Being in debt is a stressful situation. It may mean that you’re still working through student loans, paying off a car or credit card, or that you simply can’t save enough to get ahead in your finances. Marriage is another element to this stressful situation. Maybe you’re of the mindset that two incomes will suddenly make your debt situation more palatable. This thinking is a recipe for unhappiness.
Lawyers like those at Scura Attorneys at Law know that marriage is complicated and shouldn’t be used as a debt solution. There are many reasons to take care of your debt before you tie the knot. It could be essential to your happiness to do so.
- The facts of life
Unfortunately, more than half of marriages aren’t permanent, no matter what you promise to each other on the altar. If you come together with a ton of debt (which is stressful to begin with), it may be more difficult to disentangle your marriage when it’s over.
The reason is that divorces have to try to decide fairly how to divide up money and resources between the couple. This becomes tricky when you have both been contributing to paying off each other’s debts. Which money goes where? It makes a stressful situation even worse.
Emotional baggage is never a great thing to bring into a marriage but financial baggage can be just as bad. With an overwhelming amount of debt, a marriage can get off on the wrong foot, with one party thinking that they’re being used to pay off your mistakes, or your mutual quality of life decreasing because of your bad decisions.
This can lead to resentment and it can bring that divorce statistic closer to coming true than you prefer.
If you’re getting married, you already know that there are important factors of compatibility that you need to match with your new spouse. This could include anything from sex preferences to living arrangements.
However, debt, while you may both agree that it’s bad, may reveal a basic difference in the way you both live your life. One of you could be prone to bad decision-making that could be dangerous for the relationship as a whole. You may prioritize unnecessary expenditures far more than your spouse, which could create friction between you.
- Planning ahead
If you’re in a place in your life where you want the essentials, complete with a car, a house, and children, you need to be aware that debt can hinder your plans.
You may not be able to qualify for loans or afford your new life circumstance. Before you put your spouse in a position where your lives are in a holding pattern because of your debt, consider resolving some of it before you get married.
- Family strain
If you are in a financial position that’s bad enough to necessitate borrowing, this could put a strain on your new family. Starting your marriage by asking your spouse’s family for financial help will stress everyone out and put you on bad terms with your new relatives.
- New responsibilities
If you have student loan debt and car payments, it would be unwise to buy a house before you’ve resolved some of your other financial burdens. A marriage will be far more expensive than a house after the wedding and with the possibility that kids are in the near future.
Once the joint doctor’s bills and living expenses start rolling in, you’re going to be in an awkward situation where your financial position is getting even worse.
- Prepare for the worst
A marriage probably means double the cars, double the chance for a doctor’s visit, and double everything else. If you have debt, it will be difficult to save for emergencies. One bad day could make you wish you had a safety net.
Marriage should be a happy time. Debt can put unwanted stress on your spouse and your relationship. Even if it means waiting a while longer while you get your credit card situation in order, it may help your relationship in the long run to refrain from getting married with a ton of debt.
Indebtedness is a stressful state of life. Stress is not what your relationship with your new spouse needs, however, so you should think about your debt before committing to sharing it with someone.
Before you get married to someone with a ton of debt, ask yourself what the debt tells you about them. Or if you’re the one with the debt, ask yourself what you need to fix about yourself before you get married.
To avoid becoming a statistic, get your life in order before you give it away to the person you love. Your relationship may depend on it.