Should I Say Yes to My Future Mate’s Debt?
So you say you’re in love and it seems like the most perfect relationship ever, eh? You almost know each other’s thoughts at this point and you can’t imagine life without each other. That’s beautiful!
There’s an old saying that goes “money can’t buy you love”, but being broke doesn’t buy it either. Not talking about money is one of the top 10 mistakes couples make in marriage. Quite often couples are so drunk in love they don’t take the time to explore deeper issues that could create problems when the “love high” is gone. Here’s a small suggestion, before you dive head-first into the sea of love without a life jacket, take the blinders off and have a tall glass of reality. Schedule a “Debt Discussion Date” before you make your trip down the isle of wedded bliss. Here are five things you must know before you say yes to the debt.
1. Can You Show Me the Money? – This is a tough one right out the gate, but you both need to determine if your current financial pictures are similar or polar opposites. List all assets versus liabilities to determine your individual net worth. It may not be a pretty picture but you will want to know what you’re in for financially. Don’t wait till later when your joint-checking account gets garnished for old unpaid debts you had no idea existed (true story).
2. What’s Your Money Personality? – How does your potential mate view money? Is money always a sour subject or is there always a financial emergency brewing. Is their financial philosophy “go big or go home” or “you can’t take it with you”. A person’s attitude towards money, whether it came from childhood or adulthood will be the driving force behind their spending decisions good, bad or ugly.
3. Financial Goals . . . Got Some? – If you fail to plan, ultimately you plan to fail. Without financial goals and a budget to help you reach them, your financial future and dreams will remain as pies in the sky. Are your financial goals similar? Opposites may attract but when it comes to money and relationships opposites could lead to disaster and ultimately divorce.
4. How Do You Manage Credit and Debt? – Personally, I’m allergic to debt but many people are not. Saying yes to the dress is one thing, but saying yes to bad credit and debt is quite another. As impersonal as it may seem, you must review each other’s credit report. Credit is used to determine everything from security deposits to employment. Therefore, you need to have a clear understanding of what lies ahead. Be careful not to judge. Having “bad credit” may have resulted from a lay-off, divorce or a complete lack of knowledge. Remember, no one was born with personal finance knowledge.
5. Saving, Investing and Giving, Are You In? – This category is crucial because these decisions involve expendable cash (cash remaining after bills are paid). Does your potential mate feel you should just buy more stuff or prepare for your financial future? It’s important to note with investing generally women seek security and men are risk takers. You will have to find a happy middle ground. Many couples don’t make it to this stage because they ended in divorce over the first four.
That’s our Q to your A! Tell us what you think in the comments below.
Are your future financial goals similar to your mates? Do you know how much debt your mate has? Have you reviewed each others credit reports?