26
Valued Contributor

Re: Money differences = dealbreaker?

@jetsfan2013 wrote:

I recently visited some family of mine out West, and one of my younger cousins is engaged to be married. She is 29, only debt she has is her student loans (undergrad and masters = $90,000). She has been driving the same Honda Civic since my Aunt helped her buy it for her 20th birthday. Her soon to be husband is the complete opposite of her financially. He makes considerably more money (He is in the real estate industry), but according to her carries over $30-40K in credit card debt, has a $40K car note, and wants to buy a brand new house when they marry.


My cousin is scared to death of debt, and her talks about living more frugal have gone nowhere, partly she believes because he makes the lionshare of the money.


Obviously I care about my family member, but want to know what would you tell someone you care about in this situation? How should she handle this?

I don't understand your statement.  He seems to have less debt than her and has a significantly higher salary.  The car loan is on something that has value.  So you have her 90k of debt vs his 40k of debt.  I would be very hessitant to marry someone with 90k of student loans and a low salary. 

More cards than I can mention in a signature.
Message 13 of 26
Established Contributor

Re: Money differences = dealbreaker?

@frogman1 wrote:

I don't understand your statement.  He seems to have less debt than her and has a significantly higher salary.  The car loan is on something that has value.  So you have her 90k of debt vs his 40k of debt.  I would be very hessitant to marry someone with 90k of student loans and a low salary. 



I do not see where OP stated neice's salary, only debt of student loan of 90k with an estimate payoff in 24 months. The fiancee is 80k in debt with car and credit cards that get balance transfered but are they being paid down. 


Coming out of school busting butt and wiping out 90k debt in 2 years is a feat. I'll sure she not happy, happy, joy, joy to immediately jump in a large mortgage after putting herself through school, getting by on basics instead of indulgenances and it's freaking her out. 


She needs to voice her concern of want her debt to be considerably less, as to not prolong the student loans, and feel more comfortable with a mortgage payment, unless he will be sole applicant. 

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Message 14 of 26
Regular Contributor

Re: Money differences = dealbreaker?

That’s hard! That needs to be decided before marriage. Often, behavior is learned growing up. Personalities play into spending. They will both need to make sacrifices for any future.
You always need to consider loss of job, sickness, or worse. Plan needs to be in place with financial matters.
Your chosen approach can dictate what will be your final outcome. Be proactive, not reactive-
Message 15 of 26
New Member

Re: Money differences = dealbreaker?

@OmarR wrote:

I would tell her:


1. The ideal move for her would be for her to demand that his credit card debt be paid off before they get married. Since that realistically won't happen, than move on to #2.


2. If he won't change his ways, keep your money in separate accounts. No co-mingling except for maybe a small account to pay the rent/bills/groceries/etc. Because when the collectors come collecting, they will drain all of her accounts that also have his name on them as well. His credit cards stay his, and her's stay her's. No AU's.


3. They should BOTH get a on a plan to pay off student loans & credit card debt BEFORE buying a house.


4. Even though he makes considerably more money, when the time comes should they buy a house, their payments should be something that they can afford down the middle 50/50. If the house is so expensive that he contributes 80% and her 20%, that's when the arguments and power struggles come into play. If he refuses, than the house & mortgage can be completely in his name.


5. She needs to keep the financial and emotional investment 50/50 so she can hold her head up high and walk out if necessary.

Could not agree with this more! Highly recommend his CC debt be paid off are a significant amount get paid before they marry. And if he has all this money I hope there is a nice savings somewhere. If they can not come to an agreement then they should maintain separate accounts. But anytime you mix money and disagreements you are going to have problems. So they just need to have open and honest discussions.

Message 16 of 26
Regular Contributor

Re: Money differences = dealbreaker?

My two cents is that it doesn't matter! We all care about family of course. All the "I" want this and that, goes out the door. What to tell her is I will always support you and much love... They will have to figure it all out as a couple and deal with their financial challenges all on their own. Love conquers all Smiley Happy

"Give me liberty, or give me credit!" -PlasticDad

Message 17 of 26
Regular Contributor

Re: Money differences = dealbreaker?

@PlasticDad wrote:

.... Love conquers all Smiley Happy

Love may conquer all, but after 30 years of marriage to somebody who is not near as debt averse as I am, there are have been plenty of vigorous disagreements, lots of friction, and plenty of tension. Something to consider before starting a new relationship.

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Message 18 of 26
Regular Contributor

Re: Money differences = dealbreaker?


"Give me liberty, or give me credit!" -PlasticDad

Message 19 of 26
Valued Member

Re: Money differences = dealbreaker?

Whatever they decide to do, it needs to be worked out BEFORE they marry. They should sit down and get it all on paper, seriously. Both my husband and I are on our second marriage. His first marriage left him with a lot of debt, plus he had a business fail and is still dealing with debts from that fiasco. He makes twice the salary I do, over $100K annually, but he also has a whole lot more debt than I do.

When we got married we agreed on how to split the household expenses - we literally put it in a Google Docs file -  and we also agreed to handle our personal finances separately. We have separate personal banking accounts and credit cards.  He pays rent and all utilities from his account, so basically around the first of the month he tells me what my share is and I write him a check.

We have a joint savings account that we both contribute to for things like vacations and emergencies.

As long as the household bills are being paid timely, and they keep personal finances separate, I'm sure they will be fine.

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Message 20 of 26